Amazon had a big hit with the debut of “Thursday Night Football.”
The tech giant’s first exclusive NFL game, in which the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24, averaged 13 million viewers last Thursday, according to Nielsen.
Amazon added that the game drew slightly more fans “in the first measurement and in Nielsen, across all platforms,” averaging 15.3 million viewers.
Jay Marin, Prime Video’s head of sports, wrote in an internal memo last week that the debut “exceeded all of our viewership expectations” and led to “the largest three hours of US Prime records ever in Amazon’s history.”
This is a big win for Amazon ( AMZN ) as well as streaming and the NFL.
For the first time, the NFL – television’s most valuable product – is working on a game package exclusively on digital, which is already how millions of viewers get their entertainment and the future of television itself. These numbers show that sports can be a huge draw on both digital and traditional TV. (Fans in participating markets will still be able to watch on local radio stations.)
Thursday’s debut is also an example of how Amazon is pushing its Prime Video investment as it expands its footprint in the streaming market.
The company has spent billions strengthening its streaming offerings on multiple fronts. Buying feature films and MGM through Amazon Studios, producing TV series, including the new and very expensive “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” and live sports, including “Thursday Night Football” and gaming. from other leagues.
The NFL’s deal with Amazon was one of several the league signed with its media partners in March 2021, 11-year deals worth more than $100 billion.