Four big questions re: the sports + streaming:
1) Why was last week’s NFL Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime so important to the future of sports + streaming?
2) How many viewers tuned into the broadcast vs. expectations?
3) How did this compare to previous games?
4) How much are advertisers paying for ad spots?
Big question #1: Why was last week’s NFL Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime so important to the future of sports + streaming?
Quick answer: Amazon is paying $1.0B annually to air NFL Thursday Night Football exclusively (outside of home markets) on Amazon Prime. This is a massive test of whether streaming can deliver a similar reach to linear TV.
Flashback: The NFL’s Streaming Future
Wow: Each NFL window was viewed 2-4X as much as Stranger Things Season 4 over 17 weeks.
Quote from Fred Gaudelli – Executive Producer @ Amazon:
“I was at ESPN when we had our first NFL game. You know what the NFL did for ESPN. It put it on a rocket to the moon that is still in orbit. Amazon is a huge company, a hugely successful company. But the NFL can take you places that most other entities can’t.”
Big question #2: How many viewers tuned into the broadcast vs. expectations?
Big question #3: How did this compare to previous games?
Viewership for NFL Thursday Night Football Week 2 (YoY growth):
1) 2021 (NFL Network) – 9M
2) 2022 (Amazon Prime + KTTV/KHSB) – 13M (↑ 47%)
Average age for NFL Thursday Night Football:
1) 2021 – 53
2) 2022 – 46
Viewership for NFL Thursday Night Football Week 2 by source (% of total):
1) Streaming (Amazon Prime) – 11.8M (91%)
2) Broadcast in Los Angeles (Fox-KTTV) – 602K (5%)
3) Broadcast in Kansas City (NBC-KSHB) – 550K (4%)
Streaming only viewership for NFL games:
1) 2022 TNF Week 2 (Amazon Prime) – 11.8M
2) 2022 Super Bowl (Peacock) – 11.2M
Bottom line #1: This is huge. Live sports are the last holdout in the shift to streaming. More people streamed a Thursday night game with 13M total viewers compared to the Super Bowl, which drew 112M.
Bottom line #2: The shift to streaming is happening faster than even I (a streaming bull) would have anticipated.
Quote from Julia Alexander – Director of Strategy @ Parrot Analytics:
“A big part of the Amazon win. Not the entire win; Amazon wants to be a major player in the media space and prove that it can use its tech capabilities to be a major distributor within the future of sports.”
Big question #4: How much are advertisers paying for ad spots?
Cost per 30-second spot (% change) during NFL Thursday Night Football according to Standard Media Index:
1) 2021 (Fox) – $635K
2) 2022 (Amazon Prime) – $550K (↓ 13%)