The NFL is expanding its hold on Thanksgiving weekend and building its relationship with Amazon and the world of live-sports streaming.
The league announced Tuesday that it is creating the first-ever Black Friday game, which starting next year will take place the day after the NFL’s traditional Thanksgiving games and stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, home to “Thursday Night Football.”
The inaugural game will kick off at 3pm ET on November 24, 2023. Which teams will be playing will be unveiled when the upcoming season’s schedule is announced next year.
The creation of a Black Friday game adds to the NFL’s broadcast dominance on the holiday, which annually brings in some of the year’s biggest ratings. It also gives Amazon an important asset on a day that is better known for shopping than watching sports.
In a surprising move, Amazon Prime Video secured exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” as part of the NFL’s new 11-year deal with its broadcast partners last year.
The deal was valued at more than $100 billion, a hefty sum that actually makes sense considering that the NFL is the biggest ratings powerhouse in all of television. The league is averaging roughly 17 million weekly viewers so far this season.
For Amazon, the Black Friday game further solidifies its streaming service as a destination for live sports and strengthens its partnership with the NFL. It also falls on a day when many Prime subscribers are already logging on to Amazon to buy goods and take advantage of sales.
The tech giant’s investment in the NFL is off to a productive start so far this season.
Prime Video’s opening NFL game, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs edge the Los Angeles Chargers 27 to 24, averaged 13 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
“Thanksgiving is synonymous with football and we’re excited to give our fans another day of NFL action during this holiday weekend,” Hans Schroeder, COO for NFL Media, said in a statement. “Amazon is uniquely positioned to partner with us for this game as Black Friday is one of the most important days of the year for their business.”
Jay Marine, the global head of sports for Prime Video, added that “Thursday Night Football” has “already proven tremendously successful on Prime Video.”
“We’re excited to expand our relationship with the NFL,” he said. “Black Friday is the unofficial start of the holiday season, and we’re thrilled to kick it off with a gift for football fans across the country with this new game.”
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