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Prime Video sees viewership gains for Thursday Night Football

Citing Nielsen data, Amazon says Prime Video had a 24 percent year-over increase in viewership.

Citing Nielsen data, Amazon says Prime Video had a 24 percent year-over increase in viewership.

Amazon saw record viewership for its National Football League broadcasts during the 2023 season, the second year that Amazon served as the national distribution partner on an exclusive basis.

In a statement this week, Amazon said “Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video saw a 24 percent increase in total viewers compared to the previous season, according to Nielsen data, which showed an average of 11.86 million people tuned in to watch the games on Prime Video last year compared to the 9.58 million who tuned in during 2022.

It was not clear if Amazon counted streamers who watched Thursday Night Football on Twitch, the online platform where users can access Amazon’s live NFL events on their phones, tablets and desktop computers.

Amazon also didn’t say how many people tuned in to watch the games on over-the-air broadcast partners. While national distribution of the games is exclusive to Prime Video and Twitch, two broadcast TV stations simulcast the games each week — one TV station in the market of the home team, and another in the market of the away team.

Still, the Nielsen data suggests Amazon is far from struggling as the exclusive distribution partner for Thursday Night Football games. Amazon said its average audience count crossed the 10 million mark 12 times during the 2023 season — or two more than the number of games that achieved that same milestone one year prior.

One game that didn’t cross that milestone: The first-ever Black Friday NFL game offered exclusively by Amazon and two broadcast TV partners in New York City and Miami. On Prime Video, around 9.61 million people tuned in to the morning game, which saw the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets 34-13.

Even when Amazon couldn’t pull in 10 million viewers to sit through an entire game, Nielsen data showed that all 15 Thursday Night Football games had the highest ratings in total viewership on broadcast and cable TV each night that a game was played — including the Black Friday game, according to Amazon.

“We’re still very much at the beginning, but Thursday Night Football’s record growth in our second season is beyond encouraging as we work to super serve fans and advertisers,” Jay Marine, the Vice President of Prime Video and Amazon’s Global Head of Sports, said in a statement. “We are building TNF on Prime into an incredibly valuable franchise, and our production and tech teams deserve a great deal of credit for the quality and innovation we have delivered to fans, and we are just getting started.”

Amazon is paying around $1 billion per year for the rights to Thursday Night Football through 2033. Each regular season game costs around $60 million to broadcast, though Amazon reportedly paid $100 million for the Black Friday game this season.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).