To the enjoyment and frustration of football fans across the US, the era of National Football League games appearing exclusively on a streaming service is upon us.
Amazon Prime Video is the house for “Thursday Night Football” this upcoming season, marking the primary time in league history a streaming service might be the solo carrier for a package of national games. The era begins Aug. 25 with a preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans. The primary regular season game for Amazon might be Sept. 15, when the Los Angeles Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 of the NFL season. Local broadcast stations for the teams playing in a given week can even carry the games over the air.
Amazon signed a cope with Nielsen this week to measure the telecasts, an indication of confidence that it expects solid rankings. Eighty million U.S. subscribers have watched Amazon Prime Video not less than once up to now 12 months, the corporate said in May. For context, Netflix ended the second quarter with 73.3 million paid monthly subscribers within the U.S. and Canada. Disney+ ended its most up-to-date quarter with 44.5 million subscribers within the U.S. and Canada.
Individuals who want to observe the games will need to join an Amazon Prime account, which costs $14.99 a month or $139 a 12 months, or a Prime Video membership, which is $8.99 a month.
Recent game features
To push viewers toward its NFL broadcast, which cost Amazon $1 billion per 12 months, live games will routinely start playing when people log onto Amazon.com. The games can even be featured prominently on Prime Video’s home screen to alert subscribers they’re going down in real time.
Viewers might be given the alternative to observe, record or start from the start of the printed. In the event that they don’t need to need to keep recording individual games, they’ll even have the choice of recording all the slate of Thursday night games for the season.
Amazon can be debuting other recent technology features. On most platforms (it’s still working on a cope with Roku), it’ll offer “X-Ray stats,” which is able to give viewers the power to see real-time statistics on screen. As well as to plain stats equivalent to yards and touchdowns, they are going to include so-called next-generation figures, equivalent to average time to throw for quarterbacks and yards after contact for running backs and receivers. Players will wear uniforms enhanced with Amazon Web Services chips, allowing for fast updates.
Amazon can even have a customer package of highlights via X-Ray that update through the sport for viewers who missed the early motion and need to catch up. For Fire TV users, viewers will have the ability to talk commands equivalent to “show me stats” or “play the last touchdown” into the handheld remote control. Those features might be ready for the Thursday Night Football regular season opener.
Continuing a trend put in place by Disney’s ESPN and Paramount Global, Amazon can even offer alternative broadcasts for individuals who need a less serious telecast, starting with the favored comedy YouTube group Dude Perfect. Amazon plans so as to add other alternative feeds over time.
Some growing pains are expected. For instance, Amazon is preparing for feedback from frustrated viewers whose web speeds may not have the ability to handle a livestream, or from viewers who’re still unfamiliar with streaming navigation.
“Freed from bandwidth and channel limits that constrain optionality on linear platforms, our promise is to repeatedly take heed to our customers, iterate and intentionally develop recent and higher ways for more fans to benefit from the games,” said Amazon spokesman Tim Buckman.
As for its primary broadcast, Amazon is confident viewers might be pleased. While Apple TV+ received a slew of initial pushback for attempting to be different with its Major League Baseball games, Buckman said Amazon’s goal is to be great at delivering the core game viewing experience before being inventive.
For its play-by-play, Amazon is tapping broadcasting legend Al Michaels, who departed NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” together with longtime college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
Disclosure: NBC and CNBC are each units of NBCUniversal.