Thursday Night Football Amazon Debut A Resounding Success, Prime Video Sports Boss Jay Marine Says

EXCLUSIVE: “While we’re still waiting for official Nielsen ratings, our measurement shows that the audience numbers exceeded all of our expectations for viewership,” Prime Video’s top sports exec Jay Marine said today in a note to staff on the “resounding success” of the streamer’s official Thursday Night Football kickoff on September 15.

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“Our first exclusive TNF broadcast delivered the most watched night of primetime in the U.S. in the history of Prime Video,” the VP Prime Video, Global Head of Sports, also told colleagues in the memo (read it below). “This is a massive achievement. During our TNF broadcast, we also saw the biggest three hours for U.S. Prime sign ups ever in the history of Amazon – including Prime Day, Cyber Monday, and Black Friday.”

Now, as Marine stated, there is no official Nielsen data yet to give concrete form to these claims. However, as we await the actual numbers, clearly, as they were with the September 1 two-episode premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Prime Video is feeling pretty chuffed.

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The Kansas City Chiefs’ hard-fought 27-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium last week was the first of 15 games a season on the Jeff Bezos-founded streamer in a deal with the NFL set to run over the next 11 years. Putting their money where its hopes and streams are, Prime Video is estimated to have forked out around $1 billion per season for the exclusive rights to the gridiron matchups — a number that Bezos and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might have chatted about from their perch watching the Chiefs-Chargers game last week.

While the Nielsen numbers are still to come, we do know some real numbers that Amazon itself put out there not too long ago. In conversations with media buyers earlier this year, Amazon anticipated about 12.5 million viewers per game. In a linear-to-streamer transition, that’s a dip from the weekly audience that the Murdochs-owned Fox had on average in its last full season of TNF last year.

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Amazon has pledged to add more viewership-data transparency regarding TNF.

Meanwhile, here is Marine’s full memo to Amazon staff:

All,

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on last Thursday night and share my congratulations and personal thanks. On Thursday night, we made history by delivering the first regular season game in our groundbreaking 11-year agreement with the NFL. And by every measure, Thursday Night Football on Prime Video was a resounding success. From the stellar production of the game, to the quality of the stream customers watched at home, Prime Video proved we are among the very best in sports media.

To put it in context, let me share some of the results. Our first exclusive TNF broadcast delivered the most watched night of primetime in the U.S. in the history of Prime Video. This is a massive achievement. During our TNF broadcast, we also saw the biggest three hours for U.S. Prime sign ups ever in the history of Amazon – including Prime Day, Cyber Monday, and Black Friday. And while we’re still waiting for official Nielsen ratings, our measurement shows that the audience numbers exceeded all of our expectations for viewership. This was also a huge technical achievement – our tech and product teams rose to the challenge and delivered a fantastic streaming experience to our millions of viewers.

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I could not be more proud of all of our teams – everyone across engineering/tech, product, programming, production, talent relations, legal, BA, marketing and PR has worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to ensure that football fans across the country would see our very best, and across every aspect you all more than delivered. Your customer focus, hard work and dedication has been amazing and inspiring.

And as we like to say, it’s always “Day 1.” That is certainly true for all of us today. This is just the beginning. We will continue to stay customer focused, innovate, and get better each and every week – starting this week in Cleveland with a huge Steelers vs Browns rivalry game!

Thank you again and congrats!

Jay

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