Amazon has set a more aggressive game plan to drive viewers to “Thursday Night Football” streaming for the 2020 season, adding several new features and “shoulder programming” for the NFL games available on both Prime Video and Twitch.
The ecommerce giant’s global “TNF” streaming coverage kicks off this week, featuring the Chicago Bears hosting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 8:20 p.m. ET (also available on Fox and NFL Network in the U.S.). Amazon again is making “Thursday Night Football” available to stream on Twitch — for free to anyone.
It’s the fourth year that Amazon is live-streaming “TNF.” Amazon earlier this year clinched a three-year extension on the “TNF” digital games package (through 2022), scoring an additional single exclusive late-season NFL game for each season.
The Amazon-exclusive NFL game hasn’t been set yet, but it will be in November or December and in 2020 it will be a Saturday game. In keeping with the NFL’s practice of making games available to home-market fans on free, over-the-air television, the Amazon-exclusive game also will be on local TV in the participating teams’ home markets.
Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” games and related programming are available virtually everywhere in the world (in more than 240 countries and territories), to both Prime Video members and Twitch users.
“We believe we are in the middle of a big change in sports viewing,” said Marie Donoghue, VP of global sports video at Amazon, who is a former longtime ESPN exec. “Consumption is switching to mobile and OTT [over-the-top streaming].” She added, “My job is pretty easy: I just have to find out how to use sports to make Prime membership more valuable for our customers.”
Here’s a rundown of what Amazon has planned for the 2020 run of “Thursday Night Football”:
- Multiple announcer feeds: For the third season running, Prime Video customers will be able to pick the commentary and play-by-play of veteran sports journalists Hannah Storm (above left) and Andrea Kremer (above right) for the “TNF” games. They’ll be calling the games from a studio in Stamford, Conn. Prime Video users can also again listen to the default Fox broadcast featuring Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. New this year: Prime members can tune in to a “Scout’s Feed,” which features podcasters and former NFL scouts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah alongside sports podcast, radio, and TV host Joy Taylor. In addition, Prime members in the U.S. and Mexico will once again have access to the Fox Deportes Spanish-language broadcast.
- In-game on-demand replays on Prime Video: New this year, Prime Video members will be able to launch their own replays, using the X-Ray feature available on all Fire TV, Android, and iOS devices (available on web browsers later this season). The replays will include stats specific to that play, such as time to throw, running speeds and completion probability, as well as trivia and relevant milestones. To access X-Ray during the game, viewers watching on Prime Video can flip their mobile device or click “up” on their Fire TV remote. As before, X-Ray for TNF gives Prime members real-time access to live stats and key insights.
- “NFL Next” moves to Tuesdays: Launched last year as a pre-game show, Amazon’s “NFL Next” returns this year to Prime Video as a live and on-demand show that premieres Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET. Returning are two-time Super Bowl Champion Chris Long, NFL Network’s Kay Adams, and Next Gen Stats analyst James Koh; joining the crew this year as co-host is former NFL receiver Andrew Hawkins.
- New NFL shows on Twitch: New this season, in collaboration with NFL Films, Prime Video is producing a lineup of original content available exclusively on Twitch, which will air throughout the week leading up to the Thursday games. On Mondays at 2 p.m. ET, Kyle Long and Andrew Hawkins will host “The NFL Comment Box,” an ask-me-anything-style show giving fans the chance to engage with them. On Wednesdays at 6 p.m. ET (following “NFL Next” on Prime Video) fans can join Long and Chad Johnson on “The NFL Machine,” in which they’ll walk through and analyze footage from the NFL Films archive. Twitch will present a simulcast of the “Scout’s Feed” for the Thursday games as well as an “NFL Next Live” gameday broadcast with Andrew Hawkins and Cari Champion (which also will feature appearances from Chris Long and Von Miller). All content will be available at the Twitch Sports channel (twitch.tv/twitchsports).
Meanwhile, “TNF” will again be available on the Prime Video Twitch channel as well as via a handful of co-streamers, who will provide their own commentary for the games. “TNF on Twitch” allows viewers to interact with the content through additional features including live chat, custom extensions with stats and polls, and custom emotes.
Overall, “The goal is to give fans the experience they want,” Donoghue said. “We literally do start with the customer and work our way backward. Our hope and goal is that every customer find their best experience.”
With the exception of the one Amazon exclusive game, “TNF” games also are available on NFL, Fox and Fox Deportes digital properties, on mobile via NFL team properties (for their respective games), and via Verizon Media’s Yahoo Sports on mobile.
Here is the current Amazon “Thursday Night Football” streaming lineup (with the exclusive Saturday game still TBA):
- Oct. 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears
- Oct. 15: Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
- Oct. 22: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
- Oct. 29: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
- Nov. 5: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
- Nov. 12: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
- Nov. 19: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
- Dec. 3: Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens
- Dec. 10: New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams
- Dec. 17: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
- Dec. 25 (Friday game): Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Pictured above: Hannah Storm (l.) and Andrea Kremer, announcers for Amazon “Thursday Night Football”