The much-anticipated launch of “Thursday Night Football 2.0” on Amazon Prime Video gave fans a new viewing experience as the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings 34-28 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
After a season that marked the start of an 11-year, $13.2 billion exclusive rights deal between Amazon Prime Video and the NFL, the tech giant is now introducing groundbreaking enhancements to redefine how fans engage with the game, according to Deadline.
Last season was a pivotal moment for the sports media industry, with the NFL fully embracing streaming as it transitioned its Thursday night games from traditional networks to Amazon Prime Video.
This was a bold move, venturing into the digital landscape, risking viewer and advertiser confusion, but it largely seems to have paid off.
Jared Stacy, Director of Live Production at Prime Video, reflected on the past season, stating, “We were learning week to week, especially things that maybe you weren’t seeing.”
“The big-picture headline is, it went really well for us,” he added.
Stacy highlighted the high production quality and stable streaming, which, when considering the substantial audience size, was something, “[t]hat hadn’t been done before.”
This season, Amazon Prime Video also plans on taking fan engagement to unprecedented heights with AI-powered features and deep insights into the game, according to Amazon itself.
Their approach combined in-house machine learning and AI capabilities, Prime Video’s production expertise, and the robust Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure.
“Football fans can enjoy these new and enhanced AI-powered features this season through several TNF offerings, most notably on TNF’s weekly alternate stream that deepens the viewing experience of live NFL action, ‘Prime Vision with Next Gen Stats,'” Amazon stated on their website.
Amazon collects more than 300 million data points per season to power machine learning models, offering fresh insights with each game.
“That helps us understand the sport better, and that’s what we’re sharing with the viewers,” said Julie Souza, Head of Sports, Global Professional Services at AWS.
Last season, Amazon’s 15 games averaged about 9.6 million viewers, rising to 11.3 million when combined with internal data, according to Forbes.
This audience, though significant, was smaller than in 2021 when linear broadcasts averaged 13.3 million viewers, Deadline reported.
Deadline also noted that Amazon’s advertising efforts are in focus, with the company capitalizing on its $38 billion advertising revenue from last year, which is growing at more than a 20 percent quarterly rate.
Advertisers can now target specific demographics and track advertising impact down to product sales.
Jay Marine, VP of Prime Video and Global Head of Sports, highlighted the power of advertising on streaming platforms, saying, “We know every single person that’s watching, they’re logged in.”
“So advertisers for the first time can kind of close that loop and see, ‘I advertised here, what was the reaction all the way down to end product sales?’ So that’s going to be very powerful for advertisers,” he added.
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