Amazon Prime broke into the NFL broadcasting space in a big way this season.
Not only did the streaming platform nab the rights to the league’s weekly Thursday Night Football broadcasts, it hired two star commentators in Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit to call the games.
Still, the final result was underwhelming.
A report surfaced Thursday that Amazon had to compensate advertisers after its Thursday Night Football viewership numbers wound up lower than the company anticipated.
According to Front Office Sports, Amazon was targeting an average of 12.5 million viewers per game. Nielsen pegged the final number at 9.6 million, while Amazon’s internal metrics reported an average of 11.3 million.
Michaels believes there’s an easy explanation for that. The Thursday night schedule generally stunk.
Appearing on Richard Deitsch’s Sports Media podcast this week, Michaels didn’t hold back his thoughts on the quality of games he was asked to call.
“I mean, you just can’t oversell something,” he said, via AwfulAnnouncing. “Do you want me to sell you a 20-year-old Mazda? That’s what you’re asking me to do. I can’t sell you a used car.”
Michaels, 78, specifically pointed to the Week 5 matchup between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts. The Colts won 12-9 in a game that didn’t feature a touchdown. At one point during the broadcast, Michaels pondered aloud whether the contest was so bad that it was actually good.
That said, Michaels isn’t directing his frustration toward Amazon or Herbstreit, who spends most of his time as a college football analyst. The 78-year-old said he’s simply at a point in his career where he can “feel what the crowd feels,” and he’s not going to be disingenuous.
“A lot of people said, ‘Al’s bored, Al’s pissed off that he’s doing this,'” Michaels said. “Not the case. Monday nights, Sunday night, I did things like this. Maybe not to that degree, but I try to echo the feelings of what the fan feels, because I’m a fan.”
Michaels will make his return to NBC this week, calling Saturday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars alongside former NFL coach Tony Dungy.
He’s expected to be back on the call for Thursday Night Football next season, too. Amazon’s $1 billion-a-year agreement with the NFL to stream the game runs for 11 seasons.
Hopefully the NFL can do the legend a solid and schedule some better matchups for Thursday nights in 2023.
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Publish Date:2023-01-14 01:26:10