NFL to Discuss ‘Flex Scheduling’ to Fix Amazon’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ Mismatches
Last season’s Thursday-night schedule was full of lopsided scores and teams that didn't make the playoffs
At league meetings next week, the NFL will discuss ways to improve the matchup quality for Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football schedule, after last season’s Thursday-night slate became noticeably bereft of competitive games.
According to the Sports Business Journal, the NFL will discuss what is called “flex scheduling,” whereby the league can move games previously scheduled for Sundays to Thursdays for weeks 14 to 17 provided they give both teams 15 days notice. Being able to handpick teams with better records would certainly improve TNF’s matchups.
The league would also be able to compel teams to play on Thursday night after playing the previous Sunday twice in a season instead of just once. This would allow the league to increase appearances by select good teams.
Last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played the Baltimore Ravens on Amazon in week 8, but no Amazon game after that similarly featured two playoff teams. And of those final eight TNF matchups, only two were competitive enough to be decided by one score.
The matchup issue was conspicuous enough so that TNF play-by-play announcer Al Michaels remarked at one point last season, “I can’t sell a used car.”
Amazon is paying $1 billion a season for the TNF TV rights. Amazon was able to improve the NFL’s performance in younger demos by moving the TNF franchise to streaming. However, total viewership was off by 41% vs. the 2021 season, when the franchise was shared by primarily linear platforms. ■
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
By Kent Gibbons