Streaming Off a Cliff: 'Thursday Night Football' Audience Dropped a Whopping 41% For the Season on Amazon

NFL 'Thursday Night Football'
(Image credit: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Amazon Prime Video averaged 9.6 million viewers for its first season as exclusive rights holder to the NFL's "Thursday Night Football" package. 

Let's just say that's a little short of a first down.

That viewer average represented a whopping 41% audience shortfall from the 16.2 million viewers the package averaged in 2021, when it was shared by Fox, the NFL Network, Amazon and local broadcast channels. 

Amazon's 9.6 million viewer performance was also the lowest since the NFL started selling the "Thursday Night Football" package to TV companies in 2014. According to the Sports Business Journal, the previous low was the 14 million viewers averaged in 2020 when Fox and the NFL Network shared the franchise during the quarantine-impacted season. 

For its part, Amazon claims that the 2021 viewership average of 16.2 million is distorted by the inclusion of a Christmas Saturday game on FOX that drew 28 million viewers and bogusly inflated the overall season performance. 

Without that outsized Saturday performance, the 2021 average drops to 13.3 million viewers, Amazon said, rendering the "TNF" ratings gap between 2021 and 2022 at just 28%. 

Amazon is paying around $1 billion a season for multi-year exclusive rights to the "TNF" package. Its inaugural season as exclusive rights holder wrapped up last Thursday (Dec. 29), with the Dallas Cowboys beating the Tennessee Titans. 

The better news for Amazon and the NFL: The median age for the Prime Video "TNF" viewer was 47 this season, which was seven years younger than the median age averaged by the rest of the NFL's TV rights packages. 

Viewership by adults 18-34 averaged 2.11 million, up by 11% over 2021 "TNF" broadcasts. Throughout the season, 22% of "TNF" viewers on Amazon were between the ages of 18-34 vs. just 14% for linear networks carrying NFL games. 

"TNF" matchups generally weren't interesting this season, with six games pitting two teams that both ended up missing the playoffs. Other contests, such as a week 9 game featuring the 13-3 Philadelphia Eagles beating the 2-13-1 Houston Texans, simply weren't competitive. 

Amazon's highest rated game was a week 2 matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, with the game featuring two eventual playoff teams averaging 13 million viewers. 

In all, six games averaged more than 10 million viewers. 

The lowest rated Amazon Prime Video game came on Nov. 10, with a matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, two teams that missed the playoffs. 

Daniel Frankel

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!