The NFL will expand into Black Friday beginning next season.
The league announced Tuesday that Amazon Prime Video will stream a game the day after Thanksgiving. The first Black Friday game will begin at 3PM EST on November 23, 2023. The teams will be announced in May when the regular season schedule is expected to be released.
Prime Video is entering its first season as the exclusive carrier for “Friday Night Football” and will expand to 16 games next season.
The package, which runs through the 2033 season, averages $1.2 billion per season, but Amazon will pay between $50 million and $70 million annually for the additional game.
The NFL owners passed a resolution during league meetings in March that gave the league permission to schedule another short game into Thanksgiving week.
Mary Donoghue, Amazon’s vice president of global sports video, said the debate over the Black Friday game started during the negotiation of the original contract last year, but has gained more traction this year.
Donoghue said Amazon will treat the game as one of the biggest of the season.
“Given what that day really means to millions of Americans, how many of them interact with Amazon and what a strong presence Amazon has. Also, the fact that there were no NFL games that day, we thought we could treat it like a Super Bowl” .
The NFL has regularly played three games on Thanksgiving Day since 2006. The game was originally carried in prime time by the NFL Network before NBC took over in 2012. CBS and Fox took turns carrying the early game from Detroit and the late game after Back from Dallas.
There were rumors this summer that a Black Friday game would be fast-tracked into this year, but today is already filled with World Cups and high-profile college football matches.
The United States will face England in the World Cup group stage match on Fox at 2pm ET. College football has long used Black Friday as a display day for rivalry games, and this year is no exception with Texas vs. Baylor, North Carolina vs. North Carolina State, Missouri vs. Arkansas, Iowa vs. Nebraska and Florida vs. Florida between matches.
“This year, we focused on the 15 Thursdays they’ve already had. But now that we’re nearly halfway there and seeing huge success out the gate with Amazon, we felt like it was the time to take the next step forward,” said Hans Schroeder, executive vice president of NFL Media: “Adding to the partnership and expansion on Black Friday.”
According to Nielsen, Prime Video averaged 10.8 million viewers over the first five games. The previous two games were not televised as Indianapolis beat Denver 12-9 and Washington beat Chicago 12-7.
Eight weeks are set aside for the league to cycle between periods, but all 32 teams run into week 12 this season, which is Thanksgiving week.
The additional gameplay also means that there will be eight windows to fill in with interesting matches while satisfying five streaming partners. Schroeder said the university has the same situation this year with Christmas week and that it will use that as a model for how to build Thanksgiving week.
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