Earlier this year, Amazon managed to purchase exclusive rights to a few Saturday NFL games – a significant advancement on their NFL Thursday Night Football schedule.
As a result, the long-anticipated boxing day game will skip national TV and head straight to the streaming platform this December, and only be made available on linear television for fans watching from Arizona or San Francisco.
For those who have yet to embrace watching via Amazon’s streaming service, the news may seem a little left field. You can read more about the Boxing Day game below.
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The Rise of Streaming Services
These days, it feels as though everything is available online – and, increasingly, as though the world wide web is being granted exclusivity for that content. What began with the ability to play casino slots online for free rather than taking a trip to Atlantic City has snowballed into an environment where movies, games, theatre shows and TV all take place on our computers, rather than in the ‘real world’.
Of course, this has consistently proven itself to be a benefit, rather than a hindrance. Rather than structuring our free time around a TV schedule, we can choose our own timetable; rather than braving the winter cold for an evening with friends, we can meet up with them online and even stream a movie together.
The difference here lies in the fact we want to adhere to the strict scheduling for live sports. It makes sense for hit TV shows to make their way onto the streaming services, for us to view whenever the fancy takes us there. Part of the joy of watching live sports lies in the knowledge that we are all in on it together – and, of course, watching late often means that we will hear the result before seeing it happen for ourselves.
So, while the game will air live on Amazon Prime, it seems as though, for the viewer, there is no real benefit.
So, Why is it Happening?
As mentioned, we are all aware of the benefits of streaming services, but live sports remain one of those few things that linear TV is perfectly suited to. Amazon is able to offer a few benefits, however, such as more control for viewers over instant replays and a live chat system provided by Twitch.
This is a step up from traditional TV, particularly if connecting with other viewers is something that interests you.
Amazon’s interest in the NFL has been ongoing for a number of years, and viewers are most likely used to the Thursday Night Football feature on the streaming service. Time will tell whether or not more of the season will move onto the site over the next few years, but with strong numbers and growing exclusivity on their side, it’s likely that Amazon’s interest in the NFL will only continue to grow stronger throughout the 2020s.