Amazon will stream 11 Thursday Night Football games this season, and the company seems to be taking the package international.
According to Sports Business Journal, Amazon will stream four different feeds of the Sept. 28 matchup between the Packers and Bears, with each targeting a different audience. These feeds include:
- The main American feed, produced by CBS
- A Spanish-language feed, with different play-by-play and color commentators calling the game over CBS video
- A Portuguese-language feed, also featuring different play-by-play and color commentators calling the game over CBS video
- A second English-language feed geared toward English-speaking fans who don’t typically watch the NFL and, per SBJ, “for don’t know what a first down is”
This is reminiscent of the MegaCast concept ESPN rolls out for big events, except aimed at an international audience, instead of a domestic one.
Via SBJ, here’s how Jim DeLorenzo, head of sports for Amazon Video Channels, explained the arrangement:
“The goal for us is that we’re trying to present the best experience for our customers, and we think this will be great for our customers who are outside of the United States,” DeLorenzo said. “You want to make it feel like it’s not something that’s an add-on, but it’s actually designed for people who speak Brazilian Portuguese or Spanish. That’s one of the ways that we’re approaching that.”
Amazon reportedly emphasized the company’s global reach when negotiating this deal with the NFL, as the league is always aiming to expand its international footprint. This innovative Thursday Night Football concept seems to reinforce that Amazon is committed to attracting viewers not only in the U.S. but also in Europe and Latin America, either for the sake of ratings in the short-term or audience-building in the long-term.
The four feeds are not the only trick Amazon is pulling out for its dive into football broadcasting. SBJ reports that the company is developing an NFL-themed “Alexa” feature, in which users can ask the voice-activated Amazon technology for statistics as they watch games.
Amazon paid $50 million for this TNF package, five times more than Twitter paid for the same package in 2016, suggesting that Jeff Bezos and company are serious about sports streaming. And by unveiling new features that are sure to please the NFL, Amazon is sending a message that the company’s vast resources are fully behind this venture.