The viewership numbers are in for Amazon’s first NFL preseason game, their only one this year. That was last Thursday’s San Francisco 49ers–Houston Texans clash. Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal relayed those Thursday:
Numbers are in for the 1st (and only) @NFLonPrime preseason game (49ers-Texans) on Aug. 25.
1.035 million viewers. Head-to-head w/ Packers-Chiefs on NFL Net at 1.804 million.
Amazon's audience was 5 years younger than avg. audience for 2022 NFL preseason games (51.2 vs. 56.1)
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) September 1, 2022
As Karp’s colleague John Ourand noted, this includes the local affiliates in both markets carrying the game over the air, which made up around half of the viewership here.
Amazon's 1.03 million viewership figure includes over-the-air stations in the home markets. In San Francisco, that is 280,000 over-the-air viewers, and in Houston it's 240,000 over-the-air viewers.
That means that 520,000 of the 1.03 million viewers came from local broadcast TV.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 1, 2022
Sports media consultant Patrick Crakes made the valid point that that percentage will likely drop when it comes to the regular season, though, as those games will have more national interest:
It’s preseason so local broadcast affiliates in home markets should have large share of viewing…That said, this is lower than I expected. Reality is regular season will have much larger interest outside home markets so ratio should improve a reasonable amount in AMZN’s favor. https://t.co/GYPJ3w7nzK
— Patrick Crakes (@Aquinas82nd) September 1, 2022
As for how this compares to other preseason games, ShowBuzz Daily has viewership info for eight nationally-televised preseason games last week (one on CBS, one on ESPN, and six on NFL Network). The Amazon game is only ahead of one of them (the 847,000 for a Saturday afternoon Jacksonville Jaguars-Atlanta Falcons game on NFLN). But three other NFLN games were in the range of 1.1 to 1.2 million viewers (two on Saturday, one on Friday), so the Amazon number here (tracked by Nielsen, and more easily comparable to traditional TV as a result) isn’t significantly below most NFLN games (and, as Karp noted, it was going head-to-head with Packers-Chiefs, which was NFLN’s highest-rated preseason game).
So the viewership here may be less than some expected, but it isn’t necessarily terrible by preseason standards. It’s at the low end for a NFLN game, but it went head-to-head with a more interesting game. And Amazon will certainly be pleased with the younger audience relative to traditional telecasts; that’s perhaps to be expected from streaming versus traditional TV, but it’s notable to see it actually happen. That’s good news for them with respect to advertisers, and good news for the Amazon and NFL lines about how this partnership may draw in younger viewers.
But it should be noted that this was just a preseason game. The viewership will definitely change when it comes to Thursday Night Football on Amazon’s regular-season debut on Sept. 15. That game will see the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Kansas City Chiefs. It will certainly draw more viewership, and it will be interesting to see how that breaks down in terms of demographics and over-the-air versus streaming.
[Austin Karp on Twitter]