Amazon takes over an exclusive Thursday Night Football package starting in the 2022 season, which means they’re in the early stages of preparing their own booth and production.
Because it’s Amazon, they’re prepared to take some big swings, too, and a report yesterday indicated that they’re targeting some of the top names in broadcasting to be the voice of their new flagship sports property, starting with Al Michaels.
That news came from Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, who also notes that NBC is engaged in talks that could also see them lending production to Amazon when the streaming company takes over fifteen Thursday games per year from Fox in 2022.
Via the Post:
NBC’s Al Michaels has emerged as Amazon Prime Video’s top choice to do play-by-play for its forthcoming exclusive Thursday night NFL package, The Post has learned.
The courting has already begun with NBC an active part of the discussions that could include its top production people being part of a potential deal as well, according to sources, when Amazon begins its exclusive broadcast in the 2022-23 season.
Michaels is 76, so this wouldn’t be a long-term solution for Amazon. That’s important considering their deal is for 11 years, meaning they’d have to shake things up at least once throughout the run. But there’s no denying that Michaels brings an immediate gravitas to proceedings, which is likely very attractive to a company jumping into a new arena; Amazon has streamed games before, of course, but never an exclusive primetime window.
It wouldn’t be cheap though, as Marchand notes that Michaels could ask for around $1 million per game, or maybe even more. Whatever happens, an Amazon deal won’t affect the final year of his NBC contract:
Michaels is slated to call the Super Bowl for NBC this season — the final season of his current deal — in his hometown of Los Angeles. Michaels has shown no inclination yet toward retiring after he does another Super Bowl. Even if the Amazon deal went through, Michaels would remain the No. 1 play-by-player for NBC this season.
To that end, their backup options also make it apparent that they’re not aiming low:
Though Amazon is focused on Michaels, he is not alone on the platform’s list. Amazon also has interest in Fox’s Joe Buck and CBS’ Ian Eagle.
Buck and Eagle aren’t Al Michaels yet, but they’re both clearly on their own paths to that kind of status.
It’s an interesting look at just how seriously Amazon is taking this venture, although the 11-year deal for more than $1 billion per year to do fifteen nights a season was probably a pretty good sign of that to begin with.