Amazon becomes the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football with the 2022 season. But with that exclusivity also comes the burden of producing the NFL Thursday night telecast itself.
According to the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, Amazon is working on a deal with NBC to produce its Thursday Night Football package. The partnership would be a three-year agreement with Amazon having an option to extend the deal to five years.
NBC running the Amazon streaming broadcast would put Sunday Night Football executive producer Fred Gaudelli in charge of the operation. And it might also allow a couple of Amazon’s announcer fantasies to be fulfilled.
The hope is that NBC’s involvement would result in Al Michaels calling play-by-play for the TNF broadcast. As reported in June, the veteran announcer is Amazon’s first choice for the job. Would Michaels be willing to call two games per week? Since it would be the final year on his NBC contract, perhaps he’d be willing to go out on a high note (and larger workload).
And with Michaels in the booth, maybe — just maybe — Amazon and NBC could break through and entice Peyton Manning to finally take a game analyst gig after years of being pursued by ESPN for Monday Night Football and CBS as a possible replacement for Tony Romo (before Romo agreed to a 10-year contract worth $18 million per season).
Also part of the Amazon TNF broadcast could be Maria Taylor, who’s reportedly on the verge of joining NBC after her ESPN contract expires next week. She could either be the sideline reporter or perhaps a pre- and post-game host for the telecast. According to Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy, Taylor’s deal with NBC could be a non-exclusive agreement, which would allow her to work on the Amazon broadcast.
For the past three seasons (and the upcoming 2021 campaign), Fox and NFL Network have produced Thursday night broadcasts with a simulcast streaming on Amazon (and Fox Deportes Spanish-language feed also simulcast), along with alternate feeds including one with Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm on the call.
But with Amazon taking over TNF exclusively next season, the streaming platform obviously wants to make a splash with established broadcast talent that could attract more viewers and demonstrate that it’s a prime-time production despite not being on network or cable television.