Back in October, the NFL announced that 2023 would see its first-ever Black Friday game, and that the game would go to Amazon (which had been reported on as a possibility for months before that, but wasn’t confirmed until that point). Now, after a full season of Thursday Night Football on Prime Video under their belt, Amazon has made an interesting move, announcing that the Black Friday game will be free on Prime Video to anyone, not just Prime members. Here’s more on that from a release:
Prime Video will kick off the 2023 holiday season with an early present for NFL fans, providing free access to the first Black Friday NFL game—even if you’re not a Prime member yet. The game will stream exclusively on Prime Video November 24, and is expected to kick off at 3 p.m. EST.
“We’re excited to expand our relationship with the NFL and build a new holiday tradition for our customers with the first Black Friday NFL game,” said Jay Marine, vice president of Prime Video and global head of Sports. “We’re so very proud of our Thursday Night Football production and all the teams in front of and behind the camera. As families look to spend time together over the holiday weekend, we are excited to provide an opportunity for everyone to enjoy this new day of NFL action.”
The exclusive Black Friday game marks a further extension of Prime Video’s relationship with the NFL, and offers a free sample of the benefits that come with Prime membership. The service took over as the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football in 2022, and over the course of 15 games, presented the most streamed NFL contests in history, attracted audiences that were eight years younger than NFL audiences on the linear channels, and regularly topped all competing programming across broadcast and cable.
Of course, there have been ways to previously watch Prime Video broadcasts without being a Prime member. Amazon has also streamed its NFL games for free on the Twitch streaming service it owns (prompting some confusion from the Twitch-illiterate, including Dan Orlovsky). And those games are carried on broadcast networks in the teams’ home markets, similar to what happens for cable games on ESPN.
But it is notable to see Amazon make this move for a free broadcast within the Prime Video app, especially on a day likely to draw a large audience. And, given Black Friday’s importance as a shopping day, this also may be a day where Amazon gets even more benefits than normal on the e-commerce side from having this broadcast, and from opening it up to a wider audience than normal within a Prime Video app that makes it easy to make purchases. The idea of a Black Friday game on Amazon has been discussed for years, but it’s now happening, and now happening in an interesting fashion. (While who can access the broadcast will change, though, the typical Thursday Night Football broadcast team of Al Michaels, Kirk Herbstreit, and Kaylee Hartung, seen at top, will remain the same.)
We don’t yet know who will play in this game. The NFL schedule won’t be released until later this spring, with recent releases happening in early May. And the matchup will obviously impact the audience. But given Black Friday’s past sports numbers, it feels like this will draw a good crowd. And that should be even higher than normal with it free in the Prime Video app.