Amazon’s approach to building their on-camera talent roster for Thursday Night Football has managed to attract some very recognizable names despite being a nascent operation.
Their strategy has been obvious and effective: by not demanding exclusivity, they’ve managed to attract names like Al Michaels (who received an emeritus role at NBC), Kirk Herbstreit (continuing his duties at ESPN), and now Charissa Thompson, reportedly set to host pregame and postgame coverage while remaining in her role at Fox Sports.
That’s via Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, who notes that Kay Adams was also considered for the role:
Fox Sports’ Charissa Thompson is expected to be the host of Amazon Prime Video’s exclusive “Thursday Night Football” coverage in the fall, The Post has learned.
The deal, which is in the final stages of negotiations, will team Thompson with Tony Gonzalez, who has already been announced by Amazon. The Post has previously reported that Ryan Fitzpatrick, Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch are likely to be involved.
Amazon declined comment.
Amazon, according to sources, also had talks with Kay Adams, who recently left NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” about hosting the pregame, but the sides failed to come to an agreement.
Thompson is another example of Amazon essentially borrowing a top host or analyst from a different network. It’s a smart strategy; attracting talent on an exclusive basis is a lot more difficult and a lot more expensive. It’s a big risk for talent to make a leap to a new platform in Amazon; they don’t have live sports inventory (yet), and while a primetime NFL game is obviously a selling point, it’s also the worst primetime window.
Instead, they’ve smartly threaded the needle with their choices, finding very recognizable and talented people and working with them in a way that made it possible to pull double-duty. They could have tossed an ungodly amount of money at someone to be the “voice of Amazon sports”, but instead they’ve taken a more flexible approach.
We’ll have to wait and see what the games look and sound like this fall, but it’s hard to find fault with their personnel decisions and strategy so far.