This week, AmazonAMZN Prime Video, in its second year of streaming NFL Thursday Night Football, will be live streaming the first NFL game on Black Friday, the traditional start of the Holiday shopping season. The game will feature AFC East rivals, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets and will originate from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Kick-off is at 3 p.m. (ET). Amazon, which pays the NFL about $1 billion per annum over 11 years, is ponying up an additional $75 million to live stream the game.
Amazon plans a list of live events surrounding the game. The kick-off show will begin at 1:30 p.m. (ET). Amazon had previously announced viewers won’t need to subscribe to Amazon Prime to view the Black Friday game, anyone with an Amazon account can stream the game. Hence, the game will be free to anyone with an Amazon account on any device from anywhere. In a press release, Jay Marine, VP, global head of sports, Prime Video said, “We’re thrilled to create a new holiday tradition on the national sports calendar with the NFL’s first-ever Black Friday Football game.” As with NFL Thursday Night Football, the game will also be televised on local broadcast stations in the home markets of the two teams playing.
Afterwards, at 7 p.m. (ET), the inaugural Amazon Music Live event featuring Garth Brooks will be live streamed on Amazon’s Twitch. The festivities will originate from the grand opening of Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places & Honky-Tonk”, a bar in Nashville. Among the other events planned for the game include TNF contributor and chef David Cheng will take a look at the tailgating and some ideas about Thanksgiving leftovers. Also, Amazon will separately stream its comedy show, TNF with Dude Perfect.
This season, the audience for Amazon Prime’s live stream of TNF has increased notably, compared to its inaugural season last year. So far, after ten weeks, TNF is averaging 12.27 million viewers in 2023, a 26% increase compared to last season’s ten-game average of 9.72 million. Additionally, season-to-date TNF on Amazon Prime has a median age of 48, compared to 55 for NFL games on broadcast/cable television.
Black Friday is the traditional start of the Holiday shopping season and with Amazon, an e-commerce giant, shopping will play a central role throughout the day. As with TNF games, marketers will have interactive advertising opportunities available along with banner ads and QR codes that will take shoppers to their product page at Amazon. Amazon had said they had sold out the entire advertising inventory earlier this month, but disclosed no costs.
Advertisers include such presenting sponsors as GoogleGOOG, Carnival Cruises, Bose, HasbroHAS and Columbia SportswearCOLM. Furthermore, Amazon says throughout the game, viewers will have the opportunity to shop for special deals including product drops from TCL, Dyson, LEGO and Nintendo. There will be onscreen sales throughout the live stream, with new e-commerce deals during all four quarters, as well as pregame and postgame shows.
Randy Bapst, CEO of AiBUY, in-content shopping solutions, says, “Amazon is making a smart move by merging commerce with its NFL viewing experience. Sports fans are very engaged viewers so they’re the optimal target for this type of interactivity – and from our research, they’re a demographic that’s open to live shopping – over a third (34%) of U.S sports fans and over half of Gen Z fans (55%) would consider purchasing tickets, merchandise, collectibles, and more during the live stream of a game. As shoppable media becomes increasingly popular, we’ll certainly see it spreading to the world of sports and being quite successful there.”
According to Adobe Analytics, last year’s e-commerce sales on Black Friday generated a record high $9.12 billion, a year-over-year increase of 2.3%. Amazon’s most recent two-day Prime Day, held in mid-July, generated $12.7 billion in U.S. online sales, a year-over-year increase of 6.1%.
With such online events as Prime Day and a continually expanded Holiday shopping season, Black Friday may not be as prevalent as it once had been. A recently released YouGov survey found, 52% of Americans will skip Black Friday this year, with only 12% of returning shoppers indicating they plan on spending more than in years past. Kenton Barello, VP at YouGov America notes, “With many tuning out because of bad previous experiences or lack of trust in the deals being offered, Black Friday isn’t shaping up to be everything it was in the past.”
Although NFL games may be new to Black Friday, it has long been a busy day with college football games. Throughout this Black Friday, there will be 12 nationally televised games with eight nationally ranked schools playing. There will be two games played head-to-head with the Dolphins-Jets game. At 3:30 p.m. (ET) on ABC, Tulane, the 24th ranked college football team in the nation, hosts Texas-San Antonio. At 4 p.m. (ET), in the “Battle Line Rivalry”, #9 ranked Missouri visits Arkansas. There will be other sporting events available including NBA and college basketball games. Also, Black Friday is a popular day for high school football rivalries around the country.
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