Can streaming services compete with network NFL broadcasts?

For most people, keeping things how they are today is the best way to go about living. If we are able to not fix what isn’t broken, the world will be how it needs to be. 

For others, they believe if we can introduce newer, better, and more convenient ways to live, the world will be able to adapt to the current landscape. 

In my opinion, it depends on what we are talking about. 

If we want to change how cars are produced, especially if it can save the environment, I am all on board. 

If it relates to television broadcasts, however, I would lean towards the experienced networks, such as CBS, FOX (my personal favorite), and NBC to present the many sights, sounds, and wonders of the NFL week after week. 

This is because they have done this thing for decades, and whatever new gear they add to their telecasts, like new score presentations, for example, people wouldn’t bat an eye, as they know the quality of their broadcasts will still be at their best. 

There are new networks trying to shove the others away in 2022, such as Apple TV+ and Peacock with the MLB or Amazon Prime with the NFL on Thursday nights, which is what I want to focus on here.

The new pairing of Al Michaels, who was the lead voice of the NFL on NBC for 16 seasons, and Kirk Herbstreit, who was a panelist on “College Gameday” for 25 seasons, has made the NFL on Thursday, with a new network, nonetheless, a bit easier of a transition to stomach. 

The first game with this new, innovative network was the Week 2 battle between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, which brought in 15.3 million viewers. Not bad at all. 

Prime Video’s Vice President Jay Marine said after this game that “audience numbers exceeded” all of their expectations for viewership and people tuning in, and that signaled the world of NFL broadcasts just hit a fresh, modern, and cleaner slate as the 21st century moves along. 

There was a dip in ratings a week later in the Steelers-Browns week three matchup, at 11.3 million viewers, and a 5.4 overall rating, but this was going to happen. In today’s NFL, the teams playing, not just the network’s broadcasting ceiling, is crucial to bringing in more viewers as the season goes by. 

If the couple of matchups to come had a bit more season or playoff implications, although early in the season, the ratings would almost certainly increase. 

Dolphins-Bengals reeled in 11.72 million viewers the next week, and this is most certainly the effect of an undefeated team in the Dolphins facing off against a Bengals team that had two things on the line: one, trying to get back to a .500 record, as they were at 1-2 heading into the bout, and two, most importantly, aiming to end Miami’s hot 3-0 start. 

Fortunately, they did that, but there was also a bit of controversy that definitely shadowed the game and the good week for Amazon Prime’s ratings. 

This controversy surrounds the Dolphins medical staff, as four days prior to Thursday, September 29, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went down with a clear concussion against the Bills, and he even was seen staggering and struggling to stand up. 

Miami went ahead and checked on this injury, but they cleared him to go out there for the second half. 

He was fine until he was thrown to the ground by Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou on that Thursday night, and Tagovailoa went into the “fencing response,” which showed that his injury was more serious than a minor concussion, and it could have been major brain damage as well as an unconscious state, with that unconsciousness being presented right after he hit the grass. 

Prayers and rage were making the rounds on Twitter immediately, and the basis of these reactions was the fact that the NFL needed to do better with their concussion protocols. 

As the week turned to five, our focus turned to the Colts-Broncos matchup, which not only was a bore to watch, it also cost $78,000,000 to broadcast. Yeah. $78 million. 

For Amazon prime, this represents another hurdle they have tried to overcome, and although these roadblocks have popped up, they have gotten over them to produce a high-quality broadcast every Thursday, even though some may disagree. 

The ratings have gone on an upward and downward trend throughout the first five weeks of the season, but this network is brand new, along with many other NFL-related aspects, such as graphics and a modern target market. 

With these weekly ratings, more clarity on if Amazon Prime can compete with the big boys of NFL football telecasts will come.