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How NFL streaming deals may impact network viewership

Yahoo Finance's Dave Briggs breaks down NFL ratings for Netflix, ESPN, and cable networks.

Video Transcript


DAVE BRIGGS: Philadelphia Eagles, a 2-point favorite over the Chiefs to win Super Bowl LVII out there in Arizona. Injuries no doubt hurt the ratings as the Eagles eviscerated the Niners, down to their fourth string QB. But a massive number well north of 30, probably 40 million no doubt watched Patrick Mahomes escape the top burrow, and the Bengals should get those numbers later tonight-- just the latest example of the NFL continuing to assert its will over the entire television landscape.

However, the league took a big L in their streaming kickoff-- ratings for Amazon Thursday Night Football down an astounding 41% from 2021 from an average of 16.4 million to fewer than 10 million viewers. Ratings for ESPN solid just slightly down from last season-- 13.4 million.

Eagles-Chiefs will be awesome more than 110 million people-- excuse me-- will watch, while the battle bean counters are considering is ratings versus revenue. And this one is a blowout, unlike the Super Bowl. Amazon and the NFL want more viewers on Thursday night, but cash is king here. The league still featured 88 of the top 100 most watched shows in 2022.

And here's the score that matters most-- $113 billion over 11 seasons. That's how much the league's media partners will fork over. YouTube Sunday NFL Ticket deal said to be worth as much as $2.5 bill per year. The Commish-- he sees cord cutting accelerating more than 20 million since 2014, a number expected to grow to 80 million by '26. The most common age group to adios cable-- 18 to 29-year-olds.

Amazon would point out their median age viewer this season is 47. That may sound old. It's seven years younger than the legacy networks. The ratings will improve as streaming picks up. And the matchups will also improve. Al Michaels called them dreadful and equated them to selling used cars. They have to be better. But like the big banks, the NFL is too big to fail. And they're too big to care about one ratings miss. Like recent earnings reports, guidance is all that matters here. And football is 100% recession proof.

My point being, a lot of people are making a lot on this streaming number, Seana, and for good reason. It's Amazon. But they're not scared. They're not scared one bit. Growth is all there. The league will continue to explode when it comes to television ratings. And Amazon's numbers, I think, will grow over the years. NFL's big question was, would it look competent? Would the stream go down? Would the broadcasters be solid? It looked just like NBC or CBS, except for the awful matchups.

SEANA SMITH: Well, it was just an amazing, amazing way that they did this season. Like you were saying, expectations were so low. I think initially there was a lot of fanfare about how maybe they would include certain things that would just stick out just in terms of streaming versus traditional cable. Clearly, we didn't get that. But like you're saying, there was no huge mishaps in terms of--


SEANA SMITH: --airing these games. That was a massive win for Amazon. Everything that's come out of Amazon saying how pleased they were, how excited they were, with how smooth this season went-- big question, I think, going forward as we do see more and more games stream here over the next several years, just how that, of course, then differs. Lots of questions about how Amazon might be able to incorporate more of its business, its prime business into those broadcasts.


SEANA SMITH: But clearly, NFL is a massive winner here. Super Bowl coming up-- like you said, about 110 million people expected to watch.

DAVE BRIGGS: No question.

SEANA SMITH: No slowing down in the NFL right now.

DAVE BRIGGS: I expect that shopping will inevitably become part of the NFL Amazon broadcast.


DAVE BRIGGS: I don't think we're going to see it for three, four, maybe even five years, as they want to prove competency first. But keep an eye on this-- Black Friday--


DAVE BRIGGS: --NFL game this coming season on NFL on Amazon. I don't know how there won't be some type of--

SEANA SMITH: They have to.

DAVE BRIGGS: --shopping collaboration. It's unavoidable.

SEANA SMITH: Oh, it's unavoidable. And it's so, so smart here for Amazon to go and--

DAVE BRIGGS: What have you got, Eagles or Chiefs?

SEANA SMITH: Eagles. I'm from Philly. It's not even a question.

DAVE BRIGGS: I've got the Chiefs.


DAVE BRIGGS: I've got the Chiefs.

SEANA SMITH: We're going to talk about it. We've got two weeks to convince you otherwise.