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Thursday Night Football set to debut on Amazon

Yahoo Finance’s Josh Schafer joins the Live show to discuss reports of Monday Night Football bringing in the most watched Week 1 viewership numbers in ESPN history as well as the outlook for Amazon ahead of its NFL offering debut.

Video Transcript

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BRAD SMITH: The NFL season kicked off with a bang this past weekend with Monday night's much anticipated matchup between the Broncos and the Seahawks, raking in nearly 20 million viewers. A record week one in the ESPN era, at least. Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer joins us now with the details. Just flabbergasted by these numbers, clearly, Josh.

JOSH SCHAFER: Yes.

BRAD SMITH: All right, so what do we know so far about the viewership, where it's trended, and is this a surprise at all?

JOSH SCHAFER: It's got to be a little bit of surprise because viewership is up, right?

BRAD SMITH: OK.

JOSH SCHAFER: So we always got to call that a little bit of a surprise just because how many people already watch the NFL, right?

BRAD SMITH: Sure.

JOSH SCHAFER: So you mentioned those Monday night numbers were huge, 19.85 million people watched "Monday Night Football." That's the most watched "Monday Night Football" game since 2009. And then when you go to "Sunday Night Football," which was NBC and Comcast, 25.1 million people watched that, the most since 2015. So viewership kind of coming back. You remember during the pandemic, viewership was actually down a little bit.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah.

JOSH SCHAFER: And one other thing to point out when we look at all these numbers across the networks, the low number was 12.14 million. That's the only number that didn't beat the NBA Finals.

BRAD SMITH: Wow.

JOSH SCHAFER: So that gives you an idea of how many people watch the NFL. This is NFL week one. Those games, in the grand scheme of things, didn't really matter, right?

BRAD SMITH: And that was the 1:00 PM game on FOX anyway. People were still--

JOSH SCHAFER: And it was the 1:00 PM game on FOX.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah.

JOSH SCHAFER: I don't think the national matchup was that good.

BRAD SMITH: [INAUDIBLE] people were still at church at that time, so.

JOSH SCHAFER: There you go.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah.

JOSH SCHAFER: And the number that was all the way to the left there is that 21.7 million, right? That's the Thurs-- the-- last week's Thursday night number, and that's a big number to compare when we look toward this week because we have Amazon coming in for their first Thursday night football game. How does Amazon stack up against these numbers? Now, remember, it's gonna be streaming only.

BRAD SMITH: OK.

JOSH SCHAFER: So you're probably not gonna reach any of these numbers. I've heard whispers of them maybe floating to advertisers about 12 million people they expect to watch.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah.

JOSH SCHAFER: So it will be different. But I think what this gives Amazon is a big platform to say, people will come if we build out the platform, right?

BRAD SMITH: Sure.

JOSH SCHAFER: People will come. NFL fans want to watch it. They just need to figure out where they're gonna find it.

BRAD SMITH: Right. And that was the issue for me last week. And it sounds like--

JOSH SCHAFER: Right.

BRAD SMITH: --for you as well--

JOSH SCHAFER: Yeah.

BRAD SMITH: --in that I didn't even know where to find the game, because I was waiting for this partnership to begin--

JOSH SCHAFER: Right.

BRAD SMITH: --and knew that the Thursday night games would be coming to Amazon. But it wasn't the week one game that was coming to Amazon to kick off the season, at least.

JOSH SCHAFER: No.

BRAD SMITH: But now it is.

JOSH SCHAFER: It's gonna be tomorrow night. It's gonna--

BRAD SMITH: Correct.

JOSH SCHAFER: --be Chiefs-Chargers. It's a very big game in grand scheme of things, right? You have Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs a big brand. And I think what's going to be interesting to watch for this, Brad, when we talk about Amazon the stock, and Amazon the company, they're investing a billion dollars into this. They did $121 billion in revenue last quarter, right? So it's not exactly like this is gonna make or break Amazon's business here.

But I was talking to Laura Martin over at Needham & Company. And she said, the biggest thing that she thinks people are missing on this is how it's gonna drive subscribers into Amazon's ecosystem. She thinks that's the play. It's not about how many people watch on Thursday. It's about getting you deeper and deeper into that Amazon ecosystem, something we talk about a lot with Apple, right?

BRAD SMITH: Sure.

JOSH SCHAFER: And how these tech companies get us involved and then you're kind of trapped. Amazon wants you to watch this football game on Thursday so then you buy more on Amazon Prime. And you're just spending more time on Amazon.

BRAD SMITH: So has this propped up more people who are opting in to a Prime membership, at least on that side because they know that football is coming? Because if we talk about the NFL--

JOSH SCHAFER: Right.

BRAD SMITH: --marketing engine or even annexing the NFL to some of the growth ambitions for a company. We were talking about SoFi earlier.

JOSH SCHAFER: Right.

BRAD SMITH: Analysts were citing the NFL as a reason why there are some of the long-term implications that could actually be beneficiary for SoFi. Is the same case for Amazon Prime membership or subscriber counts as well?

JOSH SCHAFER: We-- it's hard to tell yet, right?

BRAD SMITH: No.

JOSH SCHAFER: Because you don't know until the games start and then you can sort of see. 200 million global subscribers, though, to Amazon Prime feels like a tough number to keep growing at some point. So we'll have to see. I think there's probably, from the analysts I've talked to, they seem like pretty confident that there's a decent amount of crossover already between an NFL fan and someone that subscribes to Amazon Prime. So I do think that'll be interesting to see. You know, do most NFL fans already have Prime? Is a good question.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah, absolutely. Yahoo Finance's own Josh Schafer. You're gonna be watching the game. I'll be watching the game. And we'll see how we fare in our own survivor pools and different fantasy leagues as well.