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Thoughts on Amazon Prime Video’s Debut Rating for ‘Thursday Night Football’

Also in Traina Thoughts: A new ‘SI Media Podcast’; Joey Votto does a great thing; Josh Allen has good movie taste and more.

1. The ratings for the first Thursday Night Football game on Amazon Prime Video came out Thursday morning.

What you need to know:

The first Thursday Night Football game on Prime Video between the Chargers and Chiefs last Thursday drew 13 million viewers.

According to reports, 11.8 million people watched on Prime Video, while 1.2 million watched on over-the-air TV in the local markets of Los Angeles and Kansas City.

Amazon says when you include its other offerings for Thursday Night Football, such as the Dude Perfect feed and people watching via Twitch, the average audience was 15.3 million viewers.

Amazon also says that Thursday Night Football on Prime Video was the most-watched program of the night across broadcast or cable, with CBS’s Young Sheldon drawing only 3.5 million viewers compared to TNF’s 13 million.

My take:

That is an excellent number for the debut telecast, and Amazon and the NFL have to be very happy with it. There were still plenty of people as of last Thursday who didn’t realize the game could be watched only by streaming it on Prime. You have to think viewership will increase as the season goes on and more people discover they need to sign up for Amazon Prime to watch Thursday Night Football.

Scheduling matters here as well. Amazon had an outstanding Week 2 match with the Chargers and Chiefs. Are NFL fans going to make sure they tune in for Mitchell Trubisky vs. Jacoby Brissett tonight the way they tuned in for Justin Herbert vs. Patrick Mahomes? You’d think not. However, the Steelers’ and Browns’ fan base is approximately a billion times more passionate than whatever fan base the Chargers have, so that will help.

Would these games draw more viewers on linear television? Yes. Both Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football drew 20 million-plus viewers in Week 2. But Amazon isn’t going to draw that number for its first broadcast. The key will be growth throughout the season.

The bottom line:

While it’s fun for sports media nerds like me to analyze the ratings, it’s pretty irrelevant, because Amazon has an 11-year contract with the NFL to air Thursday Night Football, and the NFL is pocketing $1 billion a year from Amazon for the rights to those games. So whether the game drew 13 million or 3 million, you’re going to be watching TNF on Prime Video for a long time.

However, what can’t be denied is that football fans will find the games no matter where and when they air. 

2. A brand-new SI Media Podcast dropped this morning, and my guest this week is the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen.

Eisen, who also hosts a daily show for Westwood One Radio and Roku, talked about recently re-signing with the NFL Network and his reaction to seeing a report that he was a free agent after he reupped with NFL Network. Other topics covered include what we love about the NFL after two weeks, what Eisen would change about the NFL, his thoughts on Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football and the Monday Night Football overlap doubleheader.

Following Eisen, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York joins me for our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, we discuss DirecTV’s streaming issues during Week 2, Sal laments the fact that he had to miss a recent event and Jimmy reads recent SI Media Podcast Apple reviews. We also give out their NFL Week 3 best bets.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.

You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.

3. Popular Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who has been out for a while with an injury, gave the fans a treat last night when he just walked around the ballpark to meet up with some of the Cincy faithful.

4. One of the best new bits in the current sports media landscape is Kyle Brandt’s giving Josh Allen a 1980s/’90s movie to watch each week and Allen giving a review on Brandt’s new daily show, Kyle Brandt’s Basement. It was beautiful to see Allen, who appears on the show every Tuesday, have an appreciation for National Lampoon's Vacation.

5. These two tweets about Aaron Judge possibly passing Roger Maris’s 61 home runs and the potential value of the home run ball made me do a real-life LOL.

6. Funny stuff here from Lamar Jackson who revealed that he was in complete shock when he met Bill Belichick, and Belichick actually smiled.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: On this date in 1997, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin gave Vince McMahon the Stunner for the first time in Madison Square Garden. My favorite part of this monumental moment will always be Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler screaming about Austin going to jail.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.