Last season, the NFL moved Thursday Night Football to streaming on Amazon. The quality of the product on the field wasn’t great and led to plenty of fans making fun of the effort. Now, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch has said that the switch was a disaster.
Murdoch argued that owners shouldn’t be happy with the product they got while streaming games on Thursday. He said, “If I’m an NFL owner, that’s a disaster for me.”
Of course, the CEO of a cable network would argue that streaming is a disaster. At this point, there is an intense competition between traditional media and streaming. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that someone who used to have the broadcast rights and potentially wants them again in the future would feel that way.
At the same time, it’s hard to argue that streaming was a disaster for owners when their ultimate goal is to make money and they are certainly doing that. Amazon is paying roughly $67 million per game, or about $1 billion annually to show Thursday Night Football.
That’s a win for the owners no matter how you look at it, even if the product on the field wasn’t great and fans had to complain about technical issues.
It also seems like the NFL is investing all the way in streaming. Amazon is now also going to broadcast a game on Black Friday, with the New York Jets seen as a team who may fill that slot permanently.
At the same time, the NFL is aware that the Thursday night product tends to be poor. That’s why the league is reportedly expanding its flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football. That way, late-season games should be higher quality.
Al Michaels was unhappy with Thursday Night Football
Al Michaels is a legendary broadcaster. So, for many fans, it was exciting when it was announced he was going to be on the call for Thursday Night Football games. However, during games, he clearly was unhappy with the quality of play.
“I think I’m to the point in my life and career, having watched sports since I was 6 years old, I feel what the crowd feels. The Denver–Indianapolis game [in] Week 4 was a dreadful game. No other way to describe it,” Michaels said.
“No touchdowns. In fact, at one point during the game, I said to [analyst] Kirk [Herbstreit], ‘Is it possible this game could be so bad that it’s actually good?’ He’d never heard that from a partner and went, ‘No!’”
At the very least, Michaels seems more excited about the slate of games to open the 2023 season.
“Absolutely!” Michaels said. “Love the way we come out of the gate. Three ‘A’ grade games. Two Aaron Rodgers games. Baltimore–Cincinnati, another good one. League did us a solid. I was raring to go the minute I saw the whole slate. Already thinking of storylines for each game, of which there is no shortage.”