Report: NFL Expected to Add Black Friday Game to 2023 Schedule

by Patrick Norton

When the NFL makes news or plays games, it trumps the rest of the sports world. Raise your hand if you’re more likely to watch Week 12 Thanksgiving Day football than the World Cup. Keep them raised – it’s getting difficult to count this many.

Theoretically, the NFL could play every single week day of the regular season and still attract massive audiences. We saw this during the odd year with limited crowds thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. When teams faced hardships in fielding a full roster, the NFL pushed games to Tuesday and Wednesday nights to ensure a completed schedule.

With three games on Thanksgiving Day, the league is reportedly looking to expand it’s holiday weekend coverage. Thanks to the new rights package that gives Amazon Prime Video exclusive Thursday Night Football coverage, a Black Friday game will appear on the schedule in 2023.

Amazon’s current carriage does not include Thanksgiving Day – those rights belong to CBS, FOX and NBC. Last year’s Turkey Day matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders drew the largest viewing audience for a regular season game since 1990.

The worth of Thanksgiving week streaming is somewhat endless. However, Amazon and the NFL have a deal in place for a $100 million carriage fee, according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.

While the league cannot divulge an anticipated matchup, we can likely cross the Cowboys and Detroit Lions off the list. The two franchises have decades-long history with Thanksgiving Day. The Lions have appeared on the holiday dating back to 1934. Meanwhile, Dallas’ Turkey Day streak extends to 1966, six years after the team’s inception.

We’re Thankful for Amazon Prime’s Upcoming NFL Coverage

The streaming service understands the importance of making a splash for football. In addition to signing former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for a ‘Quarterback’s Only’ broadcast, Amazon is putting together an all-star cast for its pre and post-game panel and broadcast booth.

Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football coverage tasks Hall of Fame broadcaster Al Michaels with ESPN’s college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit. Additionally, the service’s talking heads reportedly include Charissa Thompson, Richard Sherman, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andrew Whitworth.

The amount of football knowledge in one room is massive. However, the only possible challenge is giving each member of the crew an appropriate stage to talk shop. Adding a Black Friday game in 2023 only strengthens the likelihood of football fans latching onto the new carrier.