Amazon's Play in the NFL: Reshaping the 2023 Season Experience
By Josephine Belcher
Move over ESPN and ABC– there’s a new media giant revolutionizing the sports broadcasting arena! In 2022, Amazon Prime Video began an 11-year media rights deal with the NFL speculated to be worth over $100B. They hit the ground running with interactive NFL content coverage that earned them a Sports Emmy Award. This season, they’re promising game-changing innovations that will transform the way we watch football. Expect various new features from Amazon in the 2023 season, including personalized and engaging advertisements, cutting-edge AI, a special Black Friday game, and much more!
Amazon saw incredible success in year one of the deal, and they’re keen to build on it. They’ve already made strides in expanding audiences, boasting the most-streamed NFL game ever during last September’s Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs match-up. Media Play News reported that during Amazon's 2022 debut, Thursday Night Football had the youngest median age of any NFL broadcast package since 2013. Additionally, Amazon saw a significant increase in viewership among 18 to 34-year-olds compared to the previous season. As a result, many of the new features are designed to cater to a younger audience.
What's in store for the 2023 season? Amazon is presenting advertisers with a unique opportunity to target specific audience groups using data analytics. By leveraging geographic, demographic, and behavioral insights, ads will be specifically displayed to the most relevant viewers. This initiative serves to increase ad engagement for brands and enhance the ad experience for viewers. In addition, players featured in the ads will enjoy the benefits of increased exposure for their personal brand.
Interactive advertisements are another factor of Amazon’s strive to reach its audience. Fans watching on Fire TV will have the chance to interact with the ads using their remote. These interactive advertisements give viewers the option to select either an "Add to Cart" or "Receive Email" button using their remote control. This action will trigger a push notification or an email, which contains direct links to the product and Store pages for brands that offer items on the Amazon Store. Through this approach, brands partnering with Amazon can expect more active and immersive engagement from consumers.
Beyond ads, Amazon is harnessing the power of AI to enhance and transform the game viewership experience. Amazon introduced on-screen graphics powered by artificial intelligence back in 2022. They’re taking it a step further this year with a highly advanced blue line feature. The line will show how close the offense must reach the first down marker before the computer recommends going for a fourth down conversion rather than punting. Amazon's new cutting-edge technology, which has been trained on 35,000 different plays, makes this possible. Other capabilities include analyzing all players' XY coordinate data, their relationship to each other, as well as their acceleration and directional movement to predict different measures.
In another move to expand audiences, Amazon plans to air a Black Friday game between Miami and the New York Jets that will be accessible to everyone for free. Amazon hopes to hook new viewers into the NFL action and give sponsors like Little Caesars and Audible the opportunity to advertise more effectively. The game will also cater to Black Friday deals from various sponsors hoping to net a wide reach.
Amazon’s innovative approach sets a benchmark for others to follow. Not only does it aim to enhance the viewer experience, but it also provides benefits to players and sponsors. Players can improve their brand image by utilizing interactive ads, partnering with broadcasts, expanding their social media presence, and more. Meanwhile, sponsors can achieve a higher ROI by devising more targeted advertising strategies, leveraging fan insights, and developing innovative ways to engage with audiences through their advertisements. As we approach the 2023 season, football fans can expect an unparalleled and engaging viewing experience.