When the Los Angeles Chargers faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs last night, fans got their clearest look yet at what the future of sports media might look like. The game was streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, as part of Amazon’s new deal with the NFL that has turned the tech giant into the exclusive home of “Thursday Night Football.”While last Thursday’s season opener between the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills was broadcast on NBC, all subsequent Thursday matchups (except for the nationally televised Thanksgiving games) will be streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon has dabbled in NFL broadcasts in the past, but last night marked the first time that a major game was available exclusively on a streaming service. Some growing pains were inevitable, and few expected that it would be easy to get the NFL’s massive, demographic-spanning fan base prepared to watch the game on a new platform. In addition to the logistical hurdles, it was also the first game for newly-minted broadcasting duo Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit. The two men are very familiar faces to football fans, but had not called games together before (Michaels recently left his longtime home at NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” to join Amazon, and Herbstreit spends his Saturdays anchoring ESPN’s sprawling college football coverage). With all of those new variables, many close observers of the league were as curious about the broadcast as they were about Justin Herbert’s ability to measure up to Patrick Mahomes.
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But many fans ultimately felt like the broadcast got off to a rocky start. Some complained that the overly slick presentation negatively affected the image quality, while many others experienced pixelation, synchronization issues, and audio that frequently cut in and out.
Even with motion-smoothing turned off, it still looks like it's on during Prime Video's NFL games.
— Christian Blauvelt (@ctblauvelt) September 16, 2022
Whoever had the idea of putting football on amazon prime video instead of it just being on TV, fuck you
— jake (@jakemckinney17) September 16, 2022
Love watching Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime. Love that it’s all pixelated and fuzzy. Also love how the sound and the video are not synced up correctly.
— King Sully Mac 169 IQ 5’10 ish” (@SullyMacCat85) September 16, 2022
— Strider (@seconds732) September 15, 2022
— Kevin Koperski (@kevinkoperski) September 16, 2022
Chiefs vs Charges on Amazon Prime looking like pic.twitter.com/ul96x8YzNe
— Gurth_Brookz (@gurth_brookz) September 16, 2022
a stunning amount of the ads on Amazon Prime are for Amazon Prime, the service I am paying for to watch the ads
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) September 16, 2022
Live view of Amazon Prime trying to stream Thursday Night Football pic.twitter.com/4LG9HMrViS
— BLACK ADAM SCHEFTER (@B1ackSchefter) September 16, 2022
i love amazon prime but this football broadcast is AWFUL. obviously they were not prepared for the high volume of viewers
— Devin (@devinncohenn) September 16, 2022
It’s a struggle trying to watch this game on Amazon prime…
— Michael Crabtree (@KingCrab15) September 16, 2022
Why can’t the NFL just put games on regular TV?
Luddite living in Florida
— Ernest Hooper (@hoop4you) September 16, 2022
These problems were not always universal, and many were able to enjoy the broadcast without major issues. And many of the biggest glitches happened on Amazon’s Twitch Channel, rather than the standard broadcast that people watched through their own Amazon Prime subscriptions. Still, plenty of fans left the game with as many questions about Amazon’s ability to broadcast live football (and win over public opinion) as they did about Justin Herbert’s injury status.
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