- Thursday night’s game is the first NFL broadcast to air exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
- Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit are the announcers.
- There are other ways to watch the Chiefs play the Chargers. See below for details
“Alexa, play Thursday Night Football.”
The age of streaming has arrived for the NFL and its fans.
It begins Thursday on Amazon’s Prime Video, as the streaming service airs its first exclusive “Thursday Night Football” show featuring the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Los Angeles Chargers.
What viewers see on their screens – or their phones, it’s a new era after all – will be no stranger to anyone watching football.
But there will be a wide range of fans who will quickly go from anticipation to frustration as they turn on their TVs. Here’s a guide on how to watch and what to expect from ‘Thursday Night Football’ this season.
How to live stream Thursday Night Football
The game will be streamed exclusively through Prime Video, through the app or web browser. All games will start at 8:15 p.m. ET.
Amazon Prime subscriptions are required for this method. Anyone can sign up for a 30 day trial.
Ahead of kickoff Thursday, Prime Video will air a one-minute “how to experience” Thursday Night Football to give people an idea of the options they have, executive producer Fred Gaudelli said.
Streaming is possible on a variety of devices: game consoles, smart TVs, media players, tablets, set-top boxes and mobile phones, for example.
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What if I don’t have Amazon Prime for Thursday Night Football?
There are other ways to watch if you don’t have a Prime subscription. The games will be streamed on Twitch, a subsidiary of Amazon.
Thursday Night Football will also be available in local markets. For this week, it’s KSHB41 (Kansas City) and KTTV 11 (Los Angeles). It’s something the NFL has mandated in its 11-year, $11 billion contract, but only covers this season.
Who will be the broadcasters of Thursday Night Football?
The voices you will hear the most are familiar voices.
Al Michaels, in his 37th NFL game call season, will handle play-by-play. He will be joined by Kirk Herbstreit as color commentator. Kaylee Hartung is the secondary reporter and Terry McAulay is the rules analyst.
Michaels has been on the national stage for nearly 50 years, from the 1980 U.S. men’s hockey “Miracle Call” to “Sunday Night Football.” NBC, where he had been since 2006, let his contract expire after last season.
“If we’re putting on a high-quality show and we’re going to do it, then anybody else in the sports world will watch it and say, ‘Hey, we want to be part of what they’re doing. do,'” Michaels said last month. “And that’s our goal.”
Herbstreit will be among the busiest people in football between his Prime Video and ESPN college football duties. He has previously appeared on NFL broadcasts calling a handful of games with his ESPN partner Chris Fowler.
Hartung has been in the news for the past five years after a stint at ESPN/SEC. She worked at CNN and more recently at ABC News.
“The craft is the same whether you’re talking about news or sports, and it comes down to great storytelling,” Hartung said.
Programming of shows from the Prime Video studio
The broadcast trio is just one piece of the talent Prime Video has acquired for broadcasts.
The pre-match, half-time and post-match studio team is:
- Charissa Thompson, host
- Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez
- Former NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Former NFL cornerback Richard Sherman
“If I had my say,” said Thompson, who also hosts NFL studio shows for Fox, “this is definitely the band I would want to have.”
Sherman and Fitzpatrick spoke earlier this week about their budding “bromance” and Gonzalez is on his third studio gig after stints at CBS and Fox.
“It’s all about trust and the chemistry comes from really liking each other, people you really want to date,” said Gonzalez, who is always primed with a dad joke. “And I think it couldn’t have started better with those guys.”
Former NFL offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth will be a contributor and Taylor Rooks will report features. Michael Smith will provide news analysis and reporting.
Prime Video NFL Studio Show Schedule
- 7 p.m. ET: “TNF Tonight”
- 8 p.m. ET: “Thursday Night Kickoff
- 8:15 p.m. ET: “Thursday Night Football”
A short post-game chat will lead to a bigger post-game show in the app.
Prime Video Alternate Streams
Listening to Al and Kirk aren’t your only options.
TNF en Español will call the game for Spanish-speaking audiences: Miguel Gurwitz (play-by-play), Rolando Cantú (analyst), and Mayra Gomez (secondary reporter) are on that call.
There’s also “TNF with Dude Perfect,” featuring the trick-shot content creators, and “TNF with Storm & Kremer” which will feature Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm for two games yet to be decided.
“Dude Perfect” gets the first crack during the Chiefs-Chargers.
The Prime Video team expects to deliver for even the most skeptical fans.
“We have incredibly high expectations,” said Vice President of Global Sports Video Marie Donoghue, “and we intend to meet them.
Last weekend’s Sunday Ticket and DirecTV’s RedZone streaming issues are giving Prime Video reason to be nervous. Whether it’s talent chemistry or high-speed connectivity, there will be room for improvement after Week 2.
“Everything is getting better,” Donoghue said. “Week by week everything is getting better, but we would be bored if it wasn’t. But we come out of the gate strong.
To pull an NFL game, Donohue knew she had to catch her own Fred Gaudelli, she said. Prime Video ended up with the man himself. The goal is to have a “near-perfect TV show every time you do it,” Gaudelli said.
Go big (tent)
Attracting die-hard NFL fans and casual streamers who have opened the app’s “live” tab is a multi-pronged goal for Prime Video.
The option of a streaming service, backed by the powers of an e-commerce giant, adds a creative side to the business.
“We’re creating a huge big tent experience,” Donoghue said. “Not everyone wants to watch the game the same way. So we don’t choose one type of fan to serve. We try to serve all the fans.”
Prime Video Alternate Elements
Alexa can help viewers rewind the game or answer questions about stat leaders. For example: “Who has the most rushing yards?”
X-Ray is an exclusive feature that gives fans access to real-time stats. Next Gen Stats is another item available through X-Ray, as well as replays.
Fans can also save games (with rewind/fast forward capabilities) which will be stored in the cloud until the start of next season.
From a broadcast perspective, there will be two sky cams: Sky Cam and High Sky. There will be 13 high speed and super slow motion cameras. Kicking technology pioneered on Sunday Night Football will be involved.
“It’s going to be a very, very robust production,” Gaudelli said. “And I hope everyone will enjoy it.”
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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