October 5, 2022

Amazon Prime Video kicks off a new era of NFL production with an exclusive Thursday Night Football package

Streamer plans to combine broadcast quality with interactive features

Tonight’s preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans marks a new chapter in NFL broadcast history. The game will be the first of the new Amazon Prime Video exclusive Thursday night football package, marking the first time a streaming service will be the sole package carrier of NFL domestic games. The medium may be different, but viewers can expect the same high-end production quality as NFL games shown on TV.

“I think it will be quite the production value that I had when I was at Sunday night football [on NBC]no doubt,” says TNF Executive Producer Fred Gaudelliwho, coming from NBC, is entering his 33rd season as lead producer for an NFL primetime property.

“You’re going to have a TV show that has all the technical innovations football fans love: all the camera angles, all the augmented reality, all the tech that comes with the first and 10th row, a replay for every camera, a expert announcers.It will be as good, if not better, than any football TV show that [viewers are] used to watching.

Technical game plan: new trucks and “very, very robust production”

Gaudelli, Senior Game Director Pierre Moossaand the rest of TNF The production team will have a whole new fleet of Game Creek Video mobile units to call home. The TNF The team has been on location at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for the past two weeks and conducted rehearsal play production there earlier this month.

According to Gaudelli, this season TNF the shows will feature “a very, very robust production” that includes two Skycam systems and 13 super-slo-mo cameras. TrackMan ball-tracking technology used to visually illustrate in-field kicks on NBC Sunday night football will also be used for TNF emissions.

Noting that his team will rely heavily on technology, Gaudelli points out that the overall presentation will be very recognizable to NFL fans.

“NFL fans have a very definite expectation when they turn on the television,” he says. “The best people in sports television work on the NFL. As for prime time, I think [fans’] expectations are heightened: if you don’t come with a real quality show, they probably won’t come back. We’ve seen, ‘Hey, let’s try this, let’s try that’, over the years, and nothing really stuck. Even on Sunday night we tried a few things, but it has to start with a top production with great announcers, and the audience will come because it’s the National Football League.

Prime Video has also partnered with composer Pinar Toprak (Captain Marvel, Fortnite) at create a whole new TNF original score and theme music echoing the epic and dramatic theme music of other iconic NFL franchises.

Optionality and personalization: Prime Video takes a look at “almost infinite choice”

In addition to high-tech production, Prime Video emphasizes the customization and optionality offered by its streaming platform. In addition to running pre/post game and halftime shows, Prime Video will offer alternate streams of the game to accompany the main broadcast featuring Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit. “TNF With Dude Perfect” is the first to be announced, with additional streams planned.

TNF viewers can also access interactive features – X-Ray, NFL Next Gen Stats powered by AWS – that were available on the non-exclusive Amazon Prime Video service TNF streaming experience. Viewers also have the ability to instantly pause, record and watch replays.

“Obviously, we’re an innovation-driven company,” says Marie Donoghue, Vice President, Global Sports Video, Amazon. “We approach our show that way, and you’ll see it on the show. The OTT platform gives us a great opportunity to not only provide new ways to engage fans with data, highlights and alternative streams, but also nearly endless choice.

“A big part of what we try to do,” she continues, “is to cultivate and program the best experience for the greatest number of fans. We create a huge experience under a big tent, and then we will offer a big option to fans. Not everyone wants to watch the game in the same way. We don’t choose one type of fan to serve; we try to serve all fans.

Amazon Prime Video’s TNF production team hosted a rehearsal match this month at SoFi Stadium, including the pre-game show featuring (left to right) Tony Gonzalez, Charissa Thompson, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Richard Sherman. (Photo: Amy Palcic/|Amazon Prime Video)

Viewers can stream via amazon.com, the Prime Video app, or Twitch (each competing team’s home market live TV channels will also stream the shows). Just before kick-off tonight, Prime Video will release a one-minute explainer video to help viewers navigate Thursday night football visualization.

“I think the big differences are going to be all the other things you can access when streaming a game [but] you can’t access it when you watch it on TV,” says Gaudelli. “From alternate streams, predictive stats and abilities, to checking out your own replays when you want to see them, that’s where I think you’ll get the most rich experience watching. Thursday night football on Prime Video.

It wouldn’t be Amazon if it didn’t have a shopping component in the TNF streaming experience. Shopping will be integrated into the viewing experience via X-Ray, says Donoghue, and advertisers will have the ability to place interactive ad spots during live streams.

“Amazon has an incredible trust and relationship with our users,” she says, “For the first time, we’ll be able to use first-party data to help make these ads even more effective. We’ll follow their lead.” about the degree of interactivity of these ads, the formats and things like that, but, absolutely, we felt great enthusiasm from our advertisers to get the ball rolling.

New Front Bench partner: Moossa takes the reins alongside Gaudelli

For the first time in almost 30 years, Gaudelli will not be seated next to his longtime partner, director Drew Esocoff, for a primetime NFL broadcast. Esocoff, who will continue to lead Sunday night football on NBC alongside the new Rob HylandProducerteaming up with Gaudelli on ESPN Sunday night footballABC Monday night footballand NBC Sunday night football over their more than three decades together.

Longtime NBC producer and director Moossa will join Gaudelli at the TNF front seat. He is no stranger to Gaudelli, having served as DA on Sunday night football for six years and also a director of NBC’s Football night in America pre-game show.

“[Pierre] always impressed me: super smart, really knew the ins and outs of TV,” says Gaudelli. “As a producer and director, he pioneered Premier League coverage on NBC. He is extremely meticulous, very talented, very calm. And I’m proud to work with him. I’ve seen him grow over the past 16 years, and there’s no doubt he’s ready for this opportunity.