Amazon’s $100 million investment in broadcasting the NFL’s first-ever Black Friday game is not just a mere expansion into sports entertainment; it’s a strategic chess move aimed at capturing market share from traditional brick-and-mortar stores and boosting its own online sales. This tactic represents a significant shift in how we view both Black Friday and sports broadcasting.
Historically, Thanksgiving Day football has been a massive draw, with last year’s games attracting an average of 33.5 million viewers, and the Cowboys vs. Giants game alone pulling in 42 million viewers — the highest for any regular season NFL game. This popularity starkly contrasts with the average viewership for events like NBA Christmas Day games, which drew 4.27 million viewers in 2022.
The NFL has traditionally steered clear of Black Friday games, primarily due to the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, which limits NFL games on Fridays and Saturdays during the fall to protect college and high school football. However, Amazon’s lucrative offer led to a creative scheduling workaround, placing the game at 3 pm ET to comply with the rule.
Amazon’s deal goes beyond just broadcasting rights. This game will be accessible to a broader audience, including non-Prime members, tapping into the record-setting viewer engagement seen during their first Thursday Night Football (TNF) broadcast. The cost of a 30-second commercial during this Black Friday game is a staggering $880,000, doubling the rate for a typical TNF slot.
The game-changing element here is Amazon’s innovative “audience-based creative” advertising strategy. This approach allows brands like Bose to target different audience segments with custom ads. For example, one ad featuring Joe Burrow will be shown to non-Prime members, while other Bose ads, tailored based on Prime members’ search histories, will be presented to them. This targeted, interactive advertising not only enhances viewer engagement but also allows for immediate shopping, as viewers can add products to their cart and check out without leaving the broadcast.
This strategy offers a glimpse into the future of brand advertising. It highlights how companies like Amazon and Apple, with their deep pockets and technological prowess, are poised to revolutionize the way live sports rights are leveraged and how brands market their products. The impact of this will be profound, reshaping the landscape of both sports broadcasting and online retail. It’s a testament to Amazon’s innovative approach, blending entertainment with commerce in a way that’s not just effective but, indeed, pretty cool.