Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ starts strong with 15.3 million viewers

The first exclusive “Thursday Night Football” game on Amazon Prime Video was a win for the streaming service, with 15.3 million viewers, the company announced today.

Amazon’s successful “TNF” game underscores the value that live sports bring to streaming services. On average, “TNF” games usually earn about 12.84 million viewers across Amazon, Fox and the NFL Network, which have all shared the NFL package up until this year.

Last week’s total viewership exceeded Amazon’s expectations of 12.5 million viewers, according to AdAge.

The total figure of 15.3 million viewers from Amazon’s first “TNF” game of the year is a combination of Amazon’s first-party measurement and Nielsen’s third-party measurement. Nielsen’s measurement alone surpassed last year’s viewership of “TNF”‘s Week 2 matchup by 47%, which only aired on the NFL Network.

Nielsen’s total viewership figure was 13 million viewers, which was sampled from Prime Video subscribers in the U.S. who streamed on set-top boxes, connected TVs, web and mobile, as well as Amazon’s platform Twitch, NFL+, out-of-home viewing and over-the-air broadcasts in the home markets of the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. The data measurement firm calculated the viewership of the “TNF” game as well as the pregame and post-game shows.

Based on Nielsen’s local market ratings, there was an average of 602,000 viewers watching the local broadcast in Los Angeles, and 555,000 viewers watched in Kansas City.

Amazon’s own measurement is based on direct viewing data across all types of devices and accounts, including the stream on Amazon’s Twitch platform. Amazon also partnered with DirecTV to bring “TNF” games to over 300,000 national chains and local businesses. The company added Nielsen numbers to get to its final total.

Last month, Amazon and Nielsen closed a three-year deal to measure the ratings of Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” games. This was the first time Nielsen included a streamer and its livestreaming program in its National TV measurement service.

Amazon sent TechCrunch a memo that was sent to Amazon’s staff on Monday, September 19, where Jay Marine, global head of sports, Amazon Prime Video, boasted that “Thursday Night Football” helped Prime Video earn a record number of subscriptions. The memo was leaked to the public earlier this week.

“The audience numbers exceeded all of our expectations for viewership,” Marine wrote. “During our TNF broadcast, we also saw the biggest three hours for U.S. Prime sign-ups ever in the history of Amazon — including Prime Day, Cyber Monday, and Black Friday,” the memo wrote.

Marine also noted that Amazon’s first exclusive “TNF” broadcast “delivered the most-watched night of primetime in the U.S. in the history of Prime Video.”