Was Amazon ready for some football – Amazon took centre stage in the sports universe on Thursday when it streamed its first exclusive NFL game — and it passed the test with flying colours.
The game streamed flawlessly with no major hiccups or outages. Some fans complained about glitches and poor sound quality, but Amazon’s cloud technology appeared to hold up overall, which is a must for any live sports game streamed over the internet.
Amazon’s high-profile NFL deal, which is expected to cost $11 billion over the next 11 years, is part of the company’s efforts to expand its content library, strengthen its advertising arm, and add more Prime subscribers, among other things. [Was Amazon ready for some football]
It’s the latest example of live sports moving online and away from traditional cable TV, with tech behemoths like Amazon and Apple competing for lucrative streaming rights.
Thursday wasn’t Amazon’s first rodeo; the Seattle company has been streaming Thursday Night Football games, in addition to its other live sports endeavours, for several years.
However, because this was the first exclusive NFL stream, fans had to watch via Amazon and have a Prime subscription, with the exception of those in team markets and some bars, or those using Amazon’s Twitch platform.
The company is injecting its own flavour into live sports, such as enhanced data and alternative commentary streams. However, watching Thursday’s stream felt like watching another NFL game, complete with theme music — and that may be enough for Amazon for the time being.
Here are some additional key takeaways from Amazon’s big Prime Day night.
Jeff Bezos basks in the limelight.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was in Kansas City to watch the Chiefs play the Los Angeles Chargers at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Bezos posed for photos with both teams’ owners, high-fived some Chiefs fans, wowed players, and watched the game with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Play-by-play announcer During the broadcast, Al Michaels poked fun at Bezos for apparently not knowing how to play craps.
“How come one of history’s greatest mathematical minds can’t figure that out?” Bezos, according to Michaels.
Understanding streaming video
There were plenty of jokes aimed at viewers who may be unfamiliar with the concept of television that does not air on a traditional cable or broadcast station. Many tweets made fun of parents calling their children for help finding the game.
If you like having multiple camera angles and stats at your fingertips throughout the game, Amazon’s stream is for you. In addition to the traditional stream with Michaels and colour commentator Kirk Herbstreit, Amazon provided a “Prime Vision” feed with advanced statistics and more — ideal for NFL fanatics.
While some praised the stream’s quality, others expressed their displeasure. It appeared to be dependent on the internet connection and device — a very different experience than traditional TV, and one that will become more common as live sports move more into streaming.
No way, man. And, indeed?
Other television giants, such as ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” have begun providing fans with alternative commentary when watching live sports online, such as “ManningCast,” in which ex-pros Peyton and Eli Manning dissect the game on an alternate broadcast.
Amazon is attempting the same thing with the Dude Perfect guys, who hosted their own stream during Thursday’s game. The viral content creators are clearly aimed at a younger audience, and some tweets defended the effort as great for kids, such as these and these. Others were sceptical that Amazon had discovered the perfect recipe.