To the enjoyment and frustration of soccer followers throughout the US, the period of Nationwide Soccer League video games showing solely on a streaming service is upon us.
Amazon Prime Video is the house for “Thursday Night time Soccer” this upcoming season, marking the primary time in league historical past a streaming service would be the solo service for a package deal of nationwide video games. The era begins Aug. 25 with a preseason sport between the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans. The primary common season sport for Amazon will probably be Sept. 15, when the Los Angeles Chargers play the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs in Week 2 of the NFL season. Native broadcast stations for the groups enjoying in a given week can even carry the video games over the air.
Amazon signed a deal with Nielsen this week to measure the telecasts, an indication of confidence that it expects strong scores. Eighty million U.S. subscribers have watched Amazon Prime Video not less than as soon as prior to now 12 months, the corporate mentioned in Could. For context, Netflix ended the second quarter with 73.3 million paid month-to-month subscribers within the U.S. and Canada. Disney+ ended its most up-to-date quarter with 44.5 million subscribers within the U.S. and Canada.
Individuals who need to watch the video games will want to enroll in an Amazon Prime account, which prices $14.99 a month or $139 a 12 months, or a Prime Video membership, which is $8.99 a month.
New sport options
To push viewers towards its NFL broadcast, which cost Amazon $1 billion per year, live games will automatically start playing when people log onto Amazon.com. The games will also be featured prominently on Prime Video’s home screen to alert subscribers they’re taking place in real time.
Viewers will be given the choice to watch, record or start from the beginning of the broadcast. If they don’t want to have to keep recording individual games, they’ll also have the option of recording the entire slate of Thursday night games for the season.
Amazon is also debuting other new technology features. On most platforms (it’s still working on a deal with Roku), it will offer “X-Ray stats,” which will give viewers the ability to see real-time statistics on screen. In addition to standard stats such as yards and touchdowns, they will include so-called next-generation figures, such as average time to throw for quarterbacks and yards after contact for running backs and receivers. Players will wear uniforms enhanced with Amazon Web Services chips, allowing for instant updates.
Amazon will also have a customer package of highlights via X-Ray that update through the game for viewers who missed the early action and want to catch up. For Fire TV users, viewers will be able to speak commands such as “show me stats” or “play the last touchdown” into the remote control. Those features will be ready for the Thursday Night Football regular season opener.
Continuing a trend put in place by Disney’s ESPN and Paramount Global, Amazon will also offer alternative broadcasts for people who want a less serious telecast, beginning with the popular comedy YouTube group Dude Perfect. Amazon plans so as to add different different feeds over time.
Some rising pains are anticipated. For instance, Amazon is getting ready for suggestions from annoyed viewers whose web speeds might not have the ability to deal with a livestream, or from viewers who’re nonetheless unfamiliar with streaming navigation.
“Freed from bandwidth and channel limits that constrain optionality on linear platforms, our promise is to repeatedly take heed to our prospects, iterate and deliberately develop new and higher methods for extra followers to benefit from the video games,” mentioned Amazon spokesman Tim Buckman.
As for its major broadcast, Amazon is assured viewers will probably be happy. Whereas Apple TV+ received a slew of initial pushback for trying to be different with its Main League Baseball video games, Buckman mentioned Amazon’s objective is to be nice at delivering the core sport viewing expertise earlier than being creative.
For its play-by-play, Amazon is tapping broadcasting legend Al Michaels, who departed NBC’s “Sunday Night time Soccer,” together with longtime school soccer analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
Disclosure: NBC and CNBC are each models of NBCUniversal.