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NFL

Are the NFL and Amazon bringing us a ‘Black Friday’ game this year?

Though originally slated for 2023, the two sides are pushing hard to make it a reality this year.

Paul Rudder
Update:
Roger Goodell en conferencia de prensa
Katelyn MulcahyAFP

That both sides will benefit is clear, but will the fans and what about the players themselves who will be asked to play another game?

The NFL’s ‘Black Friday’ game and the FIFA World Cup hang up

For decades now American football fans have looked forward to Thanksgiving Day not just for the turkey and family gatherings, but the exciting slate of games that have always been scheduled for the holiday weekend. Now it seems that the league is on the verge of scheduling yet another game for the same time frame, specifically on ‘Black Friday. According to reports, the league’s list of owners have put in motion a resolution that will see two more two more teams squaring off for a second game in the said same week. Moreover, that change to the schedule could come as soon as this very next season.

“Black Friday” is of course the day after Thanksgiving and is quite frankly the busiest shopping day - with its immense sales - both nationally and internationally. With most Americans off on holiday already for that weekend, a game scheduled would be assured a high amount of viewership, making it an ideal date for the NFL. There will, however, be some degree of competition. Should the league go ahead with the move this season, it will actually be taking place at the same time that the U.S. men’s national team is playing against England in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Indeed, with a kickoff time set for 2 p.m. ET in Qatar on Black Friday the league will likely have to compete with arguably the biggest event on the sporting calendar.

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What role could Amazon play in the NFL’s ‘Black Friday’ game?

As is now well known, Amazon is set to take over the NFL’s Thursday Night package of games. That’s to say that come this season, potential Amazon Prime subscribers will be sold on the idea - hopefully - of paying $8.99 a month knowing that they will see all NFL games played on Thursday nights. For Amazon the idea of a game played on the day after Thanksgiving i.e. the busiest shopping day of the year, would be massive. The company has wanted to see the move occur this season or by latest 2023. The NFL for its part has a great interest in seeing Amazon succeed given that they are the first major streaming service to take on the notion of offering NFL games on their platform.

Consider for a moment that Amazon would have direct access to all of those shoppers who chose to buy from home online as opposed to going to an actual store and fighting through queues. It is understood that Amazon have made a large bid between $70 million and $100 million for a Black Friday game, which means there is a very good chance that we will be seeing NFL action played on November 25th either this year or the next. As for exactly when the game, logic would dictate that it would be scheduled aftr the aforementioned FIFA World Cup game and certainly before prime-time. Either way assuming the move goes forward, it’s clear that the NFL stands to gain a great deal financially.

Why an NFL game on ‘Black Friday’ might not work

Perhaps the one major roadblock is figuring out just who will play against who and more importantly, whether said game will be worth the Amazon appears to want to pay for broadcasting rights. As things stand, there are are six national TV games scheduled for that weekend. There will be three on Thanksgiving, a doubleheader on Sunday with an afternoon game followed by one at prime-time game and last but not least, a prime-time game on Monday. With two teams quite likely to be on a bye, it is already difficult to insure that fans get to see exciting matchups. Will they be expecting Amazon Prime subscribers to be satisfied with a matchup between two bottom of the conference teams?

Then there is also the the size of the window in which they can show the game. The NFL is actually prohibited from night games on Friday and Saturday prior to the second Saturday in December, as a way of maintaining crowd numbers at high-school playoff games and college football games. With that in mind, the game would have to be after the FIFA World Cup game and before primetime. In the end with the varying complications and the possible effect it could have on rosters, the question remains: Is this a good idea? The NFL and Amazon seem to think so and that’s why whether this year or the next, a ‘Black Friday’ game is coming to Amazon Prime.

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