‘Thursday Night Football’: Amazon NFL Broadcast to a Rocky Start

Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers kept the game competitive until the end, but many fans were unhappy with the overall experience.

When the Los Angeles Chargers faced the Kansas City Chiefs last night, fans got their clearest look yet at what the future of sports media might look like. The game is exclusively broadcast on Amazon Prime Video, as part of Amazon’s new deal with NFL that turned the tech giant into the exclusive home of “.” While last Thursday’s season opener between the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills was broadcast on NBC, all subsequent Thursday matches (except for the locally televised Thanksgiving games) will be broadcast exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

Amazon has been involved in NFL broadcasts in the past, but last night was the first time a major game was available exclusively on the streaming service. Some growing pains were inevitable, and few expected that it would be easy to equip the huge, demographically stretched NFL fan base to watch the game on a new platform. In addition to logistical hurdles, it was also the first game for new broadcast duo Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit. The two men are all-too-familiar faces of football fans, but they’ve never really called together (Michaels left his longtime home on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” to join Amazon, and Herbstreit spends Saturdays fixing on ESPN’s sprawling college football coverage ). With all these new variables, many close watchers of the league were as curious about the broadcast as they were about Justin Herbert’s ability to rise to the level of Patrick Mahomes.

But many fans eventually felt the broadcast was off to a rough start. Some have complained that the presentation is too soft negatively affecting the image quality, while many others have experienced pixelation, sync and audio issues that often drop and drop.

These issues weren’t always universal, and many were able to enjoy streaming without major issues. Many of the biggest glitches have occurred with Amazon’s Twitch channel, rather than the standard broadcast that people have watched through their Amazon Prime subscriptions. However, many fans left the game with as many questions about Amazon’s ability to broadcast live football (and win public opinion) as they did about Justin Herbert’s injury case.

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