Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
How can Canadians watch the new Amazon-produced broadcasts? We'll explain.
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Since the late 1970s, the National Football League (NFL) has occasionally held a handful of its games on Thursday nights, instead of the more traditional Sunday and Monday broadcast windows. In 2006, the league carved out a separate broadcast package with the games under the broadcast title Thursday Night Football (sometimes abbreviated TNF). Originally created to provide live regular-season games for the league's in-house channel NFL Network, the package has bounced between a few U.S. broadcast homes since then.
Most recently, Amazon reached a long-term agreement with the NFL to carry the games exclusively on its services within the United States, including Prime Video, from 2023 to 2033. The start of the new agreement subsequently moved up to the 2022 season when previous lead rightsholder Fox opted out of the final year of its TNF contract, with the first regular-season game under the new deal being the Los Angeles Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, September 15, 2022.
However, outside the United States, Amazon no longer has TNF streaming rights. Although Prime Video did have non-exclusive global streaming rights to Thursday Night Football games under previous arrangements, Amazon's help page for the program now indicates, under the question "Can I watch games while travel[l]ing?" (emphasis added):
Prime members in the US can watch Thursday Night Football on Prime Video within the U.S. The U.S. territories included are Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and U.S. Minor Outlying Islands. All other international locations are not supported.
Instead, in Canada, broadcast and streaming rights are held by Bell Media, which announced its own long-term renewal of Canadian broadcast rights – including for TNF – in June 2022, as well as streaming service DAZN, which renewed its Canadian rights to NFL Game Pass – which covers live-streaming and on-demand rights to all NFL games, including primetime games such as TNF – for the 2022 season.
Thus, Canadians can continue to watch these Thursday games on any of the following:
(All prices in this article are in Canadian dollars before applicable sales taxes, and were last checked on September 14, 2022; prices may change without notice.)
Under NFL policy, TNF games also remain available on local U.S. broadcast stations in the markets of the teams involved in each game; in some cases, this may include American network affiliates available through Canadian TV providers.
Yes. As mentioned above, Prime Video simulcast the Thursday Night Football games in all (or almost all) of its 200+ countries and territories globally beginning in 2017, including in Canada. This deal was later expanded to include Amazon's gaming streaming site Twitch.
However, there was no mention of any similar global rights in Amazon's current rights package covering the 2022–33 period. As indicated above, Amazon's current help page for TNF indicates the company will only have U.S. broadcast and streaming rights gonig forward.
Yes. Consistent with all other NFL games broadcast in Canada, Canadian rightsholders including Bell Media and DAZN should use the Amazon production led by longtime NBC Sunday Night Football lead producer Fred Gaudelli, and called by longtime football announcers Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit. We verified this when TSN carried Prime Video's first preseason broadcast on August 25, 2022.
RDS will presumably continue to produce a semi-separate broadcast, dubbing the U.S. broadcaster's visuals with French-language announcers, as it has for most other non-Canadian sports events.
In addition to the main broadcast, Prime Video has promoted the availability of alternate broadcasts for some games, with some hosted by sports comedy group Dude Perfect, and others hosted by Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer.
It's not yet clear where, or even if, these alternate broadcasts will be available in Canada, except that we are confident that they will not be available on Prime Video in Canada due to the overall rights situation. Both TSN and DAZN should be capable of accommodating them as alternate streaming feeds, but it's possible there are other rights considerations involved that could mean they will be restricted to Amazon platforms, even if Amazon cannot stream them itself outside the United States.
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