KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - SEPTEMBER 15: Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers catches the ball in front of L'Jarius Sneed #38 of the Kansas City Chiefs for a touchdown during the third quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on September 15, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

‘Thursday Night Football’: Amazon NFL broadcast gets off to a good 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 took on the Kansas City Chiefs last night, fans got a clearer glimpse of what the future of sports media might look like. The game was streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, part of Amazon’s new NFL deal 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 aired on NBC, all subsequent Thursday games (except the nationally televised Thanksgiving games) will be streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

Amazon has dabbled in NFL broadcasts in the past, but last night marked the first time a major game was available exclusively on a streaming service. Some growing pains were inevitable, and few expected it to be easy to prepare the NFL’s massive, demographic fanbase to watch the game on a new platform. In addition to logistical hurdles, it was also the first game for newly minted broadcast duo Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit. Both men are very familiar faces to football fans, but had never called games before (Michaels recently left his longtime home on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” to join Amazon, and Herbstreit spends his Saturdays to anchor ESPN’s extensive college football coverage). With all of these new variables, many observers close to the league were as curious about the broadcast as they were about Justin Herbert’s ability to go up against Patrick Mahomes.

But many fans ultimately felt like the broadcast got off to a rocky start. Some complained that the too-smooth presentation negatively affected image quality, while many others encountered issues with pixelation, syncing, and audio skipping and stopping frequently.

These issues weren’t always universal, and many were able to enjoy the show without major issues. And many of the biggest problems happened on Amazon’s Twitch channel, rather than the standard broadcast that people watched through their own Amazon Prime subscriptions. Still, 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 status.

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