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.
Even with motion smoothing disabled, it still appears to be enabled during Prime Video’s NFL games.
— Christian Blauvelt (@ctblauvelt) September 16, 2022
Whoever came up with the idea to put football on amazon prime video instead of it just being on TV, fuck you
— jake (@jakemckinney17) September 16, 2022
I love watching Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime. I love that everything is pixelated and blurry. I also love how the sound and video are out of sync properly.
— King Sully Mac 169 IQ 5’10ish” (@SullyMacCat85) September 16, 2022
— Strider (@seconds732) September 15, 2022
—Kevin Koperski (@kevinkoperski) September 16, 2022
Chiefs vs Charges on Amazon Prime looking like pic.twitter.com/ul96x8YzNe
— Gurth_Brookz (@gurth_brookz) September 16, 2022
an overwhelming amount of ads on Amazon Prime are for Amazon Prime, the service I pay to watch ads
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) September 16, 2022
Live view of Amazon Prime trying to stream Thursday Night Football pic.twitter.com/4LG9HMrViS
— BLACK ADAM SCHEFTER (@B1ackSchefter) September 16, 2022
I love Amazon Prime, but that football show is awful. obviously they weren’t prepared for the high volume of viewers
— Devin (@devinncohenn) September 16, 2022
It’s a struggle trying to watch this game on Amazon prime…
—Michael Crabtree (@KingCrab15) September 16, 2022
Why can’t the NFL just broadcast games on TV?
Luddite living in Florida
—Ernest Hooper (@hoop4you) September 16, 2022
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.