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Comparing 2024 Primetime NFL Schedules — Who Received the Better Games Slate Between Amazon, NBCU and ESPN?

 NFL Wild Card game featuring Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Controlling 93 of the top 100 most watched U.S. TV programming events last year, the National Football League can command an audience of 12 million ESPN viewers just by convening a room full of college-age jocks in suits, sitting around with their families and girlfriends, nervously waiting for their name to be called, as last month’s NFL draft once again revealed.

So when the most influential content source in all of technology, media and telecom announces the primetime games schedules for three media partners collectively paying it around $4.65 billion a season ... well, it kind of matters.

Also read: Amazon Touts Vastly Improved 2024 'Thursday Night Football' Schedule Full of Divisional Rivalries, Fewer Turkeys

Below are the 2024 regular season game schedules for ABC/ESPN's Monday Night Football, NBC's Sunday Night Football and Amazon Prime Video's Thursday Night Football. Next TV, which is hopeful that its Seahawks can turn things around in 2024 after sunsetting venerable head coach Pete Carroll, added some notes on how we think each package shapes up as a TV viewing choice.

Monday Night Football

Disney is paying the NFL an average of $2.7 billion a season for the rights to show the venerable Monday Night Football package on ESPN and ABC.

It's not only the prestigious and priciest (by far) of the NFL's three primetime TV packages, it also has the most games (23), with five Monday night doubleheaders split across ESPN cable and ABC broadcast.

Monday Night Football averaged 17.4 million viewers in 2023, up 30% from 2022.

Our take on the 2024 MNF schedule: The opening night showdown between New York Jets and Aaron Rodgers, playing his first game in a year following achilles tendon surgery, and the Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco 49ers could draw 20 million or more viewers.

Disney gets the old-world “America's Team,”  the Dallas Cowboys, twice. Like a lot of football fans, we don’t think the Cowboys have actually been relevant since Troy Aikman wore a helmet. But they remain the league’s biggest regular season TV draw. And our analysis here is based on audience potential.

MNF features the “new” America’s team, the Detroit Lions, two times, as well — including in a late season rematch of the 2023 NFC title game against the San Francisco 49ers. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are on a couple of times, too, hosting the NFC South Division Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 9.

But we don't see a single division rivalry game on the schedule until week 15, when the Chicago Bears and No. 1 draft pick Caleb Williams visit the Minnesota Vikings ... in a matchup that may not have playoff implications, with both teams breaking in new quarterbacks.

Certainly, a lot of things will be learned about the teams from now and Sept. 9, when MNF hosts its first game. But based on what we know right now, there's just not enough on the schedule to get $2.7 billion dollars’ worth of excited about.

Week 1 (Sept. 9, 2024): New York Jets at San Francisco 49ers (simulcast on ABC)
Week 2 (Sept. 16): Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 3 (Sept. 23): Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Washington Commanders at Cincinnati Bengals (8:15 p.m. ET, ABC)
Week 4 (Sept. 30): Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (8:15 p.m. ET, ABC)
Week 5 (Oct. 7): New Orleans Saints at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 6 (Oct. 14): Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Week 7 (Oct. 21): Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals (9 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Week 8 (Oct. 28): New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 9 (Nov. 4): Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 10 (Nov. 11): Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Rams
Week 11 (Nov. 18): Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys
Week 12 (Nov. 25): Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers
Week 13 (Dec. 2): Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
Week 14: (Dec. 9): Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys
Week 15 (Dec. 16): Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (8 p.m. ET, ABC)
Atlanta Falcons at Las Vegas Raiders (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Week 16 (Dec. 23): New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
Week 17 (Dec. 30): Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers
Week 18 (Saturday, Jan. 4): Doubleheader TBA

Sunday Night Football

Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit is paying the league $950 million this season for a package of 18 regular season games. NBC is coming off a 2023 campaign that averaged 21.4 million viewers, up about 8% vs. 2022.

Our take on the 2024 MNF schedule: NBC will feature the Cowboys three times, including in two history-laden matchups with the Pittsburgh Steelers and 49ers. The Chiefs and Lions will be on SNF twice, as well.

There aren’t many divisional rivalry games, but there are plenty of contests that feel like early conference playoff matchups, including the Los Angeles Rams playing the Lions in the Sept. 8 opener, the Buffalo Bills visiting the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 29, and the L.A. Chargers at the Chiefs on Dec. 8.

There also aren’t a ton of appearances from teams that didn't make the playoffs last year. And those that did make the cut are in interesting matchups, including the Seattle Seahawks (9-8 last year and barely missing the postseason) hosting the resurgent Green Bay Packers on Dec. 15.

This seems to be a strong schedule for the licensing money NBCU is paying the NFL.

Week 1 (Sept. 8, 2024): Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions
Week 2 (Sept. 15): Chicago Bears at Houston Texans
Week 3 (Sept. 22): Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons
Week 4 (Sept. 29): Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
Week 5 (Oct. 6): Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 6 (Oct. 13): Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants
Week 7 (Oct. 20): New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 8 (Oct. 27): Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Week 9 (Nov. 3): Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 10 (Nov. 10): Detroit Lions at Houston Texans
Week 11 (Nov. 17): Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets
Week 12 (Nov. 24): Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams
Week 13 (Dec. 1): San Francisco 49ers at Buffalo Bills
Week 14 (Dec. 8): Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 15 (Dec. 15): Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
Week 16 (Dec. 22): Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys
Week 17 (Dec. 29): Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns
Week 18: TBD

Thursday Night Football

Amazon is paying the NFL an average of $1 billion a season (also through 2033, like all NFL TV deals) for TNF. In the package’s inaugural campaign on Amazon Prime Video in 2022, it was a meme as to how many turkey games were featured matching teams with no postseason relevance.

Things got better last season, with viewership increasing 24% year over year to 11.86 million streaming fans, on average. And this year, we think Amazon really scored, with 12 of its 16 games featuring divisional rivalry matchups.

In fact, we think this is the most intriguing of the three primetime NFL game slates.

Week 1 (preseason, Aug. 22): Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 2 (Sept. 12): Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Week 3 (Sept. 19): New England Patriots at New York Jets
Week 4 (Sept. 26): Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Week 5 (Oct. 3): Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Week 6 (Oct. 10): San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Week 7 (Oct. 17): Denver Broncos at New Orleans Saints
Week 8 (Oct. 24): Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams
Week 9 (Oct. 31): Houston Texans at New York Jets
Week 10 (Nov. 7): Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Week 11 (Nov. 14): Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 12 (Nov. 21): Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Week 13 (Black Friday, Nov. 29): Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 14 (Dec. 5): Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Week 15 (Dec. 12): Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Week 16 (Dec. 19): Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 17 (Dec. 26): Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears