Amazon has made a big investment in securing the rights to Thursday Night Football. That investment will extend to the production of the weekly games.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that NBC’s Al Michaels has emerged as Amazon’s top choice to serve as the play-by-play voice of the late-week package. Per the report, Amazon also is interested in FOX’s Joe Buck and Ian Eagle of CBS.
Michaels could match or exceed the $18 million per year that Tony Romo gets from CBS, according to Marchand.
NBC, which at one point produced and broadcast a portion of the Thursday night package, is involved in the negotiations, and its top production people also could be part of a deal, as Amazon builds its Thursday night capacity from scratch.
For Michaels, there’s one important question, which he surely will ask (and probably already has): How many people will actually see the Thursday night games on Amazon? The games that aren’t simulcast by NFL Network will be available on broadcast TV only in the markets of the involved teams. There surely will be a difference, at least initially, when it comes to the ratings.
Of course, having a guy like Al Michaels could help keep that gap to a minimum, and to close it faster.
The compensation could supersede the reach, however. Besides, whatever the audience that Amazon eventually musters, it’s safe to say Amazon will do whatever it can to build the biggest possible platform for its games.
Amazon’s interest in Al Michaels raises another question. If they can land him for the Thursday games, could Amazon be the outlet that finally lures Peyton Manning into a broadcast booth? It’s believed that Michaels would be Manning’s first choice as a broadcast partner.
Michaels, a living legend in sports broadcasting, arrived at NBC with Sunday Night Football in 2006. He previously served as the play-by-play voice for ABC’s Monday Night Football. In February, he’ll call Super Bowl LVI from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.