2022 NFL Season Viewership: What Was the Impact of Thursday Night Football's Shift to Streaming?

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 8:33 AM CST

Video Advertising Bureau Examines the Data in New Report

NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2022 NFL season saw Thursday Night Football (TNF) shift from national TV to streaming, which was the first of an eleven-year exclusive national distribution deal for Amazon Prime Video. So far, how has this shift to streaming impacted NFL viewership? The Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) examines that question in-depth in a newly available report, What's the Spread? Understanding the Impact of Streaming Exclusively on NFL Viewership.

Download full report: https://thevab.com/insight/whats-the-spread-2022
Download full report: https://thevab.com/insight/whats-the-spread-2022(PRNewswire)

A key finding in the report: Thursday Night Football audiences were down significantly in 2022 after shifting exclusively to streaming, with average audience and weekly reach declining 37% and 49%, respectively, versus games in 2021 that were available across multiple major video platforms.

Among the report's additional findings—covering audience viewership, demographics and engagement— which are each elaborated upon with supporting data:

  • Amazon's streaming exclusivity garnered larger audiences than NFL Network-only games.
  • Amazon streaming delivered a higher average 18-to-34 audience in 2022 than the prior year.
  • TV networks drive much larger total audiences to their premier night game series.
  • NFL games available across broadcast and cable TV networks garner much higher reach.
  • A key benefit of in-app streaming TV is longer tune-in time versus other video platforms.
  • Streaming viewership is more likely to skew towards younger adults.
  • Many more people watch Spanish language game coverage from TV networks.

"A key implication for marketers is that streaming exclusivity of sports doesn't drive nearly the total audience of TV networks, who utilize their cross-platform access points including broadcast, cable and streaming," said Jason Wiese, SVP, Director of Strategic Insights, VAB. "While streaming's in-app audience can have longer tune-in times and skew towards younger adults, a multi-screen approach—encompassing both linear and streaming—typically delivers higher reach, a larger total audience and multicultural demographics in greater numbers."

Access the full report at https://thevab.com/insight/whats-the-spread-2022.


The Video Advertising Bureau (VAB)—whose members include the national TV networks alongside a broader community of influential media companies—is an insights-driven organization that inspires marketers to reimagine their media strategies resulting in smarter, more educated decisions. Visit VAB online and access its continuously growing content library at thevab.com.

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