Thanksgiving is known as an NFL holiday, but now the day after Thanksgiving may also be owned by the NFL as well.
According to NBC Sports' Peter King, Amazon is pushing the NFL to schedule a game on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day of the year. This was made possible by a resolution reportedly passed by team owners, giving "the NFL permission to schedule two more teams for a second short-week game." And Amazon wants that game.
Amazon has become part of the NFL family in a big way, as they'll be the sole broadcaster of Thursday Night Football games starting in the 2022 season.
Why does Amazon want a Black Friday game?
While Black Friday used to be an outside shopping event, people have increasingly been doing their Black Friday shopping online. They can avoid the crowds and the risk of COVID and get everything done from the comfort of their couch. With so many people doing their shopping on Amazon, the chance for targeted advertising could turn that game into a financial juggernaut for Amazon. Plus, a Black Friday game is a brand new thing, and it would belong solely to Amazon.
Plus, according to King, the NFL wants its partnership with Amazon to succeed — especially since the online retailer has such "deep pockets." On top of the Thursday night broadcasting rights they're paying for, Amazon is now offering a reported $80 to $100 million for the Black Friday game, equivalent to what networks pay for a wild-card game.
Why a Black Friday game might not be a great idea
Another non-Sunday game just further cannibalizes the NFL's actual product: Sunday afternoon football. Thanksgiving week is already a mess from that point of view, and moving yet another game from the Sunday slate could make for a very weak afternoon of matchups. With so many national games scheduled that weekend, Amazon's game could have a decent chance of being a dud. Plus, since the NFL can't schedule night games on Friday or Saturday until mid-December, the Black Friday game would be at an awkward and inconvenient time.
There's also a significant conflict if the Amazon Black Friday game starts in 2022: the World Cup. The USMNT will be facing England in the afternoon on Black Friday, which is shaping up to be a huge TV event. Between that and the Friday/Saturday night game restriction, 2022 seems like an awful year to start this new "tradition."
King reported that not everyone within the NFL is thrilled about a Black Friday game, enough so that they might be willing to "turn down a $2-million-plus-per-team found-money windfall." Despite that, King also reported that the game is likely to happen — if not in 2022, then in 2023.