Amazon’s Thursday night games will have Nielsen ratings

Amazon is telling sponsors that it expects to have 12.5 million viewers for Thursday Night Football in 2022. Whatever the real numbers are, everyone will know them — thanks to the folks at Nielsen.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that the TNF games will have Nielsen ratings for the next three seasons. It’s the first time Nielsen’s viewership measurement system will include a streaming service.

This introduces real transparency into the process, something that streaming companies have mostly resisted. As Ourand notes, they usually don’t share specific viewing information with advertisers. When they do, there’s no way to prove that the numbers are accurate.

Nielsen will provide viewership data for pregame, in-game, and post-game programming on Amazon Prime, Twitch, and the local broadcast channels that will carry each games on an over-the-air basis, in the two markets of the participating teams.

One industry executive with extensive knowledge of viewing habits predicts that, for the best games on the slate, Amazon’s average-minute audience will land in the range of 5-7 million.

The Nielsen numbers will debut next Thursday night, when Amazon gets a preseason test drive for the game between the 49ers and Texans. Those numbers will undoubtedly be far lower than the Week Two debut in 30 days, when the Chargers play the Chiefs.