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Amazon’s first-ever exclusive NFL broadcast on Thursday checked all the boxes of a typical televised football game: pre-game and halftime studio shows, Al Michaels’ iconic voice in the announcement booth, and even new and undeniably humable ones. theme music.
But a key piece was missing. Due to Amazon’s ban on ads promoting wine, beer, and spirits in the US, the TNF broadcast came without the typical deluge of Bud Light and Michelob Ultra commercials — presumably prompting pint-sized football fanatics around the world to ask. : wazuuup with this broadcast?
A ban on beer (ads)
Beer commercials and NFL broadcasts go together like beer and pretzels. Or beer and cheese. Or beer and bratwurst. Or well, you get the idea. But across all of its industries, Amazon dictates “Ad content should not encourage, glorify, or portray excessive alcohol consumption,” according to its advertising guidelines.
The omission of the well-known commercials did not affect the success of the broadcast. The game attracted 13 million viewers, according to data from Nielsen, and Amazon says an additional 2.3 million viewers watched the simulcast on Twitch, the popular streaming service it owns (the game was available for free on both platforms). That’s slightly less than the 16.4 million average audience size of last year’s TNF games, which were broadcast simultaneously by the Fox broadcast network and the NFL network. Still, Amazon misses out on the huge amounts of money typically paid by beer advertisers — which may be a bitter IPA-esque gulp to swallow given the exorbitant amounts it paid for NFL rights:
- Beer companies have spent $60 million on TV commercials in the past two weeks, nearly 70% of them during NFL broadcasts, according to measurement company iSpot.tv. The NFL does retain direct control over a small number of ads sold during games, meaning beer ads be able to may technically appear.
- Amazon is reportedly shelling out about $1.2 billion a season in its 11-year deal with the NFL, which began this year. The e-commerce company has promised advertisers 12.6 million viewers per game, The Wall Street Journal reportsand compares the slight drop in ratings to when the NFL first switched to cable with ESPN in 1987.
Designated ad driver: Despite Thursday night football, get ready for more alcohol promos almost everywhere else. Drizly, the alcohol delivery service that Uber bought for $1.1 billion last year, is the latest retail brand to launch an internal advertising network. The aptly named Drizly ads will focus on a highly targeted and data-driven approach for marketers, likely omitting the typical brand awareness campaigns of alcohol companies. In other words, expect even more hard seltzer and canned cocktail brands to bubble up into the mainstream.