KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Gee & Ursula: How Amazon’s Black Friday Football will change consumerism

Nov 29, 2023, 9:21 AM

amazon black friday nfl...

Thursday Night Football trucks are seen with Amazon Prime signage prior to a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 22, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo: Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

(Photo: Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

In just its second season of licensing the exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football, Amazon debuted a Black Friday NFL game during the holiday — which became little more than a backdrop for the online retailer to bombard audiences with in-game shopping features, QR codes and advertisements galore.

The total viewership for the Friday game has yet to be released, but Amazon and the NFL are already discussing the idea of making this a permanent fixture in the NFL season.

“When we talked with the NFL, this is a perfect marriage. Black Friday is a huge event for us every year. We’re really putting everything behind this,” Prime Video Vice President Jay Marine said, according to The Associated Press.

More on Cyber Monday: Study reveals Cyber Monday dwarfs Black Friday shopping this holiday season

“Black Friday Football offers” flooded TV screens with scannable QR codes that send its audience to Amazon or other third-party websites. There was also an alternative to QR codes via a Fire TV Stick — an Amazon remote device — that, with a press of a button would create an email from Amazon about an ad.

For example, according to Ad Age, Amazon used three different Bose ads with its own technology. The first advertisement was for non-Prime members, while the other two Bose featured different products and were only shown to Prime members based on their Amazon Prime search history. These targeted ads were also immediately shoppable, meaning viewers can watch the commercial, place the product in their cart with the click of a button and checkout without ever leaving the broadcast.

“My wife decided we’re going to get all of our Christmas shopping done the day after Thanksgiving this year,” Andrew “Chef” Lanier, producer of The Gee and Ursula Show, said. “I ordered things. She ordered things. And on Cyber Monday, 26 different items arrived at my house. There was a stack of packages taller than me. I’ve never seen this amount of packages in my life. It was embarrassing. Like, if my neighbors are walking by and looking at my front porch, ‘Oh, hey, look at the consumer man.'”

“You know Amazon is winning when the majority of people that can’t stand Amazon still use its platform,” Gee Scott, co-host of The Gee and Ursula Show, said, referring to Lanier. “That is crazy to me.”

Using this advertising technology, companies paid nearly double for a 30-second ad spot. While a regular 30-second ad on TNF with Amazon costs $440,000, this Black Friday game cost companies $880,000 per 30 seconds.

So the question stands: Is this the future of how sports will be watched?

“It doesn’t matter if Amazon gets to the point where it is good for the viewer. Thursday night? We got that. And by the way, we’re going to get Black Friday,” Gee said. “And by the way, every time you buy something on Amazon before Black Friday, you get a reminder of Black Friday. I did not hear of anyone that I knew going out on Black Friday to go buy something at 10 o’clock at night, 11 o’clock at night.”

Thursday Night Football games have averaged 12.3 million viewers since joining Amazon, with the top four most-watched games all coming this season. Alongside this success, Cyber Monday remained the biggest day of the holiday shopping season in 2023, totaling $12 billion in online spending, up 6.1% from last year, according to Statista. As Amazon’s Marine said, it’s “a perfect marriage” for consumerism.

More from Gee and Ursula: KIRO Newsradio hosts: Black Friday isn’t what it was

“I got to be around my son and his friends and seeing what they do, and all you video game folks, it was unbelievable,” Gee said. “Folks are now playing video games while having the picture-in-picture at the top of shows and things that they want to watch. So you’re playing video games, but at the top right corner, there’s a little screen of whatever show you want to watch. The way youngsters are consuming entertainment is so much different than you and I, Ursula. I can’t watch a TV show and play a video game at the same time. My brain doesn’t work that way.”

“That’s just contributing to this whole attention deficit situation,” Ursula Reutin, co-host of The Gee and Ursula Show, said. “And the multitasking element of it, who’s doing it better than Amazon of multitasking by shopping while watching a game?”

“Mindless purchasing,” Lanier added.

As the viewing public weighs the pros and cons of this revolutionized way of broadcasting sporting events and other forms of entertainment, NFL insider for ESPN Andrew Brandt believes this fixture is here to stay.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

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Gee & Ursula: How Amazon’s Black Friday Football will change consumerism