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The NFL is Ready to Claim Black Friday

The NFL can dominate any day on the calendar that it chooses. And the league knows it.

The NBA stopped playing Thanksgiving games in 2005. This year, it paused Thursday Night primetime matchups on TNT until the NFL is done with Thursday Night Football.

This is common practice among pro sports leagues. Go up against the NFL and you will always lose. The NFL knows it, too. It is going to own the night — no matter what night that is.

And beginning in 2023, the NFL will add another day to its schedule, airing a Black Friday game exclusively on Amazon Prime.

“Amazon is uniquely positioned to partner with us for this game as Black Friday is one of the most important days of the year for their business,”  said Hans Schroeder, chief operating officer for NFL Media.

Schroeder added that the NFL can build momentum from Thanksgiving success along with TNF’s success on Prime Video.

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It’s an oddity for a couple reasons. Historically speaking, the NFL has only sporadically held Friday games. It hosted a Friday Christmas game during the COVID season in 2020 — the first Friday game since 2010. Furthermore, their big day is Thanksgiving. This will add a ninth window of games during a jam-packed week for football.

“Black Friday is the unofficial start of the holiday season, and we’re thrilled to kick it off with a gift for football fans across the country with this new game,” said Jay Marine, Global Head of Sports, Prime Video.

It makes too much sense, and there’s little reason for them to worry about any conflict in viewership. The league is boasting “America’s Game of the Week”  as the No. 1 show on television with an average of 22,463,000 viewers. Sports. Shows. Movies. Whatever it may be, television competitors simply cannot keep up with the NFL.

That Vikings-Saints game from Christmas Day averaged a Nielsen-estimated 20.1 million viewers across FOX and NFL Network. The NBA played the same day, and garnered slightly more than 7 million fans to watch the defending NBA champions Lakers face the Mavericks. Furthermore, they’ve expanded to Christmas Day with three games and they’ll host a playoff game on Martin Luther King Day — two days the NBA has owned completely.

Black Friday has historically been the domain of college football, airing a full slate of games on television each year. This year, ABC will show the Florida-Florida State rivalry game in primetime. NFL schedule-makers also added a primetime game for Jan. 2, the same day college football will host its traditional New Year’s bowl games. It pushed the Sugar Bowl out of its normal slot, typically right after the Rose Bowl.

During a Fall League Meeting in October, Commissioner Roger Goodell said there was no commitment to Friday games beyond 2023, but the league doesn’t typically “do things for one year.”

Expect them own Black Friday now, too.

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