Next season fans of “” will hear one of the most recognizable voices in televised sports calling the games for a sizable upstart in hopes of gaining some new yards on his game.
Michaels, who has provided play-by-play templates for ‘Monday Night Football’ and ‘Sunday Night Football’ since 1986, will lead a new effort from Amazon Prime Video, which has secured exclusive rights to stream ‘Thursday Night Football’ of the NFL. in autumn. Starting Thursday, September 15, Michaels will team up with analyst Kirk Herbstreit, known for his college football prowess at ESPN, to lead game coverage as Amazon becomes a bigger player in TV sports rights — which have largely been the domain of traditional broadcasters. . They will be part of a team that also includes veteran “Sunday Night Football” producer Fred Gaudelli who will remain a member of NBC Sports’ management team. NBC collaborates with Amazon in its production.
Amazon took control of “Thursday Night Football” after signing an 11-year contract with the NFL in 2021. Indeed, Fox ceded control of the games a season earlier than expected in a bid to focus more intensely on their Sunday games. The e-commerce giant hopes to use its interactive technology and acumen for streaming video to test new ways of presenting and distributing sports programming, while adding things like pre-game programming and more.
“Al and Kirk bring an unparalleled experience to our historic new ‘Thursday Night Football’ game broadcasts as we launch our groundbreaking new agreement with the NFL,” said Marie Donoghue, vice president, Global Sports Video, Amazon, in a statement. “Having these two legends on the stand, along with the top game producer in the business, Fred Gaudelli, will help make Thursday night the most exciting football night of the week.”
Amazon’s move to enlist Michaels and Herbstreit is the latest in a series of moves by the nation’s biggest TV outlets to up their game after paying steep new fees to maintain ties with the NFL. NBC Sports said Tuesday that Mike Tirico will take over from Michaels on its “Sunday Night Football” booth, and ESPN raided Fox Sports for its longtime team of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck.
Amazon’s deal requires it to air 15 regular-season games and one pre-season game each year, and it’s committed to creating new pre-game, halftime and after-game shows. post-game as well as interactive features and fan experiences.
Michaels will take to Amazon to kick off his 37th season as the NFL’s play-by-play announcer. In February, he called his 11th Super Bowl, which is a record for television commentators. Herbstreit has served as ESPN’s senior college football analyst since 1996.
“This is the new frontier of sports television and being part of the launch at this point in my career is both exciting and empowering,” Michaels said in a statement. “The NFL is the king of unscripted television and I can’t wait to join Kirk in bringing fans more dramatic episodes on Thursday nights this fall.”