Amazon secured the rights earlier this year to exclusively broadcast “Thursday Night Football” games beginning in 2022, and the streaming juggernaut is now aiming to make a huge hire in the play-by-play department.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Al Michaels is Amazon’s top choice to call “Thursday Night Football” when its exclusive package begins. NBC has been a part of the discussions and could include some of its top production people as part of a potential deal.
Amazon also has interest in FOX’s Joe Buck and CBS’ Ian Eagle, but Marchand reports that Michaels is currently the focus.
Michaels is entering the final year of his deal with NBC. Any potential deal with Amazon will not impact his work with NBC this season, which will conclude with Michaels calling the Super Bowl in his hometown of Los Angeles. It’s possible that Michaels could join Amazon in 2022 and also remain with NBC in a lesser role.
To be clear, the negotiations are not about Amazon poaching Michaels away from NBC. The network has also been involved in the discussions and could become part of the deal.
NBC hired Mike Tirico several years ago as an eventual replacement for Michaels. Tirico has already called some games in place of Michaels alongside Cris Collinsworth. NBC also hired Drew Brees, and there has been speculation that he could take over Collinsworth’s job at some point.
Michaels, 76, would command a massive salary wherever he goes. Amazon will likely face some competition, as we know at least one other major TV network has pursued Michaels in recent years.