Al Michaels will be the face of Amazon’s NFL coverage

Amazon.com Inc.

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said it has signed acclaimed broadcaster Al Michaels to anchor its coverage of “Thursday Night Football” on its Prime Video streaming platform, the latest move in a game of musical chairs among National Football League announcers.

Mr. Michaels, most recently the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” signed a three-year deal with Amazon,

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said a person familiar with the matter.

While Prime Video has streamed “Thursday Night Football” since 2019, it has been simulcasting Fox’s coverage corps

Fox and the NFL Network. Beginning this fall, Prime Video will be the exclusive national home for the Thursday games as part of its 11-year deal with the NFL. Fox Corp. and News Corp, the Wall Street Journal’s parent company, share common ownership.

“This is the new frontier in sports television and to be part of the launch at this point in my career is both exciting and stimulating,” Mr Michaels said in a statement on Wednesday.

Amazon also signed ESPN college football commentator Kirk Herbstreit to provide color commentary alongside Mr. Michaels.

Al Michaels at a Los Angeles Rams game against the Seattle Seahawks during the 2019 season in Los Angeles.


Photo:

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

77-year-old Mr. Michaels is the only announcer to announce the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Finals. He is also known for his famous “Do you believe in miracles” shout when the US hockey team stunned the Soviet Union during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY

Many high-profile NFL broadcasters have changed employers recently as television networks and streaming services seek to increase viewership and help recoup the significant investments they made to acquire NFL rights.

Last week, ESPN signed Fox broadcasters Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to host their TV show Monday Night Football. One on Tuesday, Comcast corps

NBC said NBC sports broadcaster Mike Tirico would call Sunday Night Football and take over Mr. Michaels.

Mr. Herbstreit, who will join Mr. Michaels at the Amazon booth, said in an interview that he will continue his role on ESPN on college football coverage, including appearing on the three-hour “Game Day” program and calling games on Saturday night. Mr Herbstreit’s contract with Amazon runs for five years, the person familiar with the matter said.

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Kirk Herbstreit during a game between the Louisville Cardinals and the University of Mississippi Rebels in Atlanta last September.


Photo:

Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Mr. Herbstreit said his first love remains college football, adding that even though it will mean a very heavy workload, sticking with his job at ESPN is crucial.

“I’ll be working seven days a week for four months,” he said of his dual duty.

Amazon said the executive producer of Prime Video coverage will be Fred Gaudelli, who called with Mr. Michaels on both “Sunday Night Football” and as Mr. Michaels “Monday Night Football” for ABC.

Mr Gaudelli will continue to serve as executive producer on Sunday Night Football, although his role will now be more advisory in vogue, an NBC Sports spokesman said. NBC Sports veteran Rob Hyland will helm the control room for “Sunday Night Football,” the announcer said.

Messrs. Michaels and Herbstreit have never worked together before and just recently met with Mr. Gaudelli on a Zoom video call to get acquainted, Mr. Herbstreit said. It may take a few games to develop an on-air relationship with Mr. Michaels, Mr. Herbstreit said, but he’s confident the two will find their groove.

“It’s going to take time to develop,” said Mr. Herbstreit, adding that he will follow Mr. Michael’s example when announcing a game, rather than trying to overpower the coverage with so-called hot takes. “I tend to air on the side to give room for the play-by-play type.”

write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

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