The National Football League (NFL) is making another historic foray into streaming by moving one of its championship games to a digital platform.
On Monday, the league and NBCUniversal made public that the Saturday night video game during wild card weekend will be shown on Peacock.
On Wednesday, January 13th, the Peacock’s special video game would kick off at around 8:15 or 8:30 p.m. EST. NBC stations in the two organisations’ local markets will air the video game. It will also be accessible on mobile devices via the NFL+ package. Before that, at 4:30 p.m. EST, NBC and Peacock will broadcast the final game.
The monthly cost of a Peacock membership begins at $4.99.
We’re ready for live sports at scale thanks to the digital channels, which we tested out during our first season with Amazon (last year). Hans Schroeder, executive vice president of the NFL and chief operating officer of NFL Media, said, “And the next step is to enter the postseason.” We think Peacock and NBC have put up a solid plan. In this scenario, we anticipated a greater audience and focused on maximising our exposure across all channels.
The league has dabbled in streaming for about a year, but in the past couple of seasons, it has really gone all in. Even though ESPN has aired one international game every season on ESPN+ since 2021, Amazon Prime Video became the exclusive home of “Thursday Night Football” last season.
Peacock has a unique regular-season video game because of the NFL’s 11-year relationship with NBCUniversal, which began with this season. The Buffalo Bills will face the Los Angeles Chargers on primetime television on December 23. That will follow NBC’s broadcast of the Bengals against. Steelers.
Upon the release of the regular season schedule, NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said, “We invested a lot of time with the NFL and had productive conferences about the appropriate positioning of that (Peacock) video game.” We think it would be a great way to leverage NBC’s reach with a late afternoon game while also attracting viewers to Peacock for a special regular season matchup.
Over 20 million people have watched the Saturday night wild-card game over the past two seasons. The Buffalo-New England game from last season evened out at $26.4 million, while the Jacksonville Jaguars-Los Angeles Chargers matchup tallied $20.6 million.
Whether or if Peacock can get similar results is uncertain. The 15 games scheduled for last season’s Thursday nights on Prime Video averaged 9.58 million viewers (per Nielsen) and 11.3 million viewers (by Amazon’s own first-party measurement). The first game between Kansas City and the Chargers was the most viewed of the season. Amazon reported 15.3 million, while Nielsen estimated 13 million.
For the first time ever, a single playoff weekend will include three games on a single network, and all three will be broadcast on NBC.
On January 14, in addition to the earlier games on Fox and CBS, NBC will air the Sunday night prime time game. The opening weekend concludes on January 15 with a video game broadcast on ESPN on Monday night. The NFL’s wild-card games will be spread out across three days for the third year in a row.
Each of the four broadcast partners of the NFL (NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN/ABC) is guaranteed at least one wild-card video game every season. Each year, one of the two remaining games will be shown by a different network (NBC, CBS, or Fox), while the other game will likely be put up for bid. That raises the possibility that Amazon or ESPN+ may compete for the rights to broadcast a future video game in the postseason.