If you were watching the Miami vs. Buffalo game last night on NBC, not only were you being swamped with Summer 2024 Olympics promotional ads (in January), you were being told that one of the 2024 Wildcard NFL Playoff games was being moved to Peacock exclusively. That’s right, for the first time, an NFL playoff game will be available exclusively on a streaming service.
The Chiefs-Dolphins game, a rematch of a Week 9 contest that Kansas City won, will be the first playoff game in NFL history to air exclusively on a streaming network. Is this a coincidence that the Chiefs game was chosen? Does a certain pop star attending this game have anything to do with it? But I digress.
As expected, next weekend’s Jan. 13 Wild Card matchup is already being met with angry fans on social media, cursing Roger Goodell, and swearing that they will not be downloading another streaming service just to watch one more stupid football game. Sadly, we know that fans are all talk, and the NFL knows it too.
The league already tested this concept on Dec 23rd when you could only watch the Buffalo vs. LA Chargers game on Peacock. Fans swore they would never spend $5.99 to watch Buffalo beat the LA Team that was only 5-9. So how did a game that “no one was going watch” average 7.3 million viewers? How did this same game that “no one was going to watch” average 8.4 million during the league’s first-ever commercial-free fourth quarter? This game that “no one was going to watch” ended up being the most-watched program on that day!! Talk is cheap NFL fans because the NFL won again that day.
The viewership reflects an upward trend in the popularity of streaming live sports. Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football averaged 11.86 million viewers in 2023. That’s up 24% from 2021 (9.58 million) — largely thanks to a much better schedule than previous years but that is still a high increase in viewership.
So, for all you NFL fans who are complaining today and swearing you won’t subscribe to a new streaming service, just stop. You might not subscribe today or even tomorrow – but the numbers don’t lie, and this game will more than likely make history as the most-watched sporting event on a streaming service. I for one, am excited to find out!
Written by Account Manager, Jennifer Pupshis