Here’s Why Tonight’s Chiefs-Dolphins Playoff Game Is Only On Peacock—An NFL First


Topline

Tonight’s Wild Card matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins will broadcast exclusively on Peacock outside of the Kansas City and Miami markets, making it the first-ever NFL playoff game to be broadcast only on a streaming service—the product of NBCUniversal’s big bet on the game as a potential gateway to more Peacock subscribers.

Key Facts

NBCUniversal has envisioned sports as a key to growing out its Peacock streaming service, which at 30 million subscribers remains a relatively small player in the streaming wars.

In May, NBCUniversal announced a deal with the NFL to stream one playoff game this season, which was valued at $110 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

It wasn’t the only NFL gamble NBCUniversal made this year—the company also broadcast last month’s Bills-Chargers game commercial-free in the fourth quarter on Peacock, and plans to do the same with tonight’s playoff game—sacrificing substantial ad revenue in hopes of offering a premier sports experience that might draw in Peacock subscribers.

The Peacock website is advertising “the first-ever exclusively streamed NFL playoff game” and offering a deal to save 50% on one year of Peacock.

The streaming service currently offers NFL, Big Ten college football, WWE, rugby, soccer and golf programming.

Contra

So far, there hasn’t been much enthusiasm for the Peacock arrangement, with NFL fans flocking to social media to complain. Even Chiefs defensive end Charles Omenihu weighed in on X, formerly known as Twitter, griping “us playing on peacock ONLY is insane I won’t lie.” He later offered to buy 90 Chiefs fans three-month Peacock subscriptions. The decision has even gotten some attention from politicians, with Rep. Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.) calling the arrangement “bait-and-switch BS.”

Crucial Quote

“Look, I think any time there’s change there will be people that talk about it,” NBC Sports president Rick Cordella told the New York Post about the reaction.

Key Background

The game comes as many sports organizations explore new arrangements with streaming platforms. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred recently reiterated that the league sees streaming as a major part of the sport’s future. The NFL took its first foray into streaming in 2016, when Thursday Night Football games were streamed live on Twitter, in addition to being broadcast on NFL Network. Games started being simulcast on Amazon Prime Video the next year, and Amazon took over as the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football in 2022.

Big Number

28.4 million. That’s how many viewers, on average, tuned into any of last year’s six NFL Wild Card games, when they were broadcast on traditional cable platforms nationwide.

Tangent

NBCUniversal might be able to capitalize on the continued mania around Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift’s high-profile relationship. There’s been no word on whether Swift will attend tonight’s game, but she’s been at five of the last six games.

What To Watch For

The Chiefs and Dolphins kick off at 8 p.m. EST. Tonight’s playoff game will still be simulcast on local television in the Miami and Kansas City areas in accordance with NFL rules.

Further Reading

MORE FROM FORBESPeacock Exclusively Has The Dolphins-Chiefs Game, And Streaming Of NFL Games Is ‘Here To Stay’
MORE FROM FORBESBills-Steelers Playoff Game Postponed Due To Snow Storm





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