While NFL games consistently dominate cable TV ratings, the league is taking another major step to acknowledge the changing preferences of viewers by offering a playoff game next season exclusively on a digital platform.
The NFL announced Monday that NBCUniversal has earned the rights to air a wild card weekend playoff game exclusively on its Peacock streaming service. It marks the first time an NFL postseason matchup will be available to consumers digitally rather than on a national broadcast or cable network.
The Peacock exclusive game — which NBC reportedly paid $100 million for — will air on Saturday, Jan. 13, at either 8:15 or 8:30 p.m. ET. It will still be broadcast on NBC stations in the markets of the two competing teams, but viewers outside those markets will have to subscribe to Peacock if they want to watch. The game will also be available digitally for subscribers of NFL+.
"We are thrilled to partner with the NFL on this industry milestone, bringing to Peacock the first ever exclusively live streamed NFL Playoff game," NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement. "With America’s No. 1 primetime show for a record 12 consecutive years, the terrific regular season SNF (Sunday Night Football) schedule revealed last week, and today’s announcement, we can’t wait for the 2023 season to kick off."
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The NFL's collaboration with NBC signifies another big step by the league to leverage the power of digital platforms and extend its reach to a wider audience. Amazon Prime Video had exclusive broadcast rights to all "Thursday Night Football" games last season. ESPN+ has aired one international NFL game each of the last two seasons.
Peacock will also be the exclusive home on an NFL regular season game for the first time this year, as the Buffalo Bills will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers in a prime-time matchup between two heavyweight offenses on Saturday, Dec. 23.
"As Peacock continues to grow, nothing says ‘must-have’ programming more than live NFL games," said Kelly Campbell, President, Peacock and Direct to Consumer, NBCUniversal. "With the first-ever exclusive live streamed NFL Playoff game and our first exclusive regular season game, plus the entire season of Sunday Night Football and Football Night in America, and the Peacock Sunday Night Football Final postgame show, fans can stream the best of the NFL on Peacock all season long."
With two Saturday playoff games and one Sunday match, NBCUniversal will be the first media company to broadcast three NFL playoff games in a single weekend.
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