Peacock Scores With Historic NFL Wild Card Playoff Game, Despite Brutal Conditions

NEWS ANALYSIS — Peacock’s distribution of the first-ever streaming-only NFL Super Wild Card Playoff Game on Jan. 13 between host (and reigning Super Bowl champion) Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium was the fourth-coldest NFL game in history and a blowout 26-7 win for the home team.

It was also a win for Peacock.

With Peacock paying a reported $110 million to the NFL for the rights (similar to Prime Video’s $100 million first-ever NFL Black Friday game last November), the streamer is expected to report record viewership despite reported technical issues affecting some viewers around the country.

U.S. Rep. Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.)

Some viewers went to social media to complain about buffering and audio issues with the Peacock app, not unexpected when local ISP networks are inundated by excessive demand.

There were no TV streaming issues for this reporter, who appreciated being able to stop the live broadcast, rewind to previous plays, or to key highlight links selected by Peacock as the game transpired.

Speaking earlier this week on a media call, Rick Cordella, president of NBC Sports, said Peacock is not unfamiliar with streaming NBC Sports live events such as the Super Bowl, World Cup soccer, the Olympics, WrestleMania, Premier League soccer, in addition to “Sunday Night Football.”

In fact, with the exception of Cris Collinsworth’s absence in the broadcast booth, the entire “Sunday Night Football” team was in place for the Peacock event.

“This is not new territory for us, and I have confidence that our product and tech teams will deliver a great experience for the viewers Saturday evening,” Cordella said.

That didn’t stop U.S. House Rep. Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.) from blasting the NFL and NBC for what he said was a “greedy bait-and-switch scheme” that forced millions of fans to pay for “yet another streaming service” to watch a key playoff game.

In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Cordella, Ryan demanded the game be made available on broadcast television (it was available on linear TV in local Kansas City and Miami markets), and pushed for Congress to review professional sports leagues’ long-standing antitrust exemption for broadcast agreements.

“It is absolutely ridiculous that my constituents, who already pay for NBC, have to pay even more to watch this game,” Ryan wrote in a press release. “How much more profit do Roger Goodell and NBC need to make at the expense of hard working Americans before they are satisfied?”

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The politician said he is demanding the NFL and NBC stop “the BS” and offer all games to viewers who already pay for access, or Congress would re-examine the league’s antitrust exemption.

“The NFL raked in $12 billion in 2022; NBCUniversal made almost $40 billion,” Ryan wrote. “They now have a choice, either fix this problem, or we’ll fix it for them.”

Minus-5 Degrees Temperature Forecast For Exclusive Peacock Streaming Chiefs vs. Dolphins Wild Card Playoff Game

With NBCUniversal’s Peacock subscription streaming service set to make history Jan. 13 exclusively streaming a NFL Super Wild Card Playoff Game, the bigger issue is whether the game between the host Kansas City Chiefs and visiting Miami Dolphins might be postponed due to weather concerns.

Current gametime forecast indicates -5 degrees at the 8 p.m. (ET) kickoff, dropping to -8 degrees at the conclusion. Whether the game is played as scheduled remains uncertain.

That’s because earlier today, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the scheduled Sunday playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers had been postponed until Monday, Jan. 15 due to weather concerns. Western New York is projected to be hit with a winter storm around 6 p.m. Saturday.

“I’ve been in communication with the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the dangerous conditions in Buffalo this weekend. In consultation with our emergency response teams, the game will be postponed until 4:30 p.m. Monday,” Hochul wrote on X (formerly Twitter) social media platform.

The coldest recorded NFL game was the 1967 NFL Championship, dubbed the Ice Bowl, which was played at -13 degrees  with -48 degrees windchill on Dec. 31 between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys on Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

The Chiefs – Dolphins game will be televised locally only in Kansas City and Miami markets on NBC affiliates.

Peacock Gets Rights to First-Ever Live-Streamed NFL Playoff Game on Jan. 13, 2024

Peacock May 15 announced it would become the SVOD destination for the first-ever exclusive live-streamed NFL Playoff game in primetime on Jan. 13, 2024. The Wild Card game will immediately follow a late afternoon NFL Wild Card Playoff game on NBC and Peacock.

Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports, hailed the streaming industry milestone, saying the addition of over-the-top video distribution would further cement NBC’s legacy for “Sunday Night Football” as the No. 1 primetime show for a record 12 consecutive years.

“Expanding the digital distribution of NFL content while maintaining wide reach for our games continues to be a key priority for the league,” Bevacqua said.

With the two Saturday NFL Wild Card games and a Sunday primetime NFL Wild Card game (on NBC and Peacock), NBCUniversal will be the first media company to offer three NFL Playoff games in a single weekend.

This season, Peacock will be the exclusive home of the regular NFL regular season game on Dec. 23 between the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Peacock regular-season game immediately follows a special “SNF” Saturday afternoon game (Bengals vs. Steelers) on NBC and Peacock.

The Peacock exclusive Wild Card game and regular season game will be broadcast on NBC stations in the two competing team cities, and will be available on mobile devices with NFL+. The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets.

Peacock will once again stream all NBC “Sunday Night Football” games, including the playoffs, and the “Football Night in America” studio show. The exclusive “Peacock Sunday Night Football Final” returns with expanded postgame coverage following “SNF” each week.

“As Peacock continues to grow, nothing says ‘must-have’ programming more than live NFL games,” Kelly Campbell, president of Peacock and direct to consumer at NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

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CBS: 50 Million Watched Chaotic 49ers, Cowboys NFL Wild Card Game Ending

The NFL playoff game between longtime rivals the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys was watched by more than 41 million people — the highest audience for a wild card contest in seven years, according to CBS.

Driving viewership in part was the chaotic fourth quarter that saw the Cowboys battle back from a 23-7 deficit with a chance to take the lead with just minutes remaining. A slew of penalties and mistakes by both teams resulted in time running out for the Cowboys deep in 49ers territory.

CBS said 50 million people watched the ending of the game that sends San Francisco to Green Bay, Wisc., to the play the Packers on Jan. 22.

The NFL postseason remains a ratings giant, with the weekend’s other games drawing big numbers. More than 26 million people watched the Buffalo Bills easily beat the New England Patriots 47-17. The game was also streamed on Paramount+.

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The Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles generated more than 30 million viewers, while the Cincinnati Bengals’ win over the Las Vegas Raiders generated almost 28 million viewers on NBC and Peacock. The platforms combined for more than 28 million viewers of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs game won by KC.