There are still going to be complaints about a streaming-exclusive NFL playoff game next season, but they’ll be directed at a new service. Joe Flint of The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the game that streamed exclusively on NBCUniversal’s Peacock this season is heading to Amazon’s Prime Video service next year:
— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) February 9, 2024
The price Amazon is paying for this is not yet clear. Peacock reportedly paid around $110 million for the Wild Card game they streamed this past season. But they also struck a related deal for a regular-season game. And their deal came around the same time as a deal their parent company Comcast struck (with personal involvement from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell) to bring NFL Network and NFL RedZone back, so there are potential complicating factors. Still, Peacock’s game here drew strong numbers for audience and reported signups, so it seems likely the NFL got a good price for this, especially with it switching streaming services.
There was a lot of backlash towards the idea of a streaming-only playoff game this season, from media pundits (some of them on outlets requiring a traditional bundle subscription or a subscription of another kind, both of which are much more expensive than a month of Peacock) to fans. We’ll see if that continues with this game now on Prime Video.
Amazon does have a larger base of subscribers (an estimated 180 million or so in the U.S.) versus Peacock (31 million at the end of 2023). And they have a larger week-in and week-out NFL connection; yes, Peacock does stream Sunday Night Football, but that’s a non-exclusive broadcast also accessible on NBC via antenna or MVPD bundle, while Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football is an exclusive outside of the teams’ home markets. So a lot of NFL fans will already have Prime Video and be able to access this. Still, the monthly cost ($14.99 a month) is much higher than Peacock’s ($5.99). So we’ll see what level of backlash arises to this.