About a month ago I got a call from someone who has worked in sports media for decades who wanted to plant the seed that the NFL was going to give Peacock a much-desired Kansas City Chiefs playoff game—a big score given they are defending Super Bowl champions, have the league’s most recognizable player and now includes a sizable Swiftie audience.  Lo and behold, that materialized yesterday, despite my initial skepticism.

While many are now freaking out about the idea of a streaming game on Peacock, a streaming service that only had one exclusive NFL game all season, the move was announced this past May. We surmised then it was born out of a phone conversation between Comcast CEO Brian Roberts (who had some leverage over the NFL due to NFL Network going dark on Comcast days after the draft) and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.  A summary of what we saw happen here this past spring:

The reported price tag Comcast paid for the Peacock exclusive was $110 million.

I think many including myself believed that since Peacock was a streaming service, we’d likely see their playoff game be one of the lesser draws of Wild Card weekend in terms of game quality. Basically in the scheduling pecking order, they would be a lower priority of all the networks. That’s why the call to me suggesting the Chiefs were penciled into Peacock was a bit of a surprise.

The thinking the person who called me shared was that if the NFL is going to auction off one playoff game a year, wouldn’t they want the first streaming playoff game to be a big game that drove higher ratings and a sizable amount of signups and downloads for that streaming service? A higher-quality game would ensure that the price of next year’s auction would be north of $110 million.

The latest round of television contracts all go through the 2033 season, meaning there is no real incentive to keep quality games exclusively with the TV networks versus prioritizing a streamer.  The idea there is that if you auction off a game every year and ensure it’s a good game with national relevance, perhaps you can drive the price up to where by 2034, the streaming exclusive could be over $200 million.

So that explains why the Chiefs vs. the fun and Hard Knocks-featured Dolphins is on Peacock. Money, obviously.

But here is the shocking news for you….. Very soon, there may be two playoff games that are streaming exclusives.

If you follow sports media, you know that reporter John Ourand is as plugged in as anyone in this space. Every year he puts out a list of sports media predictions for the new year. It’s must-read content for anyone who follows this space closely. Below is this nugget from his 2024 predictions which were posted today.

Amazon lands an NFL playoff game in 2025

Amazon ponies up $125 million for exclusive access to an NFL wild-card playoff game next season. For the second year in a row, NBC’s Peacock streaming service also will carry an NFL wild-card playoff game exclusively.”


Up until May, the knowledge that a playoff game was available to be auctioned off was a bit of a secret as it was somewhat assumed that all playoff games were accounted for in the latest round of television deals done with NBC, CBS, ESPN, and Fox in 2021, which run through 2033. So this week’s Peacock exclusive was a bit of a jolt when announced. And now word from Ourand to strap in because a second game is in the works?

Now, whether this second streaming exclusive game comes to fruition next year or not really doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that Ourand, who again is the most plugged into this stuff as anyone, is aware that the league somehow has a second game available. That could either be to auction off to a streamer or maybe perhaps it’s included in the television contract that TV networks have the ability to “upgrade” the game to streaming-only if they pay extra. It’s really unclear, as the WSJ’s May writeup of the streaming playoff game explained it like this:

“Typically, playoff games are part of the contracts that rights holders sign. When the NFL signed new television deals in 2021, it kept a playoff game unattached to sell on a stand-alone basis.”

So it’s not really clear how and where a second streaming playoff game is coming from. But Ourand predicted it, which means it’s plausible and probably likely to happen. If not this year, then sometime in the years to come after.

I guess the “good” news here is that Ourand predicts that Amazon will eventually get this second game, which honestly would be a lot more palatable versus it being Peacock, Paramount+, or ESPN+.  There are an estimated over 160 million Amazon Prime subscribers in the US, although many of those probably don’t use the video product. But fans are at this point, pretty used to using the service to watch Thursday Night Football, so an extra playoff game is inconvenient to many fewer NFL fans as opposed to a lesser-distributed service that many fans may not have signed up for, downloaded, or know how to use.


But that’s the scary thing. Given that Ourand is hinting that games are magically going to transition to streaming, it’s not hard to think of a future where your cable package gets you most of the playoff games, but then you need to have three to four streaming services to make sure you get all of the playoff games. That’s unfortunately where the money is.

And that’s what these companies believe will drive their stock prices higher. (Another one of Ourand’s predictions was that the NBA would soon also be joining the streaming exclusive playoff party) As always, sports TV deals are a business where sports fans are often held hostage. And more often than not, we end up paying the ransom.


About Ben Koo

Owner and editor of @AwfulAnnouncing. Recovering Silicon Valley startup guy. Fan of Buckeyes, A's, dogs, naps, tacos. and the old AOL dialup sounds