Tyreek Hill Dolphins Peacock Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10), leaps to make a catch for a first down in front of Buffalo Bills safety Taylor Rapp (20), during second half action of their NFL football game Jan 07, 2024, in Miami Gardens.

This weekend, an NFL Playoff game will be airing exclusively on Peacock, NBC’s streaming platform. Naturally, there’s been an uproar from some fans about not being able to watch the game on traditional broadcast television.

During an NBC conference call on Wednesday, NFL EVP of Media Distribution Hans Schroeder said that the league remains “very committed to broadcast” and that the NFL is aiming “to continue to broaden the distribution for our content” with the Peacock deal.

As I said at the beginning, we’re still very committed to broadcast. That is still and continues to be the broadest possible reach. The viewership we get, you can’t reach 190 million people throughout the course of the year without having very broad distribution of your content, and that’s always been a bedrock for us and I think a real differentiator for us versus other sports.

Every one of our games is on broadcast television, at least in their market, and probably 90 percent of our games is on broadcast as their core platform. But for us, it remains really important, while we continue to remain very strong there and have great partnerships with the broadcast partners that we do, to increase our presence across digital.

We know and we see the continued evolution in the media landscape, and we want to be where our fans are. We know they’re increasingly, especially younger fans, on different screens. So that’s why it’s important for us, not just for this Wild Card game, but throughout the year, that we’re on Peacock and Paramount+ and Amazon and these different digital platforms, and why our distribution is on somewhere like NFL+, which it sounds like Cris will be watching on Sunday night, along with Peacock.

Again, we’re very focused and very committed on broadcast. For us, it’s not either/or, it’s both. We want to continue to broaden the distribution for our content. That’s the way we think we engage the broadest possible fans, and that’s what the driving strategy is for the majority of our content.

Schroeder also didn’t discount the possibility that the sixth Wild Card game could exclusively air on a streaming platform again next year.

As it relates to the Wild Card game exclusively, we’re excited to continue the conversation. This is a deal for this year, but it’s an NFL Playoff game. I expect there will be a lot of interest in it.

In an interview with the New York Post, NBC Sports President Rick Cordella compared the backlash to the game airing on Peacock to backlash previously lobbed towards WWE and Premier League coverage.

“Look, I think any time there’s change there will be people that talk about it. We saw that with WWE and English Premier League,” he said.

“We survey our users on Peacock every month, and know that [their fans] are two of the most highly satisfied cohorts overall. I think the big thing with our game on Saturday night is we have to do a great job explaining all the great content that we have on our platform.”

He also emphasized that Peacock has more content than just live NFL games and that any new subscribers for the Chiefs-Dolphins game on Saturday would be getting more than just one game.

“It’s more or less, get them in the door with football, and expose them to the library, which we think is one of the best — if not the best — in streaming,” Cordella said.

“It’s a lot more than just this football game. You see reasonable people complaining, and then they realize what it is beyond a one-time NFL streamer.”

Some viewers are inevitably going to be upset about an NFL Playoff game exclusively streaming with no broadcast (or cable, for that matter) component outside of the two markets involved. But there was also a lot of consternation about Thursday Night Football becoming a streaming exclusive in 2022, and much of that negative reaction faded away in 2023 (as viewership also rose by 24%).

[NBC Sports]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.