The NFL is taking another big step into streaming by putting one of its playoff games exclusively on a digital platform for the first time.
The league and NBCUniversal announced Monday that the Saturday night game on Wild Card weekend will be on Peacock.
The Peacock exclusive game on Jan. 13 would start at 8:15 or 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on NBC stations in the markets of the two teams. It will also be available on mobile devices through the NFL+ package. It will be preceded by a late afternoon playoff game on NBC and Peacock that will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET.
"Expanding the digital distribution of NFL content while maintaining wide reach for our games continues to be a key priority for the league, and bringing the excitement of an NFL playoff game exclusively to Peacock’s streaming platform is the next step in that strategy," said Hans Schroeder, NFL executive vice president and chief operating officer of NFL Media.
The league has made forays into streaming games for nearly a decade, but has gone all in over the past couple seasons. Amazon Prime Video became the exclusive home of “Thursday Night Football” last season while ESPN has had one international game per season on ESPN+ since 2021.
Under the NFL's 11-year contract with NBCUniversal that began this season, Peacock has an exclusive regular-season game. That will be on Dec. 23 when the Buffalo Bills face the Los Angeles Chargers. The Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers matchup on NBC will precede that.
“We spent a lot of time with the NFL and had productive meetings about the proper positioning of that (Peacock) game,” NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said last week when the regular-season schedule was released. “We think that’s going to be a great combination of using the power of NBC with that late-afternoon game and driving that audience to Peacock for the regular-season exclusive game.”
NBC will have three games during the first weekend of the postseason, marking the first time a network has had that many on a single playoff weekend.
NBC also has the primetime Sunday game on Jan. 14 while Fox and CBS will have the earlier contests. ESPN has the Monday night game to close the opening weekend on Jan. 15. This will be the third year that the NFL has played the wild-card games over three days.
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