NFL Peacock Game Loses Over 10 Million Viewers

Star Power and Anticipation Fuel Prime-Time NFL Clash.

by Nouman Rasool
NFL Peacock Game Loses Over 10 Million Viewers
© Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The recent Wild Card showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, streamed exclusively on NBC's Peacock service, has sparked a flurry of discussion within the sports broadcasting sphere. Despite NBC boasting a substantial 23 million viewer count for the game, a deeper analysis suggests the NFL may have missed a significant viewership opportunity by not airing the game through traditional channels.

Sports Illustrated's Jimmy Traina highlights a potential loss of 10 to 12 million viewers, a deduction made evident when compared to other games ratings. For instance, the Green Bay Packers' victory over the Dallas Cowboys aired on FOX, attracting a remarkable 40 million viewers.

Similarly, the Detroit Lions' triumph against the Los Angeles Rams, broadcast on NBC, drew in 36 million viewers. Another game featuring the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns, also on NBC, garnered 29 million. Among these, the Chiefs-Dolphins game, exclusively on Peacock, trailed noticeably in viewership numbers.

Chiefs-Dolphins: Unique Draw

Several factors contribute to the uniqueness of the Chiefs-Dolphins game. Its prime-time slot, combined with the Chiefs' status as the defending Super Bowl champions, already set a high bar for viewership expectations.

Adding to the allure was the presence of Patrick Mahomes, widely regarded as one of the NFL's top talents, and the celebrity interest sparked by Taylor Swift, there to support her boyfriend, Travis Kelce. Excluding the Packers-Cowboys match, this game arguably held the most anticipation over the weekend.

The decision to air this high-stakes game solely on Peacock has led to speculation about the NFL's long-term strategy. By successfully pulling in viewers for a streaming-only game, the NFL has potentially paved the way for platforms like Amazon to bid on future playoff games.

This move, while initially appearing to cost viewers, could be a strategic play to escalate bidding wars and, consequently, increase the league's revenue in the long run. As the landscape of sports broadcasting continues to evolve with the integration of streaming services, the NFL's experiment with Peacock could signify a pivotal shift in how future games are consumed by audiences.

While traditional broadcast methods have their proven merits, the allure of exclusive streaming rights could herald a new era of sports viewership, one that promises both challenges and opportunities for leagues and platforms alike.