I’m no fortune teller, but I already know what I won’t be doing Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024.
Thanks to a recent deal between the NFL and NBC, I will not be watching a primetime NFL Wild Card playoff game. The two companies announced last week that NBC’s streaming platform Peacock now holds the exclusive broadcasting rights for a to-be-determined Wild Card matchup in the aforementioned time slot.
The deal goes to show that America’s major professional football league has no problem alienating its fans all in the name of making a buck, and this is just the latest example. The Amazon Prime-exclusive games are another. These streaming platforms pay big money for broadcast rights to drive their subscriptions up while also collecting advertising revenue for the highly-coveted television assets that are NFL playoff games. The league, meanwhile, cashes a check and turns a cold shoulder to fanbases.
I don’t know about you, but my household is currently paying for Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. We aren’t doing live TV right now. We’ll be picking that back up come football season and will be less likely to add Peacock to our streaming stack, not even at the low price of $5 a month. I would essentially be paying $5 to watch one NFL wild card playoff game that would otherwise be available on one of the regular networks or ESPN.
Scrolling on down the press release touting the agreement between the NFL and NBC, one sees that Peacock will also be the exclusive home of an NFL regular-season primetime game between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Charges (still weird to say). That one is slated for 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23. Time your subscription right and you could get both that game, which could be very meaningful or meaningless, as well as the Wild Card a few weeks later. Better deal, but still one I likely won’t be making.
There could be a saving grace for that Wild Card matchup, but it comes with a couple of “ifs.” Last week’s announcement goes on to say that the Peacock exclusive playoff game will be broadcast on NBC stations in the two competing team cities. So, my fellow Peach State residents, IF your Atlanta Falcons make the playoffs this season and IF that game is selected as the streaming exclusive, you might just not have to pay extra to watch a Wild Card playoff game.
The 2023 Falcons making the playoffs? I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.