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Saturday, January 13, 2024

Why You Need to Pay $6 to Watch an NFL Playoff Recreation This Weekend

  • You will not see this weekend’s Kansas Metropolis Chiefs-Miami Dolphins NFL playoff recreation on broadcast TV.
  • As an alternative, you may should obtain — and pay for — Peacock.
  • It is a massive change — and a take a look at for Comcast: How many individuals will truly subscribe to a streamer to observe the NFL?

If you wish to watch the Miami Dolphins play the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs within the NFL playoffs on Saturday — or should you simply wish to see if Taylor Swift can be watching the sport from a personal sales space — you may want two issues:

And that is going to be a shock to many People, who’ve come to count on to have the ability to watch the most well-liked sport in America — and the most well-liked programming on TV — by merely clicking over to no matter channel is broadcasting it. And with out having to pay an extra price.

Not this time.

That is as a result of final yr, NBCUniversal paid the NFL $110 million for the rights to a streaming-only playoff recreation. Now the media large is making an attempt to get its cash’s price — and to assist enhance Peacock, which till now has been an also-ran within the streaming wars.

So count on to listen to fairly a little bit of grumbling this weekend from followers who anticipated to see the sport on their TV Saturday evening and who understand they’re going to want a paid streaming service to make that occur. And possibly much more grumbling from followers who do pay up however run into the vagaries that also bedevil livestreaming — inconsistent broadband speeds, unhealthy WiFi setups, TVs that are not related to the web, and many others.

All of which is why the NFL, till now, hasn’t put their greatest video games on streaming-only platforms.

For years, the NFL — by far essentially the most highly effective sports activities league within the nation — has been very profitable at utilizing streaming as a method to make more money. Both by promoting streaming rights to video games which can be additionally distributed on typical TV or by doing a handful of streaming-only video games — like those Amazon is paying $1 billion a yr for on Thursday nights — however ensuring these aren’t the marquee match-ups.

However the league has at all times been clear that it needs the largest attainable attain for its product, and that meant working with conventional TV. And relating to the playoffs, which final yr averaged round 30 million viewers per recreation — numbers no different TV programming can contact lately — that has at all times meant broadcast TV obtainable across the nation. (One exception: In 2015, cable channel ESPN aired a single playoff recreation.)

So Saturday’s recreation is a significant change and likewise a great take a look at: NFL video games are basically the one factor individuals watch on typical TV in any numbers at this level, and traditional TV is shrinking day by day. So: What occurs to TV when these video games aren’t there?

Some caveats: Comcast, NBCUniversal’s dad or mum firm, says 30 million individuals are paying for a Peacock subscription already (I am one among them — I began paying final yr so I may watch English soccer video games). And individuals who reside within the Kansas Metropolis and Miami areas will be capable of watch the video games on conventional TV.

The NFL and NBC know they’ll get grief for this, by the way in which. And so they take pains to level out that the majority NFL video games can be found on free broadcast TV, and it’ll keep that manner. In addition they argue that placing a recreation on Peacock helps enhance their attain since younger viewers do not watch conventional TV now anyway.

That is a minimum of just a little little bit of a stretch, although: Making one thing obtainable on streaming may be very totally different than forcing individuals to make use of streaming to observe it.

However we’ll see. At a press name with reporters earlier this week, NFL distribution govt Hans Schroeder would not commit as to if the league would do extra streaming-only playoff video games subsequent yr: “This can be a deal for this yr, nevertheless it’s an NFL playoff recreation. I count on there can be lots of curiosity in it.”

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