The NFL’s decision to put the Kansas City Chiefs matchup with the Miami Dolphins on Peacock Saturday hurt their ratings to the tune of millions of fans. Fans were upset the league decided to put a playoff game on an over-the-top streaming service instead of on a TV network.
Peter King, a partner of NBC, wrote this week the league purposely gave Peacock the Chiefs/Dolphins game because of the hype surrounding both teams in the playoffs. The league believes over-the-top streaming services is the future of watching football.
The data shows the league, and Peacock has a lot of ground to catch up between now and that future date.
The NFL lost millions of eyeballs on Saturday
According to Jimmy Traina with Sports Illustrated, the league likely lost 10-12 million fans for the Dolphins/Chiefs contest by showing the game on Peacock outside Kansas City and Miami.
So despite NBC bragging about 23 million on Peacock for Dolphins-Chiefs:
Browns-Texans: 29 million
Rams-Lions: 36 million
Packers-Cowboys: 40 million
NFL probably cost itself 10-12 million with Peacock money grab. https://t.co/ObcluwpdRs
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) January 16, 2024
The Chiefs/Dolphins game had the lowest Super Wild Card weekend ratings. The Browns/Texans matchup received six million more viewers than the prime-time matchup in Kansas City.
NFL 2023 Super Wild Card Ratings:
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 17, 2024
The ratings were best on Sunday with broadcasts on national TV. The second-lowest ratings should make the league question its strategy of forcing fans into buying streaming services in the current market. The Buccaneers/Eagles game on ESPN, a cable network, had the second-lowest ratings of the weekend.
There’s a reason why the league keeps most of its schedule on national networks. That’s where most fans watch.
The problem with expanding to more games on over-the-top streaming services is its burden on fans. Sure, one subscription to Peacock might not hurt the average fan. But will the league allow CBS to air games on Paramount Plus? Can Fox and Disney (ABC/ESPN) get in the game as well?
The league lost millions of viewers with the Peacock broadcast on Saturday. They can absorb the cost of one game, and knew going into Saturday night they’d miss out on viewers. But they could hurt their long-term growth potential by alienating their larger fanbase. And their largest fanbase watches games on national TV.
For More Football News:
Follow me on Twitter at @JordanSig. You can also reach out to Jordan Sigler via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in college and NFL news, click here!