NBC decided to broadcast Saturday’s wild card matchup featuring Kansas City and Miami exclusively on their streaming channel Peacock. This was the first time an NFL playoff game was televised in such a way and, if you’re like most folks, you weren’t too thrilled about it. It sucked for millions, but you might as well get used to it. Saturday night’s game, which could only be seen on Peacock, was just the beginning of networks gouging fans for access to big games.
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Now, fortunately for Saturday’s game, the first quarter was also shown in part on NBC. But if you hadn’t signed up for Peacock by 8:30pm ET, you were S.O.L. If you believe that the saying about any publicity being good publicity is true, then those in charge at Peacock should be happy, because that’s what everyone was talking about before and after the game.
The NFL and NBC pushed this game — and its exclusivity to the colorful bird brand — hard. Don’t expect it to stop there. While this was the only game scheduled to be exclusive to Peacock this postseason, don’t think it won’t happen again. This felt like a test run to see how people react. While many complained about it, most found a way to watch and surely forked over their $5.99.
We’ve already been “primed” for this transition having Thursday Night Football exclusively on Amazon Prime. Regular season games are one thing, but forcing people to pay extra to watch select postseason games is greedy — especially when you’re a major network and already broadcasts games. They’re running a business, understandable, but this was a money grab.
Many streaming channels will offer a free trial of a few days up to a few weeks before you actually have to pay anything. Not this time. If you didn’t already have Peacock or know somebody (among other ways that will remain unnamed) who did you had to sign up or miss out. Don’t be surprised if next year we see multiple games only broadcast on a network’s streaming service.
This is the world we live in, and it’s only going to get worse. Football in general, but especially the NFL, is too ingrained in our society for people to just say “no.” Whether it’s sheer fandom, fantasy football, or betting purposes, the NFL means too much and generates so much revenue it’ll be impossible to stop this next expansion. Because that’s what this is all about. The league is expanding to where we’re eventually okay with paying for individual games each week. Most of you will laugh at this, but it’s coming, just keep watching.