Grab Your Pitchforks, NFL Fans: The Ratings Are In For NFL’s Streamed Playoff Game And We’re All Doomed

David McNew/Getty Images

Robert McGreevy Contributor
Font Size:

The ratings are in for the NFL’s Peacock exclusive playoff game, and they’re absolutely staggering. 

In a press release titled “Peacock Exclusive AFC Wild Card Game Is Biggest Live-Streamed Event in U.S. History & Drives Internet Usage To Single Day U.S. Record,” NBC claimed the game averaged 23 million viewers. 

The record-shattering event led to not only the most streamed event ever but also the largest single-day usage of the internet in history. According to the release, the game constituted 30% of the entirety of internet traffic while it was on.

That is freaking mind-blowing. While the game was on, three out of every 10 people using the internet in America were using it to watch the Chiefs/Dolphins game. 

While the numbers are an obvious boon for NBC, who spent $110 million to secure exclusive streaming rights to the game, they spell bad news for NFL fans who don’t want to shell out an increasingly large amount of dough just to watch some football. 

“We couldn’t be prouder of our partnership with Peacock and are thrilled with the results of the first-ever exclusively live-streamed NFL playoff game,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall said, according to the statement. (RELATED: How Two NFL Superstar Brothers Are So Different: One An All-American Legend, The Other A Clout-Chasing Pop Star

“To best serve our fans, we need to ensure games are available to them as their viewing habits change and this includes digital distribution as we continue to help shape the future of the sports and entertainment industry,” Goodell concluded. 

Funny you mention availability, Rog. The NFL does enjoy a massive and broad fan base across every demographic. However, a large cohort of their most diehard fans are still baby boomers and older generations who may not be tech-savvy enough to configure a brand-new streaming service just to watch a game. If anything, this trend’s continuation will lead to alienating more fans and making games less available to them, not the other way around. 

But still, I expect the NFL to look at this as a clear sign of the changing times and wouldn’t be surprised if they dive fully into the world of streaming. 

While NBC hasn’t fully released the breakdown of the split between Peacock and their cable affiliates in Kansas City and Miami (the only markets where the game was available outside of streaming), all signs still point to a record showing. 

Aside from the Earth-shattering bandwidth numbers, Yahoo Sports predicts Peacock’s streaming numbers outplayed Amazon Prime’s highest-viewed game, a Thursday night contest between the Cowboys and Seahawks that garnered over 15 million views. 

If the AFC Wildcard game beats that number, I’d be hard-pressed to bet against seeing two or more playoff games get the streaming exclusive rights next year.