The 2023-24 NFL Football season is about to look much different than it has in decades. For the first time since 1994, the NFL Sunday Ticket is on YouTube, not DirecTV. And now, we’re learning that you’ll need NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock if you want to watch one of the playoff games.
While the NFL has dabbled in online streaming with Thursday Night games airing on Amazon Prime, those games were still available on national TV or NFL Network. That’s not the case with the NBC deal.
In a joint announcement by the league and NBCUniversal, a primetime wildcard playoff game this year will be available exclusively on Peacock’s $5 per month streaming platform and not available nationally. That is the second NFL Wildcard Playoff game on January 13th (in the late afternoon 4:30 p.m. ET slot).
The only way you’ll be able to watch this game is by subscribing to Peacock or living in the local market for the two teams, which will air on an affiliate channel. Everyone else will have to pay up and subscribe to Peacock.
That’s not all, either. The deal, which NBCUniversal reportedly paid $110 million for, also gets exclusive rights to a massive primetime regular season game with playoff implications: the Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday, December 23rd.
While I’m excited to see the NFL embrace streaming in an effort to make games easier to watch, putting random playoff games behind a subscription service isn’t the answer. Unfortunately, NFL chief operating officer Hans Schroeder said making wildcard games a streaming exclusive will likely continue in future seasons, but we’ll have to wait and see.