The landscape of the sports media is rapidly changing, and the NFL is about to take a major step. The league has announced that one Playoff game this year will only be available through a streaming service.
NFL announced that Peacock will be the home for the first-ever exclusive live streamed NFL Playoff game, presenting an NFL Wild Card Playoff in primetime on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 15, 2023
The league did clarify that this game will not be completely exclusive to Peacock. The game will be shown over the air in the markets of the two teams playing in the game. Still this is an enormous change.
I am sure many will be disappointed that the league is turning to a streaming service for such a big game. I don’t see that as the major problem, though. This is the direction in which the media landscape is heading. You will see plenty of streaming only big games going forward. It has always been a matter of “when” rather than “if.”
My problem with this move is its randomness. There will only be one regular season game exclusive to Peacock this year. It isn’t an essential service for an NFL fan to have through the year. Why should a Playoff game be shown there?
This would be different if the game was being shown by Amazon. By this point everybody knows Thursday Night Football is streamed exclusively by Amazon so fans who care enough have already subscribed to the service and know how to access games. That isn’t so here.
This feels to me like a very sloppy way to implement such a profound change.