The NFL dipped its toes into the streaming waters starting in 2022 when Amazon Prime became the broadcaster for “Thursday Night Football.”
In 2023, the league upped the ante, with NBC’s Peacock exclusively streaming an NFL Playoff game for the first time.
The decision enraged many fans of the NFL, who undoubtedly felt that having to pay for an extra service to watch the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins was a step too far.
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On Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked whether the NFL could stream the Super Bowl in the future.
“Certainly not in my time,” Goodell said. “I still believe, and even on some of the pay services … one of the secrets of our success is we are really committed to broadcast television. As I said, 90% of our games are broadcast free, over the air television. I think it’s the reason why you will see over 200 million people watch this game here in the United States. Because it’s on broadcast television and the broadest possible platform.
“But there’s also a digital stream on Paramount+,” Goodell added. “And we want to support that because there are some fans that are watching on Paramount+. A lot. I think it’s again, we’ll see [the] Super Bowl continue to be on the broadest platform. I think we’ll continue to see the NFL on the broadest possible platform. 23 million people watched that Wild Card game.”
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Goodell was asked about the NFL’s decision to put a Wild Card game behind a paywall, with the commissioner citing the media landscape for the decision.
“Consumers are moving off of paid television services and going into digital streaming services and platforms. And we as the NFL have to be able to reach our fans there,” Goodell said in part. “One of the most positive things about the Peacock game was not just the fact that it outdrew the broadcast audience a year earlier in the same window.
“But it also reduced our average age of the audience by almost ten years,” Goodell added after saying the Peacock stream didn’t have any technical difficulties. “So, youth audiences are going to those platforms and those apps, and we have to make sure our content is there. We still have over 90 percent of our games on free television. No other league, no other sport, comes close to that.”
While Goodell weighed in on the first streaming NFL playoff game, Super Bowl LVIII will kick off in Las Vegas for the first time on Sunday.
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Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will be playing in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Chiefs are looking to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the New England Patriots did so in 2003 and 2004.