For NFL streaming, the future is now

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As the world continues a slow pivot away from cable/satellite to streaming, there will be major NFL-related signposts along the way.

This year, it’s Peacock getting an exclusive wild-card playoff game.

That announcement created much more of an uproar than last week’s disclosure that the Week 16 Saturday night game between the Bills and Chargers also will be exclusively streamed on Peacock. It makes sense; the regular-season Peacock news was subsumed within the broader schedule release and the various viral schedule-release videos.

Monday’s development became a sudden and unexpected bolt of lightning.

But are we really surprised? The wind has been blowing in this direction for years. Already, the entire Thursday night package streams on Amazon. Also, ESPN+ had an exclusive London game last year.

The future is coming. The future is now. Viewing habits are changing, and the migration of NFL games to streaming will force that process along.

Then there’s the fact that Peacock costs only $4.99 per month and $14.99 per year. What can you buy for $4.99? (Other than an electronic copy of Father of Mine, which you should do if you have not. Use a different $4.99 for your first month of Peacock.)

One of the complaints we’re hearing is that people already have too many streaming subscriptions. They don’t want to buy another one.

A streaming commitment isn’t permanent. You can dump any, some, or all of the streaming services you have. It’s really not hard to do it. Try it with one of them right now. (Not Peacock, though. Please.)

Peacock has plenty of great content. More live sports than any streamer. The Office, and the extended Superfan episodes for many of the seasons. And a certain morning show known as PFT Live.

Plenty of movies are on Peacock before other streaming services. Entertaining new series debut on a regular basis.

Yes, PFT has a distribution deal with NBC. Yes, I separately work for NBC, and for Peacock.

Regardless, it’s $4.99 a month. And if it didn’t land at Peacock, it likely was going to another streamer — possibly one that costs more than $4.99 a month.

Because they all cost more than $4.99 a month.

13 responses to “For NFL streaming, the future is now

  1. Mike, please tell me why paying for a live stream of a game is better than watching a live game on over-the-air digital television. For free.
    Go ahead, I’m waiting.

  2. It’s not the cost that bothers me, it’s the fact that where I live, streaming live events is practically impossible. It’s either over satellite or antenna. The streaming internet available from Dish does a decent job of streaming pre-recorded stuff like Netflix and Amazon Prime movies and such but, live NFL events shown on Amazon prime are constantly buffering.

  3. So the future is piracy.
    If you’re determined enough, you can find pirated livestreams for every NFL game, including Redzone.
    The quality sometimes isn’t as good a legitimate sources, but quite honestly, punishing the league for their playoff shenanigans is reason enough to tolerate that.

  4. We can pretty much guarantee this is the lowest rated playoff game in years. At this point, the plethora of streaming services has become an issue of principle for most people. They will subscribe to a certain number, and after that they’re done. Exceptions can be made, but no one I know is itching to subscribe to another streamer.

  5. Last year I had to try Amazon Prime because the local stations that carry the game, because they streamed the local station it was blocked! Even though it was a local station. So I signed up for Amazon Prime and immediately got a bad taste as the picture was very poor Quality! So every time the NFL does this I get closer to sayin BYE BYE!

  6. You’re selling (or trying to sell) what the public ain’t buying. There is just no upside to this arrangement, no matter how you try to spin it. It can’t compare with live over-the-air, for free, football broadcasts. The standard is just that – live, over-the-air, free broadcasts, which can be DVR’ed and paused reliably. And even watched later if I so desire. I don’t want to rely on some stinking Internet.

  7. Good chance that either the Bills or Chargers will be playing out the string so nah on the week 16 tilt. If the playoff game is intriguing, I’ll buy January for $4.99 for 30 days. A latte is more expensive for Pete sake

  8. I retired three months ago. Love cable but have found what I like in streaming. I still buy internet. Why buy 530 channels you don’t watch on Spectrum for 260.00 a month when I can watch what I want, when i want. For 50 bucks? 90% of sports are streamed right now. Many are free. Cable tv will be dead soon. I guess if you hate streaming. You will be living in a cave soon.

  9. The problem isn’t satellite TV in general – its spreading it across all of the different platforms, some of which are just trying to buy undeserved credibility (this one in particular). I’m done chasing the NFL (and MLB). I’ll watch what I can, miss what I can’t, and through those misses maybe realize I can get away with missing more of what I’m now paying too much for.

  10. It is $4.99 for now. But what happens if/when the NFL moves more games to streaming services and if a significant part of the audience doesn’t follow? Prices will most likely go up anyway due to the cost for airing the NFL as well as other sports. Everyone knows or should know that the primary reason cable costs are so high is due to sports programming. NBC streaming costs will probably go up even more if a significant portion of the NFL audience stops watching.

    If it is true that Thursday Night football suffered a 45% drop when moved to Amazon, that is significant. The cost of airing the NFL, and the low viewer numbers, IMO, can only increase the cost for streaming.

    The argument is that people will follow the NFL everywhere due to its popularity. I think the Amazon NFL experiment last year prves otherwise.

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