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AFC Wild Card Game Most Live-Streamed Event in U.S. History

Photo from Chiefs’ Instagram

AFC Wild Card Game Most Live-Streamed Event in U.S. History

By Movieguide® Contributor

Streaming exclusively to Peacock in out-of-market locations, the AFC Wild Card game featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins lifted the streaming platform to its largest single day ever.

With a peak of 16.3 million concurrent users, Peacock’s records for audience usage, engagement and time spent were all broken as the football game also set the record for the most live-streamed event in U.S. history. The game was so popular that it was responsible for 30% of the nation’s internet usage while it was streaming.

The ratings for the game were up 6% from last year’s AFC Wild Card game, which was simulcast on Peacock and NBC’s broadcast network. Across all viewing options – Peacock, NBC stations in Kansas City and Miami and NFL+ – this year’s game averaged 23 million viewers with a peak at 25 million in the second quarter.

This rise in viewership comes as no surprise, as the NFL has enjoyed an increase in popularity throughout the year. The league was responsible for 93 of 2023’s 100 most-watched TV broadcasts, per Sportico, up from 2022’s already dominant 82.

While Peacock’s exclusive streaming of the game was a resounding success, many fans were upset that the game was locked behind a non-cable paywall. However, with the game resulting in a record-breaking day, this practice will likely only grow in the upcoming years. Even before the game, Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s executive vice president of media distribution, hinted at the league’s interest in further streaming deals.

“We’re going to have the playoff games on Peacock as well,” Schroeder said. “As it relates to the Wild Card game exclusively, we’re excited to continue the conversation. This is a deal for this year, but it’s an NFL playoff game. I expect there will be a lot of interest in it.”

Unfortunately for NFL fans, Schroeder was right. After seeing the response to the AFC Wild Card game broadcast, TV’s golden egg might continue to find itself behind streaming paywalls even deeper into the playoffs.

Movieguide® previously reported:

The Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs will face off in the AFC wild-card game on Saturday evening, streaming exclusively on Peacock after NBCUniversal claimed the rights in May.

Peacock subscribers will already be able to access the game, but for those without a subscription, figuring out how to watch the game could be frustrating.

ON ESPN’s FIRST TAKE, commentator Chris Russo said, “I mean, the NFL, which prints money — that’s got more money than God — they gotta make another $110 million for that stupid Peacock game.”

“So, the poor person who’s 75 years of age, who’s followed the Chiefs since [Hank] Stram and Len Dawson, has gotta figure out on his remote where to get the stupid game and pay for the streaming service to see a playoff game,” he added.


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