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NFL to stream more regular season and playoff games

Courtesy NBC Sports

You knew it was going to happen. After a record 23 million viewers for the NFL Wild Card game steamed on Peacock in January, the NFL has awarded a Wild Card Game to Amazon Prime Video for next season.

The NFL, at its annual meeting in Orlando Tuesday, also announced that Peacock, owned by NBCUniversal, will stream a Philadelphia Eagles game from Brazil on Friday, Sept. 6, the night after the season opens with the NFL Kickoff Game on NBC and Peacock.

The NFL won’t release its schedule until later this spring, so it is unknown who will kick off the season Thursday night or play the Eagles on Friday.

The game in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is historic. It’s the NFL’s first regular season game in South America, and the first time the league has played a Friday night game on opening weekend in over 50 years, according to the NFL. The kick off time also will be announced later.

As usual, for all streaming games, a local TV station will broadcast the game on free, over-the-air television in each team’s market. It will also be available on mobile devices with NFL+, the league announced.

Hans Schroeder, NFL executive vice president of media distribution, said that “as media consumption habits evolve, the NFL continues to work with our partners to put our games on digital platforms where our fans are increasingly spending their time. The viewership success of both Thursday Night Football on Prime Video and the historic Wild Card game on Peacock last season are strong indicators our streaming distribution is resonating with our fans,” according to the NFL release.

Jay Marine, Prime Video global head of sports and ads, said that “following our first two groundbreaking seasons of Thursday Night Football and our first-ever Black Friday football game, we’re proud to expand our relationship with the league, and we’re looking forward to continuing to innovate for fans this season,” according to the NFL release.

“It’s exciting for Peacock to exclusively showcase the NFL’s first-ever regular season game in Brazil as part of NBC Sports’ unprecedented presentation of three primetime games on the NFL’s opening weekend,” said Rick Cordella, NBC Sports president, in the release.

NBC and Peacock will kick off the football season with four consecutive nights of games: The NFL Kickoff Game on Thursday, Sept. 5; the Peacock exclusive from Brazil Friday, Sept. 6; a Big Ten game Saturday night, Sept. 7; and the season debut of TV’s No. 1 prime show, Sunday Night Football on Sept. 6.

Peacock also will live stream every event at this summer’s Paris Olympics and Paralympics, Cordella said. Peacock’s other sports programming includes the Premier League, Notre Dame football, Big Ten football and basketball, NASCAR, the NTT IndyCar Series and golf.

From the NFL release:

Last season, the AFC Wild Card game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs exclusively on Peacock averaged approximately 23 million viewers, setting a record as the most-streamed live event in U.S. history. Additionally, the game reached 32.1 million total viewers.

In its second season as the home of Thursday Night Football, Prime Video averaged 11.7 million viewers during the 2023 season, an increase of +22% versus 2022. Additionally, Thursday Night Football featured 13 weeks of double-digit, year-over-year viewership gains and all 16 games won the timeslot among total viewers against competing programming on broadcast and cable.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.