The NFL has outgrown being just a professional football league. It has become America’s favorite TV show. But unlike most sitcoms, dramas or reality shows, Roger Goodell knows that ratings will remain consistent no matter which network/streaming app his production is broadcast on. This league has guaranteed viewers.
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Five years ago, only 61 of the most-watched TV broadcasts in America were NFL games. By 2021, it was 75. That number grew to 82 in 2022. Last year, all but seven were professional football games, according to Sportico.
The State of the Union Address (21) and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (45) were the only reasons the league didn’t own the top 50. College football grabbed three spots and The Oscars were ranked 60th. On top of the Super Bowl leading the way with 115.1 million viewers, the Super Bowl Lead-Out ranked 92nd. The report went on to say that this was the first time that a single sport (football) owned the top 100.
That information comes at the perfect time for the league with the playoffs starting this weekend as Wild-Card Weekend will extend over three days. The Eagles and Bucs play on Monday Night Football. The Steelers and Bills — which will be played in an expected blizzard in New York, and not Cleveland as rumored, Packers and Cowboys, and Rams and Lions will all play on Sunday. The Browns and Texans will play the first game of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, and the Chiefs and Dolphins will meet on Saturday night in Kansas City, as the game will be broadcast on Peacock — NBC’s streaming app.
“I think people just realized this today. There was finally some chatter about it. But I don’t know if everybody knows yet,” Bill Simmons recently said about the game being on Peacock. “This is a disaster. This is going to be one of the all-time sports television disasters as people are like, ‘I can’t wait to watch Dolphins at KC. What channel is it on?’ It’s like, ‘Wait, what? Peacock?’
“Like my dad is going to realize the game is on Peacock, probably in the second half of Dolphins-KC. He’s going to be looking for it for an hour and a half… Peacock spent $200 million on the game and $400 million on commercials to tell people how to get Peacock in time to get this game.”
At first, it feels like Simmons has a point. But after looking at the numbers and facts, you realize that Simmons doesn’t — which is the norm. Like it or love it, the NFL knows that embracing streaming apps is the way to go, as Gen Z doesn’t watch their content on cable. And even if things revert, as the money it costs to have all these apps is getting closer to the outrageous prices of cable, it won’t change America’s addiction to watching football. Because at this rate, the NFL will have all 100 spots when this report is released next January. Miami- Kansas City is the most anticipated game of the weekend and it will do numbers. That’s not a guess, it’s fact. Last year, a random wild-card game (Giants-Vikings) made the top ten.