Peacock said its exclusive stream of the NFL’s AFC Wild Card Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins was the most live-streamed event in U.S. history.
The game, which saw the Chiefs defeat the Dolphin 26-7. in the fourth-coldest game in NFL history, reached 27.6 million total viewers, Peacock said, citing Nielsen. It averaged 23 million viewers throughout the game across Peacock, the NBC stations in Miami and Kansas City, and NFL+, making it the most-streamed event ever, according to the Nielsen data. Ratings rose 6% over last year’s AFC Wild Card Game.
The numbers represent a big win for Peacock, a lower tier streaming service backed by NBC and Comcast. In December, it ranked as the seventh-most popular streaming service behind perennial leaders like YouTube and Netflix, but also fellow players like HBO Max and Disney+. Peacock has attempted to push its live sports offering — built on the foundation of its NBC Sports deals — as a hook for subscribers.
And when it comes to sports, nothing draws in viewers like the NFL.
Peacock said it also had its largest single day ever in usage, with 16.3 million devices on the service during the game.
“From NBC Sports and Peacock to the Comcast team, our entire company worked seamlessly to plan for this game and executed flawlessly to deliver a streaming experience with the NFL on a scale that’s never been done before. It’s a very proud moment,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.
The game wasn’t without controversy, with some critics angry that Peacock’s exclusivity meant requiring yet another subscription to catch the game. House Rep. Pat Ryan, a democrat from New York, slammed Peacock and the NFL for the move and demanded it be moved back on broadcast TV.
“Millions of loyal fans already pay for NBC,” he tweeted. “Let us watch the damn game!”
The NFL noted that the AFC Wild Card game was available on broadcast in local markets, and noted that other out of market games have moved to streaming services.
Given the success of this game, it’s likely we’ll see more exclusively streamed games down the line.