Peacock and NBC were huge winners with the NFL Playoff game despite social backlash — here are the details

All eyes were on Peacock on Saturday night — even if social media wasn’t happy about it.

The much-maligned decision by NBC to put the Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins on Peacock resulted in a record-breaking night for the Comcast-owned  (CMCSA) – Get Free Report streaming platform as it announced on Sunday that the game averaged 23 million viewers.

That is the most viewers for a livestream event in US history.

But how does that compare with other past viewership numbers of the NFL on linear and television?

The 23 million is much higher than the average regular season viewership this season  which was 17.9 million viewers. While a 5 million-viewer playoff bump is pretty massive, the difference in average viewers of the playoffs and regular season last year was 11.7 million (28.4 million in the playoffs vs 16.7 million in the season).

Peacock’s solo playoff game wasn’t even close to the most-watched regular season game this year, which was the Thanksgiving game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Commanders that had an average of 41.76 million viewers. But the Cowboys are also another beast; their Wild Card loss to the Green Bay Packers averaged 40 million viewers on Fox.

Related: NFL Playoffs Live: NBC and Peacock made history even if people weren’t happy about it

A better comparison point could be Amazon Prime Video’s 15-game average viewership during the regular season which was at 11.86 million. This was seen as a huge win across the board as Prime Video had a 24% increase over last season.

The most-viewed Prime Video game was the Week 13 game between the Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks that garnered 15.26 million viewers.

Peacock’s playoff game smashed that number, and it’s made even more shocking because the lone game that aired exclusively on Peacock — the Dec. 23 contest between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers — only averaged 7.3 million viewers.

Another feat for Peacock was that it garnered 6% more viewers than the Wild Card game in the similar timeslot last year between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Los Angeles Chargers. Some might argue that the Chiefs and Dolphins have more national buzz than the Jaguars and Chargers, but the streaming-exclusive label clearly had a smaller effect on viewership than the teams if that’s the case. And that would also likely be a huge win for the NFL and Peacock.

Related: Amazon Prime hits another massive milestone that will continue to change streaming

People were clearly not happy about it, including big names like Charles Barkley calling it a “greedy” move from the broadcasters. Many on social media said they wouldn’t sign up for Peacock as a boycott.

But it clearly didn’t show up in the results. NBC paid $110 million to put this game on streaming, and then proved that the NFL is enough of a pull for fans to subscribe.

That means it’s likely only a matter of time before Amazon and potentially other streamers — like ESPN, when it officially commits to streaming — to pay the big bucks to get into the party.

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