Peacock’s Streaming-Only NFL Wild Card Game Drove Record 2.8 Million Sign-Ups, Research Firm Estimates

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NBCUniversal’s Peacock deal to exclusively stream the NFL’s AFC Wild Card matchup between the Kansas City Chief and the Miami Dolphins delivered an end-zone spiking TD for the streamer, according to new data.

NBCU already claimed the Jan. 13 playoff game was the biggest live-streamed event in U.S. history — delivering an average audience of 23 million viewers. Per the media company, the Chiefs-Dolphins livestream accounted for 30% of internet traffic during the game. It was the first time an NFL playoff game was available nationally only on streaming (although it was also broadcast on NBC local stations in Kansas City and Miami markets).

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While NBCU didn’t quantify the lift in Peacock subscriptions the game yielded, a new report from research firm Antenna puts a number on it: Based on its preliminary analysis, the company estimates Peacock saw a total of 2.8 million sign-ups over NFL Wild Card Game weekend. According to Antenna, that makes the Chiefs-Dolphins game the single biggest subscriber acquisition event it has ever measured.

The estimated 2.8 million new customers would add to Peacock’s total of roughly 30 million paying subscribers as of year-end 2023. Comcast, NBCU’s parent company, is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2023 results on Thursday, Jan. 25.

Of course, it’s unclear how many of the new subscribers to Peacock will stick with the streamer going forward — or if they signed up just to watch the Chiefs-Dolphins game. According to Antenna, its data shows that certain sports fans prove be more loyal than the average subscriber. Peacock is currently available in two plans: $5.99 per month (with ads) and $11.99 per month (without ads).

Per Antenna, using comparable three-day windows, Peacock’s AFC Wild Card game drove more sign-ups than past Super Bowls that were available on subscription-streaming platforms (although those were not exclusively available on streaming). Disney+ in 2019 saw more than 2.5 million sign-ups in a single day, according to Antenna, but no other single programming event resulted in as many sign-ups to a service in a three-day period as Peacock had.

Viewer interest in the Jan. 13 game, which ended with a 26-7 Chiefs victory, presumably also got a boost by Taylor Swift, who was on hand in the sub-freezing temperatures in Kansas City to cheer on the team of her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

According to New York-based Antenna, its estimates are based on millions of permission-based, consumer opt-in, raw transaction records, which are sourced “from a variety of data collection partners.” The data includes online purchase receipts, credit, debit and banking data, and “bill-scrape data.”

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