The NFL recently aired a playoff game exclusively on Peacock, sparking a debate about the decision. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has defended the move, emphasizing its financial benefits.
However, veteran sports radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has criticized Goodell’s stance, arguing that the decision was primarily motivated by money rather than serving the interests of fans.
On ESPN’s “First Take,” Russo expressed his skepticism, questioning the notion that streaming NFL games exclusively caters to a younger audience. He pointed out that while streaming may appeal to some younger viewers, true football fans will find a way to watch regardless of the platform.
Russo cited the discrepancy in viewership between the streaming playoff game, which attracted 23 million viewers, and a nationally broadcast game between the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams, which garnered 38 million viewers.
In Russo’s view, the focus on streaming overlooks the potential loss of casual fans who may not be inclined to go out of their way to watch games on a digital platform. He argued that the decision to prioritize streaming was driven more by financial gain, as evidenced by the significant sum paid by NBC for exclusive rights to the playoff game.