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Volume 27 No. 53
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New NFL Wild Cards Costing CBS, NBC Around $70M

CBS and NBC picked up the two new NFL Wild Card games approved by owners today, with sources saying that CBS will pay around $70M for the Sunday afternoon game and NBC will pay in the mid-$70M range for the Sunday night one. Both games will be played Jan 10, 2021. By comparison, ABC/ESPN pays around $100 million for the rights to carry its Wild Card game.

The most interesting part of these TV deals is the platforms where they will run beyond broadcast TV. Both NBC and CBS will carry/simulcast the games on their streaming services, Peacock and CBS All Access, the latter of which started carrying games for the past couple of seasons.

The move to put a Wild Card game on Peacock is a big get for NBC, considering that the streaming service launches in Xfinity homes on April 15. NBC’s other two NFL playoff games will not be available on Peacock, as they are part of an earlier deal cut before Peacock’s launch was announced. The NBC game also will be simulcast on the network’s Spanish-language channel Telemundo.

The most unique part of the deal comes from ViacomCBS, which will simulcast its game on Nickelodeon. CBS said the Nickelodeon telecast will be tailored to younger fans. The network said that talent and specific formats around those games would be announced in the next several months.

This afternoon, NFL owners formally ratified playoff expansion by adding a third Wild Card team to each conference. In the new format, only one team each in the AFC and NFC will receive a bye, with the 2-seed playing the 7-seed, the 3-seed playing the 6-seed and the 4-seed playing the 5-seed in the Wild Card round. The NFL will hold three Wild Card games on Saturday and three on Sunday. It is the first expansion of the NFL playoff field since '90.