Football fans hoping to catch Saturday’s Buffalo Bills-Los Angeles Chargers matchup will have to pay up in the form of a Peacock Premium subscription that costs $5.99 per month. In exchange, viewers will get what is being called the NFL’s first-ever commercial-free fourth quarter.
After a “branded moment” at the top of the quarter to acknowledge the ad-free move (which Walmart, Hyundai, and Capital One are sponsoring), the league and NBCUniversal are promising at least a 40% reduction in ads and 12 minutes of additional game-related content. That sounds great, right?
Here’s the catch: While the fourth quarter won’t feature commercials, it will have content takeovers and game features with information and analysis coming from the broadcast booth and NBC Sports’ studio. That means standard breaks between timeouts, change of possessions, and scores will likely still take place. But on Saturday, instead of getting bombarded with Whopper jingles and pushes for a new cell phone, viewers will be treated to whatever NBC has up its sleeve—which could theoretically range from game highlights to a special preview of an upcoming TV show.
NBC confirmed to Front Office Sports that Peacock’s exclusive broadcast of an NFL wild-card playoff game in January will also have a commercial-free fourth quarter, and that any overtime period for either game would be ad-free, too.
Following the Trend?
In 2020, TNT aired the fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star Game ad-free as it paid tribute to Kobe Bryant weeks after his death.
The commercial-free finish is also common to professional golf, as sponsors routinely pay networks to present an ad-less final hour of major championships like the U.S. Open on NBC.