23 million, on average, made Dolphins-Chiefs the most streamed event in U.S. history

As more and more Americans cut the cable cord, more and more get their video content from streaming platforms. The NFL knows where the puck is moving, and the league is trying to skate there.

It's working, The Thursday night Amazon-exclusive streaming saw gains from 2023 to 2024. More recently, Saturday night's first-ever streamed playoff game between the Dolphins and Chiefs became the most-streamed event in U.S. history, with 23 million viewers.

The prior record was set by the late November game between the Seahawks and Cowboys, with 15.26 million.

The fact that the experiment is regarded as a success will mean, most likely, the streaming of at least one playoff game per year. As we've previously explained, however, the removal of too many key games from free, over-the-air TV will eventually jeopardize the NFL's broadcast antitrust exemption. Which, if it goes away, would dramatically complicate the league's broadcast-rights strategy.

Also, there's a balance between generating higher revenue than free TV would create but also having a smaller total audience. Football on TV is a three-hour infomercial for the sport. The more who see it, the better off the NFL will be.

Thus, no matter what happens with streaming, the NFL would be foolish, for multiple reasons, to take too many games away from traditional TV outlets.