When something happens for the first time in NFL history, it’s usually a bizarre play or a new record. But this time it’s even more rare: the NFL is eliminating commercials from one part of an upcoming game.
The contest between the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night will be shown only on Peacock, and those who watch will get to experience a history-making event: the first-ever commercial-free fourth quarter.
The game was already historical as it’s the first to be exclusively streamed on Peacock, NBC’s streaming platform. But viewers will get a double-dip of firsts with reduced ad time.
[Watch Bills-Chargers on Peacock at 8 p.m. ET Saturday]
Associated Press sportswriter Joe Reedy spoke with Rob Hyland, the coordinating producer for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” who said he and his team had spent months exploring ways to make this Peacock-exclusive broadcast materially different from a typical football game broadcast on a TV network. They landed on reducing the standard NFL ad time by 40%, which should give viewers an additional 12 minutes of “game-related content.”
“The limited stoppages are exciting for me as someone that wants to tell the story of the game and have the time to do it,” Hyland told the AP.
Since all 60 minutes of actual game time are already shown on TV, that extra 12 minutes will be used to deepen the audience’s understanding of the game and they dynamics that surround it.
The broadcast team of Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, and Melissa Stark will use two minutes and 20 seconds of that 12 minutes to dig into some of the storylines of the game. For Bills-Chargers, that might include some insight into the Bills’ incredible journey from underperformance to dominance over the last month, or more examination of the Chargers’ stunning disintegration that led to the firing of head coach Brandon Staley and GM Tom Telesco.
Another two minutes and 20 seconds will be used by the “Football Night in America” studio crew. They’ll discuss the game and also preview the remaining Week 16 games. Ten of those games are scheduled for Sunday (Christmas Eve) and three are scheduled for Monday (Christmas Day).
Not everyone will have to hop on Peacock to watch the game. Those who live in Buffalo or Los Angeles will be able to catch the game on their local NBC affiliates.
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