11:36am PT by Rick Porter
Peacock, Nickelodeon Nab NFL Playoff Games as League Expands Postseason
Patrick Mahomes, meet SpongeBob SquarePants.
The NFL has approved expanding its playoffs from 12 to 14 teams, with two extra games taking place during the wild-card round. NBC and CBS will broadcast the additional games, and they'll also air in a couple of new places.
NBC's game will also stream on Peacock, the soon-to-launch SVOD platform from parent company Comcast (it will also be broadcast in Spanish on Telemundo). The CBS game will also stream on CBS All Access, and additionally, a separately produced broadcast tailored to a younger audience will simulcast on Nickelodeon.
The Peacock game will be a first for the service, which is set to debut April 15 for existing Comcast Xfinity customers and later in the year to the general public. The Nickelodeon telecast will also be a first for the NFL.
The expanded NFL playoffs will take effect for the 2020 season. Assuming the season begins as scheduled — no certainty in a world where all major sports are in limbo due to the coronavirus pandemic — the additional games will air Jan. 10, 2021, with CBS' broadcast in the late afternoon and NBC's in primetime.
Under the new format, only the top seed in each conference will receive a first-round bye; previously the top two teams had wild-card weekend off. Teams seeded second, third and fourth will host games.
As part of a new collective bargaining agreement with the league, NFL players also approved extending the regular season by one game to 17, while cutting one preseason contest. The longer regular season will begin sometime after the new CBA takes effect in 2021.