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CBS, NBC Get Extra Wildcard Game as NFL Playoffs Expand

CBS and NBC have each gotten an additional playoff game as the NFL approved plans to expand the playoffs beginning at the end of the 2020 season, assuming the coronavirus crisis is under control.

The Wildcard game that airs on CBS will also be seen on Nickelodeon with a separate telecast aimed at younger viewers. CBS and Nickelodeon are both owned by ViacomCBS.

NBCU’s new streaming service Peacock and Telemundo will also carry the NBC Wildcard game.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Sports Business Daily reported that CBS will pay about $70 million for its afternoon game and NBC will pay a bit more for its primetime contest.

Under the new NFL plan 14 teams will qualify for the playoffs, with one wild card team added in each conference.

As a result, Wild Card Weekend for the 2020 season will consist of three games on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, and three games on Sunday, Jan. 10.

CBS will air its additional game on Jan. 10, with kick off at about 4:40 p.m. ET. The game will also stream on CBS All Access. Nickelodeon’s coverage will also appear.

NBC, Peacock and Telemundo will air the second added Wild Card Game on Jan. 10 at 8:15 p.m. E.T.

The NFL last expanded its playoffs during the 1990 season.

The expansion came after the NFL and the NFL Players Association approved a new collective bargaining agreement. “Players and clubs both recognized that nothing energizes fans like the chance to see their team qualify for the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl,” the league said in a statement.

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.