NFL fans throwing a fit over longtime IndyCar predicament

IndyCar fans have long had to subscribe to Peacock Premium for full content access. NFL fans are now throwing a fit over having to do the same.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, NFL playoffs
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, NFL playoffs / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

For the last several years, Peacock has been the exclusive home of all IndyCar practice and qualifying sessions, including the majority of the two-day Indy 500 qualifying event the weekend before the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing".

To access live streaming, fans have either needed to subscribe to Peacock Premium or Peacock Premium Plus. The former costs $5.99 (plus tax) per month or $59.99 (plus tax) per year, while the latter costs $11.99 (plus tax) per month or $119.99 (plus tax) per year.

This past season, there was even one Peacock exclusive race on the streets of Exhibition Place in Toronto, and this upcoming season, that number is set to double, with not only the Toronto race but the first of two races at the Milwaukee Mile set to be shown only on NBC's streaming platform as well.

The NFL recently got in on the Peacock action as well, airing the first ever Peacock exclusive the weekend before this past Christmas between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers. Not surprisingly, that did not go over well with fans. But that reaction pales in comparison to this weekend's frustration.

NFL fans upset over 'problem' IndyCar fans are used to

Thanks to a one-year, $110 million deal, one of the six games on Super Wild Card Weekend is also a Peacock exclusive. NFL fans will need to subscribe if they want to watch the Saturday night game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

This means that in order to get your weekly fix of camera shots of Taylor Swift in the luxury suite every other play, you'll need to fork over at least $5.99. Hey, at least the fee covers the game itself, too.

Paying to watch select NFL games really isn't anything new, given the long-time existence of NFL Sunday Ticket. Having said that, the frustration over the fact that what would have once been a nationally televised playoff game can only be accessed by paying an extra fee is understandable.

And "frustration" is putting it nicely.

Some have even suggested that the NFL is trying to exploit the "Swifties" by making them pay to watch this game. While the Peacock exclusive was planned quite some time ago, there were six games to choose from when it came to inserting one into the Saturday night slot. They just so happened to pick the Chiefs game.

But truth be told, this is the direction in which the sports world is headed. Just look at NASCAR's new TV deal and how many races are set to be shown on Amazon Prime Video (which has, by the way, already been the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football since 2022). IndyCar's new deal will probably look similar.

Don't be surprised when, a few years from now, Apple TV+ is the exclusive home of the NFC East and Disney+ is the exclusive home of conference championship weekend. Pay-as-you-go is the future of watching live sports at home; as long as these networks are forking over hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars, full package deals and Cable TV will become a thing of the past.

Is paying extra what anybody wants? No. But in a world where inflation is still taking its toll, I say this as respectfully as possible: get used to it.

We all know that football is king in the United States. No matter how much whining and complaining fans do, they are still going to tune in and watch, and those who don't are more than likely just boycotting so they can tweet and get attention about how rebellious they are.

And a majority of those fans probably aren't even actually boycotting, either; that's usually how it goes in the world of social media.

As far as IndyCar goes, sure, there were -- and still are -- some complaints; you won't find a more traditionalist and passionate fanbase. But I've rarely heard any complaints from those who actually do pay for a subscription.

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Now let's just see how this Saturday night goes for the NFL world. At least that $5.99 fee keeps you from standing out in the -9-degree cold.