Notre Dame football fans felt understandably cheated yesterday when they realized they’d have to pay to watch the Fighting Irish’s first home game.
Instead of airing on national television like last week’s kickoff game, Notre Dame’s match-up against Toledo yesterday only aired on Peacock. The NBC streaming service will exclusively carry a number of college football games moving forward.
Usually, fighting Irish fans can catch the game on the local NBC affiliate WNDU. But earlier this week, the outlet took steps to notify fans that they can’t tune into the local station for this season’s home opener.
“We want to make it clear that this was not WNDU’s decision. Instead, the decision was made by NBC,” the outlet said. “But there is still plenty of time to get folks who want to watch the game at home ready for it.”
WNDU told fans that they’d have to sign up for Peacock, which costs $4.99 a month, if it’s not included in their cable subscription. The outlet’s general manager, John O’Brien, reassured people though that the remaining six home games will air on the local station.
“This is just for this one game,” O’Brien said. “It’s just for the home opener against Toledo. That’s a decision not made here locally. In other words, it’s not up to anyone here at WNDU to decide whether we can or cannot carry a game.”
But Notre Dame fans still took to Twitter to express their frustration with NBC’s decision.
Notre Dame Fans Sound Off on Only Peacock Airing the Game
Several fans called out NBC on their “bold marketing strategy” to get people to sign up for the streaming service. The Fighting Irish boast one of the biggest college football fan bases in the country. So, the strategy makes sense. But even the network couldn’t know how close the match would be, making more people want to watch than ever before.
“Bold marketing strategy from Notre Dame, trailing Toledo at halftime and baiting millions of Americans to sign up for Peacock to hate-watch…” wrote Sports Illustrated writer Pat Forde on Twitter.
Slate writer Alex Kirshner also tweeted about airing the game on Peacock to inspire subscriptions. “Have to admit that the opportunity to watch Notre Dame lose a MAC game is a more enticing carrot for Peacock than all 27 seasons of the office + bonus commentary could ever be,” he said.
Other fans just straight up called out NBC for making them pay to stream the game on yet another platform.
A Notre Dame fan named Jenny tweeted, “Come on @nbc, why is Notre Dame only on Peacock?!? I don’t need another streaming service. Ugh….”
We feel you, Jenny. These streaming services just keep coming up with more and more ways to rope us in. And airing college football only on a service is a low blow.