The Baltimore Ravens and the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers will play on NBC on Wednesday afternoon at 3:40 p.m. The network’s transmission of Christmas tree lighting was a “factor” in the schedule for the afternoon’s NFL game, according to a source close to the topic.
“We have a great partnership with the NFL and have found a solution that was right for everyone involved,” an NBC spokesman told CNN Business.
The mid-afternoon start of the week is not standard for an NFL game, but it is not a normal match for the Ravens-Steelers head-to-head.
It may seem strange to promote Christmas tree lighting in an NFL game, as the NFL is the highest rated powerhouse on TV. However, the lighting of the Christmas tree cannot be easily rescheduled.
Although “Christmas at Rockefeller Center” barely brings NFL numbers, it doesn’t qualify for any ratings. The event brought in roughly 7 million spectators last year. (Wednesday’s NFL games are extremely rare, but most nationwide television games attract millions of viewers than lighting the tree. The Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins Thanksgiving game, for example, brought in roughly 30 million viewers.)
However, the NFL “did not put NBC in a position where it had to make that choice,” Ourand said it understood “the amount for which it asked broadcasters to be flexible in the 2020 season.”