NBC Puts Tree Lighting in Primetime Instead of NFL

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
(Image credit: NBC)

NEW YORK—For a myriad of reasons, the NFL is taking a back seat to the annual NBC broadcast of the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The delayed Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game will air live at 3:40 p.m. ET, while the lighting ceremony is set to be broadcast in primetime at 8 p.m. ET.

The Ravens-Steelers game was originally slated to air on Thanksgiving night in primetime on NBC. However, due to positive COVID-19 tests among the Ravens’ team and staff, the game has been postponed multiple times to the odd Wednesday game.

According to a CNN Business report, a factor in the scheduling situation was the logistics of the Christmas tree lighting production. NBC has already heavily promoted the ceremony, which is a joint production between the network and New York City. Also, in addition to the lighting, the broadcast will feature performances from Dolly Parton, Kelly Clarkson, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Goo Goo Dolls, the Radio city Rockettes and more.

While football is the biggest ratings driver around, NBC’s broadcast of the lighting ceremony brought in 7 million viewers last year, per reports.

Still, Sports Business Journal reported that NBC considered moving the tree lighting ceremony to one of its cable channels or to broadcast a taped version on Thursday, Dec. 3, but the NFL did not push NBC to make such a decision.

For more information, read the original CNN Business story