Say goodbye to NBC Sports Gold and hello Peacock.
NBC Sports has announced that for the 2020/21 season, Peacock will stream 175 Premier League games exclusively on the Peacock Premium platform.
In total, Peacock Premium will present more than 1,500 hours of Premier League live match and shoulder programming. Included will be full-event replays for all 380 matches on-demand (after 9 p.m. ET).
All content presented on NBC Sports Gold’s “Premier League Pass” will shift exclusively to Peacock Premium with the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season.
NBC and NBCSN will continue to present extensive Premier League live match coverage, as well as pre- and post-match shows and additional shoulder programming.
If you haven’t given Peacock a test drive yet, Peacock will be streaming all of the Premier League games on July 15 which include Arsenal vs. Liverpool, Burnley vs. Wolves, Newcastle against Spurs and Man City against Bournemouth. The games will also be available on NBC Sports Gold, but none of them will be on TV.
Peacock Premium is currently available at no additional cost to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers across the country. Peacock Premium will also be available for $4.99 per month and features more than 15,000 hours of content.
As of press time, it looks unlikely that Peacock will be available on Roku or Amazon Fire TV by the July 15 launch date.
NBC puts more games behind a paywall
Analysis by Christopher Harris, Soccer media analyst
NBC keeps on putting more Premier League games behind a paywall each season. They may position the $4.99 Peacock Premium price point as “no big deal,” but that’s for access to 175 of the games. In order to have access to the full 380 games per season, you’ll need Peacock Premium plus a subscription to a cable or satellite TV provider or additional streaming service to access the 205 other games across NBCSN and NBC.
Over the years since NBC Sports acquired the rights to the Premier League, the broadcaster has eaten away at the number of games that are available to cable subscribers. In 2013, every single Premier League game was available via NBC Sports Live Extra. In 2017 with the launch of the Premier League on NBC Sports Gold, 130 games were exclusive to Gold. In 2019 when NBC Sports launched the Premier League Pass for NBC Sports Gold, the number of online-exclusive games climbed to 140. And now with this week’s announcement, Peacock will have exclusive rights to 175 games. From 0 to 175 games exclusive to a paid streaming service offered by NBC Sports, that’s quite a jump.
There’s nothing wrong with offering games via a paid streaming service. But either make all of them available for a higher price point or none at all. By offering 175 out of 380, it still means that consumers have to jump through hoops to have access to all the games available.
By NBC Sports offering a halfway measure, that doesn’t satisfy cord cutters who want access to everything. And at the same time, NBC Sports infuriates cable and satellite TV subscribers by having them pay more to access all the games.
Understandably NBC Sports is trying to find as many ways as possible to monetize the Premier League coverage given that they spent approximately $1 billion to renew the rights in the last TV deal. But NBC Sports finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place. Parent company Comcast wants to lock fans of Premier League clubs into staying with cable and/or satellite providers. But at the same time, they’re looking for new ways to generate additional revenue.
It could be that the future of the Premier League after the NBC TV deal ends at the close of the 2021/22 season is to a streaming provider with bucketloads of cash who offers the most amount of money during the bidding process. Consumers may win in that scenario with a streaming offering that’s not tied to cable, but ultimately it would be the Premier League losing out because they would lose the exposure of what a NBC can provide.
Premier League’s 2020/21 season will feature 175 games exclusive to Peacock. In NBC’s final year of their current media rights deal with the Premier League in 2021/22, don’t be surprised if that number increases even more.
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