Peacock Hosts Major League Baseball Games On Sundays, Starting May – Deadline

UPDATE with official announcement and details: In Major League Baseball’s latest streaming foray, NBCUniversal’s Peacock will offer an 18-game slate on Sundays in May.

The arrangement follows Apple’s double announcement on Friday night. Both deals were reported last month, but NBCU officially confirmed Peacock’s news on Wednesday. Game 1 will see the Chicago White Sox visit the Boston Red Sox for a game at Fenway Park on May 18. This game starts at 11:30 a.m. ET. Peacock’s first six games kick off at 11:30 a.m. and the last dozen at noon ET.

PREVIOUSLY, March 23: Major League Baseball, after resolving a labor dispute with players to save the 2022 season and securing a sensational deal to stream games on Apple TV+, is poised for more streaming inroads.

The league and NBCUniversal are close to finalizing a deal that would see an 18-game slate air on Peacock, according to a source familiar with the talks. An official announcement could take place early next week.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the pact today, following a New York Post report last month. the WSJ set the valuation at $30 million.

Representatives for NBC Sports and MLB declined Deadline’s request for comment.

While the prize isn’t cosmic, the deal is the latest sign that the sport is continuing to seriously migrate from linear TV to streaming. MLB and Apple just announced that a set of Friday games will be streaming on Apple TV+. Amazon also aired 21 New York Yankees games in the New York market last season under an agreement with YES Network. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is also a YES partner, owns Ballys regional sports networks and is in the process of moving their offerings, including MLB, to a suite of direct-to-consumer streaming services.

In the case of Peacock’s exclusive Sunday games, they are expected to start as early as 11:30 a.m. ET, allowing them to skip the regular 1 p.m. slate of games with existing rights deals.

ESPN has been steadily adding more live games to ESPN+ and cross-promoting them through Hulu, which is also owned by Disney. HBO Max plans to broadcast National Hockey League games live. Amazon Prime Video will launch exclusive streams of NFL Thursday Night Football starting in September.

For many stakeholders, including Fox, NBCU, Disney and Paramount, the linear component of sports remains extremely important as a cash flow driver and advertising platform. These companies’ recent $100 billion-plus rights deals with the NFL introduce some streaming elements, but also secure traditional television broadcasting through 2032.

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