NBC might be looking to replace the NHL with MLB — and give Peacock something else worth watching.
According to a new report from the New York Post's Andrew Marchand, Major League Baseball could have a new streaming partner in NBC’s Peacock if and when games begin this season after the current lockout is resolved.
Marchand reports that the MLB Network would handle the broadcasts that would head to Peacock and there would be limited, but not zero, coverage on NBC’s linear channels. Baseball would have been perfect for NBC Sports Network, but NBC sunset the sports-focused channel at the end of 2021. Interestingly, the move would reunite Bob Costas — who currently serves as MLB’s lead announcer — and NBC, his national broadcasting home for nearly 40 years.
The MLB’s discussions with NBC come shortly after news broke that Apple could also be up to stream MLB games this season through Apple TV+. While Apple wouldn’t have exclusive streaming rights over the entire league, it’s still something sports-related on the platform that isn’t “Ted Lasso” and would be actual live sports content. And as we just finished a year where live sports made up 95 of the top 100 live broadcasts, it’s clear sports are one of the few things that can attract audiences, making sports rights insanely valuable.
The Post also reported the story on the same day that the league’s own streaming service MLB.TV had to issue a statement reassuring subscribers that they would not be billed despite the fact that no one is certain when games will begin this season.
A move to both NBC and Apple would mean that there would be five broadcast entities with MLB rights: ESPN, FOX, Turner, NBC, and Apple, which seems unheard of in today’s media landscape. The only league with a similar spread would be the NFL, whose rights are split between Amazon, CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN — but baseball isn’t getting $100 billion for their broadcasting rights.
While 95 of the top 100 broadcasts of 2021 were sports, zero of them were MLB, and 75 of them were NFL football.
It’s clear that while not all live sports are created equal, having “some sports” is better than having “no sports.” NBC and Apple would seem to rather have baseball and all its uncertainty than nothing at all.
Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that includes original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series. Peacock is home to “Yellowstone,” and “The Office,” as well as original hits like “Bel-Air.” You can also watch live sports including Sunday Night Football, Premier League, and exclusive MLB games. Peacock is also the exclusive home to many WWE events like WrestleMania. Starting Nov. 30, Premium Plus subscribers will be able to stream their local NBC feed in all 210 markets.
The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like “Parks and Recreation,” and the entire Dick Wolf library including “Law & Order” and “Chicago Fire.”
The service also features blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.