It turns out that MLB’s streaming deal with Peacock *isn’t* for the midweek, non-exclusive games dumped by ESPN in their new TV deal with MLB. No, it’s for a brand new package of Sunday games, with start times as early as 11:30 AM ET.
This news comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reports that the 18-game package of games will be on Peacock’s premium tier and will indeed be exclusive, meaning they won’t be available on MLB.TV, Extra Innings, or the RSNs of the competing teams.
Here’s more from the WSJ story.
The deal with NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp., would involve a package of 18 games, some beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET and others just after noon, the people said. That would limit the conflict with Sunday games that typically start at 1 p.m., making the telecasts more valuable for Peacock. The games would primarily be played on the East Coast, given the early timing, the people said.
The games would be available exclusively for paying Peacock subscribers, meaning consumers wouldn’t have access through traditional cable-TV packages or other streaming services, such as the MLB’s direct-to-consumer app, the people familiar with the discussions said.
Under the terms being discussed with MLB, NBC Sports would produce the pre- and post-game shows, as well as the games. The first game, expected in early May, would air on both NBC’s broadcast network and Peacock, the people familiar with the discussions said. The rest of the 17 games would be exclusively on Peacock.
Sunday afternoon games were part of Turner’s old MLB deal, though many of those games lacked full exclusivity. The new TV deal Turner has with MLB contains exclusive Tuesday night games.
I understand that MLB wants to add more broadcast partners and drag even more TV money into their coffers, but this is getting ridiculous. In 2022, there will be exclusive Sunday late morning/early afternoon games on Peacock, Sunday night games on ESPN, Tuesday night games on TBS, Friday night games on Apple, and games in various Saturday windows on Fox, along with a variety of games on MLB Network. It’s way too much, and while one team probably isn’t going to get pounded with more than two of these games per week, it’ll no longer be as simple as “just tune in to your local RSN” every day. That’s ultimately a disappointment.