Comcast has a lot of sports aspirations. Peacock is the biggest hub for Premier League soccer in the United States. The streaming service also scored an NFL playoff game for the first time. NBC just landed a deal with the Big Ten, as well, which will undoubtedly give the network a larger foothold in college football, but also add a lot of football and baseball games to Peacock. That’s without mentioning WWE or MLB as well.
And as Comcast continues to invest in live sports, company president Mike Cavanaugh has been adamant to investors that sports have been the difference in subscribers for Peacock.
“One of the great drivers of Peacock subscriber growth has been sports,” Cavanagh recently said on an earnings call (via Sports Pro Media). “When I think about our own sports business, I think we’ve got one of the best portfolios in sports [including] Sunday Night Football, Big Ten, Premier League, Nascar, WWE, the Olympics next year and PGA [Tour golf].
“We’ve got a very acclaimed group of people in terms of producing excellent content around those sports…we are going to continue to be in sports and that’s the game.”
Peacock has nearly doubled its subscriber base to 24 million over the past year, which is partially due to its investment in live sports. And it doesn’t appear that Comcast is stopping at the entities already mentioned above. NBC has already been linked to reacquiring the NBA more than two decades after the league fled the network.
Per CNBC, NBCUniversal execs have talked to the league about their interest, and the company is seeking playoff games in a potential deal. Peacock could also air regular season games.
“Obviously the NBA [rights are] coming up,” added Jason Armstrong, Comcast’s chief financial officer. “That’s a fantastic property. We don’t necessarily need it, given the portfolio we have, but given its strength and our historical involvement in the sport [it’s] something I would like to take a look at. But we will see where that goes.”
Comcast is interested in expanding its reach to attract more subscribers to Peacock, but it’s stopped short from a potential strategic partnership with Disney’s ESPN. However, live sports are a clear factor that drives people to streaming services, and this will likely continue to be the case.