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Peacock’s U.S. Open coverage is just the beginning

Peacock’s U.S. Open coverage is just the beginning

Did you see Rory McIlroy’s birdie on the final hole of the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday?

If the answer is yes, and you saw the putt live rather than in a highlight package, then you are one of the golf fans who have Peacock, NBC’s subscription-based streaming service. If you didn’t see it live, you were probably cursing under your breath that the powers that run television and sports have found another way to milk a few dollars out of viewers.

The social media world exploded when the U.S. Open switched from USA Network, a standard network commonly found on most platforms including cable, to Peacock on Thursday afternoon. Those chants grew a little louder on Friday when USA Network wasn’t part of the Open broadcast, but Peacock was the television platform for the morning and late afternoon sessions. NBC carried the Open midday.

The Open might be the sporting event at the center of anger about paywalls for the moment, but in reality this is nothing new. In a search for more lucrative sources of revenue, major sports are increasingly tucking at least some of their content behind streaming services that require an additional subscription.

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The PGA Tour has certainly been at the center of this movement with early round action now broadcast on ESPN+ and Peacock for some time now. Other sports are also on Peacock, such as the LPGA, Indy Car racing, boxing, soccer and a ton of U.S. Olympic trials for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris. Much of those Games will be on Peacock as well.

You may also remember that the National Football League put one of its playoff games last season on Peacock. The NFL, never at a loss for a way to squeeze an extra dollar out of fans and sponsors, has already put its Thursday Night Football games on pay service Amazon Prime. Major League Baseball isn’t immune to the movement, taking some Friday games and giving them exclusively to Apple TV, meaning those games aren’t on the regional sports networks fans traditionally watch.

Not going away

If you think your favorite sports moving to streaming services that require an additional subscription is a trend that can’t continue, think again. The NFL recently announced that it will play two games on Christmas Day this year, and both will be on Netflix, another pay service. Meanwhile, NBC is on the verge of announcing a new deal to take over the NBA package currently held by TNT through next season. When…


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