NBC is debuting a new streaming network and platform on July 15, and at least for one day it’s making all Premier League fans come along for the ride. According to several media watchers on social media, NBC is planning to commemorate the start of its new premium streaming channel Peacock by moving all of its streamed Premier League matches on July 15 to the new service and offering it for free to all users.
Amending an earlier tweet:@NBCSportsSoccer says all of its Premier League broadcasts on July 15 are being moved from NBCSN to Peacock, and will be available free of charge to all viewers.— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) July 8, 2020
July 15 is Peacock's launch date. It's already integrated free into X1 cable boxes.
It looks as though all the matches that would normally be streamed on the NBC Sports Live app and NBC Gold will instead be moved to Peacock. Tottenham Hotspur play at Newcastle on July 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET, so this does directly affect Spurs fans who will want to watch the match online. It doesn’t mean that the matches won’t be televised on the NBC family of networks — this appears to be a one-day streaming only deal and will be free to everyone, whether or not you’re a Peacock premium subscriber.
However, this does foreshadow a possible (and I’d say probably likely) shift in the future whereby NBC Sports Gold will be folded into Peacock, or some other mechanism by which more Premier League matches will be added to the platform. A basic version of Peacock is free for Comcast Xfinity cable or internet subscribers via their new X1 streaming box, but there will be a subscription fee for non-Xfinity customers.
I don’t have enough of a sense of what NBC wants to do with Peacock to know if we should be annoyed or not. I have an X1 cable box because it was provided free with my Xfinity cable internet, but I’m not at all impressed with it, especially compared to my Roku. If Peacock ends up being just basically a replacement for NBC Sports Gold then fine, whatever. A one-day platform change that will force Premier League streamers to download Peacock isn’t the worst thing, so long as it’s free for those fans to watch. However, if it’s a harbinger of more systemic changes, we’ll need to wait for further details to know at what level we should peg our consumer outrage.