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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

After Success With NFL and Women’s Hoops, Peacock Is Turning to Golf

  • The streaming service has significant exclusive coverage of the U.S. Open.
  • Scottie Scheffler’s second round may play out entirely on Peacock.
Scottie Scheffler i
Austin American-Statesman

What do Patrick Mahomes, Caitlin Clark, and Scottie Scheffler (above) have in common? The superstars have all become part of one media company’s strategy to boost its streaming service, as the landscape continuously shifts toward more live broadcasts off cable and network TV.

NBCUniversal, via Peacock, has leaned in to that online paywall strategy like so many others. In the last 12 months, the streamer has used premium-game inventory—like the NFL playoffs and Clark’s biggest moment with Iowa—to try to drive new subscribers. Now, golf can be added to that list.

During the first two rounds of the U.S. Open, Peacock has 11.5 hours of exclusive coverage, or 42.5% of the total 27 hours that NBC Sports plans to be on air showing the championship’s early happenings. That’s up slightly from just under nine Peacock-only hours on Thursday and Friday last year.

The kicker this year is who is playing during Peacock’s coverage. The three top-ranked players in the world—Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, and Rory McIlroy—are grouped together in the U.S. Open’s marquee threesome. Their first round (1:14 p.m. ET tee time) concluded on Peacock, and nearly all of their second round (7:29 a.m.) will play out on the streamer.

The New Reality

NBC Sports released its coverage plans last week, before tee times were announced Tuesday, but it’s certainly possible that network power brokers made it known who they would prefer to play when. While Scheffler’s group is Peacock-heavy, it should be noted that the entirety of Tiger Woods’s first two rounds were available on USA or NBC.

Streaming is bountiful throughout men’s golf major championships these days, not just at the U.S. Open. The first two rounds of the PGA Championship in May had 10 exclusive hours on ESPN+. The Masters didn’t come on ESPN until 3 p.m. ET, although streaming options earlier in the day were free through the tournament’s website and app, in addition to paid offerings from ESPN+. 

NBC Sports has not released its full coverage plan for the final men’s major of the year, the Open Championship, but last year Peacock did have some exclusive windows.

No Sport Untouched

In January, Peacock’s exclusive NFL stream of the Chiefs-Dolphins playoff game led to both subscriber and subsequent revenue growth. When Clark broke the NCAA women’s basketball scoring record in February, it was also Peacock that had the broadcast.

In September, Peacock will carry the NFL’s first game from Brazil on the Friday night of Week 1, as well as another exclusive Notre Dame football broadcast, as it has done in recent years.

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