The Sports Streaming War Is Heating Up

The Premier Lacrosse League is moving to Peacock, NBCUniversal’s direct-to-consumer streaming platform, but what does this mean for the future of sports streaming content?

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While we sit back and wait for the National Football League to eventually announce their historic ~$10 billion TV rights package, NBC Sports took center stage with an announcement yesterday:

The Premier Lacrosse League is moving to Peacock, NBCUniversal’s direct-to-consumer streaming platform.

Don’t forget, the Premier Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse merged in December, providing Peacock with access to a sport that its competitors now can’t get — lacrosse.

That’s obviously a big deal.

Peacock officially launched last July, leaving them at a considerable disadvantage to their “big four” streaming counterparts — Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Not to mention, the Olympics were canceled due to COVID-19, taking their most marketable event off the 2020 calendar completely.

They’ve added popular reruns like “The Office” and “Yellowstone,” but when it comes to sports, they’ve barely been able to move the needle — even with an enormous 20,000+ hour content library.

Now, their strategy to catch up is obvious.

After putting a few English Premier League (EPL) matches exclusively behind the Peacock paywall in Q4, the streaming service saw its largest bump in customer acquisition ever.

The result?

It’s time to double down.

In addition to owned and operated content like US Figure Skating, Skiing, Snowboarding, and the Summer Olympics, Peacock agreed to a 5-year, $1 billion deal to acquire exclusive rights to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) content earlier this year.

The WWE deal immediately provided them 1.2 million additional subscribers, bringing their total to 33 million, but that’s not even what it’s about. More importantly, the deal provided Peacock with a differentiated asset in the ultra-competitive acquisition game of sports streaming content. The Premier Lacrosse League provides the same value, albeit on a smaller but growing scale.

We’re still only in the first inning when it comes to content acquisition in sports. Premium assets are being picked up, and content creators are launching media companies left and right. Dan Le Batard’s Meadowlark Media and Colin Cowherd’s podcast network The Volume are just two examples.

As the supply and demand equation inevitably shifts, these rights are only going to get more expensive. Only time will tell, but if Peacock can intelligently combine exclusive live sports content with premium TV shows and movies, adding millions of paying subscribers in the process, they might end up winning after all.

We’ll see.

Have a great day, and we’ll talk tomorrow.

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