Tokyo Olympics Kicking Off NBC’s Peacock Streaming Service Sports Strategy

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  • NBCUniversal is banking on an ad-supported streaming model to lure consumers to its service, including sports fans, beginning with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer.
  • After the Tokyo Olympics come to a close, Peacock will delve into other sports to keep sports fans entertained - namely golf and Premier League soccer.
Katie Ledecky swims during the 2016 Olympics.
Photo Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

NBCUniveral’s over-the-top streaming service, Peacock, is getting set to launch in April to take on the likes of Netflix, HBO, and ESPN’s parent company Disney in the highly-contested streaming wars with a slate of original series, movies, and content from popular NBC titles like 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.

But sports fans have plenty to look forward to as well, beginning with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the company disclosed during an investor presentation at its New York headquarters, Thursday.

NBCUniversal announced that Peacock will feature five hours of daily live coverage from the Olympic Games, plus three dedicated studio shows streaming only on the service that will provide highlights and analysis to fans for free.

Both the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics will also be exclusively live streamed on Peacock – hours before being broadcast to national TV audiences.

More original programming, in the form of documentaries around past Olympics and the 2020 games, will additionally become available after launch, the company said. These include an inside look at the U.S. men’s basketball team’s road to Tokyo and a film revisiting the U.S’ 4 X 100 swim relay comeback victory over France in Beijing 2008 – a team led by former Olympic star Michael Phelps.

“By delivering timely and topical content like breaking news, live sports, and watercooler moments from late-night, Peacock is uniquely bringing a pulse to the world of streaming that does not exist in today’s marketplace,” Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal digital enterprises, said in a statement.

He later told investors that Peacock would offer a Spotify-like component to its service. By streaming on Peacock, company algorithms will create personalized sports channels for fans. Peacock will also feature short-form videos of nightly sports highlights.

After the Tokyo Olympics come to a close, Peacock will delve into other sports, it said.

READ MORE: NBC Surpasses $1B In Ads Sold Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

As an example, the service will provide exclusive coverage of the Ryder Cup this fall, highlighted by exclusive pairings for golf fans to watch. The service will also launch a NASCAR-related show with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Also, Peacock will stream 140 Barclays Premier League matches not shown on television for free to fans. 

NBC did not disclose how this offering will impact the network’s paid NBC Sports Gold service.

At launch, NBC’s Peacock will offer consumers three streaming packages ranging from ad-free at $9.99 to a cheaper $4.99 option that will give consumers early access to new shows and live content.

NBC’s third option directly highlights the company’s go-to-market strategy: at no cost to consumers, fans can stream live sports, news, and 7,500 hours of on-demand video through an ad-supported model.

NBC revealed Eli Lilly and Company, State Farm, Target, Apartments.com, and Unilever as early partnering sponsors for Peacock during its investor presentation. The agreements come with a guarantee that each brand will have exclusive ad placement across NBC Sports during all 17 days of the Tokyo Olympics.

“Our research shows that two-thirds of viewer consumption of our content happens on ad-supported platforms,” Steve Burke, chairman of NBCUniversal, told investors, adding that company digital ad sales have grown from $300 million in 2013 to $1 billion in last year.

READ MORE: CBS Sports HQ Sees Big Growth in 2019, Amid New Content Strategy

“Peacock allows us to tap into this marketplace,” he added. “But it’s not only about digital advertising. We will offer national and local, English and Spanish, as well as broadcast and cable content in the same place.”