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Peacock’s MLB Package to Include Sunday Morning, Early Afternoon Games

To avoid conflict with most Sunday MLB games played at 1 p.m. ET, some of the 18 broadcasts scheduled for Peacock could start as early as 11:30 a.m. ET or just before noon.

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Is Sunday Morning Baseball something that would interest you? MLB and Peacock are hoping the answer is yes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, part of NBC’s new rights deal with MLB will involve broadcasting Sunday games on its streaming service. And to avoid conflict with most games played at 1 p.m. ET throughout the league, some of the 18 broadcasts scheduled for Peacock could start as early as 11:30 a.m. ET or just before noon.

The Peacock Sunday broadcasts will be exclusive to the streaming service and not available on MLB teams’ respective regional sports networks (and thus, not MLB.TV either). NBC is also expected to stream Monday and Wednesday telecasts (previously shown on ESPN) during its two-year deal. Previously, those telecasts were not exclusive but simulcasts from RSNs and blacked out in local markets.

MLB and NBC Sports have yet to officially announce their new deal, but it’s expected to be finalized this week now that baseball and the players union have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. The 2022 MLB season is now scheduled to begin on April 7.

The NBC Sports/Peacock rights deal is one of two streaming packages MLB has lined up for the 2022 season and beyond. Apple has also agreed to a deal to stream baseball games in an exclusive Friday night package including two games each week. Those broadcasts will be exclusive to Apple TV+.

With these two new deals, baseball fans will now likely be looking for their team’s games or standout matchups on a variety of outlets. Two of those platforms will be entirely new to fans for watching baseball, and they’ll have to sign up for subscriptions to do so.

The majority of a team’s games will be available on its RSN. But in a given week, broadcasts could be on Peacock (and occasionally NBC), Turner (which will now air games Tuesday nights as part of its new rights deal), Apple, ESPN (Sunday Night Baseball), MLB Network, and Fox (or FS1, on Saturdays). That could be quite a whiparound on a particular week.

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records

FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.

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The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.

The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.

The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.

The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.

Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.

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