I’d been thinking about discussing this in a full post, but I think CF is a good place to do it — the current state of soccer streaming is absurd. There are too many different rightsholders each with their own premium, paid, over the top service. You need an advanced degree and a trust fund to figure out where a particular match is being broadcast and pay for the subscription.
I’m particularly disappointed with Peacock, which is unfortunate given that NBCSN is putting 8 of the 10 Premier League matches this weekend on the premium streaming service. It’s absurd that there isn’t a Peacock app for the two biggest streaming platforms out there. There are fee and contract issues still to work out with Roku and Amazon Fire holding up the service on those devices. That feels like the kind of thing you’d work out before rolling out your highly touted, shiny, new, fancy premium service.
I’m fortunate that I have an Xbox; there’s a Peacock app available there. There is also one for Playstation, and Xfinity customers can get a cable box with Peacock pre-installed. The rest of you, however, have it much tougher. There is a workaround to get Peacock content on your Roku/Fire — you use a web browser on your device to log into your account through Peacock.com and stream in the browser. I suppose you could also watch on a mobile device or computer, but that forces you onto a much smaller screen.
Although this isn’t a change from NBC Sports Gold (I don’t think), you can’t watch TV broadcast matches live on Peacock. That requires TV provider login verification or a fuboTV subscription, which is basically the same thing as having a cable sub. For matches being aired only on Peacock, you have to watch them either live or wait until 9 PM the day of the match to watch the replay. There really isn’t much flexibility.
Also, the general idea of bundling premium sports content with an entire library of other programming is annoying. I’m probably not the only person who really doesn’t care about all the other stuff — I just want my Premier League matches.
In an effort to push people towards the platform, NBC is putting really good matches on it. Opening weekend, Everton - Tottenham was moved (pretty late, actually) from TV to Peacock-only. As I mentioned, 8 of 10 matches this weekend are on Peacock. Next weekend, Liverpool - Arsenal, arguably the best fixture of the matchweek (Manchester City - Leicester gets a shout, too), is on Peacock only.
By the way, holding onto your 7-day free trial of Peacock until next week’s match is probably the best idea as an Arsenal fan. I wouldn’t blame you if you used it this weekend though, just because of the sheer number of matches.
NBC didn’t do themselves any favors — having such high-quality, wide coverage of the Premier League for the first seven years of broadcasting the league has spoiled us. We’re used to seeing more matches than they get in Britain. It feels like Peacock is taking something away from us and making us pay to get it back. To be fair, NBC is entitled to do that. They bought the rights, and they are a business trying to make money. I don’t blame them for that; it just stinks a bit.
At the end of the day, Peacock is $4.99 a month. While that doesn’t break the bank for me, I know that not everybody is in the same financial situation, and all of these streaming services start to add up. I suppose the flip side is that the American soccer-watcher now has access to all the matches they could possibly want and more (if they can afford it and find the time to watch them all).
All the different streaming platforms and their associated issues are not a massive, life-altering problem. They’re just annoying and crappy. /endrant