Peacock hopes to capitalize on subscribers with World Cup

A replica of the World Cup is display outside Lusail Stadium in Lusail in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. Final preparations are being made for the soccer World Cup which starts on Nov. 20 when Qatar face Ecuador. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) (Hassan Ammar, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Since its launch in 2020, NBCUniversal has had its share of big events to showcase its Peacock Streaming Service. It gets another one this month with the FIFA Men’s World Cup.

With Telemundo as the official Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States, Peacock will simulcast the games and have them available on-demand and other ancillary programming.

Rick Cordella, the president of programming for NBC Sports and Peacock Sports, said NBCUniversal was a bit behind its competitors when rolling out a streaming service, but he feels they have closed the gap.

He hopes the World Cup is another event that will drive more viewers to the platform.

“We’ve seen sports has been the catalyst to get people in the door. They seek it out, they find it, and then they’re exposed to all the entertainment options we have,” he said. “It just gives you a reason to open up our app every week if you’re a fan of a certain sport.”

Peacock reported it had 15 million paid subscribers and 30 million monthly active accounts last month.

Before moving back to NBC Sports, Cordella was Peacock’s chief commercial officer and instrumental in its launch.

Before Peacock’s launch, NBC’s streaming offerings were spread out among its Olympic site and the various NBC Sports Gold packages for Premier League soccer, rugby, motorsports, and the Tour de France. Peacock helped put them under one roof and one price.

Over the past couple of months, Peacock has touted its advantage of having the most varied live sports package. Besides the Olympics and World Cup, it also has NFL “Sunday Night Football,” the Premier League, “Sunday Morning Baseball,” Notre Dame football and hockey, NASCAR, and golf, among others. It will add Big Ten football and basketball next season.

As the World Cup draws near, those promotions have ramped up over the past month.

Peacock has also benefitted from adding WWE in the spring of 2021, including its 12 premium live events.

“The model we put together for WWE was very much a sports model of how many people show up for that live event on Saturday or Sunday night, how long will they stay around, or how much other content they have,” Cordella said. “There’s not a lot of difference between the passion you see for Premier League and the passion you see for WWE events.”

Cordella also noted that fans are tuning in for more than one sport. Premier League fans will stream sports, as will WWE fans.

Like the Olympics, Cordella hopes that the World Cup is another vehicle to draw subscribers and keep them.

The World Cup is also beneficial when it comes to streaming. According to a study from Tremor International, a video-first ad tech platform, 38% of fans ages 25-34 prefer to watch games on streaming compared to 33% on broadcast or cable television.

“I think one of the advantages we have in this particular property is that if you’re outside the pay-TV ecosystem, you don’t have a slot to watch it outside. You can come to Peacock for the tournament,” Cordella said.


AP sports: and