Earlier this year, a couple of national streaming services announced deals with Major League Baseball. I wrote about them back in March; one of them was with NBC-owned Peacock. A Wall Street Journal piece I cited in that article stated, of the Peacock deal:
The deal with NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp., would involve a package of 18 games, some beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET and others just after noon, the people said. That would limit the conflict with Sunday games that typically start at 1 p.m., making the telecasts more valuable for Peacock. The games would primarily be played on the East Coast, given the early timing, the people said.
The games would be available exclusively for paying Peacock subscribers, meaning consumers wouldn’t have access through traditional cable-TV packages or other streaming services, such as the MLB’s direct-to-consumer app, the people familiar with the discussions said.
Under the terms being discussed with MLB, NBC Sports would produce the pre- and post-game shows, as well as the games. The first game, expected in early May, would air on both NBC’s broadcast network and Peacock, the people familiar with the discussions said. The rest of the 17 games would be exclusively on Peacock.
Today’s Cubs/Phillies game in Philadelphia is the North Siders’ first appearance on the NBC-owned service. The game will begin at 11:05 a.m. CT and the announcers will be Jason Benetti, who you are likely familiar with from his work with the White Sox, John Kruk and Ryan Sweeney.
Unlike Apple TV+ games, Peacock games are not free. You will have to subscribe to this service to watch the game today. If you are a Comcast/Xfinity or Cox Cable subscriber, Peacock is included in the cost of your subscription. Otherwise you’ll have to pay $4.99 a month for Peacock Premium. This is obviously not optimal for promoting baseball, and if you’re unhappy with this MLB streaming deal, you have a legitimate gripe.
Regardless, I thought I’d present this FAQ on how to watch today’s game.
If I am a Comcast/Xfinity or Cox subscriber, what do I need to do to watch the game?
To be an eligible Xfinity customer, you must be an Xfinity Flex, Xfinity X1, or video customer with a subscription to Xfinity Internet or Digital Starter TV, or equivalent, or above.
To be an eligible Cox customer, you must have an Essential or higher video package that includes the NBC channel.
What if I don’t have a Comcast/Xfinity or Cox subscription and want to watch Peacock games?
You can visit peacocktv.com to sign up for Peacock, then download the Peacock app on your device and you’re ready to watch.
What kind of device do I need to watch this game?
You can also watch on any modern smart TV where you can download the Peacock app. Most TVs made within the last five years have this capability.
You can also watch on your iPhone or iPad. If you have an Android phone, you can watch via mobile browser.
If you want to watch on your laptop or PC, log into peacocktv.com, select the game from the Main Browse page, Sports page, or the MLB Hub when the game is live.
If you want to watch on your connected TV, mobile or tablet, launch the Peacock TV app and select the game from the Main Browse page, Sports page, or the MLB Hub when the game is live.
If you don’t have the Peacock app on your smart TV but you do have a Chromecast device (and if you don’t, you should get one, they’re inexpensive and they allow you to stream almost anything to your TV), you can stream the game to your TV from any Chrome browser. If you have a HDMI port on your TV, you can install a Chromecast device. Many current smart TVs have built-in Chromecast.
There are no blackouts
No, seriously, there are no blackouts.
Streaming games is new to MLB and, let’s be honest, they are doing this for the money. Here are some things I DON’T want to hear about these games:
“The Cubs promised all the games in one place with Marquee!”
No, no they did not. Granted, from 2014-19 Cubs games were on three local channels (WGN, NBC Sports Chicago and ABC-7) and it was sometimes difficult to keep up with what games were on those three channels. The Cubs TV schedule was the single highest-traffic article on this site every year four straight years in that time frame.
But putting local games on Marquee did not prevent MLB from taking some games for national broadcast. This was the case even before Marquee’s launch in 2020, when up to about 12 games a year were carried by ESPN and Fox. This is essentially the same thing, only now there are a couple of streaming services added to the mix, Apple TV+ and Peacock.
In the end, about 150 Cubs games will be carried on Marquee Sports Network this year, which is pretty much standard for all teams these days — that many on a local RSN, the rest on national channels. I’ll always put the TV channel for each game in every series preview and every game preview for you.
“I can’t get this game!”
Yes, yes you can. If you have an internet connection you can watch this game. As noted above, it’s not free — you either have to pay for it as a standalone app, or pay for it as part of your cable subscription — but anyone with an internet connection should be able to watch this game.
Today’s game against the Phillies is the only Cubs game that will be on Peacock this year. As such, you might decide that you don’t want to pay for this subscription for one game. That’s a perfectly reasonable position to take.
Caveat: I realize there are some people whose internet connections are too slow for streaming. In the year 2022, though, that’s a tiny minority of internet users.
“I don’t want to pay more for baseball on TV!”
Okay, this one is an absolutely legitimate complaint. MLB, by making deals with streaming services, is (eventually) going to ask fans to pay more to watch games. In the end it’s up to you as to whether you want to do this. Marquee is considering launching its own standalone streaming service and recently, Sinclair announced a standalone streaming service covering games for (for now) the the Royals, Rays, Brewers, Marlins, and Tigers.
It’s not ideal for people who are likely already paying a ton for many streaming services, but that’s the way baseball is heading, perhaps to its detriment, and they probably should have (as Apple is doing) given at least some of these games for free as a loss leader.
In any case, you can watch today’s game using the method(s) described above, and again, today’s game is the only Cubs game on Peacock for 2022.