Yes, I know how most of you feel about MLB’s push toward national streaming of games on Peacock and Apple TV+.
Still, I am duty-bound to tell you when the Chicago Cubs will appear on these streaming services, and Tuesday, Peacock announced its 2023 streaming schedule for MLB games.
To refresh your memory, Peacock signed a deal with MLB before the 2022 season that called for it to have an exclusive window before 1:35 ET on Sundays. That means, for the most part, games on the streaming service have to start at 11:35 a.m. or 12 noon ET in order for the service to have at least part of the day where no other games are televised.
As a result, all of the games in 2022 were hosted by teams in the Eastern time zone.
In 2023, this is changing. Three games will be hosted by teams in the Central time zone, including the Cubs hosting the Baltimore Orioles at Wrigley Field on Sunday, June 18. That game will begin at 12:05 p.m. CT. The two other CT hosted games are Mariners at Astros on Sunday, August 20 and Phillies at Brewers on Sunday, September 3, both also at 12:05 p.m. CT.
The Cubs will be in one other game on Peacock this year: Sunday, April 30 against the Marlins at Miami. That game will begin at 11:05 a.m. CT.
You will have to pay extra for Peacock Premium to watch these games. Yes, I understand that’s a hassle and just one more way for MLB to extract money from you. Granted and stipulated. This is, unfortunately, where we are regarding baseball and streaming in the year 2023. It’s not going to get any better, I don’t think; more sports are moving to streaming and baseball is no exception. If you are a Comcast/Xfinity subscriber, Peacock Premium is included in your package at no extra charge.
The Cubs are also going to appear at least once on Apple TV+ this year. Apple’s full schedule is not yet released, but the Cubs have a Friday night game scheduled at Wrigley Field July 14 against the Red Sox, the first game after the All-Star break. I’ve written many times about how the Friday night game restriction should be repealed by the city of Chicago, but at the present time the only way the Cubs can schedule a Friday night game this far in advance is for national broadcast. There could be other Cubs games on the Apple TV+ schedule; I will post about them here when Apple releases its full schedule.
One more note about the Friday night game prohibition at Wrigley Field: This year’s Wrigley concert schedule includes (as of this writing) two Friday night shows, with possibly more to come. There is literally no difference between having a huge crowd in the neighborhood on Friday night for a concert or a baseball game. If one is allowed, the other should be as well. Repeal the ordinance now, Chicago City Council.
The sports TV landscape is changing rapidly, as I noted last week in this article about the looming Sinclair RSN bankruptcy and in this article about MLB’s hire of an executive whose responsibilities include nudging the sport into more streaming and fewer blackouts.
As always, we await developments.