Super Bowl LVI, pitting the Los Angeles Rams against the Cincinnati Bengals, kicks off at 3:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, Feb. 13. NBC will telecast the Super Bowl nationally, and it also will be available to subscribers of Peacock Premium.
“The Super Bowl is a great opportunity to get people into Peacock… and hopefully see those other assets we have,” said Jim Denney, EVP and chief product officer of direct-to-consumer for NBCU. “Our goal is to bring as many people in [as Peacock subscribers] as possible.”
NBCU recently revealed that Peacock had 9 million paying customers at the end of 2021, the first time it broke out that metric. The media company is offering access to the Super Bowl, as well as the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, only on its Peacock Premium tiers (not the free version).
The hope is that cord-cutters will sign up for Peacock to catch the Rams-Bengals in the Super Bowl — and stay for the thousands of hours of TV shows and movies on the service. “We want to get them to the game, but also talk about all the other things happening on Peacock as well,” Denney said.
For its presentation of Super Bowl LVI, Peacock will make sure football fans are aware of the streamer’s newest exclusive programming. That includes the Feb. 13 premiere of original series “Bel-Air,” which reimagines Will Smith’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as a drama, and “Marry Me,” the musical rom-com starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson that hits Peacock on Feb. 11 day-and-date with theatrical release.
“It’s a big month for Peacock,” Denney said.
For the Super Bowl on Peacock, NBCU is following the same playbook has taken with Olympics coverage. According to the company, Peacock had record usage in the first six days of the Winter Olympics, with customers streaming more than 1 billion minutes from the Beijing games.
Super Bowl LVI will also be livestreamed on the NBC Sports app and at NBCSports.com, although that will require viewers to sign in using existing pay-TV credentials. “We want consumers to come in however they want to come in,” said Denney. The exec, who joined NBCU last year from Hulu, oversees Peacock’s global product strategy and the company’s other customer-facing digital platforms.
Separately, the NFL is making the 2022 Super Bowl livestream available free on its mobile apps for iOS and Android, and it will also be free on the Yahoo Sports mobile apps (no authentication required).
Last year, CBS said the Super Bowl drew a record-breaking average minute audience of 5.7 million viewers on streaming platforms. However, heavy demand also crashed CBS All Access (the streaming service since renamed Paramount Plus) for several minutes right at the beginning of the game.
NBCU has taken a number of measures to reduce the risk its Super Bowl livestream suffers an outage or technical glitches, including making continencies for additional bandwidth capacity with its distribution partners and testing Peacock’s registration and log-in systems beyond expected peak load.
“As a concentrated event, [the Super Bowl] puts more strain on different parts of the system,” Denney said.
Denney’s team has an estimate what the peak Super Bowl LVI streaming load will be and “then we have a multiplier past that we test toward — because you just never know,” he said, declining to detail what those numbers are.
“You have to look at it holistically and cover as many bases as you can,” he said. “But there are no guarantees, so you have to deal with worst-case scenario planning as well.”
(Pictured above: Super Bowl LVI sign at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.)