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Roku Said To Be in the Running To Take Over the MLB ‘Sunday Leadoff’ Game Package From Peacock

 Sunday Leadoff.
Sunday Leadoff.

NBCUniversal’s deal with Major League Baseball to show the Sunday Leadoff live games package on Peacock expired last season, and Roku is in the race to take it over, according to a Wall Street Journal reporter.

Asked to confirm or comment on this, a Roku rep told Next TV, “We have nothing to share at this time.”

Peacock carried Sunday Leadoff for the last two seasons, paying a reported $30 million each year (paltry, by live sports standards), exclusively televising 18 live MLB games at either 11:30 a.m. or noontime ET.

Just shy of a month into the 2024 MLB campaign, NBCU hasn’t reached an agreement to renew the package.

Roku ended 2023 with 80 million active accounts, but the Roku Channel FAST is widely distributed beyond the Roku platform, with the app also available on popular rival TVOS device systems including Amazon Fire TV and Google TV/Android TV. Roku Channel is also accessible via the open internet.

According to Nielsen, Roku Channel accounted for 1.3% of all U.S. traditional TV viewing (i.e. watching not on computers or mobile devices) in March. That's the same level of market share that Peacock pulled in last month.

Nielsen 'The Gauge' March 2024
Nielsen 'The Gauge' March 2024

The Roku Sunday Leadoff report comes amid a push by the larger FASTs to get into the live sports business. On Wednesday morning, for example, Fox announced that it is bringing live MMA and women’s soccer to Tubi via a new arrangement with DAZN.