You’ll Need Peacock To See Michigan State Basketball’s Big Ten Opener Vs. Wisconsin
College sports is unrecognizable anymore, a complete mishmash of geographically senseless conferences, unregulated free agency for players, and horrible broadcast products, all brought on by unfettered greed that's only quenchable by more and more TV revenue.
Tonight, two byproducts of this unhinged devolution are on display in our little Green and White corner of the universe.
Michigan State (4-2) opens Big Ten play — on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Why? Because TV money, that's why. The Spartans host No. 23 Wisconsin (6-2) at Breslin Center in the first of two conference games this week. After playing Penn State in East Lansing on Sunday, MSU goes back to the non-conference slate for about a month before Big Ten play resumes.
Because that makes sense.
But the big story for Michigan State's conference opener versus Wisconsin is that it's only available on Peacock. So if you're in the vast majority of Spartan fans — and Americans, in general — you won't be able to watch tonight.
Because that makes sense, too.
Again, it all goes back to money. NBC is paying the Big Ten a reported $350 million per year for tertiary TV rights. That's a ton of money in any context, but it's especially large when you consider that Peacock lost NBC more than half a billion dollars in the third quarter of 2023 alone. You better believe the suits in NBC's boardroom are committed to stopping that bleeding, and they think that leveraging the college sports entities they're paying through the nose for can help them do that. The idea is that by making several marquee matchups exclusive to Peacock, NBC will drive new subscribers and, more importantly, new revenue to their streaming division.
But will that actually work? Will consumers sign up to pay $5.99 per month to have access to these games or will they borrow friends' and family's passwords, or simply not watch?
That remains to be seen, but the early returns aren't good for NBC.
If you're desperate to see Michigan State open up Big Ten play against Wisconsin tonight and you don't know anyone charitable enough to share their password, you can get Peacock starting at $5.99 a month. Students are eligible for a discounted rate of $1.99 a month.
Tuesday night is just the beginning. Peacock is the exclusive home of 30-plus Big Ten men's basketball games this season, including at least five of MSU's games.