Riding is Life


The Tour de France on Peacock is no longer free for Xfinity customers

Juuust in time for the 2023 Tour, you'll have to pay up to watch the official feed.

Do not attempt to adjust your television set. Photo © Cor Vos

Joe Lindsey
by Joe Lindsey 15.06.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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When American broadcast network NBC shut down its NBC Sports Gold streaming platform at the end of 2021, it was actually good news for some American cycling fans. NBC has long owned the broadcast and streaming rights to all Amaury Sports Organisation races, including the Tour de France.

When NBC Sports Gold shuttered, that coverage moved to the Premium tier of its Peacock over-the-top streaming platform which – for many Xfinity cable customers – was included for free. [NBC is owned by cable company Comcast, which now markets its cable TV and internet services as Xfinity – clear as day, right?]

Well, no more.

News leaked back in February that Comcast would no longer offer Peacock Premium for free to Xfinity subscribers (apologies: we missed this in our How to Watch preview, but the piece has since been updated). Since April, any new subscriber has had to pay for the service. What’s more, as of June 26, existing Xfinity accountholders will have to re-subscribe at the market rate ($5 a month or $50/year). Not-so-conveniently for bike racing fans, that’s five days before the start of the 2023 Tour.

Taca taca taca … France Télévisions may provide the images, but NBC owns the rights to show them to you in the US. Photo © Cor Vos

Why the change? Well, money, of course. Peacock has yet to be profitable for Comcast. In fact, the company projects Peacock losses “to be up modestly” to $3 billion-with-a-B in 2023, even as the service topped 20 million subscribers last year. It used to have a free tier; that’s gone too. Charging all Xfinity subscribers for access might make up some of that deficit. To add insult to injury, Comcast rival DirecTV currently has a deal to get Peacock Premium for just $2.99 a month. We’re not sure how that works either. 

What we are reasonably sure of is that a number of Peacock Premium subscribers who watch only cycling coverage and not, you know, Yellowstone or the Vanderpump Rules, may opt to simply let NBC-related subscriptions lapse and watch using a different three-letter technology. We’re even more sure that this dynamic likely won’t change for some time, even if Peacock goes bust entirely: in February, NBC extended its rights agreement with ASO for six more years, meaning it’s wall-to-wall this guy through 2029 ?.

The sharpest eyes in pro cycling commentary. Photo © Cor Vos

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