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Peacock Blog

‘Sports Sneak’ Your Favorite Teams at Thanksgiving Dinner — Everyone Else Is

This year’s most popular side dish? The “sports sneak.”

By Joanna Brenner

It’s finally 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and the table is immaculate. The potatoes are fluffy, the casseroles are creamy, and the canned cranberry sauce is perfectly translucent. This is the moment you’ve been fasting for all day, and — just as you’re about to unapologetically eat your body weight — Grammy cries out “Where’s Marty?” No one can start feasting until your uncle is found.

Fueled by your hanger, you take it upon yourself to ransack the house until you’re jolted by a familiar sound: Marty yelling at a football game — only the TV’s not on. Then you find him, huddled in the bottom bunk of your cousin’s twin bed, clutching his phone. You should have known. It’s always the pigskin that comes between you and the turkey skin!

Uncle Marty’s sneak-watching might be shameless, but he’s not alone — according to a new survey from Peacock, 65% of U.S. sports fans are guilty of the “sports sneak” — streaming sports content incognito in unconventional spaces. With live sports now dominating the top of streaming charts in addition to traditional television, sneak-watching is at an all-time high, happening everywhere from family gatherings to toilets to kids’ sporting events. Watching sports is easier than ever, and now even easier to hide.

At the heart of sports streaming is Peacock, which boasts more than half of its users as live-sports watchers, particularly on mobile devices. And while Premier League soccer contributes the highest rate of mobile consumption on Peacock, the Big Ten and NFL have made football the most watched sport overall on the streamer – and the most sneaked! The NFL accounted for 61% of all sneaking with the most commonly sneaked events being the NFL Playoffs (46%) and the big game (41%).

Who is sneaking sports and where?

Parents who are sports fans are the biggest culprits, often sneak-watching while camouflaged by soccer dads at sporting events, the beaming faces of parents watching their kids at recitals, or behind the bouncy house at birthday parties. Of the folks we surveyed, 48%% of sports fans admit to having done a “sports sneak” at family get-togethers, during work (37%), at Thanksgiving dinner (36%), and in bed while their partner is sleeping (32%). Peacock fans are particularly guilty; those who stream sports on the service are almost 16% more likely to "sneak" than those who don’t.

Can you sneak sports and get away with it?

You may as well try. Fifty-eight percent of the sports-sneakers Peacock talked to have yet to be caught, women even less likely than men. Their deceptive strategies include repositioning a chair or device in order to watch without anyone knowing. Popular moves include hiding a device under a table, inside a jacket, or behind a napkin.

So, this holiday season, keep an eye on Uncle Marty. While he may be taking excessive bathroom breaks, don’t forget: Peacock will continue to simulcast Sunday Night Football and will carry its first-ever exclusive NFL regular season game on Dec. 23, 2023 featuring the Bills at Chargers.

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Additional upcoming NFL games include:

  • Sunday, Nov 19: Vikings vs. Broncos
  • Thursday, Nov 23 (Thanksgiving Day): 49ers vs. Seahawks on (Nov 23, 2023)
  • Saturday, Jan 13, 2024: the first-ever exclusive live-streamed NFL Playoff game, presenting an NFL Wild Card Playoff in primetime

Peacock will also continue to be the streaming home for Big Ten and Notre Dame football, as well as men’s and women’s basketball.

Upcoming Big Ten games on Nov 18 include:

  • USC Upstate vs. Minnesota (Men’s Basketball)
  • Oregon State vs. Nebraska (Men’s Basketball)
  • Illinois vs. Notre Dame (Women’s Basketball)
  • Wake Forest vs. Notre Dame (Football)

It’s not you. It’s the sheer thrill of watching people in their prime of life, wearing matching outfits, piling on top of each other in pursuit of brown and orange balls that have the power to make all their dreams come true. And that’s great! Sports have an irresistible way of bringing people together, giving us all something to root for. Crack a cold one, turn on Peacock, and jump on that bunk bed with Uncle Marty. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em — just get a snack first.

Go sports!

Methodology: We asked self-reported sports fans in the United States to participate in an online survey between June 23–29, 2023, receiving 1,000 complete responses. Respondents came from all different backgrounds and we ensured that we collected data from a representative sample of sports fans from different age, gender, and geographic regions. This survey was conducted by a third-party research organization, Sage Outcomes, commissioned by Peacock.