October 28, 2012
NBC Sports to air Premier League
By Charles Cuttone
NBC Sports Group, has acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Premier League through a multi-year agreement that begins with the 2013-14 season. NBC won the rights from incumbents Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN. The deal is reportedly for three years and $250 million.
Under the new agreement NBCUniversal becomes the exclusive English- and Spanish-language media rights holder to all 380 Premier League matches across all platforms and devices in the United States. Fox had been airing EPL games since 1998. ESPN was carrying up 80 games as part of a sub license deal.
The loss of the EPL leaves Fox Soccer Channel with no league programming agreements. It lost the MLS rights to NBC, and has also los Serie A and Ligue One rights to BeIn Sport.
NBC has been aggressive in promoting its MLS coverage, leading to ratings gains over the numbers the league was getting on FSC. The network also owns broadcast rights to the National Hockey League.
“The Barclays Premier League is the preeminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the U.S.,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “NBCU will provide the broadest programming and promotional commitment that the league has ever experienced here in the United States. The Premier League provides NBCU with best-in-class content for 10 months of the year across our far-reaching broadcast, cable and digital platforms. This is a perfect match.”
Although specific programming details will be announced at a later date, NBC, NBC Sports Network, and NBCSports.com will all be utilized to present live Premier League coverage, as well as Telemundo and mun2 for Spanish-language coverage. Additional NBCUniversal platforms and networks will occasionally be scheduled to air Premier League matches, while NBC Sports Live Extra will provide the live streaming platform across web, tablet and mobile devices.
“The NBC Sports Group has an excellent track record in sports broadcasting and will showcase the Barclays Premier League to fans across the USA through its extensive network of channels and high quality production,” said Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore. “We are extremely pleased that NBC has chosen to invest in the Premier League and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
The NBC Sports Group will also produce other programming around its live-event coverage of the Premier League, including pre- and post-match shows, as well as highlight and weekly wrap-up programs. It is also developing a package to make sure the most avid fans have access to every Premier League match.
NBC Sports began televising soccer this year as part of a three year agreement with Major League Soccer that also included U.S. Men's and Women's National Team games.