There was a time, roughly ten years ago, when watching the English Premier League in the United States was very difficult. The television deal was split up between a couple of entities, including ESPN and FOX Sports. In 2013, that all changed when NBC took over all TV rights for the top flight.
Today, it was announced that NBC has managed to fight off the likes of those groups, as well as CBS Sports, to retain the television rights until 2028.
NBC retains English Premier League rights in the US following high stakes battle with ESPN. Deal said to be close to $2bn over 6 years. pic.twitter.com/tp7FmzKwEc— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) November 18, 2021
The first deal was for an estimated $250m over three years. At the time it was seen as a risk given the sport’s popularity, while it was growing, was dwarfed by the “big four” professional leagues of North America. With this deal now in the $2bn range over six years, it’s safe to say NBC thinks the investment is worth it.
NBC’s coverage has largely been good, though their launch of streaming service Peacock certainly drew the ire of fans given the clunkiness of the application and initial confusion as to what level of subscription someone needed. On some levels, it was worse than NBC’s original offering, NBC Gold, where every match could be watched and live stats were available if one opted to look at them.
NBC Sports Network is also shutting down at the end of the year and USA Network will become the mothership for EPL coverage. Expect to still see matches on any number of channels that NBC Universal owns, especially on Championship Sunday. For now, this means that each club will pick up an extra $9m a year in TV revenue and the reports of a possible split-network TV deal are officially dead. The Premier League seems happy to be sticking with NBC (the money certainly helps) and those clubs are only getting richer.