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More on Sunday’s NBC-English Premier League news

Oct 28, 2012, 8:30 PM EDT

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

Any announcement involving English Premier League and its broadcast destinations qualifies as “big news.” But Sunday’s big news of NBC Universal acquiring exclusive U.S. rights is, as our English friends abroad might say, “Massive!”

First, it’s a remarkably exciting time for domestic soccer watching. (And for ProSoccerTalk, which is an NBC Universal product. But more on that later …)

Fox Soccer Channel, the previous home for EPL rights, for all the great games and analysis it delivered, could never match the market penetration of the NBC networks. That means that more soccer fans can now share in more of the ongoing EPL greatness – and make no mistake, it is glorious.  More viewers can attach themselves to the quality, history, passion and star value that makes the English Premier League product the world’s best by most standards.

(MORE: Official NBC announcement)

If you look at what NBC production quality has brought to Major League Soccer – this is coming from voices in the industry and around the media, not just from me – it’s easy to get excited about NBC’s plans for EPL production and promotion. NBC has devoted tremendous resources to its MLS productions, and the quality shows. There is zero reason to believe more of the same isn’t ahead for the globe’s top soccer league.

Second, NBC’s win is an unfortunate loss for Fox Soccer Channel, another setback to the network that has meant so much to domestic soccer supporters over the last decade or so.

There was a time when fans in the United States had very few options for watching top-flight soccer; Fox Soccer Channel has been there over the last 10 years or so, supplying safe harbor (providing that your cable system offered it.)

So fans are surely feeling a pang of bittersweet over the news. I am, personally.

What others are saying about today’s big news:

SI.Com’s Richard Deitsch has lots of facts and figures, including the strong numbers for last year’s final EPL matchday.

  1. ndnut - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Sure FSC was hard to get but I can’t think that NBCSN is more penetrating than The Worldwide Leader is. I Belize NBC Sports is superior in production but not in availability. Luckily I get NBCSN, but I don’t get Universal Sports, and I hope that doesn’t burn me in this deal. I am sentimental to FSC because they hooked me on soccer when my cable company ran a 3 mont trial upgrade. We couldn’t afford it after the promotion but NBC bought their MLS rights and I still had ESPN for EPL, but NBC is taking that away too. Props to NBC for investing in The Beautiful Game, but they really are turning soccer upside down, stateside.

    • schmittydidit - Oct 29, 2012 at 12:34 AM

      NBCSports is available on basic cable on every platform I’ve come across, just like ESPN. This means deal means more exposure. ESPN was going to get one or two games a week again. FSC requires expanded cable, FSCPlus required the sports package and Fox was pointless. NBC has the flagship channel and NBCSports for every Saturfay morning. There’s also CNBC, which has no Saturday programing, plus they can utilize MSNBC, Bravo and USA, all on basic cable.

  2. camitch3 - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Fox Soccer and ESPN both had really great streaming/replay options (FSN moreso than ESPN, since ESPN3 access is dependent on your ISP). I don’t mind NBC monopolizing so much soccer coverage, especially if they can grow interest in the sport, but I sure hope they start offering some online packages that can let me catch the games on my time. Watching Premier League live on the West Coast isn’t always a great option.

    • sdbeisbol - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      How is NBC monopolizing so much soccer coverage? They only have the EPL and MLS. If they had the World Cup, Euros, and UEFA Champions League as well then yeah that’d be a monopoly.

      • bishopofblunder - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM

        NBC has the rights to the World Cup starting in either 2014 or 2018.

      • joeyt360 - Oct 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        No, Fox has the WC starting in 2018.

  3. nickp91 - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    FOX now has a Soccer channel with almost no soccer to show

    • Scott - Oct 29, 2012 at 7:37 PM

      I wonder if Fox Soccer will now pursue broadcasting the Bundesliga. It is the only major world league that does not have a TV home in America.

      With beIN Sport holding TV rights to La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 and now NBC with the Premier League and MLS it might make sense.

  4. footballer4ever - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    @ Steve Davis

    Cheers, mate! (Best English accent i can imitate)

    Without a doubt this is another sign how world football is growing in the ol’ USA. As i said in another post, NBC will not spend $250 million in 3 years for charity reasons. They know how great the product is and the popularity the EPL enjoys in the states. My best interpretation is that they know they have a golden product at an “inexpensive” amount which they can develop, polish and market it throughout their platforms and the rewards will be massive for them doen the road. It’s a much better risk to invest on EPL than on any other sports league at the moment.

  5. Orlando G Gonzales III - Oct 28, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    With rights to #EPL, will @NBCSN continue w/ respectful #MLS coverage or should we anticipate neglect (a la FOX, ESPN)? Any thoughts?

  6. danielofthedale - Oct 28, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Comcast is not in the business of losing money so I don’t think you have to worry about them short changing MLS, especially since it has performed so well for them this first (I think double the numbers of last year on FSC).

    I also think this will be help the MLS ratings on NBC Sports. NBC Sports aired a number of 3:30 games. One would think that that they would show the 12:30 EPL game followed by a 30 minute review of the days EPL action and preview of the up coming MLS action. Now MLS has the lead in of the EPL and now some random hunting show which should bring in a few more fans that would watch the EPL but maybe not go out fo their way for MLS. Now MLS is coming right to them.

  7. footballer4ever - Oct 29, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    This EPL on NBC will benefit MLS in the long run. Sure the football levels are different, but so are both league$; Nevertheless, it’s the same game, football, that is growing. Can you recall how our football was in the dark 10-20 years ago and what is happening nowadays is amazing. NBC is the best partner MLS/EPL could get involved with and both will mutually benefit in the end.

  8. dfstell - Oct 29, 2012 at 7:36 AM

    I’m happy… sounds like we’ll be able to see just as much EPL as in the past and hopefully NBC will give us a better remote viewing app than Fox did.

    If there’s a downside, it could be that it perpetuates that the EPL is becoming “America’s Soccer League” even though we have MLS and NBC should be showing MLS. I’m not really worried about though. MLS is what it is and they know that EPL is their main competition for eyeballs and presumably they have some plans to attract those eyeballs.

  9. footballer4ever - Oct 29, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    dfstell said:
    “If there’s a downside, it could be that it perpetuates that the EPL is becoming “America’s Soccer League” even though we have MLS and NBC should be showing MLS”

    No need to worry. EPL and MLS seasons overlap and game times are not the same. Football is football, no matter what league, and that can only help MLS in the long run. MLS runs from March-October while EPL runs from August to March, so there’s not much conflict between each other.

  10. footballer4ever - Oct 29, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Telemundo which is an affiliate of NBC has the Spanish TV rights to WC 2018/2022. ESPN /Univision have the WC rights to Brasil2014.

  11. footballer4ever - Oct 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    The fact other US tv networks are getting into the mix to show the beautiful game is a good indicator of how much the game continues to grow.
    What a disappointment and headache this must be for the naysayers or haters.

  12. ndnut - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    GolTV has Bundesliga rights.

  13. footballer4ever - Oct 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM


    Do you have any idea when the main announcement will be made in which NBC’s Lazarus and the Premier League representatives will do the official press conference ???

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