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NBC Universal acquires exclusive English Premier League rights in United States

Oct 28, 2012, 7:50 PM EST

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NBCUniversal will soon become the exclusive U.S. media rights holder for English Premier League soccer, officials from NBC and the NBC Sports Group announced Sunday night.

The multi-year agreement begins with the 2013-14 season. NBCUniversal will have both the English- and Spanish-language media rights to all 380 Premier League matches across all platforms and devices in the United States.

So games previously seen in the United States on Fox Soccer Channel or across the ESPN networks will be seen on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and NBCSports.com. Spanish-language broadcasts will be seen on Telemundo and mun2.

NBC’s soccer properties now include Major League Soccer, U.S. men’s and women’s national team contests, the men’s and women’s Olympic soccer coverage and the venerable Premier League (beginning in 10 months).

Here is the official announcement from NBC:

NEW YORK – October 28, 2012 – NBCUniversal, via the 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, both parties announced today. Per the 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.

“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.”

“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.”

Each of the 20 Premier League teams plays 38 matches over a 41-week period from August to May. 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 will also produce comprehensive shoulder 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.

About NBC Sports Group’s Soccer Coverage The NBC Sports Group’s networks and platforms are leading destinations for soccer fans in the U.S. Its soccer portfolio includes Major League Soccer (MLS), U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches, the men’s and women’s Olympic soccer tournaments, and, beginning in August 2013, the Premier League. NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, will be the home for all 380 Premiere League matches, as well comprehensive shoulder programming. NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and mun2 also provide comprehensive Spanish-language soccer coverage. Both channels will air Premier League matches, as well as serve as the U.S. Spanish-language home for the FIFA World Cup from 2015 through 2022. Online, ProSoccerTalk on NBCSports.com provides comprehensive coverage of the sport, from the Premier League to MLS to the U.S. National Team and other key international soccer stories.

  1. hate23putt - Oct 28, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    This is not great for soccer in the US, losing fox is not a big deal but losing ESPN is a big loss, they have great distribution throughout their network and they also feature soccer in their highlights during sports center.

    I hope NBC sports shows some games on the NBC network so you can get greater distribution but that remains to be seen.

    • whordy - Oct 28, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      I agree in the perfect world ESPN would be better, but for all their reach and production values it’s still obvious it’s only lip service. The 10 second highlights, the anchors who sound like they are narrating a soccer play for the first time, the under handed compliments during highlights.

    • arbeck - Oct 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM

      You do realize NBC Sports is in more home than Fox Soccer? More people will have access to EPL games now than before. Plus NBC has no pro football airing that would compete. Their only college football is Notre Dame home games which would rarely compete. I imagine that if NBC had the rights this year, you would have seen an EPL double header Saturday followed by a MLS double header.

  2. elComandanteenJefe - Oct 28, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    We need more of this and less of ESPN. NBC and Fox need to keep bringing on the competition!

  3. Orlando G Gonzales III - Oct 28, 2012 at 8:27 PM

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

  4. pjbowmaster - Oct 28, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    I think NBCU see’s value in MLS. I expect the coverage to keep getting better.

  5. ndnut - Oct 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Crap. I know this is a bit selfish but I’d bet the farm that this means Arlo White is going to broadcast EPL games and not MLS games. Plus I kinda liked the idea of ESPN doing international soccer and NBC taking care of the league at home. Oh well, I will learn to love this by the 3rd EPL round next season :)

  6. tylerbetts - Oct 28, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    NBC, I think, has proven the biggest commitment to soccer growth in the US. Between Fox feeling the need to bring in Michael Strahan before the Champions’ League final to explain how football is like football, and ESPN treating soccer like an obligation, I didn’t really care for either platform (outside of the tremendous Ian Darke, that is). NBC has provided a great platform. MLS games on NBC proper. Arlo White being … well .. Arlo White. And, let’s be honest, PST is a lot better than anything we get on ESPN.

    I like this move. I like it a lot. I think for growing the game – and MLS – NBC is the right venue.

  7. avalenc6 - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Idk how to feel about this. I like fox because as an online subscriber I get to watch the replays to every game for at least a week. I hope NBC will provide the same service and show all the major games on regular tv.

  8. footballer4ever - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Wow! This is definitely awesome news. For all of you nervous about the “change”, don’t be. NBC is not going to spend $250 for 3 years in vain and not treat it with the up-most respect it needs. Fox and ESPN did a goid job of growing the game, but somehow seem to be satisfied to having it as a portofolio to get only return$, but not something they want to go above and beyond. With the way NBC has treated MLS broadcasts, i have no fear EPL will do the same and better which will benefit everyone involved in this game called football that we adored.

  9. bizhan53 - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Well, all I can say is no more soccer on Saturday and Sunday , I don’t thing NBC is going show 3 or 4 soccer came on Saturday like FOX soccer channel did I hope I am wrong if not good buy soccer:(

  10. footballer4ever - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    @bizhan53

    No worries. I am sure NBC, the flagship network, will make sure to show the juiciest EPL matches while delegating the remainder in their plethora of affiliate channels including Telemundo in Spanish.
    Per a NYtimes article, about 200 games will be televised on the NBC networks in six time periods on Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the league’s 10 month season. The rest will be available online or in some other packages, one of them probably pay-per-view.

    I hope the last part of that sentence is not true though.

  11. olvera32066 - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    this will be very cool, and apparently there’s $$$ in this or else why would they be doing it.

    The only thing that is going to suck is when they bring in BOB COSTAS, when it comes to futbol he is a serious doof !!

    this guy had the nerve to call BEBETO, a PELE wannabe.
    I haven’t been able to respect his low statured hobbit looking self since

  12. hjdiet - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    Wow…This is huge… The EPL is going to loose a lot of exposure. .ESPN couldn’t keep this contract?? and where was Fox Soccer? Would love to know what NBC/Universal paid for this.
    Wonder if they’ll do what FSC does and pick up the EPL feeds…

  13. footballer4ever - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    @olvera32066

    NBC knows there’s money to be made with the EPL and they are taking the steps to become a pioneer to talke EPL football to the next level in the states. I can feel comfortable they will keep high profile sportscasters away who are not knowledgeable about this type of football and will be hiring the best of the best. Otherwise, their investment will not be worth it. This EPL season has barely begin and i can’t wait for the 2013/2014 season already. (Big Grin)

  14. jonathan042012 - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    I have waited 40 years for this. As a ex player and coach, I had Toby Charles (tremendous commentator) and Soccer Made in Germany on public access, (at wicked hours of the morning) , or Spanish TV, I hope they keep a good knowledgeable staff on board,( I endorse Ian Darke, Mac, and all the great English ones, I like Twellman also) and the rest will work out. what a great sign for soccer in USA, Players going over there, them coming here, it will inspire kids, we could have a Great National Team, and players sooner then later. And for old Fans like me,..wow!!!yippee mainstream football!!!!

  15. koonstheman - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    My first reaction is negative. I won’t miss the Fox in-studio clown ship, but I don’t see how NBC will fit a Saturday and Sunday load onto a schedule brimming with long-established college football and political shows. I fear what happened when I thought, as an avid cycling fan, that I could watch that sport and others on Universal, only to see it shipped off onto satellite packages only. The best is if the NBC Sports Network itself shows it, and with the original announcers, and certainly without any involvement by the pompous Bob Costas. What about Al Michaels doing a game here and there? In one hour, he’d wonder loudly why there isn’t instant replay in this sport. It certainly needs someone to move it from the 19th century.

  16. footballer4ever - Oct 29, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    NBC, the main channel, will make sure to show only the main and most attractive matches. The remainder will be spread out on NBCSN/Telemundo and its other affiliates. NBC will show games via the website and phone video streams. Nothing to worry fellows! Change can bring uncertainty at times, but this change will be for the better. Now it will up to all football fans to make sure to tune in to the games and bring big tv rating$ which it’s what this is all about in the end.

  17. themajorleagueblog - Oct 29, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    Finally, I already anticipated a move like this(back when I wrote my own articles). I love NBC’s coverage of leagues, and the PL is one of the most prestigious in the world. Just change that game clock, and you are set.

  18. kookley - Oct 29, 2012 at 7:52 AM

    NBC sport coverage is generally pretty good. Whom they choose as commentators for the BPL coverage will make or break their soccer coverage, though. Most American soccer commentators sound like they do not know anything about soccer. A mix of American and British commentators is a must. Maybe they should bring over Ian Darke and Macca from ESPN.

  19. avalenc6 - Oct 29, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    @kookley I completely agree. I don’t like most of the American commentators and hope they find some good British commentators like Martin Tyler or Ian Darke.

  20. jpcarp5 - Oct 29, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Yes!! Thankyou nbc!!

  21. footballer4ever - Oct 29, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    American commentators are different breed when it comes to football, aka soccer, since they are pre-programmed based on other sports which have time outs; Therefore, some think babbling around with senseless information is important to fans and they take it too far at times which diminishes the broadcast quality. In other words, some do not know when to keep quiet at times. The worst of them all was John Harkes whom was boring too.

  22. themajorleagueblog - Oct 29, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    So, I’m assuming the plan is, air 4 games every Saturday.
    One on Telemundo
    Two on NBCSN
    One on NBCSports.com
    With a possible game on NBC or Mun2
    With a game on Sunday.

    To fill the Fox Sports/ESPN void.

  23. wfjackson3 - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    The one thing that bothers me about losing ESPN is that they are the only network with semi-competent online viewing options.

  24. footballer4ever - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    @wfjackson3

    Let’s hope NBC works on making it easy to access games online and via smart phones without much issues.

  25. sinc79 - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    @NBC Sports

    America loves Ian Darke! I’ll say it again, America loves Ian Darke. I’ll actually say it a third time, America loves Ian Darke. Now go get him.

    #DarkeForNBC

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