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NBC Universal or beIN SPORT: Who Do You Want To Be Named As The EPL Rights Holder in US?

bein sport universal NBC Universal or beIN SPORT: Who Do You Want To Be Named As The EPL Rights Holder in US?

Whether it’s NBC Universal or beIN SPORT that is the eventual winner of the US media rights to the Premier League for seasons 2013-16, the reality is that the soccer landscape in the United States will undergo changes.

What those changes are, and how that’ll benefit or reduce our Premier League viewing experience, we probably won’t know until next year. But what we do know is that FOX Soccer-ESPN will not be the rights owner for 2013-16.

The reported $83 million a year deal for three seasons is a US record for Premier League media rights. Neither NBC Universal or beIN SPORT is commenting right now regarding the news. But as soon as we hear anything, we’ll let you know.

Something to consider is that even if NBC Universal wins the rights, there’s always the chance that they may sublicense some of the matches to beIN SPORT (or other networks). It’s going to be up to the rights owner that wins the bidding to decide. And even if NBC Universal is the frontrunner, it’s still quite possible that beIN SPORT may win it.

Who do you want to be named as the new rights holder to the Premier League on US television?

This entry was posted in beIN SPORT, ESPN, FOX Soccer, Leagues: EPL, NBC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

54 Responses to NBC Universal or beIN SPORT: Who Do You Want To Be Named As The EPL Rights Holder in US?

  1. Slugs says:

    Based on the number of available channels alone – I think that NBC should win this.

    • FakeTseTseFly says:

      Yes, because ESPN/FSC barely have any channels for distribution of multiple games…THINK.

      Based on what has happened, you should not assume # of channels is what will win the bid – $$ talks, BS walks.

  2. tottenspurs says:

    This may be a silly question – but does the EPL base their decision solely off the highest bidder, or do they consider the exposure they would receive from being on more channels (ie. nervous fan hoping for NBC).

  3. CTBlues says:

    I would go for NBC with NBC, NBCS, and NBC’s use of all their sister stations to show the Olympics they should be ok. They could probably use this to get Universal Sport HD and NBCS moved to a better channel tier.

  4. PaulF says:

    Gaffer,
    This could be a blessing in disguise because NBC doesn’t have other obligations like Fox on its free 2 air channels. And it also has many channels.

    I hope that Bein Sport doesn’t win the rights to the PL.

    • CTBlues says:

      NBC just got the F1 rights and is also going to be bidding on the rights for Big East football and basketball TV rights.

      • DCUDiplomat96 says:

        Sirry Big east Football is not gonna be such relevant, Makes sense for NBC to get the rights than Bein because access/availability. still u have a ratings issue though?

        • CTBlues says:

          The Big East football/basketball rights are a package deal if you Big East basketball you have to take football.

          • DCUDiplomat96 says:

            Big east Might not have the same teams in a few yrs and its already losing creditability in CFB, Basketball is secondary, i guess just a fill for Dead Air time….. NBC has to go all out for the EPL deal I just not confident on thier sports brand

          • CTBlues says:

            NBC needs to prove to the other conferences that they can roll with ESPN so when their deals run out with ESPN they will be taken seriously. The Big East just said they were going to let the exclusive contract talks run out with ESPN so they can get offers from NBC and Fox Sports who have already made pitches.

            I also think loosing SU and Pitt won’t hurt the football only the ball especially with Boise State and San Diego State coming in for football and Memphis in bball.

      • Fog says:

        The Big East doesn’t play at 7:30AM. EPL games are over at noon.

        The Big East or any other college sport is not a factor…save some football games starting @ noon.

  5. Smokey Bacon says:

    NBC has shown no pedigree for soccer coverage. They have no clue. The news that Fox was out was bad enough but ESPN dropping out is a disaster. The only hope left is BeIN Sport if you want your soccer in one place and not scattered around all over the place. BeIN Sport would be more inclined to stick with the UK feeds. NBC will be all tape delay and Kyle Martino talking about shots “on frame” etc. Terrible news. This is just the start of soccer moving exclusively online if you ask me which would be a backward move for the game in the United States.

  6. TohnJerry says:

    Well having gotten an explanation on how the whole bidding system works I cannot believe the Premier League would be so backwards.

    I still think NBC will win though. And even though I don’t like NBC I think they’re much better than bein Sport.

  7. Roger says:

    I don’t have any faith with NBC or BeIN as some have mentioned with how they treat their viewers with all the tape delay crap.

    Starting next season, we just went back few years back with coverage and who knows when and if we’ll have it all back again like we have now or had with other leagues too.

    As far as having the ability to watch all EPL games live, I really doubt we will see any of that in next 3 years.

    • Jason Gatties says:

      NBC wouldn’t do that for the EPL. They would offer just as much live EPL as Fox or ESPN did.

      Get the Olympics out of your head, NBC does a great job with the sports they broadcast on a yearly basis. The Olympics is different, that’s all about commercial dollars in prime time.

  8. Jason Gatties says:

    NBC…no brainer.

    Not only could they utilize NBC, NBC Sports Network & Universal Sports, but don’t forget, there are a few “COMCAST SPORTS NET” channels available on most cable outlets as well. Plus, all the other “non-sports” networks under their umbrella.

    I believe NBC would take the EPL to a whole never level (exposure wise). I love beIN, but they would set things back several years.

  9. Clampdown says:

    I believe NBC wouldn’t be foolish enough not to put in the resources and maximize its return on investment if it wins the rights. People can point to their lackluster MLS efforts, but MLS doesn’t draw nearly as many eyeballs as the BPL will. I love what NBC has done with hockey over the past couple of years, and hope they can bring that approach.

    • Bobby says:

      Per Daily Variety NBC won the rights. $250 million for 3 years

      • The Gaffer says:

        The piece in the Daily Variety doesn’t quote anyone associated with NBC or the Premier League in their story.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

    • Creek says:

      Lackluster MLS efforts? In their first season NBC is already the best broadcast partner MLS has ever had. And most EPL and MLS games televised nationally draw about the same audience.

      • The Gaffer says:

        “…most EPL and MLS games televised nationally draw about the same audience.”

        Creek, you’re sorely mistaken. NBC’s production quality of the MLS has been exceptional, but their ratings have been very poor thus far and are nowhere near the number of viewers that FOX and ESPN have achieved for the Premier League.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

      • Clampdown says:

        Sorry, Creek. I meant from a marketing standpoint. From a production standpoint, I love their coverage of MLS.

  10. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    i think some folks would like to see a TV deal similar to the NFL for the EPL. well you can Blame the EFA on that one because they wont let it happen and I doubt they can care less about American TV ratings

    • DCUDiplomat96 says:

      NFL games are shown on 2 seperate free tv channels on sunday afternoons(3 Games) then Sunday Night on free tv(a 3rd network) and Monday and Thurs Night on Cable.. and there is still need room for improvement. so You think is realistic one day the EPL or maybe a european soccer super league can pull that off??

  11. Philswin08 says:

    Will NBC be able to stream like they did for the Olympics? I know beIn won’t but maybe NBC can? If not this is a complete disaster for American EPL fans.

  12. Garry Craske says:

    Will it matter which service provider i have? Since moving to the U.S. from England Fox have provided more live PL footie than i could ever see in the U.K.

    If NBC win it will i have to give up Direct TV and get Comcast or will i be good go with Direct T.V. ?

    • Mufc77 says:

      You should be good with direct tv if NBC gets the rights. I think direct tv has beIN sports as well although you might have to upgrade your cable package, well worth the extra couple $$ if you ask me.

      • Garry Craske says:

        I do watch beIN already on Direct TV and it’s a good quality feed for live European soccer. I pay extra for Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus now so whoever gets the rights i’ll just go with the flow but would prefer NBC. So long as i can get live matches (even recorded at a push) then that’s o.k. with me but if i can’t get any then i’m off back to Old Blighty!

    • dust says:

      You would want to get Comcast, as they Own NBC, they will have features available to subscribers that Direct TV will NOT have access to. it sis the way of the world especially as media business fight for your money.

  13. Chris King says:

    I don’t get NBC’s logic in bidding nearly 4X the current value for the TV rights, yet the ratings aren’t as high as 2009? How will they make money?

  14. Bobby says:

    NBCU Leads Bids For English League Soccer Rights: Report

    By THE DEADLINE TEAM | Friday October 26, 2012 @ 5:24pm PDT
    Tags: English Premier League, NBC Universal

    COMMENTS (0)
    NBC Universal is the surprise front-runner in bidding for U.S. rights to English Premier League soccer, Sports Business Daily reports. A three-year deal starting with the 2013-14 season is expected to be announced next week. NBC is wrapping up negotiations in bidding that started only last week. NBC would pay about $83 million a year, more than triple what Fox Soccer currently pays. Fox and ESPN have been informed that their joint bid was not accepted. Fox has been licensing about 80 games per season to ESPN under the previous arrangement.

  15. TohnJerry says:

    The more I think about it I don’t think we have anything to be concerned with. If they’re paying 3-4 times as much as FOX that means they’re going to show us more live games to make up the money.

    If bein wins I think it’s inevitable they’ll start streaming the EPL games for a subscription fee. Same with NBC.

    I’d guess NBC Sports Network will show a majority of the games with a occasional game served up for the main NBC broadcast network. Like they do with MLS.

  16. TohnJerry says:

    Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) just tweeted this a couple of seconds ago.

    “None of my beIN Sport sources know if they have even bid for US Premier League rights. Murky. All pointing toward NBC.”

    So nothings confirmed but all signs point to NBC.

    You know bein Sports splashing all this cash, its too bad they didn’t pay some outrageous amount for MLS rights. I’m not the biggest fan of MLS but that’s a league that needs the money and would use it in a productive manner. Unlike the Premier League where it just goes straight to players wages.

    • The Gaffer says:

      My source tells me that beIN SPORT is waiting to find out if they won. The challenge with beIN SPORT is that they’re not the best communicators, hence the radio silence which is what Grant Wahl is running up against when he talks to his contacts.

      MLS TV rights were wrapped up well before beIN SPORT launched in the US.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Tambooluna says:

      BeIN Sport presents itself as America’s “international sports” channel. They wouldn’t go after MLS as it is “national”.
      I remember watching a few months back Yusuf al Obaidly on french TV explain that they weren’t interested in american local sports and leagues and that the concept behind BeIN US would be to bring foreign competitions to an american viewing audience. By the same token, you can safely bet your weight in cookies that they will most certainly go after the Champions League when the rights are up for renewal in 2014.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        Again, you made the same mistake that I did prior to August, thinking that beIN SPORT LLC were really a legitimate media business.

        Once Phil Mushnick of the New York Post started referring to beIN SPORT LLC as a “oily” business in August, you were supposed to have been able to “read between the lines” and infer that the top executives of beIN SPORT LLC, namely Youssef and Nasser, are in the “private banking” business.

        The most visible sports organizations such as the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) in Germany (which sells media rights to the Bundesliga in house) do NOT conduct “private banking” because too many government regulators are watching.

        On the other hand, smaller brokers and rights distributors conduct “private banking” on a regular basis.

        Youssef and Nasser are more interested in boxing at this point, as boxing is one sport where “private banking” is done by promoters on a regular basis.

    • Garry Craske says:

      “I’m not the biggest fan of MLS but that’s a league that needs the money and would use it in a productive manner. Unlike the Premier League where it just goes straight to players wages”

      That’s about as likely to happen as Messi playing for the Sounders next season.
      :O)

  17. brn442 says:

    NBC sports will probably win the rights. The network is used to paying high sums for sports packages then using them as loss leaders (Olympics.)

    They need something to anchor their fledgling sports network and the Premier League is perfect. Like Fox, I’m sure they will put high profile matches on their terrestrial channel as well.

    My only concern is that I doubt they will build a dedicated sports channel around “soccer” – although – that may not be a bad thing.

    Will fox soccer show more championship matches now?

    • CTBlues says:

      Bein has the rights to the championship. Might get some more SPL games lol.

    • Garry Craske says:

      “They need something to anchor their fledgling sports network and the Premier League is perfect”

      So long at Barton doesn’t get anywhere near a TV studio we can all look forward to some intelligent commentary and analysis. He is to post match analysis what King Herod was to babysitting.

  18. FakeTseTseFly says:

    I think we could see NBC and beIN work some kind of deal to get more games out there – a la FSC/ESPN. Based on beIN’s current stable of games from La Liga/Serie A/Ligue Un, I think a partial allocation is all they could handle until they start to streamline and become more efficient coordinating LIVE games and streams.

    And then there is beIN Sport Canada we keep hearing rumblings/investigations about….

    NBC won’t partner with ESPN due to the direct competition with ABC so ESPN is OUT of EPL for sure. Look for FSC to feature the ‘Eredivisie Game of the Week’ starting next August – and then CL but not much else….and an eventual re-brand to Fox Sports 3.

    I wonder what they’ll show on Fox Soccer News? Apparently, that’s a 3-year contract deal with Canada’s ‘Rogers Sportsnet’.

    When they lose the CL rights, that will be it.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      Does FOX’s deal with Rogers for FOX Soccer News contain early termination buyout?

      There is no reason for FOX Soccer to exist without EPL after this season.

      SPEED, FUEL TV, and FOX Soccer should be re-branded FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, and FOX Sports 3 as soon as possible so that Major League Baseball, College football and basketball, and UFC can be aired across all 3 networks.

      The Dutch Eredivisie is a better fit for FOX Soccer Plus, which can be rebranded FOX Sports Plus or FOX Sports 4.

  19. Oliver Tse says:

    Canada remains the more interesting part of the story, with Rogers Media (Rogers Sportsnet) apparently pushing the CRTC to throw up as many road blocks as possible to hold up the proposed acquisition of a minority stake in TeleLatino Network for as long as possible.

    Everyone and his brother and sister that has any connection to the industry (no matter how thin a connection) has heard all the “private banking” stories regarding Youssef, Nasser, and Prince Max (CEO of LGT Group, one of the most infamous “private banks” on earth.)

    Once Phil Mushnick of the New York Post starting writing about beIN SPORT LLC in August, anyone who still wants to be taken seriously by the rest of the industry knows that he/she cannot take a job with beIN SPORT LLC in programming or sales because beIN SPORT LLC is in the “private banking” business instead of the media business.

    If the winning bid for US rights to EPL were indeed only $250 million ($83.3 million/season), then my educated guess is that beIN SPORT LLC did NOT bid for the U.S. rights for EPL. I had projected a bid of over $500 million from beIN SPORT LLC, on the condition that Richard Scudamore were willing to conduct “private banking” with Youssef and Nasser at the house of Prince Max. $500 million is roughly 120% of the subscribers fees that FOX Soccer could have earned in 2013-2016 had FOX Soccer been able to retain EPL.

    I am scratching my head over how ESPN, Inc., specifically Scott Guglielmino and John Skipper, chose to stay allied with FOX Sports Media Group knowing full well that FOX Sports was likely to lose to either beIN SPORT LLC if beIN SPORT LLC were to bid, or to NBC Universal Media if beIN SPORT LLC were to chicken out because Scudamore does not do private banking deals.

    I had figured out at least 6 months that NBC Universal would bid for U.S. rights to EPL, with or without beIN SPORT LLC as a partner. Mark Lazarus and Jonathan Miller are ultra-aggressive sports TV executives who are not afraid to swing for the fence to go after young audiences. EPL fits well with NBC Sports Group. Telemundo and mun2 can also use EPL on weekend mornings.

    $250 million bid from NBC Universal media makes sense, as it takes into account of the following:

    1. FOX and ESPN would combine to bid no higher than $210 million, which would 3x their bid in the previous cycle of around $70 million

    2. beIN SPORT LLC would not bid because Richard Scudamore would not conduct “private banking” with Youssef and Nasser at the house of Prince Max.

  20. Oliver Tse says:

    NBC Universal Media has the bandwidth to handle “Survival Sunday”:

    NBC Sports Network
    CNBC
    Universal Sports Network
    USA Network
    SyFy
    E
    Weather Channel
    CNBC World

    Telemundo
    mun2

    Don’t be surprised if announcers were to move around.

    Rebecca Lowe’s deal with ESPN UK will be up in May 2013 so she will be moving. Whether she can be convinced to leave London is another matter.

    Three former CNN/Sports Illustrated World Sport anchors (Terry Baddoo, Phil Jones, Candy Reid) are now freelancers and are available to work. I would not be surprised if all three have already interviewed with NBC Sports Group executives. Baddoo and Reid are still based in Atlanta, while Jones is based in London.

    (I understand that beIN SPORT LLC turned down both Reid and Baddoo, preferring to go with Temryss Lane as the #2 behind Terri Leigh. That’s all you need to know how Imagina U.S. hires talent for beIN SPORT USA.)

    One who is unlikely to move to NBC in my opinion is Ian Darke, who is under contract with ESPN U.S. through July 2014 (Darke will call one World Cup semifinal; Martin Tyler is under contract with ESPN, Inc. to call the opening match, one semifinal, and the final for ESPN U.S.)

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