14 Things We Know So Far About NBC’s US Coverage Plans for the Premier League 2013-16

nbc logo 600x337 14 Things We Know So Far About NBCs US Coverage Plans for the Premier League 2013 16

After NBC Univeral’s announcement tonight, we now know a lot more about their Premier League coverage plans for 2013-16.

Here’s what we know so far:

1. NBC will make all Premier League matches available for viewing.

2. All of the Premier League games will be shown live. Games will not be shown on tape delay.

3. NBC’s English-language networks will show 6 live Premier League games a week. One or two of NBC’s cable will be used along with NBC Sports Network. Other games will be streamed live.

4. NBC Sports Network will be the main channel to watch most EPL games.

5. Approximately 18-20 Premier League matches per season will be shown live on free-to-air NBC, primarily on Saturdays.

6. Telemundo and mun2 will show Spanish-language coverage of the Premier League in the U.S.

7. Among the TV channels where Premier League matches may be viewable are NBC, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo and mun2; among other channels which could include CNBC, MSNBC, USA and Bravo.

8. Matches will also be live-streamed on the NBC Sports Live Extra platform across web, tablet and mobile devices.

9. Mid-week Premier League games will be available digitally or through some sort of arrangement with MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors) on some sort of pay TV package.

10. NBC’s coverage of the Premier League will begin with the 2013-14 season (in August, 2013) and will end with the 2015-16 season (in May, 2016).

11. NBC will include pre- and post-match shows, as well as highlight and weekly wrap-up programs

12. NBC may partner with BT on production. The two media companies have already had early talks regarding a deal.

13. It’s a near guarantee that NBC Sports soccer commentator Arlo White will be a prominent role in the coverage of the Premier League.

14. NBC will be in an acquisition mode to hire talent for its coverage of the Premier League.

The only major questions marks I have thus far are: 1) How much will their premium package cost to ensure that Premier League fans in the United States can have access to all of the live games throughout the entire season, 2) How many of the games will be shown in HD, and 3) Will the matches feature NBC commentators, or will the audio feed from TWI/IMG be used instead (as FOX Soccer does except for rare circumstances where they use the Sky Sports audio feed)?

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 →
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87 Responses to 14 Things We Know So Far About NBC’s US Coverage Plans for the Premier League 2013-16

  1. badger says:

    No mention of Hulu being used?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Nope, sounds like NBCSports.com will be a site that many of us will be bookmarking beginning next summer.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  2. Yespage says:

    Sounds pretty decent. The biggest thing for me is how will Comcast market NBC Sports on Dish network, and whether they’ll try to shift it to a lower package, or at least in the sports pack. Right now it is on the top tier. Plenty of time.

  3. Kobashi says:

    IMG has put some Premier League programs on Hulu from what I remember in the past. I wonder if IMG and NBC to put more Premier League programming on Hulu going forward.

  4. coloneldickweed says:

    Really hope we get 2 10am games and that the subscription stuff is for the Wigan-esque clubs.

    • Moodonthepitch says:

      Keep in mind that a fair amount of “Wigan-esque” players are snatched up by the bigger clubs. Watching history as it happens is much better than listening to some pundit’s drivel after the fact.

  5. dominjon says:

    Looks good thus far, only thing I hope is anything that they are streaming live is also to be available for some reasonable time to watch as well. I can not watch some stuff live, I can DVR it if it is on TV, but if it is live only on streaming that would be a pain(as it was when SPEN went that route). Also not sure about the other PPV mumbo jumbo.
    NBC consider putting together a streaming site where you can watch any of the games for up to a week ala foxsoccer2go and charge a fee for that level of access if need be and I will be happy.

  6. Ahmed Yussuf says:

    Gaffer,

    How big NBC taking the EPL TV rights for soccer in the United States?

  7. nickp says:

    NBC manages MLS and EPL together and if that helps MLS audience growth

  8. TohnJerry says:

    “5. Approximately 18-20 Premier League matches per season will be shown live on free-to-air NBC, primarily on Saturdays.”

    I think that’s very generous. Not everyone has cable so this is a nice way for non-cable people to watch. Who knows, maybe it exposes some people who normally never watch EPL to the game.

    I think that’s a pretty solid list of promises, you have to be happy with that if you’re a PL fan.

    FOX has shown some tape delayed games after their NFL games but that felt half-hearted IMO. I mean they used NFL on FOX music for godsakes.

    I bet when NBC shows EPL games on the main NBC channel they’ll drum up some publicity.

  9. sica says:

    Dont forget that NBCU has access to Comcast SportNet set of channels that cover roughly half the country and are widely available on satellite.

  10. dust says:

    What no more Scaremongering ? NBC offers all MLS games in HD, there is no reason to think they would use sd for anything.

    See change can be a beautiful thing, Look ! it IS going to be a beautiful thing,

    with the same network owning MLS and the BPL I think football (or Soccer as some looney toon’s call it) will have a great ally and really see a boost in its profile!

    • dano328 says:

      One of these days I want to hear this topic discussed. Some Brits get angry about American’s calling it Soccer. It’s not like there is anything that can be done about it. Fans of American football are not going to change the name of their sport.

      • Morgan Wick says:

        Which group has more people get angry about people calling it soccer, Brits or Americans?

        • CTBlues says:

          The word soccer is from England and is more descriptive of the exact form of FOOTBALL being talked about and the US isn’t the only country that calls it soccer, so the Brits need to get over it.

          • dust says:

            No we don’t, as with everything in England we abbreviate usually drop the first part of most words so Association Footbal became football, plus add the logic of using your Feet! it helps out.

            What I find interesting is that is what was taken form the post and commented on, LOL

          • dano328 says:

            I was just waiting for the opportunity since there is never a thread on that topic. My comment was with a smile (;

          • Nate says:

            The term soccer was used in England alongside football, but it is used to differentiate between the different types of football in countries such as Australia and the US. Also, the overall use of the term football was not in reference to using your feet in the game, but was in fact used to describe that the game is played on foot and not on horseback. That is why so many games were labeled ________ football. Hope this helps somewhat.

      • dust says:

        Not Angry whatsoever, I say football and 9/10 out of 10 someone asks Soccer? so even when typing I explain, especially as most people on here use the word soccer

        • Matthew says:

          Dust, did you ever think that Americans and Canadians would call it soccer since the US had the NFL and Canada has the CFL. So, for Americans and Canadians on here it would be naturally for them to call it soccer. You seem to love to push people’s buttons. If you didn’t think it was not a big deal why bring it up?

          • dust says:

            I dont think Dano’s buttons were pushed, It was a lighthearted comment… your buttons seem permanently pushed…jeez lighten up.

            Spurs are in 4th 4points off 2nd with wigan at home, and the january transfer window coming up with 30 million available.

  11. Barf says:

    “It’s a near guarantee that NBC Sports soccer commentator Arlo White will be a prominent role in the coverage of the Premier League.”

    It’s a 100% guarantee that I will not be watching any match involving Arlo White!!!”

    If he has to be involved, make him the studio host so he will not ruin any match commentary and can be tuned out/ignored…

  12. Danjl76 says:

    This is great news for soccer in the US. I’m really happy about the 18-20 games on regular nbc too. A little concerned about #9 though. Is that code for ppv?

  13. TohnJerry says:

    Here are some ideas for Premier League-NBC synergy.

    -Jay Leno is forbidden to make jokes about how nobody watches soccer anymore.

    -Robin Van Persie hosts Saturday Night Live. In a sketch where Van Persie is wearing giant prop ears, Arsene Wenger makes a surprise apperance to the delight of the audience.

    -New season of The Apprentice with Donald Trump replaced by Roman Abramovich. Roman will assign a group of would be Chelsea managers a simple task (playing like Barcelona, winning Champions League) every manager who cannot accomplish these tasks will be fired.

    -Nick Hornby will appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to promote the Premier League and Arsenal. Instead he will beat up Jimmy Fallon for making the Americanized Fever Pitch movie.

    -Americas Got Talent: Competition show where American soccer players vie to win a spot on a Premier League team.

    -Dateline profile on John Terry

  14. NJ says:

    Is this the final dagger in the heart of Fox Soccer? What exactly do they have left to broadcast. It’s pretty amazing 6 months ago Fox Soccer and GolTV were the go to channels for soccer fans in the US, and now they are both (in terms of major leagues, ex Germany) relatively irrelevant.

  15. Philswin08 says:

    I think a question to add should be if they are planning a subscription based streaming service a la Foxsoccer2go? To access their Olympic streaming you had to have the corresponding cable package.

    • Roger says:

      We can only hope it is pay service and anyone can sign up whether you have tv subscription or not but I see it being like the olympics and other live streaming options available like Pac12, BTN, ESPN3 etc.
      I could see them likely allowing anyone from US access the free to air games that show through the season like MNF does but for other games it will likely be by your cable/sat provider to get access. Not to mention they probably add bunch of ads in there. The biggest downside for me would be that NBC loves to use Silverlight. One of worst streaming choices available.
      They will have to cover all that money they put into EPL but pay service is something I just don’t see NBC doing.

      There will be advantages and disadvantages from this change from the current setup. I just hope the good things will compensate for the bad things out of this.

  16. jtm371 says:

    Arlo White is a hack and along with him we will get wonder boy kyle martino.as long as they do pre and post match coverage that is fine i don’t watch FSC pre or post.PLEASE get Ian Darke he is a treasure and easy on the ears.

  17. Garry Craske says:

    So will i be good to go with Direct TV or do i need to call in Comcast?

    • CTBlues says:

      NBC Sports Network is on DirecTV as well as most cable providers.

    • dust says:

      i would expect it to be cheaper for comcast subscribers to access all games

      • Garry Craske says:

        My one and only “must have” since moving to the U.S. has been having Fox Soccer & Soccer Plus. If i don’ t need to change supplier then i am over the moon. I can get more live PL footie here than when i lived in the UK

  18. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Three Seasons is so short, its not the norm for your avgerage American TV contract for Sports… i still think NBC overpaid though. i can see if they showd the FA cup from 16 thru finals along with they already aquired… Congrats to them. Hope the ratings matchup… as for FSC and Gol TV there are ?s

  19. Sean says:

    Terrible for Fox Soccer but great for NBC Sports, they’ve been hanging on for dear life since the Olympics ended. And it sounds great for the average fan — no premium package to buy makes it easier access to EPL than before.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Sean, not necessarily. Approximately 200 of the games will be available for free to US viewers, but it could end up being approximately 180 that you would have to pay for via a premium TV package.

      Details are still being worked out, but depending on which team you support, you will still have to pay to follow the Premier League next season.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Philswin08 says:

        Do you have any gut feeling or source with a lead as to how the streaming model might go? I’m hoping for a Foxsoccer2go type set up.

  20. Charles Boyer says:

    What worries me are local stations deciding not to carry the games NBC puts on free-to-air so they can carry local programming or worse, infomercials, and using ratings to justify their decision.

    • Greg says:

      I predict that free-to-air NBC will show the “marquee” games of the season (Man Utd vs. Chelsea, etc.)

      • paul says:

        NBC have said they’ll be showing FTA games on Saturday’s and the majority of the big games are played on Sunday’s.

        It sounds like they’re hoping for a deal to produce the 38 BT matches for broadcast and that would fit in nicely with them broadcasting 18-20 of the Saturday 12.45 matches on their national network because that’s the slot BT will be exercising their 1st picks.

        Sky have control of the 1st picks courtesy of Package D so they choose when BT have their choice of 1st pick matches in Package A. If NBC do air the BT matches, they’ll be designed more to wet the appetite to tune into their sports network to see the real big matches on Sunday’s.

  21. CTBlues says:

    In the first year NBC has the rights to the EPL they will also be covering the winter Olympics in Sochi Russia I wonder how that will affect their coverage of the EPL.

    • Jason Gatties says:

      Not sure it will be an issue. MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Online, special Olympic channels etc could be used for much of that, plus since its the Olympics, the big events will be taped delayed for prime time viewing on NBC anyways.

      • Bram Weiser says:

        Jason,

        The 2014 Games start a new deal with the IOC, one in which NBC promised more live coverage than they offered in the past.

        Also, Winter Games aren’t as “busy” as Summer ones, so I can’t say that there’d be as big of an issue as there might have been had these been Summer Games taking place in February…

  22. Jason Gatties says:

    My question is, where does this leave Fox? Will they depend on Champions/Europa League, FA Cup & SPL to survive, or will they pick up another league?

    I know Fox has the World Cup, but not until 2018.

    • CTBlues says:

      I think it will depend on if they want to keep Fox Soccer or turn it into FOX Sports #. They could try and go after the Bundesliga when those rights go back up for sale.

  23. Hugo says:

    Arlo White Sucks! They need to stream live audio from Sky sports or CNN UK.

  24. Bram Weiser says:

    Gaffer,

    It’s nice that some Saturday games will be “free-to-air” on NBC, however, much as happened with Fox, I thought the EPL puts some marquee matches in the late Sunday slot (usually 11am ET).

    So, especially in the Fall when NBC doesn’t have NFL games in the daytime (and unless they snap up ESPN’s Nascar package, which could happen, though that DOES start after such matches already end), why no mention of NBC airing Sunday matches free-to-air too (or instead)?

    Thanks!

    • The Gaffer says:

      NBC hasn’t discussed Sunday matches on their free-to-air network yet. Those may end up being shown on NBC Sports Network more often due to scheduling conflicts.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  25. Justo Hernandez says:

    Well, I’m been watching the EPL on Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes since 1998. Deportes always used their own commentators (John Laguna and Christian Bozzo), they are great and watching the EPL will not be the same.
    I just hope Telemundo steps up to their new adventure.
    Their soccer coverage is mostly from the mexican league, so I hope they don’t do the same.
    Telemundo and Mun2 audience is very different than Fox Deportes.
    They could hire Fox Deportes producers.

  26. Tim Holden says:

    During the Olympics the online service was free and my television provider already has telemundo, mun2, and all the other channels mentioned. They also broadcast the Sunday Night Football game online for free. Hopefully that means no extra subscription cost. Im just worried what this means for FSC. Hopefully they can pick up Serie A, La Liga, or the Bundesliga or else they could be in serious trouble.

  27. arsenalfan says:

    My question is whether NBC (and the many channels) will do what FSC does and show other matches for the first time later in the day on Saturday? I love that matches are live, but for those of us who want to see other matches too, the “delayed” first airing by FSC later on Saturday afternoon is a godsend.

  28. this is great says:

    First off, I’ve been watching FSC since it was Fox Sports World, so I’ve seen it on the up and down now.

    Here are my biggest issues with FSC and why I am elated that they have lost rights:

    - I DO NOT GET FSC IN HD (blame it on them, the cable provider, I don’t care it’s 2012)

    - Even though my cable company (charter btw) does not broadcast FSC HD, however I still receive the HD feed. This means I CANNOT PROPERLY READ THE SCORE due to aspect ratio issues.

    - I’ve never seen FSC Plus. Seriously. How is/was it?

    This is a great move by NBC. Bad college football, horse racing, and one NFL game are not sustainable. This is the last frontier for US sports TV market. Good move to get in “early”.

    • john says:

      Bad College Football? Notre Dame is 3rd in the polls and should prob be number 2.

      • this is great says:

        Figured the down vote was a domer. Sure they are good team now, but my god man, NBC has been pushing that sh***y team on us for years.

      • Barf says:

        OK…so Arlo White and Notre Dame suck!!!

        NBC, as a whole, does a credible job with their sports presentations. I love their Sunday Night Football game and pregame show presentations.

  29. ThePersian says:

    I have Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus specifically to catch all the important EPL games. I know its early, but I currently dont receive NBC Sports. Should I be worried?

  30. Tod says:

    The commentary and play-by-play should be from the England audio feed, NOT from the United States. NBC will ruin the experience if they choose to Americanize the men in the booth. I wish we could take a step further and have studio time from England because the studio from Setanta and SkySports was ten times better than watching what Fox Soccer tries to do.

    • dano328 says:

      My first MLS experience in Houston’s new “soccer specific” stadium had a few moments. They had a dance team. The girl that sang the National anthem treated it like an American idol audition. These are the “Americanizations” I can do without. Oh and Dallas’s “soccer specific” stadium has been rented out to HS football and they are not clearing all the lines off. Considering the purpose of the stadium I found that a bit annoying. But this was MLS in America so I can tolerate it here. I don’t think NBC will want to detract from the authentic experience from England.

  31. Brian says:

    As a long time Arsenal supporter and thus Fox/ESPN viewer, I sincerely hope that NBC does not use Arlo White as their main commentator. Instead, please use the Sky Sports audio feed or even the IMG world feed.

  32. Mekias says:

    Any word yet on whether there will be replays during the day on TV? I’ve gotten used to recording all the games on my DVR and either watching or fast-forwarding through them all. It doesn’t sound like I’ll be able to do that any more. Live matches are fine but I can only record two at a time.

    Compared to HDTV and DVR control, viewing matches online is complete crap. If I have to end up watching most Everton matches online, I’ll be pissed.

    NBC is probably a better result than Bein but I’m definitely worried they’ll screw it up. For instance, if they start spouting out updates during all the live matches, it’ll spoil the other games and ruin my experience.

    I understand that my EPL viewing pattern isn’t the norm (i.e. watching all games, spoiler-free, via DVR). I just hope it isn’t messed up too much by NBC’s need to re-invent EPL coverage.

    • Todd says:

      This is my biggest concern too. I actually know many people who do the same thing. Hopefully NBC will recognize this.

      Soccer’s growing popularity is actually making it tougher and tougher since you cant watch college football or the NFL anymore with out seeing EPL scores.

  33. Tom S. says:

    I like how FSC replays games through out the week and even on the weekend. It allows casual “catch-up” on all the games. I fear NBC won’t do this and will be dubbing over the UK commentators. I also wonder if “The Premiere League Review Show” will be braodcast..

  34. Sylvain says:

    I think that it should be a unanimous desire here that NBC uses the IMG feed and NOT their own announcers. It’s literally one of the reasons I don’t watch that much Spanish League. Please keep the world class English announcers!!!

  35. Kobashi says:

    I love the IMG guys that call games. My only complaint is that there is no real rhyme or reason why which broadcasting pair get assigned which game each week. I wish that each of the time periods had a dedicated set of broadcasters. It’s kinda cool that it changes because you get to hear different voices that said I think I would like knowing going into each time period a game is played who will call it.

    I am curious how much NBC and BT will rely on IMG/Premier League Productions to produce programming when they start rights next year. I love what IMG/PLP produce so I would love to see more of their work be used as I’m pretty sure they produce pre/half time/post game shows for the Premier League TV network that some countries around the world pick up.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Steve Banyard typically does the 12:30pm ET game on Saturdays, while Jon Champion often does the Sunday 8.30am ET match. But most of the other matches are a toss-up in regards to which commentator duo it’ll be.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  36. Allen says:

    My biggest gravest fear is this:

    One of the things which makes the EPL so amazing is that u can literally watch each and every game totally independent of each and every other game. Like many others, I REFUSE to watch a game which I already know the result of I REFUSE TO!!! With FSC’s coverage of the League on both television and on ONDemand computer access (Namely FoxSoccer 2 Go), u can literally watch each and every game in the league. Period.

    How is this done? Number 1, u will notice that if u watch a game, not one do the announcers ever mention any other scores of any other games that are going on simultaneously (with the only exception being on the last day of the season when a title or relegation is at stake)… Number 2, u never see that ridiculous, infuriating scroll at the bottom or top of the screen with up to the instant score updates ( a creation of espn which I detest). The only network that mentions score updates is espn, and even then, the announcer forewarns you. I think the league does this on purpose. I dont think they want their announcers to mention scores because they want the fans to be able to experience each and every game on its own, independent of the others, and they know a lot of fans, like myself, will by and large not watch a game they know the result of.

    Even the fox soccer 2 go website is awesome in this regard. You can watch on demand games by clicking on them and there is no indication whatsoever on the site of the result.. I think this done by design.

    AS i said, I DVR all the tv games (FSC, ESPN) and watch the other games on on demand. By doing this carefully, I am able to watch every single game of the season independently of the other and without knowing the result before i watch any game…

    Therefore, I IMPLORE NBC , I beg them, to please allow me to continue doing so!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!! Please follow the outstanding model that fox has set with their coverage …… PLease !!!!

    Please do not give stupid score updates on your coverage. Please do not run a scroll at the bottom of your screen with live scores. PLease !!!!! Please make some form of on demand viewing of games available in which no indication of the result is available . PLease !!!!! Please allow me to continue watching every game of the greatest league in the world independently of every other …. DO NOT turn this into an Americanized version of epl viewing …. Just take a great product, let it keep its same announcers, infrastructure, and system, and let it be itself , as the league wants it to be… PLEASE

    I hope there are others out there who can relate and empathize to my situation, and who experience the league in the same way I do and who want to continue doing so. If so, please feel free to respond.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Allen, I agree. There’s nothing I hate more than spoilers when I’m watching one game and taping another one at the same time. Hopefully NBC will kill the ticker/bottomline and concentrate on the game that they’re showing.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Burn Baby Burn says:

        I remember a couple years back when ESPN showed it’s first CL game on delay, they had the omnipresent ticker on and it showed the result of the game they were showing. Infuriating.

  37. Eplnfl says:

    I am just getting used to the ESPN crew of Macca and Darke. They just seem to be getting into good form as a team. Hope that NBC Sports can use them on their broadcasts.

  38. krawmn says:

    for NBC in the next 3 seasons: it will be good enough if 1. the play by play and commentating come from England as they do now, 2. the studio crew is carefully selected within the U.K. w/ 1 or 2 Americans on-hand, 3. Do not clutter the screen with graphics, nor updates during the matches.

    The studio crew is less important to me; I’m accustomed to muting, leaving the room, or fast forward during Fox Soccer halftime reports.

    I’m guessing that NBC will not meet these three hopes.

    • Eplnfl says:

      I am hopefully NBC will add an American voice to the game day broadcast. An American veteran of the EPL would be nice to see from a match day site each week.

  39. john marzan says:

    Men in Blazers Roger Bennett and Michael Davis will have prominent roles in NBC EPL coverage.

  40. beaker says:

    Hey NBC – Please don’t hire Gus Johnson or Ian Wright. I could call a better game than those two.

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