Just weeks after PlayStation Vue subscribers lost access to the beIN SPORTS networks, Vue customers have been dealt another blow this week due to a new product from NBC Sports.
With the pending launch of NBC’s paid subscription service Premier League Pass, PlayStation Vue customers will no longer be able to watch the non-televised Premier League games that have been available in the past by using the PS Vue login credentials to authenticate with the NBC Sports App.
“PlayStation Vue subscribers receive access to the existing linear channels that they always have (e.g. NBCSN),” according to a NBC Sports spokesman. “But, like all MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors), their cable subscription would not grant them access to the 130+ games that are available exclusively on NBC Sports Gold. They would have to purchase that separately (no different than any other MVPD).”
That means that PlayStation Vue subscribers won’t be able to watch an average of 3 of the Saturday 10am-Noon ET Premier League games every weekend, and will have to pay $50 per season to sign up with Premier League Pass so they don’t miss a game.
NBC Sports says that each Premier League club will have at least three matches exclusive to direct-to-consumer live streaming product NBC Sports Gold.
Premier League Pass is part of NBC Sports Gold, which is NBC Sports Digital’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product. Currently, NBC Sports Gold has similar paid subscription passes available for rugby, cycling, motocross and track-and-field.
As of the end of the 2016/17 Premier League season, the only two third-party streaming providers that offered authenticated access to the NBC Sports App were PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW. Streaming providers Sling TV and fuboTV were both in talks with NBC Sports to add authentication to the NBC Sports App, according to several sources. But with the launch of Premier League Pass, the authentication with the NBC Sports App has been thrown out, meaning that Vue and DIRECTV NOW subscribers will lose access to 130 Premier League games per season. They, as with Sling TV and fuboTV subscribers, will still be able to watch Premier League games televised on NBCSN, NBC and CNBC.
NBC Sports’ decision to launch Premier League Pass means that streaming providers will only be allowed to stream EPL games that are shown on television. For some smaller clubs, that could mean as many as 40% to 60% of Premier League matches would only be available via Premier League Pass. (Editor’s note: See how many times your Premier League club was shown on TV last season).
In order to ensure that cord cutters don’t miss any games, they would have to pay $50 extra for Premier League Pass on top of paying for Internet access and a subscription to a streaming service (such as PlayStation Vue). In all, the added $50 could be too much to bear for many.
A PlayStation Vue spokesperson was reached for comment but did not respond.