With NBC Sports’ launch of Premier League Pass, soccer fans will no longer be able to get “every game, every weekend, all season long” of the Premier League unless they’re willing to pay extra.
The surprising change means that the Premier League will no longer be as accessible as what we’re accustomed to. But what does the Premier League Pass mean for you, and how will it change your viewing habits? We’ve compiled all of your questions from our comments section and compiled them into one page below, along with the answers.
Q: What is Premier League Pass?
A: Premier League Pass is a brand-new paid streaming service that will allow soccer fans to watch all of the Premier League games that are not shown on television. So on a typical Premier League weekend, subscribers will be able to watch three games that are available exclusively via the new service. In total, there’ll be 130 games available season-long.
Previously, those three EPL games per weekend (typically the 10am-Noon ET games that were not on NBCSN, CNBC or USA) were shown exclusively via Premier League Extra Time (on TV) and NBC Sports App (via streaming with authentication). With the launch of Premier League Pass digital service, it means the end of the Premier League Extra Time channels that were available by many TV providers as extra channels on DIRECTV, DISH, Time Warner and others. It also means that those three games will no longer be available via the NBC Sports App.
Q: How much of the season will those 130 games encompass, and which clubs will be featured on Premier League Pass?
A: The 130 games available exclusively via Premier League Pass represents 34% of the games played during an entire season. Every single club in the Premier League will be featured a minimum of three times. However, for many clubs in the Premier League, 40-60% of their games could be available exclusively via Premier League Pass.
Q: Which teams will be featured most often?
A: The clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League table would be featured most prominently on Premier League Pass, so they will most likely include many games from West Ham, Leicester, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Burnley, Stoke City, Watford, Huddersfield Town, Brighton, Southampton and Everton.
The clubs that will be featured the least (but still a minimum of three games per season) are Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Q: Will be there be a chance that we won’t be able to watch a specific club on any given Saturday morning live in the 10am-Noon ET window?
A: Correct. Starting with the 2017/18 Premier League season that debuts on August 12, there’ll be an average of 3 games in every Saturday 10am-Noon ET window that will not be available on television or via NBC Sports App. The only way to watch those 3 games (a total of 130 in an entire season) is to subscribe to the NBC Sports Gold Premier League Pass for $50 per season.
Q: During Saturdays in the 10am-Noon ET time slot, will NBC Sports broadcast one game on NBCSN, one on CNBC and the other 10am ET kickoffs on Premier League Pass?
A: According to Philly.com, “Some kickoff windows will have more than one game on TV. I’m told that NBC plans to continue to televise two games at 10 a.m. Eastern on most Saturdays, as it did this past season.”
However, it’s up to NBC Sports’ discretion and there is wiggle-room for NBC Sports to move games from CNBC and make them available only on Premier League Pass if and when they want to.
Q: Will this mean that current viewers who subscribe to all of the NBC Sports channels through their cable or satellite provider will be unable to watch games through the NBC Sports App?
A: Correct. Even if you have all of the NBC Sports channels through your cable or satellite provider, you still won’t be able to access Premier League Pass unless you’re willing to spend an extra $50 per season to subscribe.
Q: So, that means I might lower my package for my cable company?
A: No, you’ll still need cable or satellite access to NBCSN, NBC and CNBC in order to watch all of the games through there in addition to the Premier League Pass subscription in order to have access to every game in a season.
Q: Will replays be made available on Premier League Pass of all of the games each weekend including the ones that were originally streamed live on Premier League Pass?
A: Premier League Pass subscribers can access replays of most matches (including those not offered on NBC Sports Gold), and a full suite of Premier League Productions and NBC Sports original content and studio shows, plus highlight clips.
NBC Sports is forbidden by the Premier League to allow all 10 games each weekend to be available for viewing online. We’ll have to wait and see how many games Premier League Pass subscribers will be able to see on replay. And vice versa, how many games will be available on replay to non-Premier League Pass subscribers via the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com website.
Q: What happens to the people who are PlayStation Vue subscribers who have access to all of the NBC channels as well as NBC Sports App (through authentication)? Will they continue to be able to access all 380 games per season as before?
A: According to a NBC Sports spokesman, “PlayStation Vue subs receive access to the existing linear channels that they always have (e.g. NBCSN). But, like all MVPDS, 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 would also apply to DIRECTV NOW customers who were able (at the end of the 2016/17 season) to use their login details to access the NBC Sports App.
NBC Sports cutting off access for streaming companies such as PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW to the NBC Sports App games that are not televised is a huge blow to cord cutters.
Q: Why not make all 380 games per season available via the new service?
A: “The broadcast and cable TV windows are a key component of our Premier League business model,” said a NBC Sports spokesman.
We believe that NBC Sports could have found a way to offer all 380 games to subscribers, but that they didn’t push hard enough to make it happen. That’s very unfortunate.
Q: Will there be a monthly subscription option available in addition to the $49.99/season pass? If so, what’s the cost of the monthly pass?
A: No monthly subscription options will be available.
Q: Will there be a free trial offered so users can “kick the tires” first to see if Premier League Pass is a service they may like?
A: It’s possible but no decision has been made yet. “Marketing initiatives are being discussed now,” according to a NBC Sports spokesman.
Q: What happens to football bars now on those weekends where your club is pushed into the 10-12 window and is not featured? A lot of people like myself go to a local pub to catch the Saturday matches, does this mean they won’t be a channel to switch on to?
A: We understand that NBC Sports is considering a way for bars to still be able to broadcast these games but that no decision has yet been made.
Q: Will we be able to see the schedule of which games will be streamed on this new service before signing up?
A: No. Typically, the schedule for the weekend games isn’t finalized and announced until every Tuesday, so we won’t know which games will be on Premier League Pass until 4-5 days before each gameday.
Q: Don’t you think NBC may have been spooked by the decline in EPL ratings last season?
A: No. They’re more concerned about the large numbers of TV subscribers cancelling their cable and/or satellite subscriptions. Premier League Pass is NBC’s attempt to try to encourage sports fans to keep their TV subscription and to give them some games online.
Q: As a subscriber to DIRECTV, I’ve become accustomed to receiving all the games each week, including channels 481-5. Does this mean that DIRECTV will no longer provide these overflow channels?
A: As a DIRECTV subscriber, you will no longer have access to all of the Premier League Extra Time channels. They will only be available via Premier League Pass. The same applies to all other TV providers too such as DISH, Time Warner, Comcast and others.
Q: Is there going to be an option where I can buy it through my package on DIRECTV like MLS Direct Kick or NFL Sunday Ticket or is it stream only?
A: It’s streaming only (you can sign up via NBCSportsGold.com). No TV package will be made available.
Q: Do you happen to know how many matches were broadcast on NBC’s linear channels last year?
A: Yes, we’re compiling a list that we will provide shortly. Once it’s completed, we’ll add the link here.
Q: Is NBC Sports Gold’s Premier League Pass available on smart TVs?
A: Currently the NBC Sports Gold App is not available on Smart TVs. The NBC Sports Gold Pass is available on the following devices: Apple iOS, Android, Apple TV (Gen 4), Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and online at NBCSportsGold.com.