In May or June of this year, the bidding for the 2016-19 Premier League TV rights is expected to begin with FOX Sports, ESPN and NBC Sports ready to begin a bidding war to determine who will acquire the rights to the world’s most popular sports league.
Despite NBC raising the bar on soccer coverage in the United States and growing the average Premier League viewing audience by 10% compared to last year, nothing is guaranteed. Distribution on NBC’s free-to-air network is a bonus for the Premier League as well as the increased exposure the league has received these past two years thanks to NBC moving the league more into the mainstream. But all of that will mean very little to the Premier League if one of the other networks puts in a much larger bid. After all, Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore answers to the chairmen of the top-flight teams, not the TV networks or public.
My guess is that if we changed the question in the headline to “Who do you want to win the next round of Premier League US TV rights,” the vast majority of the answers would feature NBC Sports as the response. However, the question is “Who do you think will win?”
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