Sports Business Daily reported on Tuesday that the Premier League is considering splitting packages for the next round US TV rights, which will run from 2016 to 2019. This would follow the precedent set by the league in other major markets such as the UK. The Premier League has experienced a surge of popularity in the American market since 2010. Much of this upswing in US interest has occurred on the watch of incumbent rights-holder, NBC.
The report also outlined that ESPN and FOX do not plan a joint bid for the Premier League rights. The previous bidding cycle saw ESPN and FOX combine with a single bid encompassing both carriers. NBC was able to beat this joint bid and present the league a way in which to broadcast every single game during the Premier League season.
If the Premier League does split its broadcast packages, here is how the different packages could look:
If two packages only:
Package 1 (Primary): All Saturday and Sunday matches would remain with a single rights-holder. This rights-holder would also retain bumper rights to every match including those included in package 2. Highlight shows such as Match of the Day and Match of the Day II (or Goals on Sunday) would remain with this network. Broadband rights for all games on TV in this package would remain with this carrier.
Package 2: Would include the new Friday night games, Monday night games and other weekday matches that are not primary fixture dates. Bidding on this package would not include the winner of Package 1. This package would go to another network. For example if NBC won the primary package, FOX, ESPN, BeIN and whomever else could bid on this second package. Broadband rights for weekday games would go with this package but rights to highlights from weekend games would NOT be included.
If three packages only:
Package 1: This package would include all 10am ET and 12:30pm ET Saturday kickoffs as well as Sunday 11am ET kickoffs. The network that wins this would be the primary rights holder and keep all bumper rights and air all Premier League highlights shows.
Package 2: Similar to package 2 in the above two-package setup.
Package 3: This would be limited to the 7:45am ET Saturday kickoffs and the 8:30am ET Sunday kickoffs.
Note on these packages: One network could not win the rights to all three packages (but could win two of the three) and specific game broadband rights would remain with the winner of each package.