Leicester’s success creates a predicament for NBC’s TV scheduling


Depending on how you look at it, the surprise success of Leicester City is creating a predicament for NBCSN. Up until recently, the Premier League’s top teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester City and Chelsea have continued to keep a stranglehold on the top positions in the league. For NBCSN, those clubs are the same ones that generate the higher viewing audience numbers on television. But with rise of Leicester City to the top of the league table, the predicament that NBCSN faces is whether to show the Foxes on NBCSN and/or USA Network more often, or continue to show the teams that generate the greater TV viewing audiences.

So far, NBCSN has stuck with the bigger clubs to the detriment of Leicester City.

In some ways, it’s a great problem for NBC Sports to have. While the bigger teams in the league will continue to draw the bigger viewing numbers, teams such as Leicester City and Crystal Palace are going to attract more interest than they did before, which boosts NBC’s overall number.

But when it comes to selecting which Premier League matches to feature on NBCSN and USA Network each weekend, who should they select? After all, if Leicester City is at the top of the Premier League table or fighting for the title, shouldn’t they be featured more often, or not?

SEE MORE: NBCSN has a gaping hole in its Premier League coverage.

The answer, so far, from NBCSN is that they’re focused on satisfying the viewers of the bigger clubs, not the underdogs. Chelsea, three points above relegation, have been shown 19 times across NBCSN, USA and NBC this season — more than any other club other than Manchester United (who have also had their live games featured 19 times). Leicester, meanwhile, have been shown 9 times. And out of those 9 games, most (if not all of the games) were shown because their opponents were one of the big teams or there were no other matches being played at the same time.

If Leicester continues its superb form, the club will give NBCSN more scheduling headaches. So far, NBCSN hasn’t taken the plunge with Leicester. This Saturday’s game between Leicester and Bournemouth (arguably, the two best stories in the Premier League this season) will be shown on Premier League Extra Time and NBC Sports Live Extra, while Manchester United-Swansea will be on USA Network and Arsenal-Newcastle on NBCSN.

SEE MORE: Premier League’s policy on online match highlights helps, not hurts, piracy

Plus, earlier this month, NBCSN could have featured Everton vs. Leicester on USA or NBCSN, but they elected to show Chelsea-Sunderland (Hiddink’s first game in charge) and Manchester United-Norwich instead.

For the most part, the decision making from NBC Sports appears to give preference to Manchester United games no matter what other teams are playing.

What do you think? Should NBCSN continue to feature the most supported teams each week, or does Leicester City deserve more airtime? Share your opinions in the comments section below or on our social media accounts.

Team# of NBCSN/USA/NBC broadcasts this season
Man United19
Man City16
Crystal Palace12
West Ham11
Aston Villa9
West Brom8
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