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NBCSN’s days are numbered as a channel

NBCSN shutting down

A top media journalist predicts NBCSN shutting down as a channel is imminent. The home of the Premier League in the United States has a lifespan of possible less than 12 months.

Fans of the Premier League in the United States have for the last several years been accustomed to a default linear TV channel to watch the league. NBCSN has been the home of most Premier League linear telecasts in the U.S. since August 2013. However, last week, highly-respected writer John Ourand of Sports Business Journal echoed much of the chatter in the media industry making the prediction for 2021 that NBCSN will be gone by year’s end.

Ourand predicted:

Late in the year — think November or December — NBCSN will shut down its sports channel and move NHL and EPL programming to USA Network and Peacock. The move is part of a strategy to grow NBC’s streaming service, while keeping its big entertainment channel relevant in a cord-cutting world. The move creates a glut of smaller programming — like car shows and dog shows — in the media marketplace.

Broadcast television changed remarkably since Comcast completed its buyout of NBCUniversal in 2013. Later that year, the Premier League debuted on NBCSN. Prior to the takeover, Comcast owned this channel under the moniker Versus.

NBCSN Shutting Down

It is logical that NBCUniversal would look to consolidate content and close down NBCSN. For starters, the channel as a stand-alone property doesn’t bring either the viewership numbers nor the carriage fees that Disney’s ESPN sports channels do. Secondly, NBCSN content can be spread easily to Peacock to give NBC a competitive boost in its battle against Disney and Viacom-owned streaming competitors that mix sports, entertainment and news.

Streaming content, which was a supplementary add-on for most cable viewers in 2013, has as 2021 approaches become for many consumers an outright substitute for cable. For many Premier League viewers in the U.S., it might be easier to have access to all league content via Peacock, NBC’s over-the-air channel and USA Network, which is on basic cable in most places, than to have to keep a premium cable tier/sports pack to receive NBCSN. In a world of cord-cutting, while a shutdown of NBCSN would inconvenience some Premier League fans, for many it might provide an opportunity to consolidate viewing platforms and reduce costs.

Ourand made another NBC-related Premier League prediction which has far greater long-term implications for the league’s viewership in the U.S. than the potential shutdown of NBCSN. He predicted:

NBC will start negotiating a new EPL deal early in the summer. Even though other media companies will try to grab those rights, NBC will lock them up for another six-year term. NBC will create more windows on its broadcast channel, plus run games on USA Network and Peacock, while keeping the most matches behind a paywall on Peacock.

Curious timing

For the record, this prediction, unlike the one about NBCSN shutting down, surprised me. I have been operating for the last 12-18 months under the assumption that the flatlining of Premier League ratings on both NBC and NBCSN, the likely shutdown of NBCSN, as well as the gravitating of content to behind a paywall was a sign NBC was trying to recoup losses incurred on the current 6-year rights deal the broadcaster made with the league in 2015. As a result of these factors, I felt that in all likelihood, the Premier League would begin life with another U.S. media partner at the end of this rights cycle, in August 2022.

My assumption was that a purely streaming platform such as Amazon Prime, DAZN or Disney’s streaming services would have the resources and the bandwidth to pry the league away from NBC, who arguably overpaid in 2015 for the rights from 2016 to 2022. However, this makes sense from both NBC and the Premier League’s perspective.

How does this potentially create an advantage for the Premier League?

It puts the Premier League on distribution networks not solely dedicated to sports. It may surprise some fans, but being on a platform that features drama series, movies and news gives an additional ramp for non-sports driven people to explore soccer.

With Disney’s recent investor day announcement that they will build ESPN+ content (including several of the Premier League rival competitions) into the Hulu platform, the Premier League will benefit from being on a platform, Peacock, which it shares with popular entertainment and news programming.

READ MORE: Schedule of Premier League games on US TV and streaming

In addition, Peacock provides the Premier League with U.S. access to its in-house TV channel. Having Premier League TV on throughout the day in the U.S. is an important step for providing shoulder and ancillary programming for the league’s fans in this country.

Sticking with NBC would also give the league a leg up on competitors, as it would increase broadcasts on linear TV, which is an option no competitor can offer the league. Additionally, placing select matches on USA Network is an upgrade over matches that currently are on NBCSN or CNBC, in terms of general viewership. However, it might make each match more difficult to find, as a programming guide will be needed to know where each match is broadcast.

How this advantages NBC

With NBCSN shutting down, keeping the Premier League incentivizes more Peacock Premium sign-ups. As noted above, fans in the U.S. may benefit from the consolidation of matches into one streaming platform. It is certainly easier to keep track of compared to the split between streaming and linear TV.

Since Comcast purchased BSkyB in the U.K., we have seen greater synergies in NBC and Sky Sports Premier League coverage. If NBC can reach another long-term deal with the Premier League, it will further exploit those synergies. For one, this helps cut production costs. Also, it brings the U.S. and U.K. coverage of the league in sync.

Time will tell if Ourand’s predictions come to pass. But, one thing is for sure. In a media landscape changing rapidly due to streaming and COVID-19, Comcast will continue to tweak its operation. Positioning NBC properties in the best competitive situation possible is always the goal.

 

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60 Comments

60 Comments

  1. BD

    January 23, 2021 at 12:49 am

    NBCSN to shut down by end of year – Wall Street Journal.

  2. Brad

    December 31, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    If you look at what the NHL and EPL is getting paid by NBC you wouldn’t call it bargain basement at all.

    As for this move, I don’t like it. I live in a rural area depended on satellite internet which isn’t the greatest when it comes to steaming live video at a reasonable so unless there going to make Peacock available on Dish, this is a terrible move. Also watching Peacock stinks just for the fact the app isn’t compatible with a HDMI cable so i’m forced to watch games on my computer which isn’t fun to be honest.

  3. Michael F

    December 29, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    @Hans. Glad you got your refund. I will agree that the implementation of Peacock where EPL is concerned was rushed and it shows. On a side note, I was never a huge fan of NBC Gold (locating content there was worse). Peacock is slowly making improvements as time goes on — added some on-demand PL programming shortly after launch, and also now recently added a description of what is currently airing and next to air on the 24/7 PL channel. Hopefully, more improvements are to come as they listen to the feed back of customers. Chris Harris has noted numerous times on podcasts that executives of NBC are listening.

  4. Hans

    December 29, 2020 at 11:31 am

    @Michael My complaint has always been two folded the bait and switch first and foremost as I posted in that thread by Chris. Secondly the rushed release of the Peacock app. You can’t separate the two. Again I posted in this and the bait and switch thread it was never a matter of $5 extra per month as I paid for a year’s subscription and the shoddy roll out of the app was just the cherry on the icing.
    However one thing seems to function very well at Comcast/NBC and that is their refund department. Took less than 24h to get the reply that my last charge, which was my only charge, has been refunded and should appear within 5-7 business days.
    So that chapter with Peacock is closed and I surely will not reward monetarily a company for such a devious business practice. However the positive is now that it is very plain to see what Comcast/NBC’s intentions are at the 2021/2022 season Scotty’s words apply here “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. Will not happen again.

  5. Michael F

    December 29, 2020 at 10:39 am

    @Hans. So now your focus is the bait & switch act that this company did. That is a legitimate complaint and reason for Chris Harris to report it in a different article posted on this site in the first place. Many (including myself) have already acknowledged that was very unfortunate and thus part reason for the criticism of Peacock, but that particular ship has now sailed. Are you going to complain about that for the rest of the football season? I am sure you could get a refund for your troubles of feeling swindled with the bait and switch. In fact, one or two readers posted as much on this site that they got a refund from Peaock.
    I like the last comment I saw of the 216 comments you shared in that Reddit link. The comment was simply… “it’s $5”. Yes, less than the NBC Gold subscription for the year. I suppose that’s how you watched all the PL matches before (i.e. on a recorded delay on-demand on NBC Gold). That is unfortunate for you now that all PL matches are no longer available for streaming on-demand. As I admitted, the bait and switch was not good. Beyond that, for $5 a month, the service (which includes many other diverse programming) is still arguably a great bargain for those that want to follow the EPL that includes lots of PL shoulder programming and live matches. For those that never divorced from a live tv service and still have NBCSN (and there are many), this bait and switch really didn’t impact them at all. Many matches are still live on NBCSN and NBC. As for your reference to the recent WST podcast that I did listen to, it is a projection that Chris Harris stated that there be a shift of more PL matches on Peacock next season. That is a very reasonable prediction that will probably come true based on what we’re witnessing with the growing popularity of streaming.

  6. CTBlues

    December 29, 2020 at 9:09 am

    NBC never tried to make NBCSN into an actual sports channel like ESPN. They never competed with ESPN or FOX to get NBA, MLB, Power 5 CFB, or Power 6 CBB rights and only had a sports review show right when the channel first rebranded from Versus. They only ever went for bargain basement priced properties in the NHL, Indy Car, EPL, F1, European Rugby, Tour De France, FCS CFB, and lower level CBB. They only spend big to keep the Olympics, Sunday Night NFL, PGA Tour, and Notre Dame football. And NBC gets a pretty good deal with SNF compared to what ESPN pays for MNF.

    As for those that say ESPN+ doesn’t cover the soccer properties they do have with other media they have ESPN FC that covers all professional leagues all over the world. They have The Serie Awesome podcast which covers Serie A specifically, the Gab and Jules Show podcast, and ESPN FC can be listened to as a podcast. ESPN+ actually shows the shoulder programming produced by the Bundesliga where Fox Sports didn’t.

  7. Tel&Universo Viewer

    December 29, 2020 at 3:02 am

    Regarding the potential demise of NBCSN, what would that mean for Telemundo & Universo? They air up to five matches every weekend. plus a 1/2 hr. recap show. Generally those games are the same that air on either NBC or NBCSN.

  8. Hans

    December 29, 2020 at 1:16 am

    @Michael I am not selective in my complaints I have stated facts of how Comcast/NBC lied to us to get us to sign up for the premium service. I feel violated by their bait and switch.
    Rick Cordella, Peacock’s executive vice-president states:
    “We’re not naive. We’re launching into a fairly competitive landscape and we know having the Premier League exclusively gives us an advantage because those fans are going to have to watch Peacock this season to watch their favorite teams.”
    There you have it a concerted effort to drive up sign ups for Peacock premium and many did sign up including me only to have the ground knocked out from underneath us by dropping 205 games from the on demand section that is a fact.
    With that switch Comcast/NBC is now forcing fans of any Premier League team who want to follow their team’’s games during the season, to have a cable subscription plus peacock. That is not what many of us signed up for. Since I don’t have a cable subscription, I would have never signed up for this Peacock deal since it was never part of their original advertisement that you need a cable subscription to watch the additional 205 games. For your information there is no shifting of PL matches to streaming for the 2020/2021 season. The podcast stated that may be a possibility for the future.
    You can do me one favor and find out who to contact for getting a refund for this despicable act on their part, because that information is certainly not readily obtainable.

  9. Michael F

    December 29, 2020 at 1:14 am

    @Edward. Exactly. No different than CBS All-Access. Of course there are comparisons to be made on the quality of each streaming app, it’s features etc and also the programming quality of its soccer coverage. Although it may be personal preference, but folks need to be honest with themselves and admit that CBS has some significant ground to cover so as to meet the standard NBC has set for years on its coverage of the EPL.

  10. Edward

    December 28, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    absolutely true that Peacock’s customer base is more than just EPL fans…sports on the streaming platform is just another way to get a diverse customer base

  11. Michael F

    December 28, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    @Hans. I see most… outside of a few at the end of those 216 comments — all were posted 3 months ago!… when folks were all in a tizzy over the majority of the matches during that particular time frame were switched over to Peacock while the US Open and Tour de France was aired on NBCSN. Goes back to my point that most have not cut the cord from linear TV and still have NBCSN and now are upset they have to pay $5 a month more to watch the rest of the matches (which was more expensive to do before with NBC Gold). You are being very selective in your your slant of how people are upset and quite understandably biased toward a similar opinion like yourself. As we all know now, the majority of top 6 PL club matches and prime PL matches are still airing on NBCSN and NBC, with Peacock getting the bottom half PL club matches. As stated before and on the recent world soccer podcast, NBC/Comcast are slowly shifting more of PL matches to streaming. All providers are looking at the shift away from traditional cable consumption. Outside of the shortcomings over the Peacock app, this whole escapade to drill NBC/Comcast by you is over the top extreme criticism. Do they deserve some criticism? Absolutely. I have stated as such before. But not to the degree that you and some others have taken it. For as many that hate it, there are those that are not upset with it and have stated so in posts on this very site and think the $5 a month is a bargain. And typically, you will always hear more from the complainers and those upset than those who are happy with a product. No question about that.

  12. Hans

    December 28, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    @Michael Don’t try to spin this like a fan boy as if these are just a few individuals, they are not the same people repeating over and over again the problems since the posts are on different hardware platforms and my only posts of complaint have been here. Educate yourself from the 216 comments on Reddit by disgruntled EPL supporters.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/PremierLeague/comments/ivg317/thoughts_on_peacock_and_access_to_the_premier/
    Peacock only views Premier League fans as a way to generate sign-ups – and not as a genuine part of the viewer base whose concerns they care about.
    It also explains why there is no official Peacock community support forum, because who would want to explain and defend this disaster roll out of an app only fan boys and those in denial would.
    A quick look through Peacock’s Social Media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – reveals that nearly every Peacock post across all 3 platforms includes numerous complaints from Premier League fans which are mostly toxic and full of vitriol.
    I simply signed up for Peacock through Google and got a 3 month trial that ended in early November. I took Comcast/NBC by their word that 380 EPL games would be available on Peacock. I was fine with that even with the all the shortcomings in the app, after all it is just the live games and the on demand ones plus they deserve remuneration for that. My mistake to trust Comcast/NBC and it will not happen again now that I know how to get live and on demand EPL games for free in the home theater on a 136″ screen. You reward good service and products from trustworthy companies not the horrendous cashgrab by Comcast/NBC.

  13. Michael F

    December 28, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    @Hans I am well aware of all complaints and as typical,.. it can be the same people just repeating themselves over and over – like yourself. That doesn’t make the problem with the app bigger, it’s just simply the same issues with the app.
    I guess I don’t understand why you committed for a full year subscription of Peacock when you signed up (as they do provide a monthly subscription) and like any stream provider — they give you a free trial to allow you a chance to decide if you want to keep it.

  14. Hans

    December 28, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Since I paid for a year until November 2021 the use will be very sparingly since i want to minimize frustration. But do yourself a favor and listen to the “2020 End of the Year Special Podcast” and you will see that complaints have shifted from adding another streaming service to problems with the app. In addition check out the review on Google Play and iTunes app, sort them by newest first and you will see the dissatisfaction by many EPL fans with the app. So, I am not alone here.
    I just can’t wrap my head around how a company who is a major player in content could release such a flawed app. What they need is new leadership and personnel for the streaming app division.

  15. Michael F

    December 28, 2020 at 12:47 am

    @Hans. Yes, Peacock could use some improvements. However, your depiction of how bad it is to use It – is most certainly overly dramatic. Perhaps the best advice for you then is… don’t use it.

  16. Hans

    December 27, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    You are absolutely correct I am no fan of the present Peacock app and knowing the company behind it just makes it worst, thus the hope of many for an EPL license switch. NBC had a shot getting this spot on for none cable subscribers but they failed, even worst Comcast/NBC pulled a dirty and shady deal on paying customers.

    Clicking the Sports tab lands me on the Home Page and Browsing. Getting used to the logic of what is displayed here is not straight forward and differs very much from the other sports apps I use. I had no problem switching from ESPN+ to CBS All Access because they seemed to follow the same logic behind their user interface, but Peacock does not, otherwise I would not find it so difficult to locate the content I want to watch on demand. The live part is easy because the schedule dictates it.

    For example Premier League TV just seems to be a place holder for live games as it indicates Matchday 26-27 Dec and shows nothing. Then you have so many duplicate listings of clips under Premier League Extended Highlights, than again the same under soccer where you have more of the same plus some of the video clips are just a few minutes long. I prefer the coverage in one segment. MOTD or ESPN-FC does that fabulous. For in-depth coverage I subscribe to the Athletic which I prefer to get details from.

    Premier League Highlights
    Teams’ latest highlights for the different teams but the icons never change, ESPN-FC Icons change according to whatever topic is being discussed plus date.

    The layout and categorizing is not user friendly nor straight forward for someone using this app for the first time, otherwise you would not have complaints. As I mentioned before one needs to explore it, finding out where is what especially now that Comcast/NBC has decided to change the EPL content on Peacock. Sometimes using the Peacock app is like having your teeth drilled without Novocaine in other words not very pleasant.

  17. Adam

    December 27, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    My only complaint about Peacock is that it doesn’t have the same functionality as ESPN+. Last Saturday I had a quad box going on ESPN+ watching my Basketball Vols, 2 college football games, and a Bundesliga match. I hope Peacock may add that feature when the EPL goes back to have multiple games going in the same window. Paying $5 for EPL overflow, which is cheaper, than Gold was, while getting a dedicated Premier League channel and all the additional tv shows and movies is a good deal to me. I read something the other day that said that the 2 most viewed items on Peacock were EPL and the Saved by the Bell reboot. Throw in the dedicated broadcast window NBC proper gives and it makes me think the prediction of NBC re-upping with the Premier League is probably going to come to pass.

  18. Michael F

    December 27, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    @Hans. Btw… I love the 24/7 PL channel and it’s on-demand content from the Premier League that is on Peacock. I find no equal to this objective, informative and positive PL shoulder programming. So when I reference NBC, I am talking about everything that this provider gives us (both on NBCSN and Peacock) where the Premier League is concerned.

  19. Michael F

    December 27, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    @Hans. So you’re not a fan of NBCSN? I believe it’s time you follow a different euro football league then. That is the beauty of it. One has choices.

  20. Hans

    December 27, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Yep, watch that final analysis and actually thought it was funny and entertaining befitting before a 2 month break. In addition it was excellent because it didn’t have the obnoxious sound track that NBCSN uses to cover the replays and commentator’s analysis with the exception when the team managers speak.

  21. Edward

    December 27, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    so you like this coverage on CBS All Access? https://twitter.com/UCLonCBSSports/status/1336799964777820163

  22. Hans

    December 27, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    @Michael the content provided by NBC whether pre or post like Goal Zone is not on Peacock, the only punditry you get is the two Robbies and Rebecca for a short time before and after the match to only provide a lead into NBCSN. Interest in the other shows like the one with Ian Wright to me are tolerable as they cover too many side aspects that really are not of much interest to me.
    What I compare it with was the game coverage of the CL on CBS All Access, Kate Abdo. Roberto Martinez, Jamie Carragher and others. Much more to my liking. The gold standard for me is MOTD & MOTD2 with Gary Lineker and Mark Chapman. Both shows are easily available on the Internet. So yes compared to what is available regarding extra EPL content not really impressed by what NBC provides maybe it has to do with my 12 years exposure to the UK broadcast while living in London. It is after all the EPL so I do prefer UK analysis over US pundits and CBS All Access got that right away as they established a London Studio.
    I did expect a better all round experience from NBC since they have been in the EPL broadcast business now 7 consecutive years. ESPN+ for me is also more desirable as they cover all the different leagues and again their contributors are in the midst of where it is happening. Sid Lowe’s coverage on the Messi debacle was supreme. Again for all EPL fans I do hope that Comcast/NBC will sort their teething problems given their years of broadcast experience.

  23. Edward

    December 27, 2020 at 8:29 am

    @Hans: ESPN+ and CBS All Access aren’t owned by cable operator like NBC is. The EPL contract was originally signed as a TV contract, not a streaming deal. There would have been much fewer dollars if the deal was streaming only. NBC finally figured out it was time to monetize the extra overflow content.

    US media consumers are way behind in cord cutting that EU/Asia. Look at the comments about NFL’s first Prime Video game from yesterday.

  24. Michael F

    December 27, 2020 at 8:07 am

    @Adam. Good points. I am of the same. Only view NBC Sports Network for EPL and occasionally the NHL playoffs. It’s obvious that NBC is in a transition of sorts with their linear sports tv network and the invent of Peacock., thus this story of NBC Sports Network potential demise. They are trying to sort out where they want to go next in this transitioning world of linear to streaming world. Every network provider is adjusting and has gone through transition and change. Some faster than others. The speed of adjusting to change (or lack there of) has obviously gotten the ire of some paying customers.

  25. Michael F

    December 27, 2020 at 7:59 am

    @Hans You never speak of the quality of the broadcasting and content provided by NBC for EPL. It’s a constant harping over what you clearly state is an inferior setup of their linear tv network and streaming app. Yep, we get it. You obviously will shout longer and louder each time this topic is brought up. You’ve been heard.

  26. disco george

    December 27, 2020 at 12:48 am

    ESPN FC has definitely suffered from the physical constraints of the pandemic (not being able to have as many people in studio and subsequently bringing more people on remotely each episode to make up for that makes it pretty disjointed at times), but I’ve never viewed it as a show that was centered around technical analysis and tactical deep dives?

    I mean, it happens from time to time, but the weekend shows have always been more highlights/news-centric due to the number of matches being played. I’m liking the increased coverage of Serie A and Bundesliga instead of the Premier League focus of the past, but that’s probably down to what leagues you prefer. The Serie Awesome and Gab and Juls podcasts are nice complements that have more technical/tactical stuff. I do miss the regular podcasts with Herculez Gomez, though — I was learning a lot more about Liga MX from those.

  27. Adam

    December 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

    @Anthony makes a solid point. NBCSN is weird.

    They are stuck in sort of a no man’s land. NBC is currently running 4 sports networks where 2 of them are extremely niche (Golf Channel & Olympic Channel) one is on a streaming service (NBC Sports on Peacock) which leaves the 4th (NBCSN), which should be their flagship, with not enough programming to fill their their hours. I really thought NBCSN may have originally intended to take a shot at taking on ESPN, even more than FS1; but it seems when they didn’t get the PAC-12 rights earlier in the decade, they could never decide what they wanted to be. I’ve never understood why they didn’t cover their properties outside of the actual live games. They could have at the very least had their own version of Sportscenter that exclusively covered EPL, NHL, Rugby, NASCAR, IndyCar, etc, and it may have gotten me to watch a sport I don’t normally follow. As things stand, I tune into NBCSN for EPL, and nothing else. It maybe wise for them to treat USA like Time Warner treats TNT/TBS, because they don’t really care about covering the leagues they have the rights to outside of shoulder programming.

  28. Hans

    December 26, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Before anyone jumps on to the NBC Sports App, just go to the play.google.com store and look at the many 1 star posts complaining about the EPL playback on the app. Just underlines the point Comcast/NBC don’t have the know how on delivering a decent experience with a streaming app.

  29. Hans

    December 26, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Why didn’t Comcast/NBC switch the NBC Gold for $65 to Peacock and charge $65 for a year and we would not have this discussion. Comcast/NBC did this with the Rugby Pass which is no longer existing but Rugby is all on peacock now. So why not the same for the EPL?
    You have to understand that the trend in streaming is totally opposite what Comcast/NBC is dishing up. Streamers want their content in ONE place easy to find, that is not the case at present with the EPL. You have to switch to the cable package for the next game, WTF? People in the streaming world already hate to switch from one channel or app to the next. They want a portal to the content they want to watch. Chromecast with Google TV does that with several providers and it is the future. Have on your home page the content you want to see from whatever provider. The concoction for the EPL that Comcast/NBC serves up is the total opposite, not even a different app or channel but a different device setup, PATHETIC!
    It is for this reason that people wish the EPL comes to a different network because Comcast/NBC can’t divorce themselves from the cable universe which is evident by their “Channel Setup” and when you click on the 24/7 EPL channel you get listings for what is being aired on NBCSN or Peacock, a glorified EPG.
    To further show their ineptitude to provide a decent streaming app, I have yet to find a way how to remove “Continue Watching” Rugby Games from the 1st row on the home page. Clicking on them will take you to the on demand game and then shows you this has ended after which it returns to the continue watching entry on the home page and still displaying it. As I said before a half baked Alpha version of an app.
    .

  30. Michael F

    December 26, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    @Edward. Excellent point about the stream industry and how prices will skyrocket if it’s all in one place. I laugh when I read these posts of wishes for EPL to be picked up by CBS all access or ESPN+ and these folks actually believe the price tier for either of those stream services will remain the same or that the product content will be equal to the quality of what NBC has delivered for years. That’s a fairy tale. I guess if you just like watching matches only and could care less about anything else, it might work for you. But you eventually won’t be paying the same price as you get with those stream services without EPL. No way. My complaint about ESPN with any of their sports coverage (NFL, MLB, Euro soccer leagues etc) is they always spend way too much time focused on the popular big market clubs and don’t give equal time for all the rest. Just because you cover every sport, doesn’t make you great if you only skim the surface. For example: Not a fan of ESPN FC, where the studio players (including the host) are very subjective, critical and reactive to struggling clubs or managers (every other week is… when should so and so be sacked) and they only cover the top clubs of each euro league. Lacks in depth analysis and objectivity. Not very informative at all and doesn’t really paint the full picture of how a club is doing and why.

  31. Michael F

    December 26, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    @Hans. Thanks for your comments. I also have all three stream services (Peacock, CBS all access and ESPN+). Been with ESPN+ for over well over 2 years now. I personally don’t think the navigation is as easy and superior as you suggest. Yes, they have had more time to perfect their stream product, but they also raised their monthly fee by $1 a few months ago. Not that it’s a significant price hike, but considering that NBC Gold was $65 a year to get All PL matches on-demand, the lesser $5 per month fee for Peacock is easier to take for streaming only fans. Yes, the bait and switch was not good, but let’s have some perspective here. Truly, how many long time EPL fans were only using NBC Gold stream service to get access to all the matches? I can’t definitively answer that, but I doubt it’s very many. The point is, most EPL fans already have a subscription for linear TV and NBC Sports Network and now want access to all the PL matches – which Peacock then satisfies. And for less price than NBC Gold yearly sub was, and Peacock added a live 24/7 running PL channel along with all the other entertainment — for $5 per month. Yes, technically perhaps, they could improve, but the over-the-top continuous complaints do not justify what NBC has provided for overall content and provision of its Premier League coverage. See comments from my post above for more detail on that. ESPN+ And CBS all-access pales in comparison of the in-depth objective coverage NBC provides its featured euro league and all the teams. And EPL is the most popular euro soccer league by a long margin. So to get what you get from NBC with EPL coverage, is pretty darn good for the money. They are the gold standard for coverage of a premier soccer league.

  32. Hans

    December 25, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    Since I have all 3 streaming services I am in an excellent position to compare them. First off never was there a complaint from me about money being paid for the service and if there are some who complain about it, than they need to find either a different sport or watch it via the Internet dark side. I am spending $160 (US) for all 3 streaming services per year, that is very acceptable.
    However the bait and switch by Comcast/NBC was dirty, unprofessional and downright faith destroying in their service. On top of it the Peacock app is not easy to navigate because of all their other content and when you can’t find it you expect by entering it into the search you would get the desired results, but not so.
    ESPN+ is very easy and user friendly to navigate. You got the different sports in categories and just click on the respective icons, for me Soccer or Rugby and everything associated with them is located right there. Easy and logical plus straight forward.
    On Peacock since they have the European Rugby Championship it is not easy to locate. Once you find the Live and Upcoming games you have to scroll past the January 2021 listings before you get to the On Demand games. If you scroll to the bottom category for Rugby you get two ancient video clips. Not logical and as was reported on this site by Christopher Harris in September “It’ll take a while for us to get all used to it but it’ll seem like second nature soon, I’m sure.” Well some are not that savvy.
    Bottom line the Peacock App was rushed and it shows, there was no real thought given to the transition from Cable channel to streaming for those who wanted streaming as the EPL season was about to start. Most of the complaints here are about Comcast’s underhanded way of doing things and presenting an Alpha version of their streaming app.
    For me the decision to renew after a year depends on how many of the shortcomings have been addressed and corrected. If not I am set, having an antenna in the attic, having a SiliconDust Over The Air tuner with DVR storage for about 50 OTA channels ($180) that will put all those channels on my WiFi network and for all the games that they try to split over several services there is always for me Peer 2 Peer.

  33. Edward

    December 25, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    @MichaelF: on ESPN+, PL 24/7 Channel would compete against ESPNFC, and Two Robbies would be out of a job. With ESPN cutting jobs, there may not be room for the Robbies + Becky Lowe. TBH, prices for these streaming services will eventually increase. It’s economics. They’re paying big bucks for content and they’ll need to make back that money, especially if the big draw is fewer commercials. The industry needs to be an oligopoly not a duopoly/monopoly, b’c then prices will skyrocket.
    I have tried CBS All Access and it is impossible to find specific match replays. There is no filters or sorting. Everything is in reverse chrono.
    the NBC complaints on this site is just getting toxic

  34. Anthony

    December 25, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    NBCSN is weird

    – They do a great job covering the live sports they have – Premier League, NHL, Olympics when they are happening, motorsports. Sports customers are familiar with the channel, and it is widely carried. Cable networks pay Comcast for it

    – However, more than half of the time, they show infomercials, fishing, etc. The never did well with any studio shows. It’s only purpose is carrying live sports. It’s not like ESPN or Fox that have these big ecosystems

    So I could see NBCSN going away. And I can see most Premier League programming going to Peacock / USA / NBC Network. The problem is stuff like NHL. Will USA network put NHL games on during prime time every week? What about the other sports they have? I am guessing NHL wouldn’t be happy primarily being on Peacock. Does this make USA more valuable, or does Comcast just give up whatever money they make from NBCSN with no increase for USA?

    The question is how much sports can USA really put on. Admittedly I haven’t really checked for USA in years. Also, this move from NBC basically says “We are ok with our current sports lineup, we can’t add anything else.”

    I dunno, I think NBCSN fills a niche, so I’m not sure how I feel about this long term

  35. Ravioliollie Kaye

    December 25, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. their pundits anchored by Rebecca Lowe are second to none, though I miss Kyle Martino, but that’s show biz as they say. CBS all access which I’ve subscribed to for the European coverage is a large disappointment. Kudos to NBCSN and Peacock!!

  36. Michael F

    December 25, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    @Edward. Plus the on-demand content from the 24/7 Premier League channel. Plus the 2 Robbies on-demand podcasts. Plus the Pro Soccer talk with Joe Prince Wright, Andy Edwards and Nick Mendola. For as much as so many here whine about NBC/Peacock’s match coverage and interface, NO ONE covers a euro league better than NBC does or has. Not even close. I hope they extend the PL contract beyond 2022, because I am not that impressed with CBS All-Access or ESPN+ when it comes to covering a league as in-depth as NBC/Peacock does. And for those that are so up in arms over split match coverage between NBC sports network and Peacock, let’s have some perspective. If you already have had NBC sport network through a provider for years, you are paying only $5 a month more for Peacock. $5! These are probably the same people who also subscribe to CBS All access and ESPN+ and other subs too that are complaining about paying $5 more a month. Sorry, I just don’t get all the extreme complaints. It’s not fully warranted at all. It’s over the top for a certainty. and I am sure to get some scathing replies off this. Bring it on. It seems to be the fashionable thing to do these days, is to complain about anything at every opportunity. Things do cost something. That’s how business works. Remind yourself it’s only $5 more a month on top of your live TV provision of paying much more just to get the NBC sports network as you paid for all along to get EPL matches for years. For those that never did, well… think of all the EPL shoulder programming and live matches you now have access to for only $5 a month on Peacock. Seems like a pretty good deal.

  37. John Culea

    December 25, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks and thanks for the good news on Lee Dixon doing a match this weekend.
    Happy New Year. We love living in Texas now!

  38. John Culea

    December 25, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Thanks, Chris.
    BTW, how do I change my profile photo. The one on your site is about 30 years old.

    • Christopher Harris

      December 25, 2020 at 10:37 am

      Anyone can customize their avatar/profile photo by creating an account at gravatar.com for free using the email address you use. Gravatar will link the email address with the profile photo.

  39. Edward

    December 25, 2020 at 12:17 am

    I doubt another streaming service would put on the Premier League 24/7 Channel live stream on their package. It’s not just the live programming, but the continuous, commercial free archive of highlights.

  40. Eddy G

    December 24, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Forgot to add Kartik you’re assumptions about NBC’s overpay for rights and moving more games behind a paywall were not unfounded there are articles that can be found online were NBC exec Rick Cordella is candidly saying just that, that “ratings are not what they once were” and “So [we’re] trying to figure out, how do we remunerate the rights we paid for? ” for anyone looking to find the article I’m mentioning use those quotes in Google.

    So the question becomes if NBC does manage to keep the rights how does NBC honestly add more broadcast windows if they are also increasing the amount of games behind paywall on peackcock, It’s not adding up. Kind of points to what Chris was saying on the last podcast that NBC might be selling a bill of goods to the Premier League just to get a signature on the dotted line and once the EPL has the money NBC will pull a bait and switch. I’m not buying the increased broadcast window talking point unless they add 2 or 3 more games on big NBC which is technically a increase. BUT if they are putting 2x as many games behind a paywall it will result in less of the current coverage as is now.

  41. Eddy G

    December 24, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Solid article Kartik!

  42. John Culea

    December 24, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Chris, Who are the commentators for GW15 and GW16? I hope Lee Dixon returns.

    • Christopher Harris

      December 24, 2020 at 7:10 pm

      Hi John, we’ll be publishing it on the homepage of this website on Christmas morning.

      You’ll be happy with the listings, for sure. Happy Holidays.

  43. Steviecs

    December 24, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Peacock needs to improve it’s technology. Currently no pause, fast forward, or ability to go backwoods and you have to wait hours to watch a replay of game if you can’t watch live. Also need to have the option to start from the beginning a game that is already being played live.

  44. PS

    December 24, 2020 at 12:07 am

    This is just what Comcast do – and as a Brit, I can say that with first-hand experience.

    The number of Sky Q channels that have left the subscription packages in the past year is staggering, and there are more to come in January. They’re slowly reducing the number of pay-TV channels in favour of a handful of Sky-branded channels. They’re also streaming things like EFL matches to our Sky Q boxes now instead of using satellite. The cost of broadcasting a linear channel, even with ad-funding, is staggering so it absolutely does make sense to broadcast on an OTT basis for the most part.

    Look at Disney – they’ve now pulled every single one of their channels from our TV services, and around Europe, and are doing the same with the Fox channels in 2021. All to be available in Europe exclusively via streaming.

    Welcome to 2021 and beyond.

  45. Marlon Nicholson

    December 23, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    So what about Nascar, Indy car, Arca, The Olympics and other sports NBCSN has contracts with??? I would think those leagues would not be happy that NBC would shut down its sports network all for a streaming app when millions if not billions of dollars of TV revenue is at stake. Maybe some major changes and shuffling around but I don’t see a shutdown

  46. Michael F

    December 23, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    @Azur. Just this past weekend, I witnessed NBC sports network cut away to Sky Sports studio for a brief time as they interviewed a manager after one of the matches. Apparently you are not watching all the time to make such a strong criticism of NBC (something that appears to be the fashionable thing to do at every article posting on this site). In any event, I believe Chris Harris and Kartik would know what they are talking about.

  47. Michael F

    December 23, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    @Azur. Just this past weekend, I witnessed NBC sports network cut away to Sky Sports studio for a brief time as they interviewed a manager after one of the matches. Apparently you are not watching all the time to make such a strong criticism of NBC (something that appears to be the fashionable thing to do at every article posting on this site). In any event, I believe Chris Harris and Kartik would know what they are talk about.

  48. Azer

    December 23, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    Chris – I have seen the Sky Sports logo on the NBCSN screen but that’s it. NBC never used the Sky score bug which is much smaller than that of NBC or any other Sky graphics. NBC never stopped running it’s commercials even with the Sky Sports logo on the screen. Perhaps, I’ve missed it? NBC can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.

  49. Azer

    December 23, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    There are no synergies between Sky Sports & NBC, perhaps behind the scenes but not on the air when watching the Premier League. I don’t see any Sky Sports features on NBC. What exactly is Kartik talking about? Sky & NBC should not be put in the same sentence.

    • Christopher Harris

      December 23, 2020 at 5:42 pm

      On Transfer Deadline Day, you’ll see NBC Sports talent such as Graeme Le Saux and Arlo White in the studio at Sky Sports, live on TV. And oftentimes on the same day, you have Sky Sports segments live on NBCSN’s coverage of the deadline day.

      It hasn’t happened in a while but NBCSN has televised Sky Sports’ entire coverage of a Premier League match before.

  50. disco george

    December 23, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Does NBC have a stake in the Olympic Channel, or is their involvement there strictly related to being an IOC rightsholder?

  51. Robert DeLine Jr

    December 23, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Time for NASCAR to find an adult network and stop messing with the children’s playroom.

  52. Yespage

    December 23, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Why would Comcast remove a channel when they get paid for it? NBCSN gets revenue from people getting Sat/Cab/IPTV, regardless if those people watch it or not. To consolidate would be to lose that subsidization.

  53. Edward

    December 23, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    instead we will see EPL-WWE Raw cross-promotions. Can you picture John Cena trash talking “you can’t see me” when Son makes a sick cross over move against an Arsenal player. Jose Mourinho would be the Roman Reigns of the EPL (just with better mic work).
    If you think Rebecca Lowe’s promos for This is Us is something, picture her live reads for Raw: “Will the Bella Twins get revenge on Stephanie McMahon? Tune in on Monday for the aftermath of Wrestlemania.” Or the Two Robbies stealing the Tag Team championship…
    /s

  54. Don

    December 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    We could have a segment called “Buy buy buy sell sell sell”. Even though I dont watch the fantasy or betting shows I think Cramer could have me glued to his show with him yelling to bet or not bet on a player/team for that day.

  55. Jack S.

    December 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    I can imagine Cramer hitting that “House of Pain” sound effects button every time he promotes an upcoming Spurs match.

  56. Edward

    December 23, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    shifting EPL from NBCSN to CNBC would have been a good segue. It hits CNBC’s higher networth demo and brings more viewers in its battle vs Fox Business and Bloomberg. Picture in addition to fan submitted pics through social media that you get Jim Cramer making EPL picks, and Shepperd Smith and Joe Kernen reading promos for a British sport
    /s

  57. Kevin

    December 23, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Probably the same coming for FS2, CBS Sports Network and others. Also there’s no huge reason for beIN to even exist as a linear channel at this point (though I certainly don’t mind that they do as a Verizon customer)

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