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Leagues: EPL

Premier League opts for bids instead of renewing NBC deal

Executives from the English Premier League have opted to consider opening bids from several broadcasters instead of renewing its current U.S. rights deal with Comcast, according to a Bloomberg report.

Chairmen of Premier League clubs will meet next week to discuss the U.S. media rights with opening bids expected from a range of broadcasters including NBC Sports and competitors. Given the popularity of the Premier League combined with the need for live sports content, expectations are that the deal will break new records for club soccer rights deals in the United States.

Last week, World Soccer Talk asked Chairman of CBS Sports Sean McManus about ViacomCBS’ interest in acquiring the rights in the Premier League.

We’re ‘open for business.’ We will look at any property that comes along.

Both ESPN and CBS Sports have very aggressive subscriber growth plans for their ESPN+ and Paramount+ streaming platforms. At the same time, other streaming platforms would surely be interested too including Warner/Discovery+, Amazon Prime, DAZN and fuboTV. All of the broadcasters mentioned have set aside money for rights acquisitions. But the difference maker will likely be the combination of broadcasting games on linear (including over-the-air) television and streaming, which may rule some out of the running.

NBC Sports has been the exclusive broadcaster of the Premier League since 2013, but if the Comcast-owned corporation wants to extend its current deal, it’ll have to pay far more. Bloomberg estimates that the price tag for a new multiyear deal could reach $2 billion over the course of the rights deal, approximately more than double the reported $150 million per season that NBC Sports now pays.

The Premier League and NBC Sports have had a long, successful partnership in the United States with league executives particularly impressed by the marketing machine and linear distribution channels that NBC Sports offer. Also, league officials have remarked to World Soccer Talk how impressed they have been by the successful run of Premier League Fan Fests that have been scheduled around the country in previous years before covid, something that would be hard for the Premier League and a different broadcaster to replicate.

CBS Sports recognizes the effort that competitor NBC Sports has achieved with broadcasting the Premier League. McManus added:

The EPL is a great property. I admire what NBC has done with it in this country. They’ve built it up and promoted it, and produced it in a first-class manner.

Whether or not Comcast-owned NBC Sports is able to win the bidding for the Premier League rights beyond the 2021/22 season, we will have to wait and see. But by opening the process up to rival bids, the Premier League is sending a clear message that the number one factor is rights fees. Distribution and marketing are key, but the broadcaster willing to offer the league the most amount of money for the rights will likely be the winning bid.

Given that this media rights deal is happening at a time when the tech and media companies are in the middle of the soccer streaming wars, this may be the last big opportunity for the Premier League to clinch its biggest television rights deal ever in the United States. When the next media rights deal ends after this one, it’ll be the year 2028.

The final day of NBC Sports’ current media deal with the Premier League ends May 22, 2022.

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  1. SteveK

    November 13, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    I wonder when her NBC contract runs out. Rebecca has done very well when seconded to Olympic duties. If Comcast were to lose the Premier League my hope is that our loss becomes her gain somehow. As far as Kate Abdo, Nosferatu, I’ve watched a lot of her on Champions League duty because I try to catch those midweek afternoon games live. She is very calming and studied in that Euro context especially being fluent in so many languages as greg already mentioned. When the producers encourage Micah to cackle and clown and Carragher to be the jokester there isn’t much to be done, but I think she’s been especially good with Alex Scott, Roberto Martinez and the writer/podcaster types like Guillem Ballague and Rafael Honigstein.

  2. Nosferatu

    November 13, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    I wonder if NBC would let Rebecca Lowe get away. I could see them having a plan for her outside of the football–I imagine she would be excellent in a role like hosting the Today show, though maybe with her commute from Sacramento she’s more than happy in this weekend position.

    I’ve always found Kate Abdo to be a rather competent and fairly charming studio host. I can’t speak too much to her work with Paramount+ because they don’t include the studio segments when they finally get replays up of games several hours after they end, but I think her job is fairly challenging there with all the yukking it up, trying to hang with these guys while also steering the show where it needs to go. She and someone like Kelly Cates would be the least of my concerns with CBS and ESPN.

  3. SteveK

    November 13, 2021 at 8:48 am

    And let’s not forget her stint with the Turner TNT B/R Live, she was the only shining light in that debacle and even made Tim Howard look good. She, and Kelly Cates, are the two that I think just may be able to step in for Rebecca Lowe as PL studio host. Of course, the smartest thing to do would be to lure Rebecca away.

  4. greg

    November 13, 2021 at 12:08 am

    @Brendan – Kate Abdo speaks 4 languages and regularly translates post-match interviews in real-time if they’re in French, Spanish or German. It’s pretty well documented she grew up in a football-mad household, I find no issue with her game knowledge. I think we all agree the Paramount+ studio show could do with fewer yuks, but even the NBC studio vibe can be a bit cutting now and then. As a host she’s as good as anyone. Give her some slack, for a year or two when Fox had Bundesliga she had to share a studio with Alexi Lalas and Ian Joy. For that alone she deserves the broadcast equivalent of a Purple Heart.

  5. Brendan

    November 12, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Kate Abdo would not tie Rebecca Lowe boots . She is absolute useless knows nothing about football but caters to rich people and celebrities . Football is a working class game and snobs like her has no business spoiling our game . She cannot even complete a sentence and constantly stumbles over her knowledge of the game . Rebecca Lowe is very confident , professional & serious about her role as anchor of the show she should that at the latest Fan Feist in LA how to captive a audience . Kate Abdo on the other hand destroys the Champions League coverage with her one liners that make no sense just pure nonsense

  6. SteveK

    November 12, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    Nosferatu, agree with you, I await the ESPN half with trepidation, and largely have nothing but scorn for their soccer pundits, I’d probably still hate watch with an air of superiority. I would actually be excited to see what Kate Abdo might do with the Premier League if CBS promoted her to the Rebecca Lowe role. She’s been wonderful with the Champions League, and while I could do with less yucks and a little more seriousness from the likes of Micah and Carragher, presumably those guys will be busy with their own UK gigs which might open the door for some other British talent.

  7. Nosferatu

    November 12, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    @SteveK, I can see where you’re coming from, but if one of those two sets of studio shows and pundits is mostly annoying or outright bad, which is what I’d expect from ESPN unless they surprisingly went out and hired good talent, instead of sticking with the guys they have now or hiring the biggest names they could get.

    This is what they’ve done with the NHL in bringing that back this year. Their main play-by-play guy, Sean McDonough, isn’t experienced with hockey but was already in-house, so they gave him the role and he’s been not good so far. Their top game analyst, Ray Ferraro, is an outside hire but a former ESPN guy–that was an excellent move. Their other play-by-play announcers are questionable as well–John Buccigross, long of the network and its hockey coverage, who is better in studio, and Leah Hextall, very inexperienced at play-by-play and thus far very bad and getting lots and lots of fans angered online.

    Meanwhile, their top studio analysts are outside hires: the big names, from a different generation of hockey, of Mark Messier and Chris Chelios. They seem fine but kind of awkward, as they’re both inexperienced, and while they have their great reputations as players, they might be a bit out of touch with the current game.

    When I look at what ESPN could do for the Premier League, I would expect a similar situation. Jon Champion is already at the network and I hope would become their #1 play-by-play guy, as he’s the best in the business in my opinion. But would we get stuck with more Twellman? Craig Burley? Steve Nicol? Having Donaldson call games from the studio instead of using the world feed?

    And would they supplement those guys by adding someone else who’s a big name but not good at the job? All that is very easy to foresee. I really like that NBC hasn’t been so fixated on big names. They’ve hired people who are mostly simply quite good at their jobs. Tim Howard is the one sort of “big name” for the U.S. audience, and he struggled, but he has also shown improvement. All that leaves me hoping to stick with NBC, but a split between ESPN and CBS certainly would make things interesting–but not necessarily in a good way for me.

  8. SteveK

    November 12, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    John Ourand (and Matt Slater of the Athletic) have been the most diligent and least speculative in covering this. Martyn Ziegler, normally an excellent writer, has been a waste of time on the rights renewal, as if he merely skims this website a few days late. Very nice piece by Ourand in SBJ. Seems to me the PL mostly got bids for a half package. I wonder if we’ll ever find out who submitted a bid for the full package in round 1 and whether Comcast was the only one to do so.

    I’m still liking the position I’ve staked out on the island, Comcast has been the only serious bidder for the whole package and with round 2 the PL is attempting to leverage the renewal price closer toward what they consider fair versus what Comcast does.

    Michael, wrt “So ESPN and CBS appear not to be players for the whole package, but only split between them. That’s not a good scenario for anyone following the EPL IMHO” I have to disagree with you, one of the very few times I have. If Comcast were to lose the rights I think I might enjoy two sets of studio shows and pundits battling it out each week, I will miss the NBC crew, I love them to bits and think they collectively are by far the best but we will all have Paramount+ for the Champions League and we will retain ESPN+ if they get some of the PL. I’m a huge fan of NBC and peacock but even I never know which game is going to be where. I still always have to check, it wouldn’t be very different to check what’s on ESPN+ and what’s on Paramount+

    I’ll miss Becks and the Robbies and Lee and Graeme Le Saux and David Ornstein but can live with a split ESPN/CBS future.

  9. Michael F

    November 12, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    @Eddy. That is sure sound reasoning and the way it looks to me as well.

  10. Eddy

    November 12, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Dead give away this isn’t going as EPL planned that they are inviting Amazon, FOX and Warner Media to the second rounds of bids. Screams we don’t like the bids we got in round one so basically lets just have a redo and invite everyone back in the room and hope we can get some networks to compete amongst themselves to drive up the price we want to get.

    One might say well how do you conclude that. Well for one in rounds of negotiations its a filtering out process you know after round one who’s not going to bid how much and who is. If you are basically inviting additional people in to the bidding process you didn’t like the bids you saw in round 1.

  11. Michael F

    November 12, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    And here is the other important detail from SBJ regarding this 2nd round of bids. So ESPN and CBS appear not to be players for the whole package, but only split between them. That’s not a good scenario for anyone following the EPL, IMHO.

    “ The first change to the bidding process starts with the length of the deal. The Premier League is telling U.S. media companies to bid on a six-year deal. During the first round of bids submitted earlier this week, the Premier League asked for bids on both six- and nine-year deals (though the league has always expected its new deal to be six years). The second change shortened the types of deals that the league will accept. Now, companies must either bid for all league rights exclusively by themselves or as part of a partnership that already has been approved by the league. Back in October, the Premier League told CBS and ESPN that they could bid together.”

  12. Michael F

    November 12, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    @SC. Just read that myself. John Ourand the source, so it’s legit. But it actually stated this as per quote:

    “ the Premier League made several important changes for the second round of bids that suggest NBC and a combined bid from CBS and ESPN are the front runners. Amazon, Fox and WarnerMedia also were told that they can submit a second bid”

  13. SC

    November 12, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    SBJ is reporting the frontrunners are NBC and joint bid from CBS and ESPN. Fox, Turner, and Amazon were also invited to participate in round 2. They confirmed yesterdays report that only the 380 game package is available.

  14. Michael F

    November 12, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you Eddy. Right on. Well, keep in mind that UnitedFan 3478 is the same one that already claimed ESPN as victors the moment this site simply reported that ESPN made a bid for the EPL rights! Like that was a surprise they would bid for it?

  15. Eddy

    November 12, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    @SteveK yeah that NBC getting outbid is just more BS and wishful thinking I just searched key terms “NBC outbid” and “EPL NBC outbid” in Twitter there is no new information that show us just old post from a few days ago and beyond of people speculating.

    This whole EPL US TV rights bid has been one big practice of wading through the BS of people who are fans of the Premier League and media fans rooting on what they want and hope to see and reporting it as sourcing. That’s why you see such wild story lines in September it was a $3billion dollar TV deal with multiple networks and streaming services fighting for EPL rights. As we get closer to D-Day a more realistic figure of $1.5billion over 6 yrs arises which also happens to jive with the data points we’ve had over the last 6 yrs of NBC not making a profit off the EPL quote we make very little to no money” off the EPL rights said by NBC exec Rick Cordella in a 11/28/2017 Jonathan Tannenwald interview in the Philly Inquirer “NBC’s Premier League subscription soccer streaming service to get biggest test yet”

    As you’ve and other mentions reading the tea leaves no one this whole time has mad it make since how any broadcaster or US media company will pay $3billion and make a ROI on that deal when NBC wasn’t doing it on a $1billion dollar deal. As was stated EPL probably overestimated there power play here but fans of EPL in and out the media have too. Which is why we are left having to sift through PR spin with “sources” ensuring us media companies are throwing money at the EPL while we also reconcile the number thrown out by that same media just two months ago of $3bil has already reportedly been halved to $1.5bil. I’ll be gald when this is all over. Too much gamesmanship and spin.

  16. locofooty

    November 12, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    A second round of bidding can often mean that the incumbent (NBCU) has been outbid in the first round. This is what happened in 2012 when NBCU took Premier League US media rights from FOX

  17. SteveK

    November 12, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Cite the source for NBC getting outbid please, saying you saw it on Twitter is, well, unhelpful…

  18. Michael F

    November 12, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    @SteveK Thanks for your response and reference. I will say that a split package is not at all advantageous for the EPL follower. So it all going to one provider is the better scenario.

  19. Tony

    November 12, 2021 at 11:52 am

    Come on NBC !!!! Great coverage over the years and no messing with commentators and sticking with what works .

  20. Mercator

    November 12, 2021 at 11:34 am

    Like reading tea leaves but I think @SteveK was on the mark the other day in suggesting Comcast would have a chance to buy the whole thing at the end. Sounds like the split bids didn’t come in high enough and NBC’s bid didn’t hit the EPL minimum, so they are trying again to see if CBS or ESPN can top them with an exclusive bid. Wildcard has to be CBS – NBC and ESPN again don’t seem to indicate they will go big or potentially overpay, so I think NBC would get it unless CBS comes in aggressively. Still hoping for ESPN if its going to be 380 exclusive package – I want EPL on ESPN+.

  21. UnitedFan 3478

    November 12, 2021 at 11:31 am

    @JP I just saw on Twitter that NBC has been outbid.
    Because you said Fox isn’t part of it, I would then expect ESPN to get the whole package.

  22. JP

    November 12, 2021 at 11:29 am

    @UnitedFan3478, Fox was not part of the second round of bidding, only NBC, ESPN, and CBS

  23. UnitedFan 3478

    November 12, 2021 at 11:16 am

    According to Twitter, NBC has been outbid 🙂

    I bet it will be ESPN getting the whole package, or ESPN will share it with Fox and CBS

  24. locofooty

    November 12, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Sounds like everyone will go at it alone and look to get the full package.

  25. SteveK

    November 12, 2021 at 3:34 am

    Michael, the split packages being off the table was reported by Martin Ross of yesterday:

    Martin Ross
    Another week to go before 2nd round Premier League rights bids due in US. Deadline is next Thursday. Also understand that only the first package is up for grabs, meaning it looks like a straight shootout for exclusive rights to all 380 matches.

    He then backtracked a bit with this a few hours later:

    US broadcasters have been asked to lodge #PremierLeague bids for just one package of exclusive rights to 380 matches per season. Joint bids allowed. But this means split sale of different packages to different US broadcasters now looks off the table.

  26. Michael F

    November 11, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    There seems to be two sets of conclusions being made now from comments on this site, now that the EPL is holding off for a second round of bids. Some think the split packages is no longer on the table and others believe it will definitely be split between providers.

    I haven’t read anything conclusive anywhere to suggest it is definitely one or the other.

    I am interested in commentary from any who have concluded and their reasoning that it is definitely one (ie split package) or the other (one contract for all 380 matches on one provider). And not just hypotheticals. Because I haven’t read it’s definitely one or the other. Just that a second round of bids that is occurring.

  27. Jasinho

    November 11, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    *oops, that should be $1.8B 🙂

  28. Jasinho

    November 11, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    Before this thread gets any longer after the recent news about the second round bidding, I am glad the split packages are not available now as I have had plenty difficulty establishing definition of the first, second, etc. choice matches.

    I find it real hard to believe the PL is expecting north of $2B for this bid. That ESPN situation for LaLiga was buying out BeIN Sports portion of the contract plus another standard five year deal for both US and Canada.

    Even if you do the math, Six years at $300M/year would equal $1.8M and that may be a bit exorbitant if the objective is to attract to streaming services when the market isn’t exactly ripe for it yet.

  29. Ra

    November 11, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    If NBC was not making money with the previous figures, I can’t really see the case for either ESPN or CBS having a sound business case to pay a fortune for these rights. How many people would subscribe to either ESPN or CBS that don’t already do because of the broad content and/or UCL?

    More competition is good and I prefer NBC to retain these rights.

    Anyway, we should be rooting for decisive action on climate change, and not more money going to oil states and billionaires.

  30. Eddy

    November 11, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    @SC I thought the same in September we were talking about a 3 billion dollar deal over 9 yrs =$333m yr with a longer period meaning a network was willing to go in for the long haul. Now the is $1.5b over 6 yrs which is half of the $3 billion that was talked about. So there is some gamesmanship going on with the EPL and possible sourcing of the media who is all too complicit to run back and report what the EPL just told them as real sourcing.

    The Premier League has every benefit to throw out the biggest number and get the media speculating on this huge Premier league. It helps artificially drive up potential bids in a blind bidding process where networks will try to outbid the other, if one thinks the other may be spending big like 3 billion dollar deal big they’ll throw in higher bids. Smart on the Premier League for doing that but shoddy journalism just repeating info from a bias source with LOT$ to gain.

  31. dave

    November 11, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    @greg says “Seems clear the the tv rights curve is flattening in Europe & the US.”
    I have thought the same, incorrectly, for years. The La Liga deal is an example. The NBA deal on TNT/ESPN, and the NBA expecting a significant increase for their next deal, surprise me. I did not expect the NFL to have such an easy time getting such a large increase for so many years. Etc.
    I suppose it is like looking at stocks or real estate as collectively overvalued. There is an expression along the lines of “markets can stay irrational much longer than you can stay solvent”. Still, there has to be a tipping point where rights paid to leagues better align with what customers, in aggregate, will pay.

  32. Rick

    November 11, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    ” Peacock opted for FREE streaming supported by advertising, while Disney & Paramount+ opted for paid services but commercial free and it seems the later was the way to go”

    Disney and ESPN opted for movies and sports that people want to watch. Paramount opted for CL plus live local CBS feeds, plus CBS content on-demand, plus some additional exclusive content.

    Peacock opted for half of the live EPL matches and not really anything else that people want to watch, even if it is free with a Comcast subscription.

  33. greg

    November 11, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    Wait, Peacock has an ad-free option at $10/month. They provide the limited-ads option ($5/month) free to Comcast subscribers (tv/internet & just internet) but you can pay extra for ad-free. Or are you saying that it’s just what you opted into?

    I have the Peacock that comes with my comcast internet, but not paying the extra for a service I don’t use beyond EPL, Vuelta a Espana, the Olympics, and rugby now and then. And following up on my comment before about ineffective marketing, I’d heard lots about Halloween Kills but had no idea it was on Peacock. Maybe that’s me being oblivious but I just assumed because it had so much buzz that it must have been on Netflix or Amazon or Hulu. 🙂

    I originally signed on to the paramount limited-ad plan and my understanding is that although it went away as long as I don’t unsubscribe I can keep it. But yeah, they have ad-free only now. But outside of The Stand I haven’t watched any non-soccer shows on Paramount.

    By “Disney” are we to assume you mean ESPN? Or is there a soccer league on Disney+ that I haven’t heard of?

  34. Hans

    November 11, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    As already noted it is all about ROI or increasing subscriber counts for a period of time. Peacock opted for FREE streaming supported by advertising, while Disney & Paramount+ opted for paid services but commercial free and it seems the later was the way to go. At least I did this with Paramount+ and any 60 minute replay episode all of a sudden becomes 40 minutes.
    In the UK the costs for the rights have maxed out, especially taking into consideration the pandemic, and the EPL wanted something guaranteed that is safe and structured to preserve the rights valuation plus in the UK, Italy and Germany over the past 12 months the value has either stagnated or decreased. This could be the reason for the disappointing bidding.

    In the US, NBCU, Disney and ViaCom all have experience with top soccer leagues and what impact they have on subscriber growth as well as the bottom line of profits. ViaCom and Disney already have excellent sports properties and there may be a limit to what they are willing to add, while NBCU is in a greater need of an elite sports property. However, only they know is it worth to enter into a 6 year contract costing billions of dollars. How will this effect their subscriber growth and will they be experiencing multi million dollar losses with peacock for the next few years as they have experienced in the last two quarters? It is a trade off and as already noticed Wall Street and investors will be a driving force in this matter.

  35. greg

    November 11, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    @SteveK – What a shock that the EPL over-valued its appeal & price in the US. As you note, if the current rights-holders, who know exactly the ROI on the product are only bidding so much, maybe that’s all it’s worth right now. Seems clear the the tv rights curve is flattening in Europe & the US.

  36. SteveK

    November 11, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    I do not understand the attention paid to Martyn Ziegler’s articles in the Times, as others have commented previously they have been “stale bread” with very little actual news. There is precious little clear reporting

    “Bidding for the United States television rights to the Premier League has gone into a second round raising the prospect of even more cash for top-flight clubs as three big American broadcasters fight it out.”

    How are they fighting it out Martyn?

    “The Premier League had been on course for a 50 per cent rise in the value of the rights to $1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) for a six-year deal but that now looks as though it may be surpassed.”

    Says who? And why?

    “The first round of bidding ended on Monday and the Premier League has now opened bidding for a second round with an announcement expected next week.”

    And this means what exactly? I think you are spot on about this SC, there is some careful obfuscation going on, Martyn is putting words to paper but not really saying anything, not really concluding anything, so anyone reading his column can put whatever spin on it they want. He isn’t telling us a thing except the bidding process is continuing. Big whup, that’s obvious.

    I looked for the Matt Slater tweet but couldn’t find it, but your analysis “The PL stakeholders were promised a number much larger than that by their sales team back in September. This implies they didn’t surpass an already disappointing number it in the first round” rings true to me. Comcast and NBC know exactly how much return they’ve gotten on their Premier League investment and they know exactly how much money they’ve made or lost on that investment.

    It seems to me this whole exercise has been to establish a fair rights upgrade price and the PL doesn’t like what the supposed battle between 3 companies has produced so far.

  37. SC

    November 11, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Two interesting points for me in this morning’s Times story about a second round of PL bids:
    -“The Premier League had been on course for a 50 per cent rise in the value of the rights to $1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) for a six-year deal but that now looks as though it may be surpassed.” As Matt Slater from the Athletic, who wrote last month’s in depth story about the rights process, has pointed out on Twitter recently: The PL stakeholders were promised a number much larger than that by their sales team back in September. This implies they didn’t surpass an already disappointing number it in the first round.
    -Ziegler wrote that NBC is considered the favorite for at least some of the rights.

    Reading these two tea leaves, it seems likely NBC put in the high bid during the first round but even that number was disappointing to the PL.

  38. locofooty

    November 11, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Albert, spanish lang rights are a whole other issue. I think if CBS gets a piece of the EPL pie, they will keep the rights to themselves as they did Serie A and maybe then have dedicated spanish broadcasts and finally offer Serie A in spanish along with the newly acquired EPL. I hope that is the case. NBC and ESPN have an outlet for spanish TV. Whoever ends up with the english rights, will get the spanish rights. Univision is fine with UEFA clubs on weekdays, UEFA nat’l on FIFA dates and Liga MX/MLS all throughout the weekend.

  39. Albert Pineros

    November 10, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    i think CBS Sports and Univision will get the Premier League rights for next year depends on them by replacing NBC and Telemundo

  40. David

    September 17, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    If NBC were to lose out, I suppose a silver lining might be that Arlo White would be consigned to history. One can always hope!

  41. greg

    September 17, 2021 at 10:48 am

    As I mentioned in the “timing-is-ideal-for-amazon-and-hbo-max-to-enter-soccer-streaming-wars” thread, be careful what you wish for with Amazon…they may offer the EPL in the UK for no extra cost beyond a Prime sub , but in France, where they are the majority carrier, they require an extra €12.99 ($15) a month for Ligue 1. So there’s no guarantee they wouldn’t do a surcharge to Prime customers in the US, depending on what they pay in rights. So unless you drop some other service you might bay more for EPL even if you already have Prime.

  42. SaintsFan

    September 17, 2021 at 9:56 am

    As long was we can still watch every Prem game live (at around the current price) then I’ll be happy.
    I don’t really care who carries the coverage. Just let me continue to be able to watch every Southampton game live.
    Man City vs Saints tomorrow. Easy win for Saints of course. Bookies are giving 20/1. I’m gonna be rich!

  43. Mercator

    September 17, 2021 at 12:14 am

    An interesting article that shows what a new broadcaster like Amazon could bring to the table. Games streamed on Prime, and simulcast on Twitch with celebrity hosts to a young audience. USA channel is not going to attract new fans like an Amazon, Apple or ESPN could.

  44. Mercator

    September 16, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    @SteveK – If the fix is in, you don’t allow it to go to open bidding, you ask them to meet a certain offer which is wink wink the market price. Once it goes to tender the EPL has to find a reason not to take a higher bid, and NBC has to accept the possibility of losing the rights since anyone can come in over the top. If they were willing to meet the EPL’s asking price, it wouldn’t be going to tender. EPL was happy to rollover plenty of international deals already, if they wanted to do the same for NBC and NBC met the minimum number, they would have already signed the deal. I’m not involved in media, but from a general business perspective if you haven’t wrapped up the deal during your exclusivity period (not the case here but close), you are not going to get it. I can’t see NBC keeping it unless no one else bids seriously or unless NBC royally screwed up and allowed this to go to auction despite putting in a much higher offer during during the auction.

    I think EPL goes with the money obviously, with secondary considerations to a future OTT platform (access to data, know-how, broad reach, etc.). I’m not sure getting on TV is a priority. If I’m an EPL exec and I have a $2bn amazon streaming only deal or a $1.75bn NBC deal split on Peacock/USA, the NBC deal is going straight into the bin. If I have a $1.8bn NBC deal and a $1.8bn ESPN+ and maybe sometimes ABC/ESPN deal, I’m taking ESPN every time as well. NBC should have to pay the most to win these rights, and really any bidder should unless it’s ESPN, Amazon or Apple who have other strengths that I think could put a slightly lower bid over the top.

  45. Stevek

    September 16, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Mercator, I think this is very well thought out speculation: “given EPL rolled over rights in many markets and is now looking for 6 year bids as well, it sounds like they are on the back foot and are just trying to lock in as much revenue now as possible. Hoping it comes down to NBC’s willingness to pay, which isn’t where it needs to be if they allowed this process to go to open bidding.”

    I’m practically on an island here, but I look at the same articles and think when the 20 owners of the PL asked Comcast to write them another 4 billion pound check for the next 3 years…a good number of them in the room agreed wink wink, nudge nudge that Comcast can also have the US rights for the next 3 years as long as they are willing to agree to fair market value. The open bidding process is window dressing, wink wink nudge nudge, it is solely to establish the fair market value for Comcast. 3 more years of NBC, USA and peacock and then Premflix OTT. That is unless a wildcard like Apple or Amazon enters the ring and is willing to right a check that Comcast can’t ever cash. I’m hoping for that, actually, hoping you are right and it does come down to Comcast’s unwillingness to pay, but for that to happen a bid of such magnitude has to come in from left field because otherwise, I think the Comcast/Sky fix is in.

  46. Mercator

    September 16, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Yes, apologies I have been mixing my points here. In France and Italy, the major broadcaster of the domestic league is a streaming only service, Amazon and DAZN respectively. The EPL is streaming only on many markets now, it wouldn’t be groundbreaking to go with a streaming first broadcaster. I just don’t think the EPL is emphasise getting on TV as much as people think – that was critical 10 years ago, but not as much today. If Amazon or ESPN comes in with the highest offer, and no plans to show games on linear TV, I don’t think that would be dealbreaker. And once you take availability on Linear TV out of the equation, NBC is not really competitive with ESPN+ or Amazon unless they bid more.

    I actually would think the EPL would have to be attractive for Apple+ if they are looking to go in that direction – the EPL produces all live games and a ton of high quality content already, Apple wouldn’t have to do much except broadcast. The EPL offers a global brand, popular among the young, PG for the kids and no production risk. Apple offers a global platform and reaches how many hundreds of millions of iPhone users, they won’t default on payments. If the EPL is producing most of the content, and has a partnership with apple, thats a perfect platform to launch an OTT service from in the future.

    There are a lot of creative options out there that could be workable, but given EPL rolled over rights in many markets and is now looking for 6 year bids as well, it sounds like they are on the back foot and are just trying to lock in as much revenue now as possible. Hoping it comes down to NBC’s willingness to pay, which isn’t where it needs to be if they allowed this process to go to open bidding.

  47. Nosferatu

    September 16, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    @Mercator, I think there’s still some appeal to cable or satellite options as a means to capture the casual fan–it goes back to the line from Seinfeld, something along the lines of, “Why would people watch this show (about nothing)?” “Because it’s on TV?”

    Obviously that doesn’t hold true so much anymore, but the problem with cable is the same problem with streaming–everything is fragmented. So the question would be, if you want to capture the most casual viewers, primarily the ones who might be captured and turned into ardent fans, is there an appreciable benefit to cable vs. any one of these streaming services?

    Netflix and Prime obviously have the big subscriber numbers to compete with cable, but the big question mark lies in how they haven’t had live sports content here, so it’s unknown if enough people would put it on and casually be able to get into the games (since they’re not inclined, obviously, to go there for any other sports coverage). And with the way those services lay things out and such, would Premier League coverage sort of slip through the cracks for viewers unless they actively seek it out?

    ESPN+ is an interesting wild card in the conversation, but I think until there are more prominent events (I’m thinking NFL or college football) put on that service, you’re still kind of limiting yourself to viewers who actively seek out the sports on the service, which will be hockey and soccer fans for now. The connection to Hulu and Disney is appealing, but the problems I mentioned above for Prime and Netflix viewers would be the same, if not worse.

    Paramount+ and Peacock (on its own) aren’t good options because of their low subscription rates. They could certainly work well for the dedicated fan, but you’d really be limiting the audience that way. Even people who would be considered fans, but not hard core ones in the U.S., could be at risk of having their interest in the league drift away.

    So to circle back, all these questions or uncertainties are why cable/satellite still present as a potentially appealing option for this next deal. Beyond the next few years? That might be the end. But for now I think it’s still a worthy consideration, though of course these considerations may well take a back seat to money.

  48. SteveK

    September 16, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    Just a data point in case anyone else went wow, Amazon won the Premier League rights in France? Amazon won a share of the rights in France for the French league alongside Canal+ but it is Canal+ that solely the Premier League rights for the next 3 years.

  49. Mercator

    September 16, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    I don’t think the EPL cares as much as everyone thinks they do about being on Linear or Cable TV. I cannot see why that would be the case – such assumptions are always based on cable/linear TV being seen as most likely to reach a mass audience, but that’s probably not even the case now, let alone in 5-6 years. I bet more households have Amazon Prime than cable, for example. JP is completely correct, NBC has ridden this strategy as far as it will go. Every casual fan who clicks into NBCSN and sticks around has done so already, everyone who has paid for Peacock to watch the EPL has done so already.

    As a result, what the EPL will prioritise should be obvious (1) money and (2) data. If you expect the EPL to go OTT, one of the biggest things they can get from broadcasters will be data, about who watches, when, how interested they are in competitor leagues, etc. ESPN+ and Amazon are in a much better position to provide this than Peacock. ESPN could benchmark against La Liga and Bundesliga, for example. If you want to learn to launch an OTT sports platform, who do you want to learn from: ESPN or Peacock? It’s not even a serious question.

    Also, if you look at the what the EPL has said about earlier rollover deals, fragmentation is a big concern. It obviously leads to piracy and the EPL is focused on not overly fragmenting its markets making it difficult for people to watch. NBC’s policy of some games only on cable, some only on peacock, is the definition of fragmentation which harms viewership. ESPN or Paramount are much much more likely to offer streaming only (everything on one app), which gets rid of the fragmentation issue. Amazon already won the rights in France with no linear TV options, so again I don’t think limited TV availability is really an issue as long as they know they can reach a sufficient market.

    NBC has a great presentation, we all admit that. But that’s about it. Paramount has shown it could probably do just as good of a job based on their UCL broadcasts. ESPN+ offers infinitely more to fans and the league than Peacock, and Amazon has a bigger mass reach than any TV channel. There is a reason they are considering other bids and its almost certainly because (1) NBC’s initial offer was not high enough and (2) they want get Amazon or Apple into the bidding.

  50. Bill

    September 16, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    good lord lol I just rolled through the last 2 days comments. Take a breath everyone lol Totally lost what this thread is about…

    Cant yall all just reflect of HOW MUCH SOCCER/FOOTBALL is in your house right now lol.

    The providers will get their money and make a profit, It IS a business. We will find the best package for what we want to see AND WE WILL PAY IT!! or we wont and that is fine.

  51. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    @locofooty. I completely agree with those considerations you just mentioned, although i do believe they ARE thinking new strategy going forward AND also want their big pay day.
    It’s why i think it is very intriguing where this will go. Again, ESPN+ or Paramount+ is not at all a more attractive consideration long term than where they are right now. I think if Amazon Prime or NetFlix or Apple TV+ jumped into this game, it is a very unique, attractive consideration for the EPL.

  52. locofooty

    September 16, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Sure, they are interested in both, but one takes precedent over the other. Maybe not by much, but it’s still above other considerations IMO. Is it that hard to admit/imagine? It shouldn’t be…pandemic, economic uncertainty and record spending at the same time (I know, crazy!), new players in the game, industry shifts. Chris’ reply “quite the contrary” to someone asking if opening up bids was just a formality tells you something. Again, JP’s comment is an excellent one…they have pretty much gone as far as they can with the current strategy.

  53. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    @Ra. I haven’t yet, but i definitely will. Still in my work day.

  54. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    PS: To offer all games live is the bare minimum considering that there is very little else in that app.

  55. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    @Michael F. Did you read the Bloomberg article I shared? It is quite telling. Comcast’s CEO knows that Peacock can’t compete with what is offering.
    And that is my point, I don’t have anything intrinsically against Peacock. But if they are to be a real player, they need to do much better than this. If not, EPL should be smart enough to go elsewhere.

    On a different note, aren’t you excited that Comcast plans to launch its own ‘XClass’ line of smart TVs?

  56. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    @locofooty… Ra presented consideration as to how EPL wants to grow their fanbase in the US (ie what would be their strategy?):
    A) Try to convert a non-soccer audience to soccer.
    B) Covert soccer audience from other leagues to EPL.
    I don’t think a provider with or without soccer currently is the determining driver to do either strategy. And I believe EPL is interested in both strategies. This is a business, and any good smart business strategy looks at ‘short term’ (i.e. huge pay off via a bidding war for rights), and ‘long term’ (i.e. above mentioned strategies) that will make their business grow more profitable.

  57. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    @dave Completely agree. We haven’t even seen the invitation to tender documents. It is a completely futile exercise. But it is also fun. 🙂

  58. dave

    September 16, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    There was a thoughtful post in a different thread mentioning that EPL teams may not all align on the top priority for US rights. For example, is it most important to:
    * Lock in the most money for the longest term at what could be the peak of the market?
    * Maximize eyeballs to drive merchandising and other sponsorship revenues?
    * Optimize the EPL viewing experience to maintain the existing customer base?
    * Grow EPL with target demographic subsets – Gen Z, Hispanic, etc.?
    There may be teams prioritizing each of these areas and others. The bidding process may be partly to see many options and to use that as an input for gaining internal alignment. There is the over-arching issue that some teams recently showed willingness to break away, which could give them significantly changed (more or less) leverage with their peers
    Not knowing what is most important to each decision maker, not knowing their relative balance of power, and not knowing what bids they will receive, it is challenging to speculate credibly

  59. locofooty

    September 16, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    EPL wants to get paid. Top priority is that. They are open for bids as the article says. JP’s last comment is key…they’ve gone as far as they could with the strategy (getting casual eyes, turning casuals into die-hards, linear/paywall combo). I also believe that.

    Who said that ESPN overpaid for La Liga? LMFAO, look at what will happen with the EPL rights. I’m not shocked and you shouldn’t be either.

  60. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    @Michael F. My point was about the show, not the service. Check the article from the Atlantic on ‘Drive to Survive’. I’ve seen similar pieces on Drive to Survive in other news outlets as well.

  61. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    @Michael F. Yes, of course – who doesn’t?. I have HBO Max, ESPN+, Hulu, Disney+, Paramount+, F1TV, Prime.
    Prime and HBO Max both have been buying property rights and might be good contenders.
    Would certainly get Apple+ if they had EPL.

  62. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    @Ra To add to your last post to @JP… NetFlix has even more subs than Amazon Prime in the US. So if they became a player in the bidding, and IF EPL wants to go all streaming, ESPN+ isn’t nearly as attractive for EPL in my opinion.

  63. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    @Ra Are you an Amazon Prime subscriber? If not, you are one the few that are not. I am willing to bet that of the 90 million subs that Amazon Prime has, are already soccer fans that have ESPN+ and Peacock etc so as to watch their soccer and EPL.
    You keep solely focusing on Peacock and where soccer is currently (i.e ESPN+) in your responses, and thus are not reading my previous posts. If soccer fans are watching EPL ‘despite’ Peacock, then they will most certainly go to any stream provider that doesn’t have a soccer league yet… especially if they are one already subscribed to that provider!

  64. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    @JP I don’t know many casuals, or at least I prefer not to talk about soccer to anyone who doesn’t understand what offside it, or doesn’t understand a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, etc… 🙂
    But if they want to grow their fanbase, then they should go with Netflix and have a ‘ Score to Survive’, a remake of their drive to survive.
    Check this out (very interesting):
    www theatlantic com/magazine/archive/2021/10/formula-1-drive-to-survive/619814/

  65. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    @Michael F. They wanted exclusivity while the big stars were in LaLiga. With so many recent signings lately, it should be in their interest to face other leagues directly. They could convert many to the EPL.
    Peacock, even if it had all EPL games live, it will not be a no-brainer for me. I follow closely UCL and Bundesliga and I am already invested in Disney’s and Paramount’s ecosystem.
    People watch EPL DESPITE Peacock. There is nothing else there besides EPL. I recall you admitting this in one of your posts.
    It is a heavy burden for EPL to drive Peacock on their own. And the app design doesn’t help either.

  66. JP

    September 16, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    @Ra, I will give credit to NBC for their promotion of EPL to the non-soccer audience. I know 1st hand of people who started following (casual) because it was on NBC etc. These people won’t subscribe to a Peacock (or ESPN+ or Paramount+ or search out ways to get beIN to follow EPL or other leagues), but you can definitively say NBC has succeeded with option ‘A’.

    I think they’ve went as far as they could with this strategy. Don’t know the breakdown of how it impact their bottom line if they (or anyone else) moves it all to streaming and loses the casuals (but monetizes the remaining core), or keeps at least partial OTA/Cable network and keeps the casuals and perhaps commands higher advertising rates. But that is the choice to be made.

  67. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    @Ra You need to start reading my posts more carefully. I wasn’t highlighted cable in any of them, in fact my recent posts was the possibility that EPL is focusing on all streaming properties. So with that said, how is ESPN+ or Paramount+ any more attractive than NBC/Peacock? To add another soccer league to those two streaming providers doesn’t necessarily separate EPL from all the rest. I propose they will want exclusivity as they have always have in the years with NBC. This is why if only streaming property becomes their focus in the US, I see other options I have mentioned as much more attractive than ESPN+ or Paramount+ or NBC/Peacock.

    Btw… you might want to stop crapping on NBC/Comcast now. We get the point. You hate them.
    Let’s move on. This will be a very interesting developing story.

  68. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    @Michael F. If EPL is to grow their fanbase, how would be their strategy:
    A Try to convert a non-soccer audience to soccer.
    B Covert soccer audience from other leagues to EPL.
    You are implicitly assuming that they are going for A but it seems more feasible and with a better ROI to do B. It is very difficult to do A. The best scenario is with major global events like the WC.
    If they are going for the audiences of other leagues, then cable is not the space to achieve it. After all, most of the soccer audience is in streaming (the article with the MLS interview).

  69. Rye Brook

    September 16, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Great to read of this development – always look forward to check in with the WST articles as well as listen to the pods. This update augurs well for a desperately needed change. So far ESPN and Paramount look like they are on the right trajectory to being professional and inspired enough to handle the premier league logistics admirably. Concast/Peacockup have all but completely sunk the PL ship with its US viewers on board. We’re now paddling the lifeboats looking for the savior to arrive from over the horizon. Hopefully we won’t be jacked around for much longer, but for now keep your life-jackets on, camaradas!

  70. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    @greg I was making a joke. Were it true, it would mean that at least they had a strategy after all.

  71. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    Just to add to @greg… as I mentioned above already. If EPL is interested in an all streaming option, I can’t see how ESPN or Paramount+ is a more attractive option than NBC/Peacock, given all the soccer content ESPN+ and Paramount+ already have, along with ESPN’s priority of more popular US based sports (i.e. big4).
    @Apple TV darkhorse. Another interesting option if Apple TV+ become a player in the bidding war. Yea, as I have stated, Amazon prime is already in many households, as well as NetFlix.

  72. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    @Michael F. I had another comment that did not pass moderation yet. It is called: ” Comcast Will Spend Billions on Peacock. Now It Needs a Strategy.”
    Check it out. Nobody really understands what Comcast’s strategy is.
    www bloomberg com/news/newsletters/2021-07-11/comcast-will-spend-billions-on-peacock-now-it-needs-a-strategy

  73. greg

    September 16, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    @Ra, sorry, that’s preposterous. The merger is a big if, so Comcast won’t be trying to suppress revenue or lose a marquee product on an “if”. If anything, the bigger they get in terms of subscribers & better content they have, the more leverage they have when it comes to mergers & acquisitions. Better to be the stronger player in that scenario.

  74. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    @Ra I also see how you conveniently didn’t want to comment @greg’s other quote at the end of his last post. hahaha

    “I also think they won’t want to be 2nd fiddle to too much college football and basketball, so NBC is really the only option for OTA and linear cable presence, which I think is more important in the big picture than this crowd of pro-streaming folks thinks it is.”

  75. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    @greg You solved the puzzle. “But I can’t see how a full-on merger gets past anti-trust in the Biden (or any Dem) admin.” That is why the Peacock offering is so ridiculous. They don’t want to have more subscribers because of antitrust issues in the case of a merger.

  76. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Very interesting article from Bloomberg: “Comcast Will Spend Billions on Peacock. Now It Needs a Strategy.”

  77. Apple TV+ darkhorse

    September 16, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    The “darkhorse” pay subscription streaming service is Apple TV+, which is lagging far behind the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

    Apple TV+ needs to do SOMETHING besides Ted Lasso, which is their ONLY sports-related “hit”.

    Facebook appears to me to have reached the “threshold of pain” for live sports video rights in many parts of the world. For example, Facebook gave up free-to-air video rights to the UEFA Champions League in Spanish-speaking Latin America and Brazil by not putting in a competitive bid to renew.

    YouTube (Google) is NOT interested in losing money on live sports video rights, period.

    For the US market, Amazon Prime Video has to be the favorite to land “loss leader” live sports video rights products such as the English Premier League.

    Amazon Prime Video has over 90 million paid subscribers in the US market. That’s more paid subscribers than every linear pay TV network with sports you can think of: ESPN, ESPN2, USA, TBS, TNT.

  78. greg

    September 16, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Huh, hadn’t heard of a possible Comcast / Viacom merger…I know Sky Europe is going to distribute Viacom in those markets via Paramount+. But I can’t see how a full-on merger gets past anti-trust in the Biden (or any Dem) admin. Which is good, btw…that’s way too much market share & power for one company.

    We’re just speculating of course, but we don’t know what NBC did vis the rights roll-over, if it was even an option. It was done in the UK because the deals came up mid-COVID. I’d wager the EPL would be fine with NBC and is just using a bidding war to up the price. The UK deal I believe was for the same money, as the EPL was worried Sky, BT & BBC would downbid due to COVID losses. So in the US they have a better economic climate for bids. But I also think they won’t want to be 2nd fiddle to too much college football and basketball, so NBC is really the only option for OTA and linear cable presence, which I think is more important in the big picture than this crowd of pro-streaming folks thinks it is.

  79. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 11:49 am

    I think that the economics are there vis a vis LaLiga. Considering that ESPN paid $175M/yr for LaLiga, I think that the multiples are comparable.
    Also, many of these new services are loss leaders, which means that they are willing to invest to make them grow, even if the economics are not favorable yet.
    Comcast no, they just want to milk the cow (and their customers). That is why I think they will be out of the picture sooner rather than later.
    They could make Peacock grow, but instead, they are more likely to buy an established player once he finishes the homework they are not willing to do.

  80. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 11:19 am

    @Michael You bring up a lot of interesting points and considerations of providers finding room to slot the EPL into their linear network channels that are already filled and prioritized by American sports (college and pro). EPL will not be interested in being buried behind all of that. I would think they would want a provider to prioritize their league exclusively in a way to grow their sport in the US. That’s what NBC has done. That said, I do agree with your last statement that another contract extension with NBC would have already happened if the EPL weren’t interested in maximizing their $$$ for next TV rights.
    I do believe EPL’s priority is making a killing for next contract AND growing their league in the US. Splitting a contract rights deal into two providers might be an option to maximize $$, but I wonder how that will help grow their sport if those two providers already carry other soccer leagues (along with major big4 US sports) that is consuming their resources and air time (linear and streaming). Its why the thought of Amazon Prime (for example) is an intriguing one. Find a streaming provider that is already in so many US households (if their priority is to go the streaming only route).
    I personally don’t see how ESPN or CBS is any more intriguing option for EPL than NBC is currently, because of what I’ve mentioned above. However, the bid will be a huge factor in determining who gets EPL. I also think NBC gave up on the NHL bidding war because they wanted to prioritize first ‘NFL Sunday Night Football’ and also retain their relationship with EPL – so they will be a huge player in the bidding war.
    BTW… this news of possible merger of CBS/Viacom with Comcast is very interesting (although we always hear rumors like this). I like you, am always interested in following the provider rights movements.

  81. JP

    September 16, 2021 at 10:49 am

    With the reported 300 million per year EPL wants, I find it hard to see how anyone makes a profit on this. When highest ratings for over the air are around 1 million, I’ll use that as the assumed subscriber base for an EPL service. Even at $10 a month and subscribing for the entire 12 months, that’s only 120 million in revenue, less than half of what’s needed to cover. Yes I’m missing the advertising they would sell around the match, but those spots are limited. They’d need over 180 million on advertising that’s mostly focused around pregame (if any), HT, and post game (if any).

  82. Michael

    September 16, 2021 at 10:29 am

    People are still stuck in, “This is is how it has to be.” Don’t be surprised if in the next deal, if NBC doesn’t get the bid that all the English language games are steamed and the only OTA games are in Spanish TUDN/UniMas/Univision. All of ESPN’s networks are wall to wall College Football/College Basketball during the Soccer regular season and the few spots that have open are already going to be reserved for Der Klassiker and El Classico. They could repurpose a channel like they did when creating the ACC network…but there that would be a loss leader. There is not a big enough American audience to make money on just soccer alone. They would have purchase Rugby, Cricket, etc as well. They want to get as much Soccer behind the paywall…because that will make a profit. CBS is negotiations with the Big Ten and Pac 12 conferences to replace the SEC leaving in football in 2024…and they already have those two leagues in college basketball. Fox in the same way. Big Fox and FS1 are filled with their money makers FB and BB…and that would shift EPL to FS2. FS2 is shown on fewer TVs than CBSN. If Paramount gets the rights, it will definitely be streaming only with an occasional early morning Sunday before the NFL pregame starts at Noon. Also, it looks like the Peacock (Comcast) / Paramount + (CBS/Viacom) merger talks are on a hold so that might put a hold of what Paramount can spend big on. I don’t think Sinclair will go after it. They would prefer to go after regional content, hence the rumors that they would go after MLS. I have to give the disclaimer that I don’t follow the EPL…I am perfectly overjoyed to get a chance to see every single La Liga match with a $0.00 extra cable bill…but I do love following all the rights movement in college and professional sports over the past 20 years. I think the EPL put the rights up for bid, because they want the biggest dollar. They knew that NBC would have to put up or shutup to keep the rights. I personally think that if the EPL was a priority for NBC they would have already overwhelmed them and locked them up. Just my opinion. We shall see. We shall see.

  83. locofooty

    September 16, 2021 at 9:54 am

    I can’t see ESPN letting go of spanish rights. They are heavily marketing ESPN+ in Deportes and are making the investments now with programming in spanish. CBS yes, ala UCL/UEL like I mentioned. Look at Serie A, where are the spanish broadcasts? With the huge contingent of latin american players in Italy. It’s ridiculous. Sublicense the rights or something smh.

  84. Ra

    September 16, 2021 at 9:49 am

    I believe that CBS might get these rights to fatten the pig and eventually sell Paramount+ to Comcast at a premium.
    It would be a weird turn of events, but not that unlikely based on what has been reported.

  85. UnitedFan 3478

    September 16, 2021 at 9:40 am

    @locofooty I expect ESPN or CBS to get the English Language rights, and then Univision/TUDN to get the Spanish Language rights

    ESPN and Univision would be the best because ESPN has a ton of cable channels and Univision has a ton of TUDN channels.

    CBS only has CBS and CBSSN, meaning that most games would be on Paramount+.

    I know that ESPN has ESPN Deportes, however, it’s not enough if there are multiple games at once.

  86. locofooty

    September 16, 2021 at 9:27 am

    UnitedFan, I think the rights could split up to Univision if it goes to CBS/Paramount ala UCL/UEL. I can’t see the rights splitting up if NBC retains them or if ESPN gets them. Telemundo/Universo has done a great job with coverage and ESPN is positioning ESPN+ for the future plus they have ESPN Deportes.

  87. soccertvblog

    September 16, 2021 at 4:00 am

    I think too much emphasis is being put on OTA availability. I honestly don’t think EPL cares. They have proven this in many other markets worldwide. It all boils down to $$$. If Amazon want the EPL they will get it ie if they want to outbid every other company for the rights they have the resources. Their acquisition of Ligue-1 rights in France aa well as their ongoing deal in the UK proves their interest in soccer rights. However, the bottom line numbers may be different in the US, so whether they will bid competitively or not is to be seen. For me, they are the frontrunners but the rights could easily end up with ESPN, CBS or Disney as well. And if they do, I don’t believe it has anything to do with OTA.

  88. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    NYT headlines from Sep 13, 21:
    “Head of Paramount Pictures is ousted as ViacomCBS focuses on streaming”

  89. UnitedFan 3478

    September 15, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    I’m now actually starting to wonder if Univision/TUDN will get the Spanish Language rights to the EPL

    So that Univision/TUDN will have both the EPL and UCL

  90. Bobby Moa

    September 15, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    They will lose a lot of viewers and interest if they go to steaming exclusively, but sure short term they might get more money elsewhere. If not NBC then I hope it’s CBS, if not them then perhaps ESPN+ but let’s hope Fox doesn’t get anywhere near it.

  91. Stevek

    September 15, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    I found your comment interesting and from the heart Barbara, wishing there was more soccer on actual cable. But if you moved to the UK and wanted to watch soccer very little of it is on free to air TV. You’d need to subscribe to Amazon Prime for their Boxing Day package and to Sky and to BT Sports. You’d pay A LOT more there for those 3 and guess what–you’d only be able to watch about half of the matches because none of the 3PM matches are televised. Ever. Last weekends Man United Newcastle, for instance, was not televised in the UK.

    It doesn’t help you now but I watched a lot of English teams on the Spanish channels and only speak kitchen Spanish which is no help in soccer, my trick was to sync up and listen to the English radio broadcasts on my iPhone or iPad. Talksport 1 & 2, the BBC etc.

    By the way, I know you don’t want to pay more than you already do but the $5 a month streaming plans are extremely good value. Hop on peacock for a month, plenty of weekend Premier League games live in the morning and replays on demand of all matches, even those on NBC and USA. Next month switch to Paramount+ and they have plenty of weekend morning Serie A matches and as a bonus Champions League and Europa all live and also on demand.

  92. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    @Cpcva Maybe we could watch it on HBO, right after watching Daenerys burn the city down.

  93. Cpcva

    September 15, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    If HBO/MAX gets it kiss any ota TV coverage goodbye. Turner has none.

  94. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    @Barbara You should move to the UK as you suggested – it will be waaay cheaper than paying $7/mo for streaming. 🙂
    Or you could just cancel cable and spend 10% of what you were paying to get more sports.

  95. Barbara O. Chamberlain

    September 15, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Money is the order of the day!!! I am an ardent, Indy Car supporter, the EPL – ManU being my team – hockey, American Football; La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, League 1 and anything sports!!! For the last almost 2 years, on a given saturday/sunday, I have to watch news as there’s no football and/or soccer (or any other sports for that matter), on cable tv)! EVERY SPORT IS BEING STREAMED! I can’t afford to pay the cable and for streaming services which is a joke!! They pop up overnight by the time you are thinking about, well, maybe, I could try this one, another pops up offering the same plus. I’M SICK OF IT. I’m thinking of moving to the UK where I can watch EPL games without the hassle!!! I paid for sporting tiers on cable and all that I have paid for and am paying for is gone. I’m paying the same amount of money!!! I speak no Spanish, but in order to see a soccer game, I watch reruns or the now and again live matches on mute on the Spanish channels! Its a shame!!! I’ll just have to contend with watching highlights on utube. SHOW THE GAMES LIVE AND STREAMING AT THE SAME TIME ON ALL PLATFORMS!!! So if EPL wants exposure, this is how to do it!

  96. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    I submitted a complaint to CBS for the lack of pause and rewind on live games and also the untimely upload of those.
    I wrote to: (it was the email prompted when they asked if I was enjoying the app)
    I suggest we use several customer feedback channels to have our voices heard.

  97. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    @John G Hope too that Peacock will be gone or get in the game for real. Right now it is useless to me and will not be missed.

  98. JP

    September 15, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    @SteveK, no problem. They have so much to offer it’s inevitable certain leagues get lost in the shuffle for different viewers.
    Paramount+ is doing great with Serie A so far, just need that rw/ff so I can catch the goals missed when stepping away. Always happens that goals occur when I leave the room lol

  99. Stevek

    September 15, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for the clarification JP because it seems we both watch ESPN+ a lot but we don’t watch ANY of the same things. I only keep my ESPN+ subscription for the Nations League, Euros, World Cup, EFL. Carabao and FA Cup, all things you don’t. I did watch a decent amount of Serie A last season and it always frustrated me that in any given match week certain games were only on their cable channels and not on ESPN+

    I do hope Paramount+ does a better job.

  100. Stevek

    September 15, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Do you really think it will soon be gone, John G? Or just that they’ll raise the price a few bucks? I think Comcast will do what it takes to keep the PL for another 3 years, they need the rights to keep driving peacock subs. I think this opening up of bids is a formality, much ado about nothing, you’ll keep seeing the PL on NBC just like the NFL on Sunday nights as marquee attractions and there will be more and more PL and NFL on peacock. One aspect that Comcast has not maximized yet is leveraging their Sky talent and shows here, you see it in dribs and drabs and I hope we see even more on peacock.

  101. JP

    September 15, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    @SteveK, let me clarify. Access to all leagues they cover THAT I CARE ABOUT.

    For ESPN+ that is La Liga, Bundesliga, Eredivisie and Belgian Pro League, Copa Del Rey. Eredivisie and Belgian league only show a 3-4 per round, but believe that is contractual and not ESPN+ just not bothering to stream the other matches
    I never expected Euros to be on ESPN+, knew that was a cable property (but they did show the semi finals and finals I believe). Don’t care about those other competitions or most of WC qualifying (all the matches I wanted to see during international break were available though)

    For Paramount+ that is Serie A, UCL, and EL. Don’t care about Europa Conference League qualifying or whatever it was with Spurs and Roma. I might pay attention to that in the latter rounds of the knock outs.

  102. John G.

    September 15, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    No matter who wins, the Peacock whingers (aka whiners) are going to be livid. They were (and are) being offered a bargain that will soon be gone.

  103. Stevek

    September 15, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    JP, if your main priority is access to all games live for leagues covered ESPN+ and gets an A you have a very short memory or perhaps you should specify what soccer you watch. Did you not watch any of the Nations League, the Euros or World Cup qualifying? Lots of matches were available only on cable channels, you had to have regular ESPN or ESPN2 or 3 and they never showed up on ESPN+ live or on demand afterward. They pick and choose which few English Championship matches they show and it’s the same partial coverage with the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

    And Paramount+ while they do seem to have every Champions League and Europa now, just the other week they didn’t have Tottenham and they didn’t have Roma.

  104. Stevek

    September 15, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Greg, it seems we have the same shared Comcast ISP and FuboTV soccer background, loved all the Spanish stations on Fubo, too, for the Champions League & Europa games.

    “What is childish is this idea that any paywall is bad – if you have to pay for an ISP to stream it’s behind a paywall. If you pay for Fubo or cable, it’s behind a paywall. You’re always paying, and have to because rights, production & delivery costs money.”

    truer words were never written;

    “But while we’re making requests, can you just post the links as links? Having to copy, paste & remove [dot] and spaces is annoying and unnecessary.”

    I think Hans has figured out that if you ever include an actual link in a post you will be sent to the purgatory of a moderation queue and you can stay there a while before your post gets approved. Happened to me last night when Christopher was busy writing up this excellent Premier League rights article. Frustrating if you’re trying to have a real time exchange.

  105. Hans

    September 15, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    “can you just post the links as links? Having to copy, paste & remove [dot] and spaces is annoying and unnecessary.”

    As soon as you post links that can be parsed it awaits moderators approval and it is not uncommon for that to be hours later. In a busy discussion thread like this the comment once approved will be entered when it was posted not at the time of approval, which means it can be inserted into the page with many comments since then made and may no longer contribute to the discussion or be overlooked as it is somewhere midstream.
    Therefore, the my format of posting links as it requires no moderator’s approval, not too big of a job to cut and paste and remove the (dot) and the few spaces, after all it took me longer to find the related published materials.

    • Christopher Harris

      September 15, 2021 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Hans and others, links have to be moderated, yes, but they’re usually approved within a few minutes. Either myself or one of the WST team monitors the comments all day every day.

  106. JP

    September 15, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    I’ll wade into the priorities list

    1) Access to all games live for leagues covered
    ESPN+ and Paramount+ get an A
    2) Quality picture
    ESPN+ get and A and Paramount+ gets a B (F if watching on anything other than Apple devicses it appears)
    3) DVR like controls
    ESPN+ gets an A and Paramount+ gets an F
    4) Ease of navigation
    ESPN+ and Paramount+ both earn a B. ESPN+ down a notch because too cluttered, Paramount+ down a notch because it’s very fragmented. Both very serviceable once you get used to it though.
    5) Commentary
    ESPN+ gets a C and Paramount+ gets an A. World feed is fine for both, but when they use in house commentary ESPN+ suffers with the likes of Moreno, Keller, and Donaldson. Bonetti and Cordero on Paramount+ are very good.
    6) Wrap around shows – Lowest on my list
    ESPN+ gets a C and Paramount+ gets a B. While early, the Serie A studio show looks like it has potential.

  107. greg

    September 15, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    @Ra, interesting why you’d rate NBC so low given priorities…all matches are live, and if you have a service w/ DVR you can watch matches on NBCSN/USA/NBC later. Peacock obviously not. The commentary (aside from Arlo White & crew) isn’t determined by NBC, it’s determined by Sky or BT. For pause & replay, if you watch on NBCSN, USA or NBC thru a cable or Fubo-type service, you can do that.

  108. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    @Michael F. The best coverage depends on what your priorities are. To me, the key priority is access to the game live. 2nd is a high-quality commentary 3rd is pause replay and timely access, 4th is a good break-time show, 5th is a good daily short show, such as ESPN FC, 6th will be a pre-or post-match show.
    After all, if I am watching the game, I can be my own pundit. I am usually already familiar with the key stories by listening to podcasts during the week.
    I have access to EPLTV (I guess everyone has, right?). But never watched. I can hardly take the time to watch the games I want.
    The auxiliary programming is useful for the games you missed. I tend to skip it altogether for the ones I watched live.
    So, what the best coverage is depends on your priorities.
    Based on mine, NBC is the worst, with flying colors.

  109. greg

    September 15, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    @hans how about we don’t police comments unless they’re abusive. Sometimes off-topic comments are good for creating/sustaining community. But while we’re making requests, can you just post the links as links? Having to copy, paste & remove [dot] and spaces is annoying and unnecessary.

    Anyway, since we’re all summarizing…my priorities:

    1) Insightful studio shows. NBC has been clear tops in this (pandemic-related scheduling & coverage issues aside). So far ESPN is doing a decent job with La Liga, and could step up their Bundesliga studio & pregame coverage a bit, but it’s not horrible. ESPN FC could stand for a bit more expertise on leagues the network doesn’t cover. CBS is close, but to be honest the constant joking gets in the way of discussion and can be mean. Reminds me of the worst of Fox & CBS NFL studio shows. They have good analysts, stop with the frat-boy locker-room stuff.

    In short – tell my why I should care about the match(es) to be shown, and after add insight to what happened.

    2) Easy navigation for the games and studio shows – when does coverage start & end, what channel is the match on or an easy link if streaming. I honestly wonder if any of the networks do any user research when setting up streaming user-interfaces. Or who they use. Not a fan of ESPN+’s tv interface where they show you the scores of matches in progress before you click. For those who might want to watch replays, it’s suboptimal.

    Related, NBC’s pingning us from channel-to-channel is annoyingly complex, and half the time when they don’t show a match on NBCSN they’re showing a Mecum Auto Auction rerun…why?

    3) If things are mostly/all on streaming allow for on-demand start of a match, and allow pause/rewind/fast-forward. I’d pay an extra $1 or $2 a month for limited DVR storage.

    4) Price – I have to use Comcast as an ISP (and mostly speed & reliability is fine). But I moved to Fubo to get BeIn back when they also had La Liga. Glad I can see League Une there. But the $6/ month each for ESPN and Paramount is a bargain for the amount of content. If all I watched was those networks & leagues that would be fine.

    As others said, this thread is showing what should be obvious- there is no one-size-fits-all. And mostly I can accept what others prefer as reasonable. What is childish is this idea that any paywall is bad – if you have to pay for an ISP to stream it’s behind a paywall. If you pay for Fubo or cable, it’s behind a paywall. You’re always paying, and have to because rights, production & delivery costs money.

  110. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    @JP. Just to add to SteveK’s last response… we are just pointing out what is of importance to us as viewers. That’s what this WST site is all about. Quality in-depth coverage of soccer.. NBC sets the gold standard there. Other providers have a ways to go to meet that standard. Dare I say, this site is not just for cord cutters. This site has links for ‘streaming soccer’ (which includes FuBo, Sling, Hulu live tv etc) and also has links for linear ‘tv providers’ where soccer is aired.

  111. SteveK

    September 15, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    “ yours stand out for almost taking criticism of EPL coverage personally. As if you have a vested interest in Comcast/NBC or are a part of NBC productions for EPL or dating someone who is, I don’t know.” Believe me, JP, while I do think the on air talent for NBC is superb, Tim Howard excepted since he is still learning how to be a talking head, if anyone were to unfairly criticize non PL non NBC people, say Kate Abdo or Gab Marcotti or Raphael Honigstein or Guillem Balague or anyone else on another network that I thought was doing a great job I’d be right there to defend them.

  112. Hans

    September 15, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Come on guys PLEASE limit this to footballing and network news, I noticed on the home page that this was the only topic for the most recent comments and hoped for additional inside only to find out bickering. You guys care passionately about soccer and your favorite EPL teams, as well as where to watch them, lets keep it that way.
    From a cord-cutters viewpoint the following article entitled “38 million broadband households are cord cutters and when they flee pay-TV” found at:
    www (dot) fiercevideo (dot) com / video/38-million-broadband-households-are-cord-cutters-industry-voices-erickson
    “cord-cutters essentially unbundle a paid television service. 47% of cord-cutters subscribe to four or more OTT services, so in order to have an optimal video portfolio, they are creating their own video bundles by stacking OTT services. In addition, this provides viewers the flexibility to watch on multiple connected devices in and out of the home.

    Moving forward, service providers have to decide how best to be part of that rebundling effort either through a direct-to-consumer offering or partnership, a video aggregation play, or some other approach. Regardless the strategy, providers will be in a fight to capture viewership and associated revenue from elusive cord-cutters and nevers.”

    This trend is growing and has to be of concern to ANY content provider and surely must enter their business model.
    Priorities for me:
    1. Ease of access and navigation of the games. I use 3 services for sports and both Peacock and Paramount+ need to improve their online experience.
    2. Analysis and pundits. Wouldn’t really say the two Robbies and Tim Howard are expert pundits. Much more prefer Kate Abdo and the Paramount+ panel. But I always have access to MOTD and BT Sports pundits post analysis, thus not top priority.
    3. Quality of video streaming.
    4. Price. I am retired and only have that much time to spend money therefore it is of lower priority.
    I thoroughly believe that the EPL’s top priority is growth and not highest bid. They will want to explore the possibility starting their own DTC streaming service and if the ground work is laid for that it makes it easier. Therefore I am convinced that they will accept a lower bid if the distribution is better for growth and I can’t see that happening if the games are fractured over a growing platform and a shrinking platform.

  113. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    @JP. Negative views are so common on social media and sites like this. And it becomes a repetitive post fest ad-nauseam. . It’s easy to continue to complain and whine when one doesn’t get all they want.
    One thing is for certain: By way of all this banter of cord cutters that despise Comcast for putting some matches exclusively on their linear network, it proves the popularity and demand for the English Premier League. Those that seriously follow it, want the same quality coverage they’ve been getting. That’s pretty much it.
    I can assure you I am not part of some social media/online team working for Comcast. I can’t help but see this site is littered with very subjective views from cord cutters that only want to see it their way and quite frankly have an influence on the overall slant from authors on this site. Squeaky wheel always gets the grease. Click bait articles always get the most attention. It doesn’t mean everyone feels this same way or even the majority about a certain opinion. It only represents those who are very vocal about it.

  114. SteveK

    September 15, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    I realize that Ra, but Comcast is a cable company after all, they are my cable company, and peacock is in its infancy. They are still trying to figure all this out. I despise Comcast the company as most do with a passion but that doesn’t blind me, where I live I have no choice but Comcast, so I get my reliably excellent high speed internet through them, I signed up for Gold on day one because that was a bargain, now I get peacock for free, subscribe to ESPN+ and Paramount+ just so I know what I’m talking about and then get this, I spite my face by paying for Fubo (last few years) or Sling Blue (this year) for NBCSN & USA instead of paying Comcast for cable.

    I’m playing the long game here, and as long as Comcast continues to present the PL with such excellent in studio and pitch-side coverage as indomitable lion mentioned above I can wait for things to improve, for the pause and rewind on my AppleTV, for David Ornstein, for the Premier League Hub which makes it so easy to get right to what I want, unlike the cluttered jungle you have to wade through on ESPN….little things that make a difference on something already excellent.

  115. JP

    September 15, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    @MichealSteveFK, I only make the link because out of everyone who comments, yours stand out for almost taking criticism of EPL coverage personally. As if you have a vested interest in Comcast/NBC or are a part of NBC productions for EPL or dating someone who is, I don’t know.

    That’s why it’s fun to mess with you. No one else here who are fans of EPL or any other league go to the same lengths to constantly counter any criticism of the platform which covers the league. So it seems like you must be part of some social media/online team to deflect negative reviews. That is how it comes across.

    I am a cord cutter for all of one month so far! Late to the game, used to despise streaming. But even I can see where it’s headed and got tired/woke up to the fact paying for hundreds of channels of which only a couple were actively watched was a massive waste. Only thing I may potentially miss is my local RSN for hockey, if my work around fails, I’ll be just fine watching all the out of market NHL on ESPN+ and getting extended highlights of my team after the fact. If they offered a stand alone option to stream that RSN I’d gladly pay anywhere from $5-$15 for it, but they don’t. Have to pay $60+ for cable or Fubo. No thanks.

  116. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    @SteveK. It is not the $50/yr or $30/yr, or what else Peacock is charging. Is the fact that NBC requires you to have a cable subscription to watch the games.
    For everything else in the soccer world (excl. WC), you can get it on streaming.

  117. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    @Michael F. Sorry for the joke. You two just seemed to share so much between you that I couldn’t help myself… 🙂

  118. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    @SteveK. I will admit, I do need to develop more patience like you.
    To all: For the record, I don’t know this person SteveK, but he sounds like a reasonable person.

  119. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    @Michael F. I can still watch it. And I will tell you more, I watch it through ESPN (No ESPN+, but Star+).
    I just happen to prefer a simpler solution.

  120. SteveK

    September 15, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    JP since you asked “MichaelF and SteveK the same person?” I will state on the record here we are not, I am much more patient than he is, I sat here quietly reading all the repetitive whining posts from those too cheap to fork out $5 bucks a month or not savvy enough o take advantage of the $29.99 for a full year of peacock special all the while admitting they hadn’t used the app in over a year or were perfectly happy pirating Premier League streams because their precise needs weren’t being catered to. MichaelF was the lone voice of reason in this morass of often Kartik driven Comcast hate. There’s a lot that Comcast can still improve upon, but there’s no doubt in my mind that what they do with the Premier League here in the US is head and shoulders above everybody else, and has been for a good while.

  121. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    @Ra. Now you are sounding jealous and envious that you are missing out on watching all EPL matches available to you live, because you choose not to pay more. A season that is unprecedented with the excitement of the return of Ronaldo and Lukaku etc.
    we all have a choice. You made yours. Respect those that make theirs.

  122. NaBUru38

    September 15, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    Fox has Tubi.

  123. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    @SteveK. I would love to have everything all in one place too. But not at the expense of losing all the in-depth coverage we get today. I am willing to pay for a product and presentation that delivers that.
    Now here come all the commentary replies that I am off my rocker for being that sucker that wants to pay for stuff I don’t watch.. yada yada yada yada.
    Every consumer chooses to purchase what they want and knows the pros and cons to all of it. There isn’t a one size fits all… regardless if it’s linear tv, streaming or whatever. If you just want to view matches and nothing else, I suppose you’ll be happy with any stream service that gives just that.

  124. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    @Michael F The fact that we want everything on the cheap rules us out as executives or moles, right? On the other hand, it is quite interesting to argue that people should pay more and jump hoops to be able to watch a match…
    Quite intriguing indeed! 🙂

  125. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    @Michael F @SteveK So glad you guys found your soul mate… 🙂

  126. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    @Ra. Hilarious. I can say the same thing about you and Hans and JP. Hahaha. We can easily spot the cord cutters! They want everything all the time and on the cheap. Haha

  127. SteveK

    September 15, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Well, Michael, I definitely also want all Premier League matches in one place, in one app or streaming service, I’d like more than anything else for the Premier League to come over the top right to me with their own streaming service. But I’m realistic in that they’re not ready to do that yet. So for next 3 years I’m happy to keep Comcast in my life, for they will surely retain the PL rights for the next 3 years to sync up with the 4 billion pounds Sky paid in the UK and I will begrudgingly up with the minor inconveniences of a split broadcast and streaming relationship because NBC does such a great job with their Premier League coverage, just like you and indomitable_lion have stated.

  128. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    @SteveK. Thank you. Right on. As I have stated in previous posts, I like ESPNFC show for what it is… but it is a shallow coverage of providing only time for ‘top 4 clubs’ of every euro league. In fact, when those in the ESPNFC studio do analysis of a few premier league matches, they fall far short of of the analysis of the Two Robbies etc and being accurate as to what actually occurred as there is some bias toward, and they are just skimming the surface. I enjoy the show for what it is, but I don’t take their analysis too seriously.

  129. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    @JP I also wonder it too sometimes. A website like this is certainly frequented by executives and employees of these conglomerates. We just need to find out who the moles are… HaHa

  130. JP

    September 15, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Perhap Eric T too. Things that make you go hmmmmm

  131. JP

    September 15, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    MichaelF and SteveK the same person? Need to create more usernames in an attempt to make it appear the defense of NBC/Comcast is more diverse……

    Just kidding, sort of, kinda of, maybe

  132. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    @Ra. Haha. I was being slightly flippant there, but it seems there are those that just want access to every single match possible and watch all of it simultaneously on multiple screens etc and don’t consider those with much different viewing habits, cost consideration aside.
    Indomitable_lion captured the essence of those of the latter. It’s not just about access to every league match for many. It’s about how in-depth and detailed a provider covers a league and all it’s clubs.

  133. SteveK

    September 15, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    I should have just said read indomitable_lions post above, it was superb and captures my feelings exactly.

  134. SteveK

    September 15, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Don’t be dense Ra, you know exactly what he means by a shallow viewing consideration. No one else in the US does such high quality pre-game, halftime and post-game shows than Comcast and NBC with the Premier League. Did you watch much Serie A last year on ESPN+ or any of their Championship, FA Cup or Carabao Cup? Look up shallow in the dictionary and you’ll find ESPNFC. Paramount+ has done well so far with the Champions League if you can get past Micah cackling and Nico annunciating.

  135. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 11:41 am

    @Michael F. Can you please elaborate on ‘If I wanted that shallow viewing consideration, I can watch any soccer league that is out there for less money.’? Please share your expertise.

  136. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 11:17 am

    Correction on a sentence: It’s NOT just about access to matches.

  137. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 11:16 am

    @indomitable_lion I fall in the same category as you, as you just described. For me, it’s just about access to matches. If I wanted that shallow viewing consideration, I can watch any soccer league that is out there for less money.

  138. indomitable_lion

    September 15, 2021 at 11:10 am

    Looks like the main divide in the comments is between those who care about the way a network covers the league vs those who want to be able to stream every game on a well designed streaming service.

    I fall into the first category. Good in-studio/pitch-side coverage is crucial to keeping up with what’s going on if you’re not watching all the games. And it just makes for a better overall viewing experience. For that reason I hope NBC keeps the rights.

    No other network has come close to how they’ve covered the EPL. Fox was dreadful. ESPN was better but not by much. ESPN UK (with Rebecca Lowe as host) was great but we didn’t get that coverage here.

    I hope the need to outbid other networks will get NBC to get their act together on the streaming front.

    I’ve enjoyed some of CBS’s coverage of European games. They would be my second choice.

    NBC has set the bar high for network coverage. I can’t see the EPL settling for something less. Unless Fox swoops in with a $500M/year bid. Lol.

  139. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 10:52 am

    ESPN will eat Comcast’s lunch, with or without EPL. The only question is – will ESPN be a tailwind or headwind for EPL.

  140. Michal

    September 15, 2021 at 10:35 am

    Watch out for Amazon!

  141. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 10:19 am

    @Michael F @Yespage. Why do you think that cord-cutters’ only motivation is cost?
    To me, it is convenience and being in control. I am willing to pay more for things that I do watch, but not for the ones I do not watch. Why does my $s go to Fox News if I want to subscribe cable for EPL?
    And also, Comcast gets $1.65 per NBCSN subscriber while Peacock costs $5.

  142. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 9:34 am

    @Yespage Exactly. Whoever wins this bid for EPL, has to pay for this content over the course of the contract and will want to make a profit doing so.

  143. Yespage

    September 15, 2021 at 9:20 am

    @ EricT – Cord cutters seem to think that the EPL, which might go for $300+ million a year is worth only about $5 or $10 a month for all games.

    The online streaming services are very person to person in value. Peacock provides me great value with Nordic sports coverage, EPL, WWE, and Indycar. Paramount+, if they actually are remastering DS9, then it’d become more valuable to me. ESPN+ obviosuly has a boatload of sports that I don’t have the time to watch. But the price will be going up.

    If there are more like Amazon that’ll bid, I can’t imagine where this might end up. Clearly, the EPL cares about one thing, $$$. That is what their announcement tells us.

  144. UnitedFan 3478

    September 15, 2021 at 9:07 am

    An update?

    I just want ESPN to announce the EPL acquisition already

  145. JP

    September 15, 2021 at 8:40 am

    After time to think about it, hope @MichaelF gets his wish of EPL staying on NBC/Peacock.
    Since I’m not a huge fan of the league, don’t want it going to ESPN+ and potentially crowding out smaller leagues in the future over cost concerns (Eredivisie, etc) or resulting in bigger price increases.
    Don’t want it going to Paramount+ and making Serie A the red headed step child again as it’s been on most of it’s carriers (Fox Soccer, beIN, ESPN+ after Bundesliga deal).
    So please, EPL, stay with Peacock or go to Amazon or Discovery+/HBO Max.

  146. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 8:38 am

    @Turfit I dislike LaLiga, but will become a LaLiga fan if Fox wins this bid and puts it on FS1.
    Will be ESPN+ all day long.
    As the soup guy from Seinfeld would say, ‘no more EPL for you!’

  147. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 8:36 am

    @Michael F. I started another trial of Peacock after more than a year since I last tried it. It will end on the 28th. But it is utterly useless if they do not broadcast the 1-2 game I want to watch that week. (e.g. CR7’s debut this week). I got Star+ since, and I have been much happier with their app and policy. It is inconvenient and not cost-effective to need a VPN but at least I don’t feel puppeted by Comcast.

  148. Turfit

    September 15, 2021 at 8:33 am

    And when FOX wins the bid………..

  149. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 8:31 am

    @Michael F. On ESPN+, yes I was vocal on their st* policy with the Euros and got quite upset. For Bundesliga and LaLiga on the other hand, they already put a statement out there that all the games will be streamed. And I got 3 mo of the bundle free after canceling due to the Euros, so I am even.
    There is a lot of things to improve on Paramount’s app, but I am willing to overlook as long as offers every single game live.
    Regarding ESPN’s app, I noticed that Hulu offers a better experience. I am not going to repeat myself; I commented about all the different capabilities built into Hulu in a post this week (favorites, continue from where you left off, etc.). It also doesn’t show me the ESPN stuff that I am not subscribed to.
    Hulu is now my go-to app – it is only missing multiview. I will fire up ESPN should I need it.

  150. Michael F

    September 15, 2021 at 8:21 am

    @Ra Says the one that doesn’t like ESPN and has made that clearly known in previous posts.

    Listen, I am not at all adverse to the EPL going all to an exclusive stream service (I happen to like ESPN+), but not at the expense of losing all the great quality in depth coverage of the league. I believe that is what others that follow the EPL are concerned about. Say what you want as you continue to crap all over NBC/Peacock at every possible chance in reply posts, but their coverage of the English Premier League is far and away the best when compared to any other provider that covers their leagues.
    And can we please stop repeating how badly designed the Peacock app is. They have made improvements and it is certainly no worse than the Paramount+ app, and in fact is better at this time relative to live matches with pause and rewind. Let’s at least be somewhat objective here, as we know all streaming apps (including ESPN+) has their own flaws – I for one think for navigation. It is a matter of taste of course, but there are things that annoy me about ESPN+ layout too.

  151. Ra

    September 15, 2021 at 7:30 am

    @Eric T. Makes 100% sense. Peacock is a badly designed app and offer just some EPL matches, not all of them.
    I love streaming, just want the rights to be in the hands of a capable provider that will offer all the matches on streaming.
    ESPN+ offers the best experience today, by a wide margin.

  152. Eric T

    September 15, 2021 at 7:19 am

    People are complaining about Peacock but want the EPL to move a streaming exclusive platform like Paramount or ESPN? Makes zero sense

  153. me

    September 15, 2021 at 2:59 am

    You note that “When the next media rights deal ends after this one, it’ll be the year 2028.” – this isn’t necessarily correct. By default, media rights sales are on a 3-year term. Anything over that is done on an ad-hoc basis but there’s no guarantee that it’ll be the case here.

    After such an extended contract period, it’s really no surprise that the league is going out to tender as they’ve not put the rights to market for quite some time. The market has changed considerably since they last entered negotiations for the US market.

  154. nickp91

    September 14, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    If the EPL stays with NBC it would be on a network with no weekend CFB commitments other than Notre Dame Football

  155. Mercator

    September 14, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Good! NBC has totally botched it with this Peacock nonsense and they deserve to lose the rights. The EPL is not clueless, the Peacock didn’t work this weekend and NBC cannot be relied upon to deliver the football matches. They didn’t have the basic courtesy to tell the EPL they were shutting down NBCSN last year. Sure the studio is nice, but is it really that much better than the world feed? If you think the future is in streaming, its not good business to partner up with Peacock for the next 6 years.

    Turner is never reliable, they bailed on the champions league rights not long ago. Fox would be a disaster, no streaming capability and if there is one thing on earth that would stop me from watching Arsenal it’s Alexi Lalas. Amazon doesn’t have a broadcast or cable channel, its a bit early to give them a package of all 380 games. Apple no experience, DAZN is not really in the US market.

    I think it has to be ESPN or CBS. ESPN has like 20 different channels, plus ABC and ESPN+. They could turn ESPNnews into ESPNFC at this point with all the rights they have. ESPN will reach the most casual sports fans, and ensures EPL is not outdone by La Liga or Bundesliga. CBS has an entire sports channel that goes unused, plus several other Viacom cable channels. NFL on Nickelodeon was a hit, they could easily do the same with Nick, MTV, BET, etc. ESPN+ would offer the EPL the most in terms of streaming reach and Muticast allows non-football fans to split viewing between other sports. Paramount would be fine as well given CBS has the CL. Between Friday-Monday EPL games and CL/Europa you can have a 2pm game every day many weeks.

    NBC has no other football properties. It lost the NHL, it barley has any sports properties now. It’s streaming platform is a joke, hated by consumers and doesn’t always work. Does the EPL want to partner with that for the next 6 years? It could go poorly, like La Liga with BEIN all over again with the EPL stuck on USA channel for $80 a month and the majority of people not able to access the games. EPL is well ahead now, play it safe and go with ESPN+. Reach the most people, provide the best experience for fans, get the marketing and commercial conglomerate of ESPN and Disney behind you. If you think the EPL wants to go DTC in the near future, the best move is to build that consumer base to the maximum extent possible now, so you can charge them all $10 in 2028.

    If they went to another round there must be competitive offers. I hope NBC will not retain the rights the EPL and will go with another bidder, be it ESPN, CBS or Amazon. Anyone but Fox really.

  156. Neil Rogers

    September 14, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    From this consumer’s perspective, NBC’s distribution strategy has been a nightmare. There are currently at least 3 different outlets (NBC Sports channel, Peacock, NBC Sports app). I have to subscribe to in order to watch my team. And, if I don’t want to wake up at 0530, I have to wait until 12-24 hours later for NBC to post the replay.

    Furthermore, they’ve changed their strategy every. Single. Year. (Remember NBC Sports Gold?) Clearly, this was a money-grab and didn’t consider the consumers perspective at all. We want ONE outlet to watch ALL the games in real time and near real time. I’d pay a good amount of money for that (NHL season ticket is $120 and I wouldn’t consider that unreasonable). I don’t care about how many analysis shows are on (that’s not value added to me) – just give me all the games: in one place.

    I hope the PL considers more than just the $$. Consider the user experience, which will ultimately lead to faster & more sustainable brand growth.

  157. locofooty

    September 14, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    Apologies Chris, saw you finally accepted my comment. It’s cool since I know you were watching la champions 🙂

  158. locofooty

    September 14, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    lol, I posted that link on the EPL schedule thread, but Chris never got to approve my comment. I’m glad you created an article for it! My comment was this:
    Money will talk, as usual. Especially in the times we live in, with a pandemic, economic uncertainty and industry shifts.
    Adding to that…even if crappy Comcast retain the rights, look for streaming to be a lot a lot more prominent and linear to take a back seat. They probably won’t make harsh changes at USA in the transition from NBCSN, but when the new cycle kicks in, I just can’t see things stay the same. Times are changing. Disney+ numbers are insane. They have got to get it right at Peacock. It has to be the worst app of all the big ones.

  159. Hans

    September 14, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    What I gathered so far there may be a difference of priorities among the EPL owners. For some growth is more important as they want to sell their merchandise, like Man Utd, new Ronaldo shirts, for others, like newly promoted ones a larger slice of the fee may be more important. However I can’t believe that they are blind to what is happening in the distribution market and they likewise must make a decision here. IIRC the EPL did not just want to know from interested parties the amount of the fee but also what the plan is for distribution and they might accept a lower bid if the distribution is more to their liking.

  160. Ra

    September 14, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    @Hans. Good one. Comcast subscribers, start looking for promos. Comcast will start looking for ‘new’ subscribers at any cost. 🙂

  161. Hans

    September 14, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Comcast’s CFO just released bad news subscriber growth for the 3rd quarter was slower then last year’s 3rd quarter. Comcast stock down 6%

  162. Ra

    September 14, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    @Hans Great article. Seems feasible for them to get their reported target of $300M/yr, considering that ESPN just paid $175M/yr in a very long contract with LaLiga.

  163. I dont know

    September 14, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    CBS/Paramount+ are great for Europe but they can’t get the same talent to work the PL games since that team is already contracted for domestic PL coverage. And while I don’t follow the Serie A and their recently assembled coverage team, I’m not a huge fan of the talent assembled for CONCACAF.

  164. Hans

    September 14, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    An additional article complementing this one and worth a read as it adds some past history on it.
    awfulannouncing (dot) com / soccer/premier-league-reportedly-looking-to-double-us-rights-fee-with-nbc-espn-cbs-warnermedia-all-interested (dot) html

  165. Ra

    September 14, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    EPL must be at least somewhat concerned about Disney aiming the world’s most powerful advertising machine at LaLiga. I would definitely be concerned about losing some market if I were them. I even got tired of the amount of promo LaLiga is receiving.
    If they play their cards well, LaLiga may arise as a formidable competitor to EPL in the US.

  166. Hans

    September 14, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    The same for Paramount+ Serie A games are available on Patamount+ in addition to CBS. There would be no complaint if Comcast would put the games on linear and also on their streaming service, but by butchering them up and distributing them over different platforms they have earned hatred from some here.

  167. Rich

    September 14, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    This was simply a formality, right? No one expected the EPL to do otherwise, correct?

    • Christopher Harris

      September 14, 2021 at 6:39 pm

      Quite the opposite.

  168. Rich

    September 14, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    @Michael F I don’t think ESPN is making that mistake again with La Liga. All games are available on ESPN+ regardless of whether they are on a linear channel.

  169. Hans

    September 14, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    The offer was either for 3 years or 6 years so two bids be entered and the EPL will decide what to accept. This is the first time the EPL offered a 6 year deal.

  170. SteveK

    September 14, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Christopher, are you sure this rights deal is for 6 years? Wouldn’t it be to both the Premier League and Comcast’s advantage to seek 3 and 6 year proposals, allowing them to sync up with the Comcast UK rights deal which ends in 2025?

  171. Eric T

    September 14, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    I hope NBC gets it. Can’t see any other entity giving the EPL the same treatment NBC does with their broadcast coverage and commitment. Maybe Turner Sports could rival it if they take it seriously enough, but after their Champions League flop, I doubt it

  172. JP

    September 14, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    @MichaelF, well aware of the 6:30am Sunday matches on ESPN News not being available to stream. 😉
    Of the 38 matches a year on TV, 95% or more were of this variety, not high profile.

  173. Michael F

    September 14, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    @JP. I will point out again that last season, when ESPN had Serie A, there was at least a couple of high profile matches aired live only on ESPN linear network. It wasn’t even available to stream on-demand later on ESPN+
    The English Premier League is a whole different animal. As Chris Harris points out above, the EPL popularity separates itself from these other Euro leagues and it’s why the bid for EPL rights will be record breaking in the US.

    For those paying attention, you might want to hope that Amazon Prime obtains the EPL rights and not a traditional cable network provider that has a stream service (ie. ESPN, CBS or NBC etc), because I believe if the latter obtains the rights… you will be disappointed.

  174. rick

    September 14, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Get rid of Peacock- put the games on ESPN. ESPN news could take some of the games and the rest on ESPN+. ESPN could also air some big games on ABC or ESPN/ESPN2.

    Peacock is a ripoff – NBC was doing well until they changed to Peacock.

    Another option is Amazon Prime.

  175. JP

    September 14, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    @MichaelF, wanting games on traditional TV doesn’t preclude them being available streaming as well. Like when Bundesliga or La Liga have been shown on ABC or UCL (rare) on CBSSN.

  176. Michael F

    September 14, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    I felt a specific article quote directly from Bloomberg was telling. So many here that have commented over the distaste of NBC/Comcast splitting the broadcast of EPL matches on their linear and streaming Peacock service need to read this. Quote below.

    “The bidding is expected to be fierce, with several of the world’s largest media companies seeking programming to boost their incipient streaming services. ESPN, WarnerMedia, and ViacomCBS Inc. are all expected to bid on the rights, and would offer to put some games on linear TV and others on their streaming services.”

  177. UnitedFan3478

    September 14, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    ESPN will finally bid 🙂

    Looks like I can cancel Peacock now, and the NBC days are over

    I am so happy that ESPN has a chance to get the EPL

  178. John Ketcham

    September 14, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    NBC Sports has got to be the front runner. Disney and Viacom can throw money at the PL but neither has the linear time slots that USA/NBC have. The new rights deal will ideally have a linear available game in each match window. The only way that happens with any large reach is with USA/NBC. The only other option is for Disney to turn ESPN News in to an ESPN World Sports channel

  179. Michael F

    September 14, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Well… its open season!

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