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US broadcasters battling for Premier League rights

Premier League considers broadcasters aiming to win U.S. rights

Anticipation is building at Premier League’s head office in London of a record-breaking U.S. media rights deal. Photo credit:
Jonathan Brady – PA Images.

When it comes to the US broadcasters battling for Premier League rights, there is a lot for the league to consider. For instance, it is a critical period in the evolution of sports broadcasting. Does the Premier League need to double down on a quality streaming service? Or is it time to maximize the distribution of television networks?

After all, which broadcasters are best equipped to grow the Premier League in the United States? When you consider what is at stake, it is possible the deal may reach as much as $3 billion over nine years. So, let us take a closer look at the main contenders. We also examine their strengths and weaknesses.

When the Premier League signed a six-year rights extension with NBC Sports in September 2015, the media world was different. At the time, over the top streaming services were largely limited to on-demand taped programming. Meanwhile, linear TV networks offered streaming services such as ESPN3 and NBCSports.com. They were complementary to cable and satellite subscriptions, requiring authentication.

NBC’s current six-year exclusive rights package expires at the end of the current Premier League campaign. So far, the rights have attracted no shortage of suitors. The U.S. media rights are expected to cost somewhere between $250-300 million a year. And as recently reported, the rights could be split evenly between potential media partners.

First, let us look together at the strengths and weaknesses of each major U.S. sports broadcaster:

Pros and cons of US broadcasters aiming to win Premier League rights

FOX Sports
FOX Sports: One of the US broadcasters battling for Premier League rightsStrengthsWeaknesses
Ability to cross-promote league across World Cup and European Championship; Checks all of the boxes for distribution (across TV, streaming and Spanish-language TV)Weak studio talent; Some of their commentators don’t have much soccer experience; Poor communications and marketing of games; Tubi is not yet synonymous with sports; Other sports conflict with EPL programming; Unfavorable opinion among majority of US soccer fans; Overall, low soccer IQ




Spanish-language networkStreaming service

FOX DeportesTubi




Channels availableKey factor

FOX, FS1, FS2, FOX Soccer PlusPremier League would be ideal vehicle to use to promote FOX’s World Cup 2022 and 2026 coverage

FOX’s commitment to the NFL, Big Ten, NASCAR, MLB and other properties means the Premier League would likely not have many broadcast timeslots available on over-the-air FOX.

Unlike the last time FOX had the rights to the Premier League in the US, the network no longer owns a dedicated soccer channel. Additionally, the broadcaster no longer owns FX (which is now owned by Disney). In the past, that channel regularly saw aired spillover Premier League, Bundesliga and Champions League games.

Still, FOX likely would be able to dedicate time on FS1 and FS2 to the league outside of college football and basketball seasons. FOX may be able to show as many matches on TV as NBCUniversal but they would be buried on channels with fewer viewers.

 

CBS Sports
CBS: One of the US broadcasters battling for Premier League rights
StrengthsWeaknesses
A-rated studio analysts; Hire top commentators; Have shown huge commitment to quantity and quality of shoulder programming; Excellent communications and advertising of games; High level of soccer IQNo Spanish-language network; Paramount+ technical issues; other sports programming commitments limit amount of games on CBS network




Spanish-language networkStreaming service

NoneParamount+




Channels availableKey factor

CBS, CBS Sports NetworkPremier League would make Paramount+ the streaming service for soccer fans, offering Europe’s two biggest competitions (ie EPL and Champions League).

CBS has become the broadcaster of choice for many American soccer fans. However, CBS would see the Premier League as mostly an acquisition for Paramount+. It already has a large number of soccer rights. Plus, it has a limited number of ViacomCBS-owned channels that air soccer. Currently, CBS does air one or two Serie A matches a weekend on CBS Sports Network.

The departure of the SEC football package from CBS following the 2023 season does potentially open more broadcast windows on the CBS network. College basketball continues to occupy much of the time in the spring, but the ratings for that sport continue to wane outside of March. Extensive PGA Tour coverage is also a roadblock to more broadcast over-the-air timeslots.

 

ESPN
ESPN: One of the US broadcasters battling for Premier League rights
StrengthsWeaknesses
Leader in US sports coverage; ESPN+ is number 1 sports streaming service; Have shown commitment to hiring strong talent; High level of soccer IQ; Daily soccer show is a plusCollege football commitments reduce availability of open TV slots




Spanish-language networkStreaming service

ESPN DeportesESPN+




Channels availableKey factor

ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN DeportesESPN needs the Premier League to hit aggressive subscriber growth numbers.

Given ESPN’s lack of broadcast television timeslots that are available, it’s doubtful they will be able to give the Premier League much attention on TV. The Premier League would be almost exclusively a streaming property.

The tradeoff is that ESPN’s actual production and studio programming is likely to be better than most offerings from NBC, CBS and FOX, with constant promotion of the league, the “greatest show on earth” via the Disney family of media properties. But does that offset being on linear television?

In my opinion, no. But without a doubt the proposition will tempt some in the Premier League if Disney flashes the cash for exclusive rights.

Second, let’s look at two different potential options for the packages among major media entities and break down each possibility. The two potential package options we will analyze are one partner gaining exclusive rights to all 380 yearly Premier League matches and a potential even 190/190 match split between two media partners.

 

NBC Sports
NBC Sports: One of the US broadcasters battling for Premier League rightsStrengthsWeaknesses

8 years of solid Premier League coverage; NBC’s Fan Fests have helped grow league across country; Studio talent and commentators enjoy critical success; High level of soccer IQPeacock technical issues; Reluctance to make all games available via streaming; Telemundo is still not in HD in many markets




Spanish-language networkStreaming service

Telemundo and UniversoPeacock TV




Channels availableKey factor

NBC, USA, CNBC, Telemundo, UniversoPremier League would continue to give Comcast ability to stem subscribers cutting the cord.

NBCUniversal retaining the rights would mean a mix of Comcast-owned channels including the NBC network, USA, CNBC and Peacock. The networks of NBCUniversal are still in the position to offer the Premier League more matches on linear television than any other potential broadcast partner. The only obstacle facing NBC on its over-the-air channel is the same as it has been the last nine seasons – golf. And with the PGA Tour season calendar significantly different than it was in 2013 when NBC began broadcasting the league, the schedule works out better for the network.

Realistically, NBCUniversal can probably air 3-4 matches each Premier League matchday on linear television, including one a week (with a few exceptions) on the NBC network. The remaining 60-65% of matches would likely be aired on NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock. While that might not sound a great deal for viewers accustomed to well over half the matches on TV, that’s probably the best linear-to-streaming ratio possible.

A possible issue is NBC’s diminishing amount of bumper programming that is actually aired on linear TV regarding the Premier League. However, so long as NBC continues to stream those programs on Peacock and carry Premier League TV as a stand-alone channel within Peacock, the league will probably be satisfied.

Which broadcaster is the best fit

Analyzing all of the above broadcasters, there is no one ideal partner that has everything the Premier League wants. Each of them have their own limitations.

We believe the Premier League realizes that. For instance, that is why the Premier League has decided to offer broadcasters a choice of four packages. Here are the package options, according to The Athletic.

The first is the status quo: all 380 matches, to be split between the bidder’s various platforms. The second is new: all 380 games but shared on a co-exclusive basis between two partners.

The third and fourth are single, exclusive packages of 190 games each. One package would bring the first-, third-, fifth-, seventh- and ninth-choice games in odd rounds of matches, and the second, fourth, sixth, eighth and 10th picks in even rounds. The other package would flip the picks.

Given that there is a distinct possibility that the Premier League may decide to partner with more than one broadcaster, here is my analysis about the likely possibilities:

Could an NBC & CBS partnership work?

This would give the Premier League two of the traditional “big three” broadcast networks invested in English top flight soccer. The networks would trade-off picks every week in terms of top matches. This would allow maximum linear broadcast windows and permit both networks to schedule around existing commitments to other sports, most notably golf on Saturdays.

Benefits of a NBC & ESPN partnership

Given the enmity between Comcast and Disney at the corporate level, this would make a very uncomfortable shotgun marriage at many levels but it could work. The power of NBC’s linear channels and Disney’s growing presence on the streaming side would put the league in a unique position.

In addition, the marketing presence of both entities would be a dream for the Premier League. The prospect of being promoted by two media giants might be too good to pass up if an offer that split the rights between these two was on the table.

ESPN’s pragmatism with sports rights has been notable. Firstly, they have displayed a willingness to split the NBA’s cable package with Turner for two decades. Secondly, the new NHL package has a similar splits. Thirdly, splits abound for many college football conferences with CBS or FOX.

FOX & CBS?

In theory, this could work as FOX could air many matches on FS1 and FS2. CBS could air the occasional linear match with lots of Paramount+ content. In addition, CBS’ original studio programming around soccer might appeal to the Premier League.

However, it is difficult to see this partnership leading to the level of promotion that the league probably wants in the US market. In addition, FOX’s lack of a strong OTT streaming presence means that the entire streaming component of the deal likely ends up with CBS.

FOX & NBC – the last two Premier League rights-holders

This in theory would work with lots of broadcast windows for linear on both. However, FOX’s lack of a viable OTT streaming platform is an issue. Tubi could potentially be this but is not established enough as an option for live sports events yet. And it’s doubtful the Premier League would want to take a chance on it. This combination is not viable unless all streaming is given to NBC’s Peacock.

Could ESPN & CBS be the winning formula?

This split would be particularly intriguing as these are the two media entities most invested in club soccer at the current moment. The bumper programming produced in-house at both networks would be high-end. But again, like with other possibilities, ESPN’s piece would be largely streaming. However, the promotion capabilities of Disney’s media empire combined with the visibility CBS would give the league makes this potentially an outstanding combination for the Premier League.

Last but not least, FOX & ESPN

Even though this same exact split occurred in the 2009-13 time period for the US Premier League rights, neither network has adequate broadcast windows to make this work. It works for MLS because of the March to November calendar, but one could argue it does not really work once college football season begins.

This combination, though it was viable in the past, would simply not work well for the Premier League in the 2020’s.

The outsider: Amazon interest

How a combination of a broadcast network and Amazon Prime would look is difficult to forecast. I had believed the Premier League might break out a separate package of midweek and holiday fixtures for Amazon in the U.S. However, there is no indication based on published reports nor our own sourcing that the Premier League will do such a thing. So, Amazon likely has to partner with another entity or bid for the entire 380 match package, without a broadcast partner.

Recently, I felt Amazon had a real shot at securing a portion of the rights or the entire package. But in the last 18 months, there have been a lot of changes. Firstly, NBC’s interest in the Premier League rights has bounced back. Secondly, CBS has emerged as a huge player in the soccer space. Thirdly, FOX has renewed its commitment to the sport. For FOX, that seemed unlikely at the start of 2020.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Premier League has many options for its next US TV deal. It needs to weigh distribution as a key factor along with whomever bids the most.

The deadline for the broadcasters to submit their bids to the Premier League is November 8. Ultimately, the Premier League will decide which package to select. As a result, we will then know who will broadcast the English league from the 2022/23 season onwards.

What opinions do you have about the US broadcasters battling for Premier League rights? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Additional reporting and analysis by Christopher Harris

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57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. Darién

    June 13, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    I said it just before Christmas and I am going to say it again now. All these broadcasters seem to want us soccer fans to foot the bill for their streaming services and I refuse to go along. I am a huge LaLiga fan, but when LaLiga was switched to ESPN +, I immediately canceled my subscription to ESPN + and I didn’t watch a single LaLiga on ESPN + nor the few pathetic games on ESPN Deportes. The fact that neither of the Clásico games were shown on TV was especially pathetic. I actually flew to Spain to watch the Clásico played in Madrid and I would rather do that again than pay for ESPN +. At least ESPN is being more honest than NBC. I wish NBC would just put all of the Premier on Peacock rather than making fans having to hope that the important games are shown on TV rather than on Peacock. When NBC started to show important games exclusively on Peacock, I stopped watching the Premier League altogether. And no, I don’t subscribe to Paramount + either. I don’t subscribe to any of these streaming services that have stolen the best European leagues from TV services where they properly belong. And I don’t care how many billions of dollars these companies spend on broadcasting these leagues. I am sure that these companies generate more than enough millions through cable/satellite fees as well as through advertisements not to have to switch their programming to streaming services, especially if on top of that they are charging even more money from consumers. Do I miss watching the games from the best European leagues? Absolutely!!! But I feel that I already pay these companies way too much through the regular cable/satellite subscription. I refuse to pay them any more money and I actually wish that more soccer fans did the same. Only when broadcast television dies and is fully replaced by streaming will I reconsider my position.

    • SteveK

      June 14, 2022 at 12:46 pm

      Are you still riding to work on a horse? Do you still have a landline phone? Do you listen to music by playing CDs in a CD player? Do you still have a wall of DVD boxes and watch them in a DVD player?

      Times change, delivery systems change. But they change slowly. The reason we have too many streaming services now is because more people want streaming than they want to be tied down by a cable or satellite package, they want convenience, they want what they want on any of their devices or screens when they want it.

      “But I feel that I already pay these companies way too much through the regular cable/satellite subscription” and there’s your problem. Like the now extinct dinosaurs you’d prefer to keep both feet stuck in a dying world and will only leap into the future with both feet when you feel it is ready for you. The smarter and savvy media consumers straddle both old and new willingly especially when some of these newfangled streaming ventures are so reasonably priced.

      In England in order to watch the Premier League you have to sign up for Sky, BT Sport and Amazon in order to watch at most 212 games. What about the other 168 games? They are not televised in the UK.

      In the US every single one of the 380 Premier League games are made available on Peacock for $5 a month. That’s a bargain even for a Luddite tied to a cable plan.

  2. Cpcva

    October 26, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    Fox won’t bother with club soccer. Their sports schedule it’s just too gummed up. They’ll stick to the summer stuff

  3. Mᵜāz Kalīm

    October 26, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    The “enmity” is ludicrous.
    Has the author ever been genuinely interested in media-trades outside the realm of sporting-rights?

  4. Jared L Sloan

    October 26, 2021 at 8:31 am

    I’d really rather not have the matches split. I know other major sports in the US do it but having a consistent studio team, broadcast teams and overall presentation is important. If the decision were mine I’d keep it with NBC. Peacock has been better for me recently and I think with a little push from the League they’ll put more and more matches on streaming. CBS would probably be my second choice. They’ve done a ton of work to expand their soccer portfolio and their studio programming and talent is decent. Then I’d go ESPN. The infrastructure is there and they do a good job streaming Bundesliga and La Liga. However sometimes I feel like their promotion and coverage of it can be a little sub-par. They treat soccer, and sometimes sports in general, like a meme and try to be as hip and cool as possible and for some reason that doesn’t sit well with me. I know its a just a game but I don’t need everything to be a meme. Then, as a soon to be cord-cutter, I’d go with FOX last. Unless they can launch a dedicated streaming service that will stream all the matches and have it be reliable and viable in the next 10 months then I’d rather them not have it. I don’t want to have to get YTTV or Hulu Live for FOX broadcasts.

    1. NBC
    2. CBS
    3. ESPN
    4. FOX

  5. Michael

    October 23, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    @Greg. Yes I was comparing Apples to Apples. The $3 Billion for EPL was not for 1 year it was for 9. The $7.3 Billon for CFP playoff is for the entire contract. The $15.2 Billion they are paying for Monday Night Football and highlights rebroadcast rights is for the entire package. The point is that while we want Soccer to be the main focus and what they make their decisions on…it won’t be. If ESPN gets EPL it will be a tool to grow ESPN+….not the main channel. Now what was mainstream was the EUROS. The EUROS did good numbers on network TV. But that is normal. World events like World Cup/Olympics/Nations etc are more popular than the individual leagues matches for the casual non-diehard consumers in US Market

  6. greg

    October 23, 2021 at 10:39 am

    @Michael – I think the ESPN NFL cost might be a bit high…it’s $2.7 billion per year.

    http://www.sportingnews com/us/nfl/news/nfl-tv-rights-deals-explained/z4rlycwog3jz1f6pqdqoegbxf

    And the college football playoff $7.3billion over 12 years. And it’s for 7 games a season, not 3.

    https://www.usatoday com/story/sports/ncaaf/2020/01/09/college-football-playoff-financial-success-expansion-future/2838495001/

  7. Michael

    October 23, 2021 at 12:18 am

    Great conversation. A couple of things:
    1. ESPN is very unlikely to rebrand ESPN News to Soccer Channel for two reasons: a. That would directly undercut ESPN+ which they are spending $billions on. Currently ESPN News is used for overflow games. I can definitely see ESPN News being the place where there is a soccer broadcast every once in a while…but they are not going to Undercut ESPN+. ESPN+ is where they can much more easily monetize their investment.
    b. While SOCCER is our favorite sport…that is why we are on this website…it is not that popular of a TV sport in America. Sorry. I just isn’t. Yes, $3 Billion/9 years is a big deal to us….but ESPN is spending $.7.13 Billion on on just the College Football Playoff…not the the season…the PLAYOFF. That is only three games a year!!!. They are spending $15.2 billion/year on the NFL. Not to mention the money they spend on College Basketball, Hockey, and Major League Baseball. They are going to put things over the air that allows them to make there money back. EPL is not even the highest rated league in the US…Liga MX is. The Mexican League consistently out draws all but the top EPL games. I know this is not a popular statement, but if the Liga MX’s owners were to put their Rivalries aside and have a united front and commissionership, that marketed their rights to network instead of every team negotiating their one rights….they could literally double EPL ratings.
    c. Everything we said above for ESPN News goes for FS1, but even more. FS1 is in less homes, and Fox is trying to increase that. FS1 it filled wall to wall with College Football, College Basketball, and Major League Baseball…and yes…MLS. Their is no room for EPL there. I do however think there is room for more EPL on FS2…but just as It is easier for Disney to monetize with ESPN+, it will be easier for FOX to monetize with steaming. I have Fubi now and it is cool…but if they start charging for it I definitely won’t pay for it…but enough will that will make it profitable for Fox.
    All that being said, I don’t think ESPN or Fox will get the rights. ESPN has Bundesliga and La Liga for international…and they will concentrate on domestic for ESPN+ which would be MLS & Liga MX. The same goes for Fox, but I think they want the Tournaments, but the leagues. I can see them splitting MLS and Liga MX like they current do.

  8. Mario Garcia

    October 23, 2021 at 12:04 am

    What about a combination of CBS and Univision?

    That way each focus on one language and they can pool resource to be able to pay the hefty fee.

  9. greg

    October 22, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Agreed re: Abdo being aces. As for how she dresses, she’s always been fashion-forward, even on Fox. Her style works for her & if she thinks she looks good and feels good about herself that’s all that matters. Rebecca Lowe has a very different style, but it works for her.

    Should also add, Abdo is amazing for not only speaking 3 or 4 languages other than English but can live-time translate post-match comments from French, Spanish, etc. She’s a real soccer fan, knows the game, is prepared…real top talent.

    The only thing I wish CBS would change is the yukking it up and frequent digs at each other. gets in the way & is borderline mean sometimes. Dial that back and their studio show is among the best I’ve seen on US tv for soccer…up there with NBC at its best and ESPN during the last couple of Euros prior to this one.

  10. Dan N.

    October 22, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Yes, CBS Sports producers are definitely aiming for “All Eyes on Kate Abdo” rather than “Champions League Today”. While we’re at it, let’s get Jamie and Micah to do a shirtless segment together, eh? That’ll get those P+ subscriptions up! /s

    Rather than speaking about how she dresses, can we at least appreciate that Kate is one of the hardest working hosts out there? Boxing one night, then CONCACAF qualifiers and Serie A the next, and then CL during the week? Kudos to her for her knowledge and commitment and setting a great example!

  11. WC Dave

    October 22, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Disco George: Do you think TV performers, male or female, have a lot of agency about how they present themselves on today’s heavily overproduced TV scene? I don’t.

  12. Ra

    October 22, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    Yes, some here should write to CBS and ask Kate to wear a burka so as not to offend their fundamentalist beliefs. What a joke.

  13. disco george

    October 22, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Yeah, Kate Abdo couldn’t possibly be choosing her own outfits, because women have no agency and only dress for the male gaze. Obviously.

  14. Michael F

    October 22, 2021 at 10:28 am

    @Dan N. I wholeheartedly agree with you about Rebecca Lowe as a phenomenal studio host and also find Arlo White’s passion for the game infectious. All the negative drivel about in posts here is over-the-top. But to each it’s own.

    I find Rebecca Lowe and the two Robbies synonymous with the Premier League and would really see a void if they weren’t there covering it. They have always done a terrific job. Even through this covid pandemic when Kartik claimed there was a drop off by NBC last year. That’s nonsense. They were limited by the Covid pandemic for obvious reasons like any other broadcast studio. And they now are back to full strength and doing fan fests again now that it’s safe again to do so. They have always been top notch.

  15. Michael F

    October 22, 2021 at 10:16 am

    @Hans. Note I actually appreciate the information you provide, I just thought the off handed comment about what the expressions people have made in their comments as asking Santa for a present wasn’t necessary. Smile.

  16. locofooty

    October 22, 2021 at 9:24 am

    Wow, comments about Kate’s bare shoulders. Just Wow.

  17. Rich

    October 22, 2021 at 8:15 am

    Fox essentially doesn’t have a sports streaming and on-demand presence so I’d hate for them to get it unless they pledge to have games on demand at no extra cost.

    NBC’s fragmented approach that leaves us spending a few minutes in every broadcast window having to guess which app the game is on has tiresome, to me. I hope that whoever gets the rights makes all the games available in the same place.

  18. WC Dave

    October 22, 2021 at 8:09 am

    BTW, I agree with Paul Redd about CBS’s studio style. I much prefer the grownups on NBC, interacting like civilized men and women, to the chortling men-children on CBS. Kate with her bare shoulders (I imagine not by her choice) among the yobs (again, probably producer-dictated behavior) comes across as semi-creepy, especially when she and Schmeichel are having a passive-aggressive tiff.

  19. WC Dave

    October 22, 2021 at 8:00 am

    I am semi-retired and it’s a good thing, because keeping track of where the next good matches are airing, and then watching them, feels like a full time job, albeit one that I enjoy! (World Soccer Talk’s SoccerTV app does help.) I have ESPN+, Paramount+, Peacock, NBC’s over-the-air channels through YouTubeTV, Fox’s channels the same way, Sling’s international football package for Ligue 1, and Pluto for the French and Turkish matches that are on BeIN Xtra. Kind of ridiculous to need so many services, but that’s the nature of the football broadcasting beast these days. I’m rooting for NBC to keep the EPL mainly because I don’t want to have to rejigger my carefully assembled mix of services!

  20. Paul K Redd

    October 22, 2021 at 5:33 am

    If I get a streaming sports service, I only want to pay for European Football. I don’t want to watch or pay for Baseball, Basketball, American Football or Soccer, hockey, golf……… I love NBC’s approach, talent selection, and programs. If I had one on demand service that had EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga, and Champion’s League with bumper programming, and the NBC talent choices, I’d be totally willing to pay for that.

    Fox’s approach makes me sick, and CBS need to drop all the yuck-yuck and get straight to the soccer. I prefer Rebecca’s style to Kate Abdo’s bare shoulders any day. I can see skin anywhere.

  21. Hans

    October 22, 2021 at 1:21 am

    The report about Disney spinning off ESPN was of course denied, however a few facts remain. When this report first appeared the Disney stock popped 2%. Wall Street and other private investors have been telling Disney for years to spin off ESPN because growth of ESPN is tied to linear TV and every time someone cuts the cord ESPN looses about $10 from the cable package. Therefore the combination of extremely expensive fees for sport events over years, a low growth in the linear TV and cable world is not to the liking of investors. Only Bob Iger prevented this move and has gone on record it will not happen under his watch because he is a sports fan. His successor Chapek is more analytical minded and reportedly isn’t invested in Disney being the home of the World Wide Leader in Sports.
    .
    On the other hand sticking with the bundle of Disney+ and Hulu will allow Disney to concentrate and pour money into where it wants to go, namely increasing their subscriber numbers. It took Netflix almost 10 years to reach 100 million which Disney did in 18 months. However they can’t grow subscribers in the streaming world if they have to also cater to the cable & linear TV world which is on the decline, thus the pop in the stock when this report appeared of spinning off ESPN.
    .
    Sports betting is on the rise and a lucrative market that I think Disney as a family oriented business will not enter into. But as a standalone company a substantial amount of money could be made because ESPN is a recognized brand in the sports world and would do well in the gambling market.

    @Michael F.
    No spinning from my side about Amazon buying ESPN it is all about where will this bidding end up and I have a gut feeling since this is the most important one in years to come we will have a surprising outcome and it will not be a straight forward renewal as the EPL has already rejected that. Amazon already has Thursday Night Football until 2033 and they found out that subscribers to sports streaming are not adverse to online shopping and they are eager to grow their Prime subscribers.
    .
    Warner-Discovery could could also be a potential buyer for ESPN, as they want to have more live sports available for streaming. After all they just signed a 7-year deal to broadcast the NHL. Since the scene of consuming content is changing the consuming of live sports events will also change and ESPN being the most recognized brand for live sports events would be more attractive as a standalone company than just adding to the appeal of the Disney bundle, somehow I can’t see The Mouse being interested..
    .
    Bottom line this is another factor that could effect the bidding process and outcome. Who knows what has been secretly hatched out behind the scenes in the respective boardrooms. None of these guys are interested in the product, for them it is a way to make money and win the struggle for power in the media and streaming world.

  22. Dan N.

    October 22, 2021 at 1:19 am

    If NBC were to retain any rights for the next deal, I can only realistically see them getting the full package instead of splitting it. Honestly, who is going to pay for Peacock for only half of the PL games? I do not see ESPN going for the entire package as it would significantly dilute all the rest of their content and very likely jack up the subscriber fee. My preferred outcomes are that either NBC retains the entire package or there is a split between ESPN and CBS/P+. Straight no for any FOX.

    Hot take: If the rights do move away from NBC, I do hope that Rebecca Lowe and Arlo White follow wherever the PL goes. I happen to like Lowe as studio host and I know people think Arlo talks a lot in the booth, but I actually admire the classy intensity he exhibits in his commentating. It doesn’t come off as loud and obnoxious as John Strong or monotonous as some of the other English commentators.

  23. Leo

    October 21, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    Not ESPN+ please. They probably would increase the price from $70/year to $100/year or $150 if they get EPL exclusivity. Although, for EPL it would be great. ESPN-FC dedicates have the show to talk about EPL. Imagine how much they would talk about EPL if actually landing the rights. As a Bundesliga fan, $70/year would be my limit (I started with $50/year in July 2020 and renewed at $60/year). If ESPN+ increase one dollar more, I would go back to Bundesliga links (nowadays, the video quality is almost the same, only difference is the stop/rewind option).

  24. Ivan

    October 21, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    Anybody but CBS. They have been awful!

  25. Michael F

    October 21, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    @Hans. Sounds like you are spinning it in a way for wanting Amazon to go grab the EPL rights (aka asking Santa for your present). Haha. You would like to appear to have the ‘inside’ scoop that even Kartik and Chris Harris never mentioned. Is what your said relevant and meaningful for where EPL right go? Maybe. Maybe not. People gave their opinions and yes their desires or wants in posts above. Nothing wrong with that. That’s how it usually goes. Stating things from their perspective, like you just did, It’s all good.

  26. Futbol is Life

    October 21, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    @Hans, thanks for sharing that information.
    I wonder however if Disney is focused on streaming whether they would spin off ESPN and break their (Disney/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle? Companies change course all the time but undoing a bundle that they marketed and promoted heavily not sure. But as you mentioned, profits dictate majore decisions.

  27. David the Yank

    October 21, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    What is the evidence for the claim that nbc can Fests grow the sport? They make me turn off the TV immediately and wait for actual games or analysis.

  28. Hans

    October 21, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Most here have offered in the comment section their preference where the rights should go. However that is like asking Santa for a present and this is not how it works in the boardrooms that have no interest in the sport and are just interested in profits. So let me share what I read in an article regarding ESPN.
    .
    ESPN is owned by Disney, and as long as Iger is in charge ESPN was not going to leave Disney. However he will leave December 31st and Bob Chapek will become the one in charge. Investor advisers have urged Chapek to spin off ESPN and this would give a boost to Disney’s stock as they can now focus 100% on streaming and the investors and the markets would love that.
    .
    So there is an excellent chance that ESPN will become a separate company as it would be good for the Disney company. The sports properties that ESPN has are extremely expensive for years to come. Therefore this newly created company would have to be bought by someone. Who would be in the position to shell out that kind of money, only a few could and who would be best positioned with sports experience to be interested in this deal, only 2 come top my mind Apple and Amazon, with Apple having no sports experience and to me little interest, however Amazon has sports experience and the dosh to buy ESPN.
    .
    So here is another possibility, Disney spins off ESPN and ESPN is bought by Amazon and thus another major player throws his hat into the ring. Iger leaves Dec 31st Chapek runs the company 2022 onward and he is not as wedded to ESPN as Iger is.

  29. Michael F

    October 21, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    As a live stream service customer with U Tube TV and with other streaming apps, I would prefer that NBC retains the full package of 380 matches of the EPL. I realize that gets the ire of the ‘echo chamber’ (someone else used this phrase and I liked it) from several that comment here on this site against NBC/Peacock because… a) they are cord cutters and want all matches on streaming and b) they have disliked Peacock due to early technical issues at launch and because NBC doesn’t air all matches live on Peacock.

    Here is the thing for most viewers that follow the EPL exclusively over other leagues and competitions and have for years: These viewers are serious about getting quality coverage of the league and it’s 20 clubs. NBC has delivered this. This is what these viewers expect now.

    No question about it – and I don’t care what naysayers say, NBC has delivered what fans of EPL want. Those that just watch matches, don’t ever consider this and that is their prerogative – but they are also the ones not exclusively following the EPL – but generally every soccer league. I can respect that.

    Now could another provider give the same quality coverage and attention to this league as NBC has? Maybe. But Comcast also does bring an advantage in owning Sky Sports. So analysis and coverage of a 24 hour transfer window via Sky Sports (for example) and David Ornstein is outstanding! NBC also gets Sky Sports studio coverage & interviews after MNF matches – which I have fully appreciated.

    I am sure any provider ‘could’ obtain the Premier League shoulder programming, and maybe the PL 24 hour channel that produces this shoulder programming that Peacock airs, if they got exclusive rights to the EPL. I would hope so, as it is outstanding.

    I keep thinking that NBC continues to be the best fit to provide the same quality coverage of the EPL, because they don’t currently have as much American sports programming in its way (as other providers do) in addition to other soccer leagues (ie ESPN and CBS) as noted in Kartik’s commentary above. BTW… A radical move to Amazon Prime exclusively would be unreal and welcome for me. Based on all the reports and what Kartik stated above, don’t see it happening.

    However, I also believe that since EPL is really looking to cash in via a bidding war, they are looking at all options and will definitely consider strongly at a split partnership of providers to maximize their return. If that happens, I hope it’s ESPN and NBC to retain. I have personally not been impressed to date with CBS/Paramount+ video quality of matches, despite the quality of studio and match coverage of the CL. Both are important to the viewer.

  30. Jasinho

    October 21, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    Here is what I would like to know about the split-bids:

    How does the Premier league determine what is deemed to be the first choice, second, etc?
    I am on presumption that the Saturday 1730 BST and Sunday 1630 BST would be the first choices.
    Wouldn’t bidding by timeslots be a better approach?
    Is there any truth to the rumor that the PL may negate the Saturday 1500 BST embargo, therefore allowing more TV exposure for the PL clubs?

  31. James

    October 21, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    As a cord-cutter, I just want all the games available on one streaming service where I pay my monthly fee and I’m guaranteed to be able to watch every game without looking at a schedule to see if it’s available to me or not.

    Frankly, I just want to watch the game, I don’t care about the studio. So the product to me is the same since the production and commentators are provided by Premier League Productions (apart from Arlo White who I can’t stand anyway).

    Would love it if it went to Amazon personally.

  32. Yespage

    October 21, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    The EPL doesn’t need to “weigh distribution”. It will weigh how much money it gets, which seems to imply that the rights would be split as the two halves could very possibly be worth more than a single exclusive package.

    My question is, do some broadcasters go with just a full or partial exclusive bid.

  33. Bill Victor

    October 21, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    I just got a notice that ESPN+ is increasing its rates.

  34. Roberto

    October 21, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    I hope the big rain storm coming to Calif. brings rain to LA all three days of the fan fest! The EPL has set back the support for Football in Africa, Asia and the U.S. Sure watch the games we enjoy but no building the EPL, it is big enough, already!

  35. Me

    October 21, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Who says the tender is for 6 years?

  36. Bob M McQueen

    October 21, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Please let it not be Peacock

  37. Dave

    October 21, 2021 at 11:11 am

    Another vote for keeping it all under one umbrella, and ideally that’s NBC. Assuming that if they got it, they’d move all streams under Peacock. It’s already a pain to determine where to watch a particular match: NBCSN, Peacock, NBC Sports, etc…. Now imagine it’s split between two partners, with both linear and multiple streaming apps.
    Logistics of finding the match aside, Rebecca, the Robbies, Arlo, etc. are all terrific and I think NBC nails the right tone and presentation. The CBS team “yucking it up” is so off-putting, but their technical package is quite good. ESPN has great soccer IQ (as the article puts it), but Soccer will always be a 5th-level sport there. Fox — ugh.

  38. mk

    October 21, 2021 at 11:11 am

    agreed

  39. mk

    October 21, 2021 at 11:10 am

    I think either just espn or a fox espn split because you can rebrand espnews to espn soccer and fox could brodcast the games on fs1 and fs2 espn can have the 7am and 10am est window and fox especialy fs2 could have the 12pm est window. cbs and nbc are gonna be s&&t brodcasters especially cbs

  40. Fechin

    October 21, 2021 at 11:07 am

    @Tayo November 8th

  41. Tayo

    October 21, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Any idea when Premier League will announce this?

  42. Fahad

    October 21, 2021 at 10:38 am

    It would be great if we can get all matches on streaming + TV partner. Based on the above analysis (thank you for this) I hope it would go ESPN/NBC

  43. Fechin

    October 21, 2021 at 10:33 am

    I don’t see a split happening between two networks especially with NBC. Either they are getting the whole 380 games or they won’t want it at all. NBC would not want to pay more for less games is what essentially happened the NHL. I see NBC spending 250 million-275 million for 9 years instead of 6 years. NBC should go after the FA cup as well. Paramount plus should focus on Serie A and the Champions league. ESPN has too many properties right now. Bundesliga and la liga should be their focus. Fox oh hell no. I like competition so therefore NBC should keep it.

  44. Garry Myrwold

    October 21, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Love NBC’S coverage and commentators. I have DirecTV and Peacock. I think the other stations are already have enough on their plate and will not be able to support the premier League, IMHO.

  45. greg

    October 21, 2021 at 10:09 am

    @roberto – any business will want to continue to grow in markets where there is potential for more revenue. And not all clubs are equally rich or as known in the US, so they really want the exposure that leads to more shirt sales, club tv subscriptions, people coming to the UK to see their matches, etc…

    Repeating what I’ve said on other threads – I’m fine if it’s status quo and NBC gets a 100% package. Things will need tweaking in a world without NBCSN. But also, if they’re paying that much more they’ll by under more pressure to deliver ratings and engagement.

    If it’s a split, NBC or CBS with ESPN makes some sense. They could swap linear slots among CBS, CBSSN, the NBC linears, ESPN linears & ABC. ESPN+ or Paramount+ could be streaming home for overlfow matches, especially in the 10am Eastern time Saturday window.

    Those three are the strongest in terms of in-studio, which is more important than I think people give it credit. I have this untested hypothesis that if viewers respond to, like, and engage with studio talent that means they watch matches more regularly. There’s a human connection that adds to the love of the sport already there.

  46. Roberto

    October 21, 2021 at 9:51 am

    So, my question is, why is it important to build the EPL in the U.S.? Is it not already the richest league in the world?

  47. JP

    October 21, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Unless NBC retains the full 380 match exclusive package, think they’re out. As seen with NHL, they had no interest in the secondary package which Turner got after ESPN won the #1 package.

    It would appear ESPN will be involved one way or another (exclusive or partner). The wildcard is FOX, although they get a lot of hate, can easily pivot and repurpose FS2 as a soccer channel for dedicated EPL matches in every time slot, with the rest streaming (their own or with a partner if a joint bid).

    If going full streaming then either ESPN or CBS (or both) makes the most sense.

  48. ToffeeFever

    October 21, 2021 at 9:24 am

    please not fox, please not fox, please not fox

  49. Mercator

    October 21, 2021 at 9:16 am

    I agree with Daniel, I hope it is not split and just goes to ESPN. The dream is they do indeed make ESPNews the “soccer channel” and then also stream everything on ESPN+. EPL and MLS (plus college football) with multicast on the weekends, CBS for midweek European games. I would prefer CBS next because they will likely stream ALL the games. NBC or Fox last, I simply won’t watch through legitimate means if one of these two keeps the rights and doesn’t make all the games available to stream.

  50. nickp91

    October 21, 2021 at 8:54 am

    If NBC Sports loses EPL it will be a dark day for NBC

  51. John Ketcham

    October 21, 2021 at 8:21 am

    The ideal is NBC retaining and committing to a linear game in every window, with 2 games in the 3 p.m. Saturday (10 a.m. Eastern) window on USA and CNBC. I’d love to see them go after EFL rights (Championship and League Cup) and the FA Cup when it comes up so that NBC/Peacock becomes the home of English football in the US

  52. Ra

    October 21, 2021 at 8:15 am

    I hope neither ESPN nor CBS gets it. I am already subscribing to them for Bundesliga and UCL and would hate to pay more because of EPL.
    I don’t care who gets as long as I don’t end up paying more for it.

  53. Daniel

    October 21, 2021 at 8:08 am

    I would hate the games being split over multiple partners. I’d prefer it stay with NBC or move to ESPN. ESPN doesn’t have a lot of time slots but for years now, ESPNews has primarily been used to either simulcast radio shows, games running over and old content. They could easily rebrand that channel and make it the home for soccer.

    I just want the Premier League to make sure the quality games remain on linear TV.

  54. Stephen

    October 21, 2021 at 7:56 am

    NBC is far above the others in quality of coverage and the studio coverage. It’s the first time (in the US) that I’ve continuously made time to turn on games early to watch the studio discussion. I don’t feel like I’m compromising the viewing experience like I did when Fox aired games.

    NBC is the reason the PL has finally made it in the US. Doesn’t anyone remember how bad it was before NBC, Rebecca and the 2 Robbies, etc?

  55. Graham

    October 21, 2021 at 7:53 am

    i really hope CBS does not get this contract. They are horrible. The CBS sports channel never has a CL game on it and yet they have the rights. I have to watch Spanish language channels to get any CL games.

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