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Premier League’s US TV Rights Deal: The Domino Effect

In the NEW episode, number 235, hosts Christopher Harris and Kartik Krishnaiyer plus special guest Kyle Fansler cover a range of topics including:

• Who will win the next Premier League rights deal in the U.S.,
• The risks and rewards of streaming,
• Latest news about the MLS TV rights deal,
• What the newest streaming rights changes will mean for you,
• Peacock and ESPN+’s headaches,
• English domination in Europe,
• Our matches to watch this weekend
• And your feedback in the Listener Mailbag segment.

Listen to the show via the player above or via this link.

Launched in 2006, the World Soccer Talk Podcast is the longest running podcast on the planet. Every week, we share the latest news about watching soccer on television and streaming, in addition to discussing what we like and dislike, and featuring your questions and feedback in our Listener Mailbag segment.

HEAR MORE: Listen to our archive featuring hundreds of soccer interviews

Send in your questions, comments and feedback via e-mail web@worldsoccertalk.com, via Twitter (@worldsoccertalk) or Facebook. We’ll read them out on-air in the next episode.

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46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. JP

    September 28, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    @Ra, they should go one further and stage a tournament every 4 years between Conmembol and UEFA countries! Maybe have a few ‘wildcard’ invites like Mexico, and USA….would they choose a watered down FIFA WC or the new Conmembol/UEFA venture lol.

  2. Ra

    September 28, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    Just saw the news on the Conmembol-UEFA winners game. It is so nice how FIFA can bring people together.. 🙂
    Now seriously, this means that they joined each other in the trenches to shut down FIFA’s stupid 2-year WC plan.

  3. locofooty

    September 28, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Jose, Por que? If your argument is picture quality and the seconds delay in transmission, you might have a point. You don’t have much of a point if you’re talking about exposure, choices, availability, price lol.

  4. Michael F

    September 28, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    For what its worth, and I don’t think too much… but the Athletic just posted a sports media mailbag article to answer questions on various topics, and the author made this quote below:

    ‘As for where the EPL lands: It’s going to land with the highest bidder. I would put NBCUniversal as very slight favorites followed by ESPN, WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS. I would be surprised to see Amazon go all-in right now, but obviously, they can blow out everyone if they wanted to do so.’

  5. José Cerrato

    September 26, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    Detesto que el streaming esté apoderándose del fútbol.

  6. Adolfo

    September 23, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Very much enjoy your podcast and especially your program on TV rights, you mentioned that NBC/Comcast will have to pay through the nose for them to retain rights to EPL, that also applies to Paramount, ESPN, Time Warner/Discovery, and all others who will throw their hat into bidding. I every time I hear this podcast hear nothing but praise especially about ESPN and Paramount Plus coverage of LA Liga, Bundelsliga. Serie A and how bland NBC coverage of EPL is, I don’t agree at all but my point in all this if that either ESPN or Paramount Plus get EPL rights all leagues they have rights to now will be secondary to the EPL., if either will be paying 2 billion dollars or more to have these rights they sure as hell will dedicate all marketing and coverage to EPL. I hope when that occurs you address this as I don’t see what you both see in ESPN or Paramount soccer coverage.

  7. rej4sl

    September 22, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    I get all games with comcast/peacock. Peacock and HBOMAX are included with our cable. We subscribe to ESPN+and Paramount and Prime so hopefully all our bases are covered.

  8. So1

    September 22, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Hockey may be my go to should the EPL screw this up. We’ll see as I was spoiled watching live hockey when I lived in the Northeast. In the South its college football or nothing. Not really happy with how the EPL is evolving as well. You can see the Americanization slowly but surely creeping in with the Super League BS etc.

  9. Ra

    September 22, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Ended up getting Showtime as an add-on to my annual plan for $2.50/mo

  10. Ra

    September 22, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Completely agree. It is fun because it is polemic. The new contract is likely to start only next Aug anyway. We could just wait. But that’s boring.

  11. JP

    September 22, 2021 at 10:13 am

    @SO1, @MichaelF, I couldn’t agree more. The traditional American sports are used as a tool to sell us other products. Constant commercial breaks, in game promotions, and shots of actors planted in the crowd so the announcers can plug some new show the network is airing soon.
    With soccer, the match stands alone. Yes we have advertising behind the touch line, on kits, and of course the advertising boards around the pitch. Somehow all that feels less intrusive!
    Hockey not included in this, they skew more towards the soccer model.

  12. JP

    September 22, 2021 at 10:05 am

    @Yespage, it’s more fun to speculate, banter, and argue than it is to wait on the actual news haha

  13. Yespage

    September 22, 2021 at 10:02 am

    How many more discussions can be recycled on the EPL TV Contract? It is going to be what it is going to put the most money into EPL’s pockets, and we’ll have to choose whether or not to adapt.

    The move to NBC cost me more money, as FSC was available pretty cheap on Dish Network through their Latino (but still many English channels) packaging. We’ll see what happens next. Watch Willow TV take it. :^P

  14. Ra

    September 22, 2021 at 9:33 am

    @locofooty You can. I already checked. And you will be able to see local content available there if you are there (eg Libertadores in Brazil). Same with Disney+. Didn’t work with Paramount.

  15. locofooty

    September 22, 2021 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for the HBO Max heads up. Hopefully, the service is not split up in Latin America and someone can watch it over there with an account from here here a la netflix.

  16. Ra

    September 22, 2021 at 6:59 am

    I saw a Bubdesliga gameplay for Fifa 22 and it is brilliant. It has all the new visuals and transitions. I will definitely get it on Stadia. For FIFA 21, Stadia has all narration and commentary languages available. I hope they keep the in the new version.

  17. Ra

    September 22, 2021 at 6:43 am

    And you can also get HBO Max for 50%off – 6mo.

  18. Ra

    September 22, 2021 at 6:42 am

    Talking of deals, you can get 4mo AppleTV from Target circle if you are new to AppleTV. I will redeem to enjoy Ted Lasso’s S2.

  19. Ra

    September 22, 2021 at 6:40 am

    I saw that Paramount+ is offering a limited time bundle with Showtime. You get Showtime for $3. But is it worth it? Does anyone recommend Showtime?

  20. Michael F

    September 21, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    @SO1. I couldn’t agree with you more about the appeal of Euro Football for watching its matches in 2 hours time with no ad breaks except half time. It is awesome to be constantly connected with a game and watch its continuous flow with no interruptions. It is one of the main reasons I was drawn to Euro football. I, like you, grew up on American sports you mentioned, but it is losing its appeal for me over time with its constant bombardment of ad breaks away from the telecast.

  21. SO1

    September 21, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    The bottom line for me is after 20 years I’m never going back to cable. Ever. Started as an ESPN3 fan who has now evolved into a Leicester City fan over the last 11 years. I’m ok with having to go someplace else for cups and Europe but want only one place to go for League matches. Pay per view or a Amazon style service would suit me fine as long as I can get all the matches. I’m losing my patience with free streams and by the end of this year should be fit to be tied. I don’t mind paying. I pray that EPL sorts this out or I’m done. Used to love Baseball, Basketball, Ame.Football, and Hockey but between the advertising and other crapafication its just not worth the money or time. Euro.Football 2 hours and done, a beautiful thing and I love the game. Every man has his limitations.

  22. Michael F

    September 21, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    @Ra. Fair enough reply. I do think these posts of point & counter point get thrown out of context. Your belief that I am defending cable couldn’t be further from the truth. Same as I don’t think EPL is the only ‘great soccer league.’ Take the posts in context of the specific discussion at the moment. Our viewpoints are not as extreme in the opposite as you think. Have a good rest of the week.

  23. Ra

    September 20, 2021 at 10:33 am

    @Michael F. I also had enough of this discussion. I just want to set this last one straight. If you check your posts, you only ‘overshared’ because you tried to criticize me for a) using multiview and PiP b) Being open to switch to other leagues c) demanding more for my dollars.
    And no, I did not use anything personal info. Just the fact that you keep defending cable and think that EPL is the only great soccer league.
    I’ve been watching and playing soccer since I am a kid. Celebrated in loco winning 2 WCs and 3 club WCs with my team. So yes, I have something to say every time you share what a ‘real soccer fan’ should do.
    BTW, people are missing that it is not only the transfer window that made EPL more attractive this year. It is the full packed stadiums. Most leagues have several restrictions on attendance and this create a unique, normal feel to the EPL.
    Brasileirao has the best, authentic, soccer root atmosphere in my opinion. But without any fans, it is simply not so exciting.

  24. Michael F

    September 19, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    @Ra. You just like to correct everyone or me, even when correction is not necessary. I don’t mind your POV, but not when it is directed specifically at me from previous posts and information I shared about my viewing habits and subscriptions I have (something I regret now). It’s obvious and unfortunate you took a comment I made in response to another above as something personal to you, and you felt you had to set me straight.

  25. Ra

    September 19, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    @Michael F. You set your rules, I set mine. If they don’t come up with a reasonable value proposition, I’m out. Simple like that. You should not have jumped in a conversation of what I and other cordcutters should expect or not if you wanted to be spared the math.
    But, why does any of this matter? I am not bidding for the rights and neither are you.

  26. Michael F

    September 19, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    @SteveK and @Ra. For clarification: I have never stated ever that matches should be behind a cable paywall or split between cable and streaming. The reality is that it currently is at this time for EPL and the discussion. Is what happens next. A comment was made above that fans would be fine “if 3 or 4 matches a weekend are on TNT/TBS and rest on HBO/MAX (streaming)” and I corrected that notion. Many fans would be upset with that. Mostly cord cutters, but I will add that even cable subscribers would be.

    Then I get this long editorial from @Ra about what I should do to save money and what soccer I should be watching to save that money. Gimme me break. . Haha

  27. Michael F

    September 19, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    @Ra. Read it as an irony? No, you read it as a personal shot at you, which you misread. And you the. took it for an opportunity to criticize what I have earlier shared that I am subscribed to and why, like I am some dumbo that doesn’t understand how I can save more money somewhere else.

    Listen, we all have preferences and choose to pay for something we view. I know the options out there, but you are starting to reiterate things that don’t even relate specific to soccer viewing or the EPL rights not or in future – which is what this article and the comment posts are about.

    Perhaps you need to respect the fact that folks on this site are pretty smart and don’t all think your POV is unreasonable, so that you have to repeat countless times.

  28. Ra

    September 19, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    @Michael F. Sorry for deconstructing it. I read it as an irony, and decided to share my PoV which is not unreasonable as many seem to think.

  29. Ra

    September 19, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    @Hans Thanks for letting us know. Decided to delete the bird app now, even having access until the 28th. I got Peacock for 1mo when it was first launched. Decided it was not worth then, and is also not worth now.

  30. Michael F

    September 19, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    @Ra. I was simply correcting @Chris Guardiano who stated fans will be fine with a scenario not unlike the current NBC/Peacock telecast of live matches.

    Do you honestly feel compelled to correct me every single time with your lengthy drivel. Jeepers creepers. Chris made a statement that I corrected in behalf of cord cutters. Had I not made that statement, would you have corrected Chris? My comment was not at all an attack on cord cutters like yourself at all. You need to relax. This is not a competition to constantly out comment the comment post before. Oh maybe it is for you.

  31. Hans

    September 19, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    This coming weekend’s 2 games of major interest City vs. Chelsea and Arsenal vs. Torrenham are on cable (NBCSN) exclusive this is what is infuriating and many of us want these shenanigans to be gone. Will I miss out, NO my preferred P2P site will broadcast them for free. Keep it up Comscum and you will see where your profits will go.

  32. Ra

    September 19, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    @SteveK Yep, there are some people here arguing on other posts that some games should be cable exclusive because apparently cord-cutters stream services on the cheap (envy? need to feel good about the amount they are paying to cable? don’t know)
    However, IF the rumor that WST shared is true – i.e., that NBC could not break even with their current low payment rights, it is hard to make the case that they will keep it.
    They will be discontinuing NBCSN, so even less revenue. They are moving the games to the USA network, and it will be tough for them to increase their USA network revenue per subscriber. FuboTV and others have reported being losing money as well. Dish discontinued several channels because they don’t accept increases, etc. So, I don’t see much room for negotiations.
    Don’t get me wrong – Comcast has the money to pull it off. But unless they can come up with a whole new Business Plan to monetize these rights, I don’t see them convincing the CFO to sign the check. The only scenario, in my view, is that they come up with plans for a Peacock 2.0, with much more content on all fronts. Maintaining Status Quo won’t make it for them (and that part is clear, after all, they are already shutting down NBCSN).

  33. SteveK

    September 19, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    Ra, I don’t think anyone would prefer to have games split on several channels, I think pretty much everyone here, the Comcast deniers, the cord cutters, the Peacock fans who feel peacock is the best bargain going, the one thing I think we all have in common is we would prefer all 380 Premier League games in one place, on one channel, on one streamer, on one app. We all agree we want all matches live, we would like the ability to pause and rewind and restart any game in every time zone, and we would like to DVR every game.

    The issue is can any “streamer” afford to win the rights. At this point in the US we only know that Comcast, a cable and internet provider, can afford to win the rights.

  34. Christopher

    September 19, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    I think it’s simple for the Premier League, stay with NBC and stream on peacock. To me it would seem stability is important and keeping your product on a channel that you have been with for some years is positive because everybody now knows if you want to watch the EPL, get peacock and watch on USA or NBC, it’s promised to be shown on a channel on Cable and streamed . As we see LaLiga is not getting much exposure beyond ESPN +, not compared to the EPL.

  35. Ra

    September 19, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    Their cost of opportunity is actually $290 and not $260 (200 + 45 × 2)

  36. Ra

    September 19, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Just to make it clear – I think games should be available in as many platforms as possible. The feature games should be on cable and on streaming. But I do not understand why you’d think it is unreasonable to expect to have access to all games on streaming. I am paying and I expect nothing less than that.

  37. Ra

    September 19, 2021 at 10:41 am

    @Michael F. Yes, and I don’t know why you’d think it should be otherwise.
    Let’s see why —
    I am paying $15 for HBO Max and you are paying <$3 for TNT+TBS combined.
    If someone should have exclusive access to the feature games, that should be HBO Max subscribers. I don't see why it would make sense otherwise. This is what Disney is already doing in SA with their Star+ service. It makes total sense. Let me explain. Let's consider 2 scenarios:
    a) Feature games are streaming exclusive. If you really care for EPL as you said, you would subscribe to HBO Max – after all, it is only $15 compared to the $65+ you are already spending. Or you would miss the key games or switch to another league and you made it abundantly clear that this is not something you are willing to do. You also mentioned that you are not willing to give up on cable for several reasons, including the big4. In this scenario, I am paying them $15 and I am happy, you are paying them $18 dollars and are unhappy, but they are still getting your $s.
    Me happy, CEO happy, Investors happy, you unhappy.
    b) Feature games are cable exclusive. I and many more streaming subscribers are unhappy and we cancel HBO Max. Mine is bundled with ATT fiber ($60 for 1/1Gb + HBO), but I negotiated it down and could have canceled HBO Max and go for the $45 500Mb/500Mb or go to Spectrum for $30 (300/30 MB). I would switch to Spectrum for a couple of months and resubscribe the $45 rate and get a $200 introductory visa gift card from them). I just tried EPL recently and am not really invested in the league, so I would just continue with Bundesliga, UCL, Brasileirao, and a couple more. Many more would potentially cancel and they would lose subscribers. CEO needs to explain why they are not meeting their subscriber guidance. But they still would get their $3 from you, right?
    So, they would lose from me $15/mo + a $260 one-time (gift card + spectrum months).
    You happy, me indifferent, CEO unhappy, Investors unhappy.

    The issue with cable is that no single actor gets exclusively recompensed for their efforts. Their successes and failures impact the entire system and that creates an incentive for them to move their prime properties to streaming, where they command more $/subscriber, get valuable data on viewing habits and trends, and can sell advertisement on a much more segmented and effective way, commanding a much higher CPV (cost per view) and better ROAS and CPA. (yes, I work in marketing)

  38. Michael F

    September 18, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    @Chris Guardiano. Good comments,

    However… as to your quote: “If TNT/TBS aired 3-4 matches per weekend with the rest being streamed on HBO Max, I am sure fans would be fine with that.”…

    Um… not the cord cutters that currently despise NBC/Peacock. They want all matches in one place on a stream service on the cheap, and not any matches exclusively on a cable network. behind that paywall.

  39. Chris Guardiano

    September 18, 2021 at 3:21 am

    @Michael F TNT and TBS along with HBO Max would be a great fit for the EPL given the fact that the NHL went there and MLB recently extended their partnership with Turner. There isn’t much in the way of live programming on Saturday and Sunday morning on either TNT or TBS and the EPL would definitely fill that void. If TNT/TBS aired 3-4 matches per weekend with the rest being streamed on HBO Max, I am sure fans would be fine with that. I hope that Turner puts in a bid for the EPL and/or puts in a bid for MLS because MLS needs to end their relationship with ESPN and especially Fox given how low the ratings have become since they acquired the rights back in 2015.

  40. dave

    September 17, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Kyle, welcome to the WST team! I am not sure if you follow the Gators in the “other” football, but I will be glued to CBS tomorrow afternoon. As a neutral, I hope for a competitive game
    .
    @Mercator, I enjoyed your reasoning on other considerations for ESPN-NBC and EPL rights. To your statement “I have to laugh at United winning the CL”, it is a great part of round-robin league play. Young Boys and United are treated the same by the UCL format. It is a pure form of competition

  41. Leo

    September 17, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Wow. Just wow. The return of English Soccer Talk. The audacity of the invited host to mention in the favorites and a potential finalist a team that couldn’t pass the group stage last season and just lost to Young Boys. To get excited about Chelsea for winning against mighty Zenit. or City winning by 3 goals against Leipzig but not mention Bayern (despite Bayern also won by 3 goals at Leipzig home recently). Ah yes, the Gaffer mentioned Bayern could reach the semifinal and then slip up. A dystopian podcast. Well, my fault to be surprised really because I remember the WST dedicated the grand amount of 30 seconds to mention the victory of Bayern in UCL 2020. Regarding information of TV stuff, this site is the best. But regarding knowledge of football, one of the worst available I am afraid.

  42. balabadoop

    September 17, 2021 at 8:32 am

    Whats that? Facts

  43. Mercator

    September 16, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Great Podcast! Welcome Kyle, I’m a c/o 13 Gator myself so glad to see you aboard. I’ve sent strong letters with my annual donations about a mens football team at UF – it will not happen unless the SEC completely changes course apparently (I.e. no).

    Anyway, I was encouraged KK seems to think Fox is not interested in the EPL rights given they didn’t fight to keep CONCACAF rights, although I think the same logic could be applied to NBC given it lost NHL recently and doesn’t have much else. If they can’t break even at current rates, I can’t see them putting up $2bn for a new set of rights. Again, if their first offer was good enough, this wouldn’t be going to bids, and if they could ultimately bid the asking price of circa $2bn, they wouldn’t allow it to go to a competitive auction. I have to think they lose the rights unless no one else manages to hit $300m p/a.

    More strategically, I think the EPL has a lot to lose by not going with ESPN and allowing the mickey mouse machine to push La Liga and BL in the US. EPL is already front of the pack, they don’t need an exclusive broadcaster to stand out, They need to ensure their broadcaster doesn’t pull a BEIN and cripple them in the US market with broken streaming apps and poor distribution. With a broken peacock app and half the games behind a dying cable paywall, NBC is a real risk of being a disaster. CBS is a fair alternative given their commitment to football and US football lately, and Amazon and Apple are not going anywhere and are safe bets as well. I don’t think HBO/Discovery will get it – way too risky with the merger, the lack of sports streaming on either platform, and Turner bailing on the CL rights in the last 24 months.

    I think some consideration should also be given to killing off the Peacock once and for all. I don’t think ESPN’s motivation will be to keep CBS from getting the rights, I think their motivation will be to put one more nail in the coffin of NBC Sports. There are realistically a handful fo companies in the US that can bid on big sports rights like ESPN. NBC is one of them and EPL will not only allow ESPN to corner the football market, cripple Peacock in the short term and they will put an end to NBC in football and sports generally outside of Thursday US Football, Olympics and minor niche sports. One less serious bidder next round, not just for football rights but potentially other sports rights as well. I really hope ESPN’s strategy is just monopolise the market and ride it out, while NBC’s is to retreat. Everything on ESPN and the multicast for $5-10 would be a glorious future.

    Finally, I have to laugh at United winning the CL. What sport are you lot watching?! Great team on paper but Ole couldn’t get them past the Young Boys, thinking he will take them to the CL final is laughable. Gotta be Chelsea or Bayern for my money, maybe Madrid. These clubs have a winning pedigree. City, PSG, United… overpaid mercenaries who will choke in the QF/Semis.

  44. JP

    September 16, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    These are my favorite podcasts, speculating where things might go and the consequences of each scenario.

    It seems like if you two were handicapping the EPL decision it’s ESPN or CBS in the lead if an Amazon type doesn’t swoop in. The fact it’s at this point doesn’t bode well for NBC.
    As you mentioned, if they’re struggling with the current contract to profit/drive Peacock subs, then they very well could put in a token bid they know won’t win and walk away. That is what they did with the NHL. Everyone speculated it meant they’re all in on EPL, but maybe just the start of their non NFL retreat from live sports.
    If that’s true I actually can see the justification. Sports rights fees are spiraling out of control, at some point it’s not worth it if there’s not a critical mass of viewers like NFL and big time college football.

    If EPL still wants that air of exclusivity they might be better off with CBS over ESPN, provided the bids are in the same range. Shared with Serie A, but no one (not even a Serie A fan like myself) would see it as a threat to peel off EPL viewers in the short or long run.
    In addition, if EPL compares what CBS has done with studio coverage for their properties vs ESPN, they know CBS will provide an excellent product that will make EPL feel important.
    Plus, CBSSN has more room to simulcast matches than ESPN does.

  45. Michael F

    September 16, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    Great podcast! Thanks for the insights. Haven’t thought about HBO/MAX with a possibility to air matches on TNT or TBS owned by Warner Media.
    It seems with the continual transition of linear to streaming… so many of the EPL audience has been caught in the middle. I know the general US soccer audience is going to streaming, but NBC built their EPL fan base on linear cable over the years. If this was 5 years from now, the decision for EPL to go an all streaming solution in the US would be an easy one. This will be a very interesting decision by EPL. And maybe the driving force will be the highest bid, coupled with the growth of streaming and not initially losing audience from traditional cable subscribers, as streaming continues to mature and grow.

  46. jason

    September 16, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    In addition to streaming services. Soccer growth can be contributed to youtube channels as well. CBS and NBC provide great highlight packages of games. You can get highlights from smaller league teams in nations such as England and Scotland. Also, the talk and commentary side has grown the most centering around the USMNT. I recommend channels such as Tactical Manager TV, 11 yanks, Yank Report, FifAmerica, Sons of a Pitch, and JJD TV.

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