NBC retains English Premier League rights for the next six years

Rich Sandomir of the New York Times reports and NBC has confirmed that NBC has retained English Premier League rights for six more years that will last until after the 2021-2022 season. This comes after reporting record ratings for an opening EPL on NBC weekend as well as announcing that they will be showing 40 games on USA and therefore expanding the visibility of the EPL more than it already has.

NBC is currently in the third year of their original three year, $250 million deal with the EPL. While the total cost is yet to be announced, I would have to imagine it’s going to be way more than the current rate of $83.3 million per year.

We at 32 Flags recently talked about why networks like ESPN and Fox would put forth bids even though it would be very difficult for them to show every game with their many other properties that would likely take precedence. It would still be important for ESPN and Fox to stay in and lodge a bid to force NBC’s hand and force them to pay more money than they would have if it was just NBC bidding. That way, NBC wouldn’t have as much money to go after other sports which can give ESPN and Fox the edge.

World Soccer Talk reported that a massive joint bid from ESPN, Fox, Univision and Discovery was tipped to win until NBC came back with a second bid. In the end, that was enough for the EPL to forget about the three year deal (which was also being negotiated) and give NBC the entire six years that were available.

In the end, it’s very great to see NBC keeping EPL rights. No disrespect to ESPN and Fox, but NBC has the availability to show every game as well as provide hours upon hours of EPL studio shows  featuring Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe as well as the ever popular Men In Blazers. NBC’s EPL work has been almost universally acclaimed among soccer fans (which can be almost impossible to do) and their EPL coverage is a cornerstone of NBC Sports. NBC’s EPL coverage has raised the bar when it comes to soccer coverage in America and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.

UPDATE: John Ourand of Sports Business Journal denies World Soccer Talk’s report of a joint bid confirming the original reports that the Premier League wouldn’t accept joint bids.

(New York Times/Awful Announcing/NBC Sports/World Soccer Talk)

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp