17 Apr

USA to show more EPL than UK

NBC Sports Group will offer live coverage of all 380 English Premier League matches next season, the company announced Tuesday. The unit of NBC Universal said the soccer matches will be presented on its television and digital properties as well as other NBC Universal channels, including NBC, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Mun2, CNBC and USA.network as well as a package of overflow channels. It also will offer 76 Spanish-language telecasts. NBC Universal in October acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights through a multi-year agreement that begins with the 2013-14 season.

In addition, NBC is making available free to all carriers of NBC Sports Network a package of all EPL games played at 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays — the primary starting time in the Premier League. Called Premier League Extra Time, it is similar to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket.

“I can’t wait for Aug. 17 to come and we get started,” NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said Tuesday. “It’s about making this one of the key pillars of our landscape.”

The deal comes at a time when Fox and ESPN also have heavy involvement in soccer. But the world’s most popular league in the world’s most popular sport will belong solely to NBC for the next three years at a rights fee of $250 million.

Arlo White, who currently calls MLS games on NBCSN, will handle play-by-play from England. Former Premier League players Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux will handle analysis. Former England national team star Gary Lineker will be a special contributor.

Rebecca Lowe, a fixture on European soccer coverage in Europe, will host a studio show from NBC’s international broadcast center in Stamford, Conn. But all game production will be done on-site in England, with NBC using England-based announcers on games White doesn’t work.

“They went all in with us,” Jon Miller, NBC Sports president of programming, said of the EPL, “and we’re all in with them.”

As of now, the original programming is as followed:

• Premier League Goal Zone — A 30-minute program airing after Sunday matches with highlights of every goal scored on Saturday and Sunday.

• Match of the Day — A two-hour Saturday show on NBC Sports Network modeled after the BBC show of the same name. Match of the Day will re-air Sunday mornings.

• Match of the Day 2 — A 90-minute program featuring extended highlights with the natural calls of every game Sunday.

• Match of the Week –NBC Sports Network will re-air the best match of the weekend in its entirety Sunday night.

• Premier League 36 — An original series that follows EPL players for 36 hours leading up to a game.

• Game Cut-Downs — NBC Sports Network will air a two-hour show Monday nights featuring cut-down versions of Manchester United and Manchester City matches. On Tuesdays the network will feature Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur matches.

• Premier League Download — A weekly show featuring high-profile celebrity supporters and journalists discussing the Premier League.

• Barclays Premier League World — A weekly magazine show produced by the Premier League.

• Barclays Premier League Preview — A weekly show (also produced by the league) previewing the upcoming week’s matches.

• Barclays Premier League Review — A weekly show produced by the league that recaps all the matches from the past week.

• Premier League Countdown — A preview of the 2013-14 Premier League season.

NBC said its Saturday coverage of the Premier League will start at 7 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and continue on that network at 10 a.m. When Saturday coverage airs on NBC, it will air with a start time at 12:30 p.m. The Sunday coverage begins at 8 a.m. on NBC Sports Network and continues at 11 a.m. on that network and Telemundo. Monday coverage will start at 2:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.

An NBC Sports spokesperson said there will be some weeks where mid-week Premier League games could appear on CNBC and USA. The network said any game not designated for an NBCU channel will be available on Premier League Extra Time, which is similar to MLB’s Extra Innings Package. (There is no charge to customers whose cable systems have NBC Sports Network.) All games will also be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra, though most consumers will need to authenticate that service.