Next season, NBC's networks will televise the English Premier League under a $250 million, three-year deal. Snatching coverage away from Fox and ESPN, NBC will show every match from the world's most popular soccer league
Last year, the network picked up Major League Soccer and had success with its soccer broadcasts during the London Olympics this past summer.
NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said Sunday, "The Barclays Premier League is the pre-eminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the U.S.."
Other than the tape delay with the Olympics because of time difference, NBC did a really good job covering the U.S. Women's Soccer Team. NBC said it will not have a tape delay covering Premier League games. With so many web sites dedicated to the Premier League, a tape delay could hurt the networks' ratings.
I'm happy about this deal because it means I'll get to see more Arsenal and Premier League matches and it's on a network I watch a lot of anyway. I think ESPN does an okay job with their coverage, but NBC will probably do better. NBC has a lot of on-air talent and has an abundant amount of resources. NBC Sports Network is in about twice as many homes in the U.S. as Fox Soccer but about 20 percent fewer than ESPN.
Lazarus, in referencing to Major League baseball and its older viewership, also said, "It's a younger skewing sport than some others out there, like some that are in a championship series right now."
Could soccer viewership one day top Major League baseball? Of all of the popular sports in the United States, that's the one that soccer could catch up to. Just drive by any park in America and you'll see girls and boys kicking around a soccer ball. Youth baseball in the America is still huge, but I probably see just as many kids playing soccer than I do baseball.
Maybe NBC can broaden the appeal of soccer in the United States. ESPN has tried, but still it's hard when football and basketball dominate the sports media. NBC will put a lot of promotion behind it and the interest will be there in the beginning, although, the true task is to keep people watching when it's no longer the "new thing."
David is had been an Arsenal and Premier League fan for nearly a decade.
- Sports & Recreation
- Barclays Premier League
- Major League baseball