NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, has acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Premier League -- the world's top soccer league -- through a multi-year agreement that begins with the 2013-14 season, both parties announced Sunday.
Under the deal, NBCUniversal becomes the exclusive English- and Spanish-language media rights holder to all 380 Premier League matches across all platforms and devices in the United States.
The sale price and term of the pact was not disclosed. But the Premier League features many of the world's most well-known players and teams, and represents a coup for NBC which is cornering the market for TV soccer in the U.S.
“The Barclays Premier League is the preeminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the U.S.,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman, NBC Sports Group. “NBCU will provide the broadest programming and promotional commitment that the league has ever experienced here in the United States. The Premier League provides NBCU with best-in-class content for 10 months of the year across our far-reaching broadcast, cable and digital platforms. This is a perfect match.”
Each of the 20 Premier League teams plays 38 matches over a 41-week period from August to May. NBC, NBC Sports Network, and NBCSports.com will all be utilized to present live Premier League coverage, as well as Telemundo and mun2 for Spanish-language coverage. Additional NBCUniversal platforms and networks will occasionally be scheduled to air Premier League matches, while NBC Sports Live Extra will provide the live streaming platform across web, tablet and mobile devices.
“The NBC Sports Group has an excellent track record in sports broadcasting and will showcase the Barclays Premier League to fans across the USA through its extensive network of channels and high quality production,” said Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore. “We are extremely pleased that NBC has chosen to invest in the Premier League and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
The NBC Sports Group’s networks and platforms are already significant destinations for soccer fans in the U.S. Its soccer portfolio includes Major League Soccer (MLS), U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches and the men’s and women’s Olympic soccer tournaments.
NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and mun2 also provide comprehensive Spanish-language soccer coverage. Both channels will air Premier League matches, as well as serve as the U.S. Spanish-language home for the FIFA World Cup from 2015 through 2022.
The Premier League is the biggest continuous annual global sporting event in the world. Last season more than 13 million fans attended matches with average stadium occupancy in excess of 92% for the fourth season in a row. Across nine months of the year, its 380 matches are viewed in 212 territories worldwide.
Photos by Getty Images