NBC Sports Digital Is Adding Live EPL Matches To Its NBC Sports Gold Streaming Product
NBC Sports Digital is adding live EPL matches and studio-based programming to its NBC Sports Gold streaming product, marking the first time the league's game content has been available to U.S. consumers in an OTT package such as this. The $49.99 cost for the new “Premier League Pass” will cover 130 matches during the upcoming ’17-18 season, with a minimum of three matches for each individual club, along with a wide array of NBC Sports original content, highlight clips and studio programming such as “Men In Blazers” and “Behind The Badge.” The development of NBC Sports Gold has been a key priority for the company, and the service currently offers separate passes to cycling, motocross, rugby and track & field. The addition of the EPL represents arguably the most notable content to be offered thus far. “We’re learning a lot about the direct-to-consumer space, and if this is successful, I think it will help drive adoption of (NBC Sports Gold),” said NBC Sports Group Exec VP & GM of Digital Media Rick Cordella. NBC Sports will continue to cover the EPL in its regular TV schedule, and does not plan to reduce coverage on NBC and NBCSN. Matches included in the “Premier League Pass” were previously part of linear TV Extra Time packages and distributed through NBCSports.com on an authenticated basis (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
A WHOLE NEW WORLD: In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald wrote this move is another sign that NBC Sports Group is "moving away from a financial model that draws its most important revenues from cable and satellite TV subscriptions." NBC is "discontinuing its overflow linear television channels that have carried the simultaneous kickoffs when there's no room left on the mainstream channels" (PHILLY.com, 6/27). RECODE's Peter Kafka noted this "isn’t NBC’s first foray into direct-to-consumer streaming sports." It already "sells access to Tour de France coverage, as well as other niche sports like rugby and motocross, for up to $70 a season." However, the EPL games will be the "highest-profile sports package it has sold to date" (RECODE.net, 6/27).