Sky deal gives NBC higher-quality Premier League games
NBC’s Premier League coverage this season will get a boost thanks to Comcast’s $39 billion purchase of Sky last fall.
The most obvious change that viewers will notice is the quality of games available for NBC’s broadcast window at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturdays. NBC is working with Sky to schedule better games in that window, like the Manchester City-Tottenham game on Aug. 17 and the Liverpool-Arsenal game on Aug. 24. BT held the rights to that 12:30 package last season. This season, it’s part of Sky’s package.
“While we would have televised those games in the past, they would not normally have fallen within the NBC window,” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports’ programming president. “Now that we are under the same corporate umbrella as Sky, we’re going to work with them this season to help schedule those and maximize the best matches in that window.”
Benefits from Comcast’s purchase of Sky affect more than just scheduling. The two will share content and talent: Sky Sports Premier League shows will be part of the NBC Sports Gold streaming package, and NBC Sports content will appear on Sky. NBCSN already has been running Sky Sports News for an hour each day from Monday through Friday.
“We’ve known these guys since we started our Premier League relationship back in 2012 and ’13,” Miller said. “Now that we are all under the same umbrella, we are able to work closely together on everything from sharing resources to game scheduling to cross promotion to sharing content to sharing talent. It’s really a unique partnership.”
As NBC gears up for its seventh consecutive season of carrying Premier League games, here are a few other changes that viewers will notice.
■ NBCSN will expand its Sunday morning prematch show to two hours from 7 to 9 a.m. ET. Last year, the prematch show was an hour long. This change came after the Premier League moved its Sunday game times back by 30 minutes — to 9 a.m. ET and 11:30 a.m. ET.
■ NBC and NBCSN will carry quadruple-headers of Premier League games on about eight Saturdays this season. This move came after the Premier League added a fourth Saturday window at 2:45 p.m. ET. Those games will be scheduled for NBCSN. “Those are Saturday night prime-time games in the UK, so there will be some pretty good matchups,” Miller said. “They fall under the Sky scheduling window, so we’ll work closely with them on that setup.”
■ NBC is making more content available on digital. Its NBC Sports Gold streaming service will add more shoulder programming. It will have 1,400 hours of Premier League programming, including 140 live matches and replays of all Premier League matches. “We’re expanding our shows on the NBC Sports YouTube channel,” Miller said. “We’re bringing back the Premier League Pick ’Em game on the NBC Sports Predictor app.”
■ NBC and NBCSN expect to have games in every window this season. “In the past, we’d have some weekends where there may not be a game at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday or 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday,” Miller said. “The Premier League is working much harder this year to make sure that every window has a game in it.”