Yesterday, the Premier League and NBC announced a six-year deal for the broadcast rights of EPL matches in the United States, extending the network’s stay with the sport through the 2021-22 season.
But what does it mean?
Let’s start from a Villa perspective. Sports Business Daily reported the deal pushed $1 billion over the six-year span, which is the same figure a lot of other outlets have ran with since. The Daily Mail called it "staggering," and yeah, it’s a lot of money.
In the grand scheme for Aston Villa and the Premier League clubs though? It’s not really a huge windfall.
The network’s current, three-year deal was for $250 million, meaning the per-year cost has doubled in a three-year span. Obviously, that’s a great sign for the progress of the league in the United States.
But as far as clubs are concerned, you won’t see much tangible benefit from this. The annual increase in TV rights is just $83.3 million (£53.5 million), meaning each club on average can expect to see between £2 million and £3 million extra in their coffers each season because of the NBC deal.
That’s not too much, especially when compared to the massive deal recently signed for coverage in the United Kingdom, where Sky and BT put together a bid of over £5 billion over a three-year span.
If you want to make the argument it’s significant though, it’s in the grand scheme of things. The Premier League continues to become more popular in the United States, and around the world, and these small increases will eventually add up.
By far though, the bigger concern as an American fan was down to which of the bidding groups would win the contract, and NBC snagging it is incredibly awesome.
Since coming onboard two years ago, Rebecca Lowe, Arlo White, and the rest of the network’s crew has done a fantastic job with their coverage, bringing the league to new heights in the American sports world. They introduced the 5:30 kick-off to American, over-the-air network television, and air games on the widely-available NBC Sports Network in every other time slot. The production value of their work is top-notch, and they treat the league with the level of respect it deserves.
The only qualm most have about NBC is their online streaming service, which is begrudgingly terrible. The quality of the stream is great, sure, but the action is routinely 60-90 seconds behind what’s actually happening in the real world.
While this may not have been a huge issue, say, five years ago, it absolutely is now — so much of sports happens through Twitter these days, and being a minute behind simply doesn’t work in today’s environment.
The good news here though is that NBC have won the rights for the next six years, meaning there’s ample reason for them to invest in making their streaming capabilities for the league better. Rather than looking over their shoulders at the end of the deal, the Peacock has given itself security: Investing in online streaming is something they’ll be able to get their return back on.
On the flip side though, between NBCSN, NBC and now USA Network, we should expect as many as seven matches to be on TV each week of the Premier League season.
The deal? It means there still ain’t a better place in the world to be a football fan than the United States.