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Why the Premier League chose NBC over ESPN, according to Leeds' owner

·Producer
·3 min read
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The English Premier League extended its U.S. broadcasting partnership with NBC, the league announced on Thursday afternoon. 

NBC, which has broadcasted the league since 2013, beat out a combined bid from CBS (VIAC) and ESPN (DIS) to stream the European soccer leagues’ games.

Andrea Radrizzani, majority owner of Premier League’s Leeds United Soccer Club, explained why it made sense for the league to stay with NBC.

“NBC works very well,” Radrizzani said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “I think it's been a good partner in increasing the viewership and visibility of the Premier League, and I think they offered a very good amount to beat the competitors, that they were very aggressive, and I think they deserve to continue the partnership with the League, and continue to grow the popularity of the sports across different platforms.”

Reports indicate the six-year deal is worth about $2.6 billion, averaging out to a roughly $430 million annual bill for NBC. It’s the largest TV deal ever for the U.S. broadcasting rights of soccer — though still short in comparison to the roughly $2 billion spent annually by Fox, CBS, and NBC to broadcast NFL games.

Leicester City's James Maddison competing with Leeds United's Liam Cooper at Elland Road on Nov. 7, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Andrew Kearns-CameraSport via Getty Images)
Leicester City's James Maddison competing with Leeds United's Liam Cooper at Elland Road on Nov. 7, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Andrew Kearns-CameraSport via Getty Images)

The extension is a big buy into soccer for the Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) which owns NBC. The network will stream all 380 Premier League matches and other related content on its streaming platform, Peacock, as well as traditional broadcasting methods.

“It’s a market that is growing in terms of popularity,” Radrizzani said. “Soccer is growing every week. And I think our partners have been happy, and there’s the confirmation that we are working very well.”

'More and more kids everywhere in the country playing soccer'

Radrizzani cited growth in U.S. soccer interest as a key driver for why the Premier League values its broadcasting partner. Since NBC took over the broadcasting rights in 2013, the network has shown 28 of the 30 most-watched live Premier League matches ever in the U.S. across all platforms.

Comcast has spent large sums on sports in the past, including a current $7.75 billion Olympics deal that lasts through 2032. In its most recent earnings report, Comcast said the Tokyo Olympics accounted for $1.8 billion of NBCUniversal’s revenue and helped drive a 47.5% quarterly increase in media revenue year-over-year.

Sep 27, 2021; Columbus, OH; Kids plays soccer with Kyle Martino at the Campeones Cup Community Event at Ohio Hispanic Coalition. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2021; Columbus, OH; Kids plays soccer with Kyle Martino at the Campeones Cup Community Event at Ohio Hispanic Coalition. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

After losing NHL broadcasting rights to ESPN this year, NBC’s largest spends on sports are the Olympics, the NFL, and now Premier League soccer.

With the next World Cup happening in less than a year, Radrizzani said that soccer “presents a big opportunity.”

“I see more and more kids everywhere in the country playing soccer,” he said. “But it’s not a surprise to me, to be honest … I’m glad the league is still very appealing.”

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