NBC secures $250 mn English Premier League rights
The network will show every match from the world's most popular soccer league, taking coverage away from Fox and ESPN.
"The Barclays Premier League is the pre-eminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the US,'' NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said Sunday.
NBC picked up Major League Soccer last year and had success with its soccer broadcasts during the London Olympics.
Criticized for using tape delay with the Olympics because of time differences, NBC will not do so with Premier League games, Lazarus said.
"We think we're acquiring a set of assets that has unique affluent male appeal that's very attractive to advertisers and attractive to cable operators,'' Lazarus said.
NBC's English-language networks will televise six live games a week. One or two of the company's other cable channels will be used along with NBC Sports Network, Lazarus said, but which ones have not been determined yet as schedules are evaluated. Other games will be streamed live online.
The network has been expanding its sports portfolio since cable company Comcast took over NBCUniversal in January 2011, a merger that paired cable sports channel Versus with NBC Sports. Versus was renamed NBC Sports Network at the start of this year.
Lazarus has highlighted how live sports events are the best way to grow the channel's audience, but not many properties are available in the short term, and
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