It’s being reported that NBC has out bid a joint bid from Fox / ESPN and will be the new home of the English Premier League on US television. According to Sports Business Daily:
“Sources say NBC’s bid would pay the EPL around $83M per year, an amount that would more than triple the $23M per year that Fox currently pays. Sources say Fox and ESPN have been told that their joint bid was not accepted. It is not clear if the Al Jazeera network, BeIN Sport, still is in the running. The emergence of NBC Universal as the clear front-runner in this bidding process comes as a surprise. In the weeks leading up to the bidding process, NBC sources downplayed the company’s interest.
NBC’s bid faced a lot of strong competition. The EPL last sold its rights three years ago to Fox Soccer, which wound up sub-licensing about 80 games per season to ESPN. The two submitted a similar bid this week. Terms of the deal are not known, but a source described Fox/ESPN’s losing bid as aggressive. Friday morning was the deadline for submitting the new bids to the EPL. The loss of the EPL could sting Fox Soccer, which relies heavily on EPL matches and analysis shows for programming. “
This seems like a pretty good thing for soccer in the US in that there is increased demand for the TV rights. More signs that the sport continues its trend of growth domestically. What strikes me here though, is that this would further reduce the amount of live soccer Fox Soccer has. With Fox Soccer really being the first all soccer channel in the US, they have blazed the trail and been the home for the sport on TV. But now they have lost MLS rights and now it looks like they will be losing the EPL as well. They still have the Champions League, Europa League, CONCACAF Champions League among other properties. But they really are falling behind. beIN Sport which only debuted in August has the rights to La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 as well as South American Qualifiers. NBC looks like they will have MLS and the EPL. So where does this leave Fox Soccer?