Premier League football clubs are set for a huge American pay-day with CBS, ESPN and NBC fighting it out to secure the league’s TV rights for a whopping $2BILLION.
There were concerns during the coronavirus pandemic that the appeal of English football in the United States may have been diluted, but it is now being reported that the latest sale of TV rights could double what was previously negotiated in 2015.
The Financial Times write that there are just three broadcasters left vying for the prize, with second-round bids due by November 18 as Disney’s ESPN, Comcast’s NBC and ViacomCBS fight it out.
Three huge American companies are battling it out to secure TV rights for the Premier League
CBS, NBC and ESPN are fighting it out to pay around $2billion to show the English top flight
NBC currently hold the rights to show the English top flight Stateside, which they acquired in a deal worth around $1bn (£745.3m) in 2015, but it is now claimed this year’s deal will be sealed at around $2bn (£1.49bn).
It is understood that the eye-watering figure exceeds the expectations of Premier League club executives, with the 20 member clubs set for a massive windfall, and it will also represent the biggest ever overseas TV deal.
The Covid pandemic saw Premier League clubs lose around £2bn in broadcast and matchday revenue across the two disrupted seasons, so the new US deal will come as a huge financial boost.
When the UK Premier League TV rights renewal came round in May of this year, Sky, BT and Amazon agreed to roll over their existing £5bn agreement, ensuring no financial improvement on the previous deal.
NBC currently hold the rights to show the Premier League, and they paid $1bn for the privilege
A billboard in Times Square promoting the Premier League when NBC secured a deal in 2013
In the US though, it does not seem that will be the case, with three bidders battling for a deal that will run from 2022-23 through until 2027-28.
It is significant news for football – or soccer – as a whole, with the deal indicating that the sport is breaking through in a US market previously dominated by basketball, American football, and baseball.
The FT also report that the figures being bandied around for the US TV deal are so high because of the need for TV companies to show live sport.
With the breakthrough of streaming platforms like Netflix, TV companies have seen huge numbers of viewers switch off, and live sport is seen as a huge draw to keep customers on their channels.
Premier League clubs are set for a huge, and much-needed windfall, in the wake of Covid-19
The US live sport market has previously been dominated by NFL (pictured), NBA and MLB
‘The number one most viewed thing [on television] every year tends to be sports’, Disney chief executive Bob Chapek told a conference in September.
The Premier League rights deal is just the latest football contract to be purchased by an American broadcast, after various deals were struck in recent months.
In May, ESPN acquired the rights to show Spanish LaLiga matches in a contract worth $1.4bn (£1.04bn), while CBS have the rights to show the UEFA Champions League, Serie A and most recently the FA Women’s Super League.
On NBC, Premier League matches averaged 879,000 viewers per match for the 2020-21 season, up two per cent from the previous year, and it does seem to be increasing with Manchester City’s 4-1 away win against Liverpool in February attracting an audience of over 1m.
Then-Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore (right) meets then-NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus in Connecticut after NBC secured their rights deal back in 2013