NEW YORK (AP) - NBC is all in with the English Premier League.
The EPL feels the same way about the U.S. broadcaster.
All 380 English Premier League games will be televised live by NBC and its networks next season as part of a three-year, $250 million contract.
The deal comes at a time when Fox and ESPN also have heavy involvement in soccer. But the world’s most popular league in the world’s most popular sport will belong solely to NBC for the next three years.
“Nowhere do they consume sports like they do here,” Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore said Tuesday. “We are not unhappy with our current broadcast partners (in the United States), but I can see we are on the threshold of taking it to a new level.”
Windows for the national telecasts are 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET Saturdays on NBCSN, and 12:30 p.m. on NBC; 8 a.m. Sundays on NBCSN and 11 a.m. on that channel and Telemundo; and 2:30 p.m. ET Mondays on NBCSN.
In addition, NBC is making available free to all carriers of NBC Sports Network a package of every EPL game played at 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays _ the primary starting time in the Premier League. Called Premier League Extra Time, it is similar to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket.
“I can’t wait for Aug. 17 to come and we get started,” NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said. “It’s about making this one of the key pillars of our landscape.”
Arlo White, who currently calls MLS games on NBCSN, will handle play by play from England. Former Premier League players Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux will handle analysis. Former England national team star Gary Lineker will be a special contributor.
NBCSN plans 600 hours of original and weekly studio programming. Rebecca Lowe, a fixture on European soccer coverage in Europe, will host a studio show from NBC’s international broadcast center in Stamford, Conn. But all game production will be done on-site in England, with NBC using England-based announcers on games White doesn’t work.
Lowe recognizes the challenge of appealing to not only the avid soccer and EPL fans, but to the casual viewers _ and even to newcomers.
“It’s a difficult balance,” she said. “We have been aware of that from Day 1. I’ve never really had to do that.
“But I think Premier League fans in America are the most sophisticated of football fans. Unlike back home, you have to seek out the games here _ or you did until now. So we respect that and how much fans have put into following the Premier League.