NBC has revealed plans to begin streaming Premier League games on its digital platform as it looks to entice sports fans unwilling to commit to a cable subscription.
The launch of the Premier League Pass will see the broadcaster stream 130 fixtures through its NBC Sports Gold platform from the start of the 2017/18 season.
The pass will cost $50 for the season and will also include access to match replays and additional Premier League content produced by the NBC and by the league itself.
The new offering will allow NBC to open new revenue streams around its expensive sports rights which in turn will help compensate for ongoing trend of customers cancelling expensive cable TV packages.
“There are a lot of cord-cutters and cord-nevers out there,” NBC Sports president of programming Jon Miller told Goal. “It’s a chance to put product out there for those people who love the Premier League but don’t necessarily have cable subscriptions.”
NBC Sports Gold launched last year and is a standalone OTT streaming service covering sports like cycling, rugby and motocross. The Premier League Pass isn’t the first time NBC has created a direct-to-consumer streaming sports package, it already sells Tour de France coverage, rugby and motocross passes, for up to $70 a season, however the Premier League would be its highest-profile sports package to date.
In the past NBC has streamed Premier League games not scheduled for TV on its digital platforms. Now the broadcaster is essentially creating a package to monetise the games.
Each team will appear on Premier League Pass a minimum of three times next season, however in an effort to protect its cable customer base, the biggest fixtures will be only available on TV.
“We are still going to have all the big matchups like the Manchester derby, Arsenal vs. Chelsea, Liverpool vs. Man United … all those big matchups still stay on NBC and NBCSN,” Miller said.
Avid football fans looking for access to all 380 league fixtures will require both a cable TV service and a subscription to Premier League Pass
“There’s probably going to be some initial disappointment,” Miller said, “but the fact of the matter is those fans [who have cable but not Premier League Pass] are still going to get 250 games a year, they’re able to see more games here than people in the UK are able to see.”
He added: "This is another way for us to put product out there," Miller said, "to recoup part of our investment but not in any way hurt the overall product or the exposure that we’ve been able to provide from year one."
As part of the balance act between digital, non-subscribers and cable customers the new service will offer replays of most matches, including those not available live on the service, and on-demand NBC programming like Premier League Download, The Men in Blazers Show, and Behind the Badge.