The broadcaster will air live English Premier League games for three seasons starting next August, according to The Associated Press.
NBC will pay $250 million to become the Premier League's U.S. home, airing up to 380 games each season on NBC, the NBC Sports Network and some of NBCUniversal's other channels, such as Bravo and USA. It will also show games on Spanish-language networks Telemundo and mun2. It's likely that games will also be available online using NBC's streaming video service.
"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 U.S.," NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said Sunday.
FOX, FOX Soccer and ESPN have brought the Premier League to American audiences in recent years, but that will end when the 2012-13 season concludes in May. FOX reportedly paid $80 million for the broadcast rights under the previous three-year deal. It sublicenses about 20 percent of the games to ESPN. NBC will pay $80-$85 million each season for those rights.
The New York Times reports that NBC will broadcast live games during six time slots. It won't show games on tape delay but will give fans other outlets to see Premier League action if the games don't appear on one of its stations.
"About 200 games will be available on the NBC networks in six time periods on Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the league's 10-month season," the report says. "The rest will be available online or in some other packages, one of them probably pay-per-view."
NBC is in the first year of a three-year deal to broadcast Major League Soccer games nationally (along with ESPN). By securing the exclusive rights to the Premier League — the world's richest and most popular domestic soccer competition — it has decided to go all-in on soccer.