Nbc To Push Soccer, Signs Deal With Premier League
Anticipating that soccer may at last be on the cusp of exponential popularity in the U.S., NBC Sports Group chairman announced over the weekend that the broadcaster had signed a deal for U.S. rights to the Premier League, the world's leading soccer league. The company's English- and Spanish-language broadcast, cable, and online properties are being combined to carry all 380 Premier League matches, beginning with the 2013-14 season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. While soccer draws huge audiences in Europe and Latin America, it has delivered mostly a niche audience in the U.S., except among Spanish-language viewers, where it draws solid ratings. Last year, Univision's coverage of soccer's Gold Cup final between the U.S. and Mexico drew nearly 8 million viewers. The much smaller Telemundo network attracted 3.6 million viewers for its coverage of the Olympics' soccer final between Mexico and Brazil -- on a Saturday morning.