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NBC wins rights to English Premier League

New pact begins next year, runs through 2016

Europe’s highly popular English Premier League soccer matches are moving from Fox and ESPN to NBC and its cable subsidiaries.

The new pact begin next year and runs through 2016.

The EPL’s move to NBC and the NBC Sports Network underscores the importance of live sports in an age of heavy DVR usage. Professional leagues can obtain huge rights fees from networks because viewers are forced to watch commercials during games, rather than fast forward through them when watching hours or days later.

The value of the deal of the deal was estimated to be approximately $250 million. It is likely NBC may schedule a game Sunday afternoons to compete against the NFL on Fox and CBS.

Last year Fox won the rights to the World Cup from ESPN. The loss of the World Cup and EPL to ESPN is surprising in that the mammoth sports cabler has very much pushed the importance of global growth, and the net’s topper, John Skipper, is a huge soccer advocate.

Fox will retain rights to UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League.

Said Fox in a statement on the loss of the Premier League: “We were disappointed to learn that the English Premier League has elected to move forward with a different media partner despite Fox Sports Media Group’s aggressive bid. Fox Soccer has been the primary U.S. voice of EPL for almost two decades, and has done much over the years to increase its popularity, value and availability. We wish them well.”

NBC also owns the rights to Major League Soccer.

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