We’re just days away from the long-awaited beginning of the 2015-16 Barclays Premier League season, and NBC gave fans a treat on Thursday by announcing that USA Network would be airing 40+ matches this season in addition to the matches that already air each week on NBC and NBCSN.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 6, 2015
The coverage will begin this Saturday with Watford-Everton.
This is a simple, yet brilliant, move from NBC. Making one or two extra matches available on cable each weekend means that fans have one more option to watch on TV, and one less match that has to be streamed on Live Extra. For example, the only two Saturday matches that will exclusively be found on Live Extra this week are Leicester-Sunderland and Norwich-Crystal Palace – not exactly strong draws.
In future weeks, the addition of the USA slot will work out even better for fans. On August 29th, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City all play in that window – two large fanbases can be accommodated instead of just one. On September 26th, 10 AM slot features Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Same thing – appease two fanbases instead of one.
I wouldn’t be surprised if NBC took steps to televise every game live on various networks each weekend if they’re able to retain the Premier League rights for the 2016-17 season and beyond. That’s a luxury they can afford due to their lack of conflicting rights, something that plagues both ESPN and Fox.
And hell, adding another game to the slot might siphon away even a little bit of Fox’s Bundesliga audience. Every little bit counts.