NBC Sports Gold has been a divisive topic for Premier League fans since the Premier League Pass was launched under the Gold banner in the summer of 2017. On one hand, viewers who didn’t subscribe to cable could legally stream live Premier League matches and other programming for a fee. On the other hand, content that was once free (albeit with a cable login) was now being moved behind an additional paywall, and that rubbed fans the wrong way. Last summer, NBC added a variety of Sky Premier League content to the Premier League Pass, but the criticisms still stood, even though this was the third year that the previously free Premier League content was paywalled.
But for the 2020-21 season, NBC is making a change to how users can access the Gold-exclusive programming. NBC announced on Thursday that all of the Premier League Pass programming would be available on Peacock, starting with the next Premier League season.
NBC Sports and Peacock will present more than 175 exclusive Premier League matches on Peacock Premium in the 2020-21 season, it was announced today. Peacock – NBCUniversal’s new streaming service – will launch nationally with free and premium tiers across mobile, web and connected TV devices on July 15.
In total, Peacock Premium will present more than 1,500 hours of Premier League live match and shoulder programming – the most robust offering ever available in the U.S. Included are full-event replays for all 380 matches on-demand (after 9 p.m. ET). All content presented on NBC Sports Gold’s “Premier League Pass” will shift exclusively to Peacock Premium with the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season.
This is the second Peacock-related Premier League news in the last two days: on Wednesday, NBC announced that it was shifting four Premier League matches on Wednesday, July 15th from NBCSN to Peacock to promote the streaming service on its launch date.
Rolling the Premier League Pass content into Peacock makes plenty of sense for NBC. It’s yet another carrot being dangled to potential subscribers, and the Premier League content being offered at $4.99/month represents a better value than the $64.99/year that the Premier League Pass cost last year (the $39.99/year Premier League Pass offering only provided live matches, and no shoulder programming or replays, to subscribers). It also offers something of a reward to Xfinity subscribers, since they receive Peacock Premium for free with their cable subscription (instead of having to pay for NBC Sports Gold in order to watch the non-televised matches). In addition, NBC can theoretically increase the reach of the Premier League by offering that shoulder programming and those subscriber-only games to Peacock users who wouldn’t have bought a Premier League Pass for whatever reason (cost, lack of games involving their favorite team, lukewarm interest in the Premier League, etc).
The negatives are few and far between, but more matches will be paywalled this year (“more than 175,” compared to a projected total of around 140 for the current season), and the lack of deals with both Amazon and Roku for the Peacock app will create substantial issues if there still aren’t agreements whenever the 2020-21 Premier League season starts. But overall, this is good news for fans, who will now get more bang for their buck with NBC.