The next round of Premier League media rights deals in the UK could cause headaches for American viewers.
While the rights in the US remain with NBC through the 2027-28 season, the rights across the pond are only spoken for through 2024-25. The Premier League could sell an extra 50 matches to broadcasters, bringing the total to 250 or so, and those extra matches would likely be slotted in new timeslots. Earlier this year, a similar point was reported, though the number of extra matches was rumored to be 60.
Per the Telegraph, Sunday evening kickoffs could be in play, with some matches beginning after 6 p.m. in the UK.
Wall-to-wall coverage for the Premier League is possible on Sundays, with broadcasters predicting regular noon kick-offs with the last match potentially beginning after 6pm. Those times were denied by a source close to the bidding process, although the informed figure declined to go into further detail.
In case you’re not adept at time zone math, that translates to 1 p.m. EST. Gee, I wonder what’s happening in the US on Sundays at 1 p.m. ET…
That’s right – if the Premier League implements this change, the league will be going head-to-head with the NFL.
While the Premier League won’t (and shouldn’t) make decisions about start times based on American markets, later Sunday kickoffs really will create an absolute mess for American fans. Good luck finding a general sports bar willing to take the NFL off a screen for the Premier League!
Ultimately, the Premier League won’t be swayed by the NFL. When the NFL is playing games in Europe, the Premier League doesn’t take Sunday off (unless it’s an international break weekend). In fact, it has matches going head-to-head with the first two London games in October. Sunday matches in the late window (4:30 p.m. in the UK) already go head-to-head with the NFL for a brief chunk of time near the end of the match. That hasn’t stopped the Premier League yet.
There are plenty of issues with the Premier League’s plans to create even more timeslots to air live matches, but most of those concern the players involved and the fans in attendance. Adding a window that would continually go head-to-head with the NFL is another issue, but one that would uniquely affect viewers in one country for four months out of the year.