The Premier League is paid a ludicrous amount of money through its various TV deals across the world. In the US, the league’s most recent deals with NBC Sports and Telemundo will pay a reported $2.7 billion over the next six seasons. It’s good to be the king of the soccer world.
But could the Premier League eventually take a page out of the book of the major American sports leagues and offer a direct to consumer package to fans? The concept has been discussed for years and has never really gotten off the ground, but even with the recent bounty of TV deals, it’s not dead quite yet.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters talked to the media this week about a variety of topics, one of which was the potential DTC offering (commonly referred to as “Premflix”). And while Masters touted the Premier League’s various rights deals, he also revealed that some of the deals could allow for a DTC offering
Via The Athletic:
“However, we do have — and I can’t reveal where in the world — options to do various things. We’ve probably signed more long-term partnerships than usual – six-year agreements instead of three-year agreements – and there are options in some of those agreements to go direct to consumer in the name of the Premier League.”
When asked for more details about who, what, when and where, he laughed and said he regretted talking about it now but “in a very small number of deals, it’s possible for us to do certain things”.
I can only imagine that this type of arrangement would only work in a very specific situation, like where every match isn’t available in a country. For instance, imagine a Premier League DTC service in the US – if it included all 380 matches, viewership on NBC and USA would likely decline, and subscriptions to Peacock will also take a hit. NBC wouldn’t be happy about that, paying the nine figures a year that it is, and it might not be interested in bidding anything close to the same amount the next time around. In order to come close to making the same amount of money from the American market, the Premier League would need to get one million subscriptions at $400 per year, which doesn’t seem at all realistic.
Do you see how tricky this is in some markets? The Premier League would really have to walk a tightrope with its streaming service, and it might just not be feasible in many countries. I’m interested in seeing how this progresses, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on an offering coming to the US in the near or short term.