NBC has announced the launch of a new 'Premier League Pass' for those based in the US and enjoy watching Premier League matches. The service has yet to begin, but NBC is already accepting registration requests for those who want to be kept in the loop on when the service becomes available. When it does launch, NBC’s Premier League Pass will cost $49.99 on a yearly (season) basis. Those who follow the Premier League in the US will already be aware that NBC holds the exclusive rights to show Premier League games stateside. Therefore, up until now, Premier League followers have needed an NBC-included TV subscription to watch any and all games. This is what is effectively changing now, as the Premier League Pass does not require viewers to have a TV or cable subscription. Instead, Premier League Pass is being released as part of NBC Sports Gold – the company’s standalone direct-to-consumer service.
So the launch of Premier League Pass will likely be good news for some, but not everyone. The reason being is that while ‘cord cutters’ can now partake in Premier League action without the need for a cable plan, those who already do have a cable plan, will not have access to games shown through Premier League Pass. Cable users will still have access to Premier League action, but just less than they did before – unless they also opt for the Premier League Pass (as an additional $49.99 purchase). Likewise, while good news for cord cutters, those viewers will also not have access to all Premier League content. In fact, they will only be gaining the rights to watch 130 games (about a third) during the season. With the remaining two-thirds still only available through the company’s cable-affiliated service. So unless consumers opt for both services, going forward they will only be able to digest a select amount of Premier League content.
At the moment, it also seems that the variance of games (which are shown through Premier League Pass and which are not) is largely unknown. NBC notes that the 130 games shown through Premier League Pass will include “at least three matches per Premier League club.” So those who are specifically interested in one team will not gain access to a substantial amount of team-dedicated matches through the Premier League Pass service. Although the new direct-to-consumer option is said to also include “replays of most matches” that are not shown through the service, as well as a wealth of additional content, including other Premier League productions, highlight clips, original content, and studio shows. Content which is said to equate to about 20 hours of Premier League action each week.