NBC Striking Out with Premier League Soccer Coverage

My name is Clint Brasher.  It has been 2 years since I have subscribed to cable…

That’s right — unplugged.  We stream our content. Bought a HD antenna at Best Buy ($70) for local channels.  My kids were watching way too much tv — usually just drifting to find something.  We have discovered that, with streaming, the kids (and adults!) only watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. In other words, they do not sit around watching television for no purpose (goodbye Disney channel, Nickelodeon, etc.)  No more channel surfing.  Content-specific viewing is the wave of the future — and cable and satellite are fighting it at every turn.  I will refer to cable and satellite generally as Dial Up since their packaging is a vestige of a bygone era.

Look, cable had its time.  When I was growing up, we had 3 channels.  Then, when I was in 5th grade, something miraculous happened — cable television.  Someone figured that people wanted to watch more than just three channels.  Back then, there were only 2 movie channels (HBO and Showtime — 1 channel each).  My first night with cable I saw Eddie Murphy Delirious and Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke (not sure where my parents were).  It was bliss!

ESPN was introduced — albeit a fledgling program.  Back then, it did not have the right to broadcast any meaningful sport.  WGN introduced me to the Cubs.  Life was good.  There was no internet, not ability to watch television other than cable.  The year was 1982.

Satellite television was around in that era — but not how you know it today.  People that had satellite (like my uncle in Mississippi) actually had a satellite installed on the ground.  It was big and white.  To be accurate, you manually rotated it.  My first memory of DirectTV was 1999.  We received it for Christmas.  Again, even in 1999, high-speed internet was not widely available so there was no option to stream.  Your choices were cable, DISH, or DirecTV.  That is not the case today.  Like big oil squashed early efforts at the electric car, cable and its progeny are doing everything they can to thwart content-specific purchasing of programming.  How are they doing it?

They do it by locking in major broadcasters to their service, limiting their ability to sell on the open market.  For example, ESPN3, when it started, was a free streaming service anyone could use.  If you had high-speed internet and you wanted to watch programming on their site, you could do it.  And, if you were advertising on that site, wouldn’t you want it that way?  BUT, cable has wised up to this — beginning a couple of years ago, they closed that loophole and now require evidence of a cable subscription to view content on ESPN3.

And that is what NBC is going to do too.  NBC is bragging on the web that, “for the first time” ALL EPL games will be available for viewing.  What they bury in the details is that you can only access those games to stream IF you have cable or satellite.  I miss you already FoxSoccer2Go!

Fox, who has had the contract in the states for years, allowed people like me to content-select.  In other words, I did not want to subscribe to cable but am willing to spend money to pay to watch soccer.  So, FoxSoccer2Go provided a subscription so that, provided I paid my fee, allowed me to watch soccer via the internet.  Do not be fooled by NBC’s claims to provide such a service.  What puzzles me, though, is why wouldn’t they?

Why not sell individual streaming packages to people interested in the product?  There can only be one answer — various cable companies, DirecTV, ATT U-Verse, and DISH have paid NBC not to allow it.  How ironic that these losers are the same people crying foul on piracy.   They are inviting it.  Shame on the Premier League for not preventing NBC from tying their product to cable.  What do they care — they got a quarter of a billion dollars — for that kind of money, who cares who is watching it.

So, here is a breakdown of NBC viewing platform for EPL soccer this fall per their tweet:

Here is what NBC Sports Network says:

All games not aired on NBC Sports Network will be made available to cable, satellite or telco TV providers through a package called Premier League Extra Time, a package of overflow television channels available at no extra cost for each of their customers who receives NBC Sports Network. Check with your provider for specific channel and Premier League offering available.


Every Barclays Premier League match will be streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra, online at NBCSports.com/Live Extra and on iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices with the free NBC Sports Live Extra app. There is no additional charge for this service, simply login to NBCSports Live Extra using the Username and Password you use on your providers website. If you do not have, or do not know your Login information contact your service provider.
As you can see, while “all” games will be available, cable/satellite subscription is required. No “a la carte” sports network subscriptions available.  Yet, their motto is, “watch live, anytime, anywhere.”  (There will be a few games broadcast for free — whatever games they show on their basic NBC station will be available for free streaming; so, it makes sense, they are broadcasting very few games on their major network).  Try to get access to the NBC Sports Network without a cable subscription.  Like I said, I miss Foxsoccer2Go already.
How do you get those channels?  I called DISH network to inquire what it would cost me in packaging to have those channels.  For starters, they do not sell a package that bundles these stations together.  And, since I was willing to subscribe again, I also wanted FoxSoccer (because they still have all the Champions League matches) and BeIn sport (which shows a lot of US qualifying matches, Serie A, Ligue 1, La Liga, and nPower Championship, and other soccer).  But, to just get the NBC stations in the tweet above, through DISH you have to subscribe to their 250 channel package (their largest).  For DirecTV, the 285 channel package.
“No” you cannot subscribe directly with NBC Sports Extra.  Well, what about BeIn sport?  You may ask, can I subscribe directly to BeIn sport?  The answer is NO.  Cable won’t allow it — they throw back a few cents/subscription to BeIn to get the exclusivity.  On BeIn’s webpage, when you click “subscribe now” here is what it says:

Bring international sports to your home.

Subscribe now! Contact your cable or satellite provider to get beIN SPORT today!


What a joke.  Cable is fighting to the last man to keep their monopoly on broadcasting.  Thank goodness for Netflix and Amazon Prime.  Content-specific viewing is the wave of the future — cable is trying to keep us in a “dial up” era.  Content specific viewing is a threat to their business.  You see, cable are just middle men that deliver the content.  Now that the technology is easily available, they do not want us contracting directly with the providers — they want their “middle man” fee.  And you can trust they will fight to the death to keep it since they offer no services of their own.

Happy sailing.

4 thoughts on “NBC Striking Out with Premier League Soccer Coverage”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Maybe we could form a co-op of soccer fans who pay into a “rogue account” with a local cable company and all share the login credentials for NBC Live Extra..

  2. Just cut the cord myself, and unless NBCSN wakes up to the reality of the situation, they will not have my eyes viewing advertising during the upcoming Formual1 and IndyCar season. I’m quite willing to pay them for a subscription, but I can’t even find a contact address for them to express this desire. They just aren’t listening… 🙁

  3. So what’s to be done? My cheapest option appears to be shelling out another $600 a year to Verizon for a subscription for a tv I don’t own, just to flip the bit on my login, so I can watch Live Extra online. My kids and have been following LFC since ’05 but have now gone all fall without seeing a single game. I get you pay to watch and I want to pay. But ANOTHER $600 a year on top of my existing Internet bill seems a bit steep. Anyway the Misses won’t go for it. +1 on the account coop idea.

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