Written Q&A: John Ourand on NBC's Big Premier League Win
The Sports Business Journal Reporter Broke the News that NBC Had Won the Next 6 Years of Broadcasting the Premier League in the United States
John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal is one of my go-to people when it comes to discussing sports television rights. I really enjoyed this conversation about NBC’s big win extending for another six years with the Premier League.
Our guest now is one of the top sports television reporters in the business. John Ourand works for the Sports Business Journal and co-hosts the terrific new podcast with Andrew Marchand of the New York Post called The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast. You should check it out. Last week John broke the news that NBC had won the bidding for the next six years of U.S. television rights with the English Premier League. On Twitter he's at @Ourand_SBJ. John, it's great to see you. Congrats on breaking the news and thanks for coming on the show.
Grant, you should have seen the number of focus groups that we had to go through to come up with that title, Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast. So yeah, thank you for plugging that.
It's definitely a good podcast. And you guys treat soccer like any other sport, which I think soccer fans really appreciate. And there's obviously a lot of soccer news going on in the sports media TV side of things. We had been waiting for months to see if NBC would extend with the Premier League or if some upstart would end up getting it. What are your top-line takeaways from this deal getting done for NBC? And what's the value of it, by the way? I've seen different figures from $2 billion to $2.7 billion.
It's a six-year deal. I had it between $2.6 and $2.7 billion. So going up around like $430 to $450 million a year for NBC. And so I have a couple of takeaways from it. One is, this was an existential bit of rights for NBC. NBC had lost the NHL. They had been saving up money. This was a very important part of their business, not just for the broadcast network and for U.S.A, because NBCSN is closing so they're moving a lot of those windows to U.S.A Network. But also for their streaming service. If they had lost, let's say, the Premier League to ESPN or CBS, imagine how many subscribers would have ditched Peacock to then go to ESPN Plus or Paramount+.
It was an existential bid of rights for NBC, they had to keep them. But what really surprised me is the number of big media networks that got together to try to get it. So ESPN and CBS, they came with a combined bid. Their bid ended up being between $370 million to $380 million [a year]. So they came with a really significant bid. I think that they had thought that they could potentially get that bid. If NBC went crazy with their bid they weren't going to get it. But I think that they thought they were going to get it.
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But another aspect, Warner Media, right before they're going to merge with Discovery, they went whole hog on this and they put... I'm not entirely certain what their bid is, I heard it was more than NBC's, I heard it was comparable to NBC's, but they came with a really big bid to try to get the Premier League rights. They were going to use Fox as a broadcast partner to allow it on broadcast. But they were going to put it, I would assume, on either HBO Max or Bleacher Report and wait until the Discovery merge comes and then really kind of bust that out. And the good news if you're a sports rights holder is that Warner Media and Discovery together, Jeff Zucker, David Zaslav, huge sports fans. And that's something that they're really, really excited about.
And I think the third thing, if you want three takeaways from this, Amazon put in a bid, Fox was going to be their broadcast partner. Amazon has deep enough pockets to buy and sell Comcast NBC probably two or three times over, and they did not come up with it. I have been writing for a decade about here come the digital guys. The digital guys have come, but those digital guys have come with existing media companies. They've come with ESPN+, they've come with Paramount+. And the winner for this one was Peacock.
(The interview continues below for paid subscribers.)