Television

NBC is set to showcase elite football

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MUMBAI: Fox Sports 1, Rupert Murdoch's challenge to ESPN, will face tough competition from NBC Universal as it opens the first season of its three-year, $250 million deal with England's Premier League, which will show every game on television or on digital streams.

NBC is augmenting the games, which are being produced by the league, with its announcers, saving on costs.

"It's a blue-chip property that has not been exploited in the way that we will take advantage of it," said NBC Sports president programming Jon Miller, which is being rebranded as NBCSN. "It provides all 380 games to every fan at no additional cost, which has never been done before."

True, but the 184 games that will be digitally streamed free on Premier League Extra Time will be accessible only to those who pay for cable, satellite or telephone company subscriptions that include NBCSN. The strategy underscores how important NBCSN is to its parent company's sports future and how media companies like NBC Universal want to keep subscribers from cutting their cords to pay-TV providers. Extra Time is widely available; the only major cable provider that has not signed up is Charter.

Those cable, satellite and telephone subscriptions will also be required for laptop and smartphone users looking to watch the full Premier League schedule on NBC Sports Live Extra, the TV Everywhere platform.

In all, NBCSN will carry 154 games, the surest sign that the deal was structured to benefit the cable network by filling a lot of time slots with elite soccer, with replays of the day's and week's best matches, and studio programming. In addition to Extra Time's 184 games, NBC will broadcast 21 games, CNBC eight, USA six, and the remaining seven have not been assigned.

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