Sports are an easy sell on television. Fast paced action, top level players, passion, and drama filled games loaded with suspense all draw viewers’ eyeballs to those glowing flat screens. One particular sports league is staking a claim on the growth dynamic and making massive amounts of headlines at the same time. All thoughts that the National Hockey League was the number four sport for television in the United States have been virtually tossed aside by the success of the English Premier League.
According to the New York Times, EPL games televised via broadcast and digital technologies draw more viewers than NHL games broadcast in the same manner on NBC properties. While the ratings are not necessarily in the ballpark of the National Football League, Americans are being introduced to teams named Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal at faster pace than ever.
Of course, that success is something of a thorn for NBC. Because the EPL has been drawing so many viewers, the network will likely encounter new bids for the broadcast rights. Those bidders will likely include the usual suspects in the sports world, namely ESPN and Fox. NBC will likely have to up the price from the $250 million over three years deal currently in place. The NHL could end up being something of a second place trophy, which means the hockey league has a lot of work to do and some serious ground to make up.
Call up Amen Clinic because I just died at the notion that International soccer games will be available on national TV channels. Let me just have this moment.