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NBC, Facebook Expand OTT Video to Include Euro Soccer

28 Jun, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

NBC Universal, ESPN and Facebook are delving headfirst into over-the-top sports video — a genre Netflix heretofore refuses to address. 

NBC Sports is broadening its standalone OTT portfolio to include the United Kingdom’s Premier League professional soccer league.

The Premier League Pass is available in August online only for $50 and includes access to 130 league matches. The package is similar to NBC’s OTT ventures offering professional cycling (Tour de France), track & field, rugby and motocross, among other sports.

NBC Sports also broadcasts Premier League soccer through conventional pay-TV distributors, which requires a separate channel bundle subscription. 

The announcement follows Facebook’s June 27 post it would begin streaming select UEFA Champions League soccer matches in September through a deal with Fox Sports.

The Champions League tournament is an annual tournament (held since 1955) composed of Europe’s top professional soccer teams. The current champion is Spain’s Real Madrid C.F.

Facebook anted up for the rights as soccer is reportedly the most-popular sport followed on the social media site.

A charity match streamed last year on Facebook between Everton and Manchester United generated 3.7 million users. Separately, 34 million users generated 98 million social interactions on Facebook regarding last year’s Champion League final between Real Madrid and Italy’s Juventus F.C., according to .

ESPN, which has been losing conventional pay-TV subscribers, is slated to launch standalone OTT video platforms catering to sports not carried via broadcast such as college football, Major League Baseball and the National Football League.

Bob Iger, CEO of ESPN corporate parent Walt Disney, has made no secret the sport network will launch in the near future standalone platforms. It is the primary reason Disney spent $1 billion to secure majority ownership of BAMtech, a streaming technology provider co-owned with Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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