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NBC networks to televise EPL next season

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NEW YORK (AP) - NBC is all in with the English Premier League.

The EPL feels the same way about the U.S. broadcaster.

All 380 English Premier League games will be televised live by NBC and its networks next season as part of a three-year, $250 million contract.

The deal comes at a time when Fox and ESPN also have heavy involvement in soccer. But the world's most popular league in the world's most popular sport will belong solely to NBC for the next three years.

"Nowhere do they consume sports like they do here," Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore said Tuesday. "We are not unhappy with our current broadcast partners (in the United States), but I can see we are on the threshold of taking it to a new level."

The telecasts begin Aug. 17 and will be carried on NBC, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Mun2, other NBC television properties, and various digital outlets.

NBC is scheduled to air 20 games, with 154 on NBC Sports Network; 76 of the telecasts will be in Spanish on Telemundo or Mun2; and 22 will be shown on other NBC Sports Group channels.

Windows for the national telecasts are 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET Saturdays on NBCSN, and 12:30 p.m. on NBC; 8 a.m. Sundays on NBCSN and 11 a.m. on that channel and Telemundo; and 2:30 p.m. ET Mondays on NBCSN.

In addition, NBC is making available free to all carriers of NBC Sports Network a package of every EPL game played at 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays - the primary starting time in the Premier League. Called Premier League Extra Time, it is similar to DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket.

"I can't wait for Aug. 17 to come and we get started," NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said. "It's about making this one of the key pillars of our landscape."

Arlo White, who currently calls MLS games on NBCSN, will handle play by play from England. Former Premier League players Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux will handle analysis. Former England national team star Gary Lineker will be a special contributor.

NBCSN plans 600 hours of original and weekly studio programming. Rebecca Lowe, a fixture on European soccer coverage in Europe, will host a studio show from NBC's international broadcast center in Stamford, Conn. But all game production will be done on-site in England, with NBC using England-based announcers on games White doesn't work.

Lowe recognizes the challenge of appealing to not only the avid soccer and EPL fans, but to the casual viewers - and even to newcomers.

"It's a difficult balance," she said. "We have been aware of that from Day 1. I've never really had to do that.

"But I think Premier League fans in America are the most sophisticated of football fans. Unlike back home, you have to seek out the games here - or you did until now. So we respect that and how much fans have put into following the Premier League.

"I guess we would err on the side of the sophisticated fans while still educating the more casual fans. It can be done both ways."

Lowe pointed out that something as simple as league standings - she called it "the table," as all Brits do - are compiled differently on each side of the Atlantic. In the U.S., the standings show wins, then losses, then draws (never ties, which are an entirely different matter outside the States). In England and elsewhere, its wins, draws, losses.

Lowe added there won't be any extra attention paid to Americans playing in the EPL "unless they are part of the story."

"There won't be any Clint Dempsey Watch," she said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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