Die-hard NBA and NFL fans have NBA LEAGUE PASS, Red Zone, and round-the-clock TV coverage. For a long time, though, cycling fans could only catch a glimpse of the sport once per year when select Tour de France segments would air; skating fans would get periodic qualifying coverage in the lead up to the Olympics. Even PGA and Premier League fans have long been underserved, despite rising popularity.
This is where NBC Sports Gold comes in. The service offers fans “passes” across sports like rugby, figure skating, track & field, along with the PGA Tour and Premier League. For NBC Sports, which has Olympics broadcast rights through 2032, surfacing more Olympic sport content is advantageous. But more, the network has smartly secured broadcast rights to sports that have rabid, albeit smaller, fanbases and is giving these fans more coverage than they’ve ever had access to, exclusive content, and flexible packages. NBC Sports Gold assed six new passes in 2018 and has added an additional three in 2019, totaling 17 individual passes.
The Cycling Pass, for example, is $54.99 for the year and offers replays of the 106th Tour de France, multi-stage races and one-day Classics, and the UCI World Championships. The All-Access Premium Rugby Pass, which is $229.99, offers 48 Rugby World Cup matches live and on-demand and season-long access to the 2019-20 Rugby Pass; for fans who only want to buy single matches, the Single Match Pass is $29.99 per match. For pass holders, NBC Sports Gold is available across all devices, web browsers, and most popular (Roku, Fire TV, etc.) over the top platforms.
For more on NBC Sports Gold we spoke with Portia Archer, VP, Direct to Consumer Services, NBC Sports:
FR: How does NBC Sports Gold fit within NBC Sports’ larger streaming and TV everywhere strategy?
Archer: NBC Sports Gold and TV everywhere are separate businesses. However, we view NBC Sports Gold as a complement to our linear and TV everywhere coverage. One example is our Premier League Pass. It exists to super-serve Premier League fans who can not only watch matches that are exclusive on NBC Sports Gold and not available on TV, but can also watch full event replays of a match that was available earlier in the day on linear television. The NBC Sports Gold Premier League Pass is a full complement of the Premier League schedule – providing access to all 380 Premier League matches and presenting more than 1,000 hours of shoulder programming.
INDYCAR Pass is another example. All races are on either NBC or NBCSN, however, NBC Sports Gold has extensive content exclusive for its subscribers, including most practices and qualifying.
Found Remote: NBC Sports Gold offers fans access to sports content not readily available elsewhere. What has adoption been like for Track & Field and Premier Lacrosse League passes?
Portia Archer: We have been very happy with the success of both the Track & Field Pass and the Premier Lacrosse League Pass. The Premier Lacrosse League is a brand new league, and we have been really pleased with its success. They have both exceeded our expectations.
FR: Many of the sports featured on NBC Sports Gold are winter and summer Olympics sports. How does the Olympics fuel demand for these passes?
Archer: As host of the Olympic Games through 2032, we have a great interest in promoting and elevating Olympic sports, and we believe we do that well on NBC Sports Gold. Whether it’s for track & field, figure skating, cycling, speed skating or the variety of Olympic sports and disciplines included in NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass, we are committed to providing fans with access to their favorite Olympic sports year-round. While some of the coverage is available on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBC Sports Gold provides another platform to provide extensive Olympic content that is scarcely available to sports fans before and after the Olympic games. Again, we’re super-serving avid fans.
FR: Given the potential to attract advertisers like Brine for lacrosse, for example, has NBC Sports considered an ad supported version of these passes?
Archer: At the moment, ads are available on PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold. We continuously think about and consider advertising opportunities. However, our primary objective is to cater to and super-serve fans with a premium experience that doesn’t interrupt the live competition. Therefore, we are always most inclined to consider our customer’s experience, and if an advertising opportunity makes sense within those parameters, then we will consider it.
FR: Has NBC Sports altered scheduling and programming on its linear channels at all based on NBC Sports Gold usage and viewership?
Archer: NBC Sports Gold is a complement to our linear programming, and therefore offers fans additional, oftentimes exclusive, content. With the addition of more sports passes on NBC Sports Gold, we are simply enhancing our offerings to include more than traditional linear programming and hopefully providing more access to even more sports fans.