NFL tells UK fans TV update is coming

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NFL fans in the United Kingdom are feeling some unified anxiety regarding the lack of a TV deal between the league and Sky Sports.  Earlier today, the league’s UK arm addressed the situation in a statement.

“With the new NFL season kicking off next week, we fully understand the concerns of our fans that the full UK broadcast line-up for the new season has not yet been announced, beyond the new Channel 4 agreement for Sunday Night Football and the existing deal with BBC TV for Super Bowl and Wembley/playoff highlights,” the league said in a message posted at  “We have been in negotiations for some time to extend our broadcasting agreements for this season and will announce the full package for the 2012 season as soon as possible.  However, it is possible that this may not be before Tuesday at the earliest.”

To fans in America, it’s a non-issue.  Given the number of emails and tweets we’ve received on the topic in the past two days, it’s a very big deal for NFL fans in England.

At least they’ll have access to NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which hopefully includes the upcoming Wednesday night version of NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

If all else fails, maybe Sky Sports can slap together a strip billiards league.  (Hats don’t count, Harry.)

45 responses to “NFL tells UK fans TV update is coming

  1. Maybe the NFL should be more concerned with filling up all 32 teams stadiums before worrying about crossing the pond. Plus they have soccer. Keep the NFL in America.

  2. I realise that Americans see this as a non-issue and so they should, but as a diehard UK fan it’s quite insulting to read, ‘they’ve got soccer’. I hate soccer and want my NFL fix.

  3. As a UK fan, i know that we wont be receiving Wednesday Night NBC Game as Channel 4 has only obtained rights to the NBC Sunday Night Games.

    Absolutely ridiculous that with only 4 days to go, we do not know if we will be getting football to watch

  4. Impact extends far beyond fans in England. SKY and SKY SPORTS satellite signal is accesses all across Europe (gotta love Murdoch buying broadcast rights for UK only, recognizing the satellite footprint is broader, and selling BSKYB decoder cards for prospective customers in neighboring countries through a BVI compny)
    Anyhow, unless NFL fans have access to an US Arms Forces broadcast, they’re out of luck). Hope it gets fixed as will be in Warsaw or weeks 2 & 3, and was planning to watch games at the expat pub with SKY)

  5. Maybe the NFL should be more concerned with filling up all 32 teams stadiums before worrying about crossing the pond. Plus they have soccer. Keep the NFL in America.


    They don’t need to be concerned about the fans in America, we are already fans, the NFL is about as popular as it’s going to get in America. The only way to get more people in the stands is to lower the prices, which isn’t going to happen.

  6. With so many streaming sites and new technology that allows seamless video to be played on your television, the NFL and NFL carriers are well behind the technology curve. Not too mention the longer they take the more money they will lose.

  7. The NFL is very popular in both the UK and in Germany. Those of you without passports should probably refrain from commenting on international issues.

  8. Can European fans stream games legally? I assume this is something that has been in place, I don’t normally pay too much attention since I have the Sunday Ticket.

  9. Westport… The mainland European tv rights are held by ESPN America until 2021. They give extensive live games every Thurs Sun Mon through out the season incl per season and ancillary programmes. It is available on the German Sky network. This is different to the UK Sky network which has a 2 different ESPN networks and Sky Sports which do not have any UK rights at this time.

    I also do not follow soccer.. Just want good on and off season BFL coverage in the UK.

  10. @ austinforever
    “as a diehard UK fan it’s quite insulting to read, ‘they’ve got soccer’. I hate soccer and want my NFL fix.”

    As a diehard football fan in the US, i find it hilarious that it’s referred as soccer here to what is obviously football.

    If you so much want your NFL fix, why don’t you deport your behind back to the states? LoL

  11. Um , I am Scottish born NOT English and love the NFL with a passion.
    “it’s a very big deal for NFL fans in England.” AND Scotland AND Wales AND Northern Ireland.

    The NFL is well supported by fans of ALL FOUR countries with Britain.

    C’mon Sky, pull the finger out and get a deal done !

  12. This’ll be sorted in time for Wednesday night – have no fears everyone. Issues like this happen every time the contract is up for renewal and it always goes right down to the wire. Sky will show it; there’s no way the NFL will do something stupid like sell the rights to ESPN because hardly anyone has ESPN over here and if you’re trying to grow the game, restricting the TV audience even further is a terrible idea.

    In terms of legal streaming – for around £120 for the season we can get access to Gamepass which lets us watch any game we want so long as that game isn’t being shown live on TV at the same time.

  13. Just to add a layer of context to this and show how far the uk is away from being able to support a franchise, these games average a viewer rating of 70,000 to 80,000 viewers per game.

  14. The NFL does a terrible job of marketing this great sport in europe. As an ex-pat living in Spain the only option to watch NFL games is to buy game pass @ $200 or download the games the following day.
    Most of us became NFL fans in the states by watching “free” broadcasts by our local networks. Charging such high rates will only assure that the product does not grow here in europe as no one is going to pay to watch a sport that they are not sure they like.

  15. We here in the UK have the best possible service imaginable – NFL Gamepass. This allows you to stream any of the matches live and switch between them and to watch NFL Network, plus to watch any of the matches – with all the adverts cut out – as a catchup (which without adverts means they are far quicker). Picture quality is brilliant.

    The only thing that causes a downer on it is because when the games are played on Sky, they are blacked out on Gamepass for a week (and all the playoffs are blacked out too).

    I for one sincerely hope there is no deal with Sky and the NFL truly promotes Gamepass – it is superior to Sky in every way.

  16. seeptermean,you sound just like another isolationist, Charles Lindberg in 1939.keep football in America? why,theres millions to be made across the pond and they enjoy American if the NFL would just be smart enough to settle with the real refs and allow them to come back.

  17. I’ll repeat what I said in a previous related story:

    Don’t understand why any UK-based fan isn’t grabbing themselves the NFL gamepass – all the games live (not just 2/3 that Sky select) – plus you can watch any other games of interest later.
    Love the condensed format also – takes about 20 mins to watch every snap with all the junk removed.
    £99 is a bargain.

  18. I was in London a few years ago on Super Bowl Sunday. The SB was not on TV, there were 3 cricket games, 2 soccer games, and a bunch of other junk, no SB. I did find ONE bar that was showing it live but never got in because the line was about 5000 people long.

  19. This is the latest in a long line of disasters for the NFLUK and it’s comical boss Alastair Kirkwood. The contract expired in February, so why it takes until September to get this resolved is just sheer incompetence, but this happens every time the contract is up for renewal.

    Why they can’t just have a rolling contract, where one deal ends on one day and the new deal starts the next day is nothing but ridiculous shortsightedness. We’ve been without NFL coverage throughout the offseason which as forced ESPN to pull Sportscenter and other programming too as NFLUK wouldn’t let them show any NFL clips in their programming. Case in point, viewers in the Middle East and North Africa get more NFL programming than viewers in the NFL’s number one overseas market (as they get ESPN’s daily NFL programming along with halftime shows as well) whereas the NFL is strictly a Sunday proposition on British TV due to Kirkwood’s cosy relationship with his Sky paymasters, instead of getting the game daily exposure that the fans crave on a channel which would love to fill their schedules with NFL programming in ESPN.

    ESPN’s draft coverage on TV in Britain was heavily advertised in April, yet it was pulled at the last minute, fans were directed to’s live stream which was blocked for overseas viewers, so fans had to pony up to subscribe to the GamePass service to see it.

    NFLUK won’t talk about the “ongoing discussions” but are happy to spam you to oblivion with e-mails for Gamepass and for Wembley tickets, Kirkwood doesn’t want to “grow the game in this country” he just wants your Gamepass, Sky TV subscription and Wembley game dollars and pounds. The delay to the announcement of the TV deal is strictly to get as many people to pony up the £99 for Gamepass as possible.

    I’m sure the deal is done and games will be shown on TV from Wednesday night, but I’ve had enough of the incompetence, NFLUK and Sky won’t get any of my money and there are enough websites out there that will show me what I and many other fans want – which is what the US sees.

  20. Die hard Northern Irish NFL fan here, for everyone who says get live streams, I don’t get unlimited Internet, so I can’t get network online or game pass either, sky sports also supplied total access last year which as far as I’m aware hasn’t been confirmed yet either, so for those who say you can get it other ways, apart from channel 4 I can’t which only supplies 1 games a week, so sky sports does actually matter

  21. @4thandnone

    Sounds highly unlikely given the time differences that there would be cricket on. Guess you were very very unlucky.

  22. There is No Cricket in the Uk in February! Every Superbowl since 1982 has been shown on free to air TV, it’s also shown on Sky Tv now! 4thandnone is talking rubbish! Where was he The Shetlands?

    We love NFL over here! Make the game global!

  23. I am living in Hamburg, Germany, looking for a way to see as many NFL games as possible involving the Cowboys.

    From what I understand from a response in this forum the Sky contract in Germany simply allows you to see a handful of games that are pre-picked by Sky itself.

    And that all of the options work this way, for instance, ESPN just offers 2 channels of games that they have rights for. For instance, during the Cowboys season some games in the states are handled by Fox and so will not be available on Fox that week.

    I am looking at the GamePass option which promises ALL games but I am not confident the marginal internet will allow a good quality streaming experience.

    But then I see a comment here that indicated that GamePass sprung a surprise on subscribers by not delivering a live game if it was carried by Sky!

    Since it is a satellite service this should not have a bearing on what the NFL network has rights to transmit over the internet via GamePass.

    But it then raises the question of not getting a straight answer from GamePass ahead of time as to what part of their marketing promises is subject to an arbitrary Sky offering.

    Does anybody here have more than rumors regarding the most comprehensive schedule of NFL games?

    Notwithstanding that I am asking all this on a UK centered forum!

    Thank you!

  24. @ukdude said : “Just to add a layer of context to this and show how far the uk is away from being able to support a franchise, these games average a viewer rating of 70,000 to 80,000 viewers per game.

    It’s a fact World football is doing way better in the US than NFL throwball will ever do in England or anywhere else. Heck, English football matches and to some extent MLS matches are known to draw better on tv and in the stands.

  25. Instead of this :

    For instance, during the Cowboys season some games in the states are handled by Fox and so will not be available on Fox that week.

    I meant to say:

    For instance, during the Cowboys season some games in the states are handled by Fox and so will not be available on Sky that week.

  26. @ billh1947, perhaps before you blast me you look and see that I was actually quoting someone else. I think the NFL needs to go outside the country, so my view is the exact opposite of what you peg me for. I should have had the users name, in the text I cited, but those are not my views at all.

  27. You may not like to hear it but it’s true. I was staying at a very nice hotel in London, and there was absolutely cricket on. I don’t know the first thing about cricket, or when they play, must have been a rerun then. It took the hotel concierge to find the ONE bar in London showing the SB. It was not on regular TV, hence the line that never ended at this bar.

  28. @4ththandnone

    As stated earlier, EVERY SINGLE SB FOR 30 years has been televised on terrestrial channels (the channels available through a standard UHF signal, and now standard Digital channels) available for FREE to EVERYONE.

    I would find it odd for 3 matches of Cricket to be shown as frankly, it’s not actually a very popular sport and is certainly not popular in bars. It’s generally only ever shown during Ashes series every 18 months (never in Feb, when there are absolutely NO cricket matches- it’s a summer sport) in dedicated sports bar or those with a heavy sports focus.

    It doesn’t surprise me that few places would show the SB a few years back, but only due to the time difference. As Sunday night is traditionally a quiet night for bars, it’s unlikely anywhere without a relatively strong focus on sports would show a game that is freely available on everyones home TV screens that will go on till 4/5am Monday morning, when most bars will close at 1am on Sundays, with only clubs open much later.

    Oh- also- Football (soccer) matches finish before 10pm at the latest, SB normally kicks off about 1.00am-ish, so that is another odd side to your tale.

    You were probably in an area like West London where few sports bars or even normal pubs are located.

  29. 4thannone, the game was shown on BBC1 which is regular TV and would have been on the TV in your very nice hotel room. Most bars won’t show the SB game live as it kicks off after most close at 11.30pm. You may not like to hear it but it’s true, the UK is 5 hours ahead of the US (east coast) 😉

  30. I’ll also add that I watched last years SB at a bar in the very small city of Swansea that was part of a chain (Walkabout) which opened for SB night, as they have done for several years. It was one of several to open, with others on student areas and the local casino staying open for the game. My local Walkabout also televised playoff games.

  31. The NFL is more popular in the UK than I guess many Americans realise. In addition to the Sky, Channel 4 and Gamepass coverage it easily sells out the Wembley game with fans wanting more games. Since I started watching both my wife and one of my friends have started watching so there is your 3.

    There are currently a couple of thousand people on the NFLUK forums waiting to see any announcement on this matter.

    As someone pointed out, if you watch a lot of games then Game Pass is great, although it was even better when the Sky blackout period was 24 hours. If Sky start taking say 4 games instead of 2 then the 6 day blackout becomes really annoying.

    Although, with the £80 reduction in the yearly cost of GamePass taking Sky Sports as well is not that bad (if you already have Sky anyway).

    @Americans I am glad the NFL is a better ambassador for your country than many of you are. Yes there are UK fans, yes they understand the game, yes they have invented TV over here. Just listen to yourselves . . . really . . . With GamePass I probably watch more games than a lot of Americans do, at least those without DirectTV.

  32. @ shadowbadger, geez chill dude! You want a US passport and citizenship with your NFL pass? Let’s do this, give your your chelsea or Arsenal and you can pick any team you want and we’ll include Sandusky as a freebie.

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