NBC Sports Network won the deal to broadcast the English Premier League (EPL) games in the United State after outbidding Fox Sports who had the television broadcast rights for over a decade. This paper seeks to find out the negotiation strategies employed by the two organizations in reaching a deal that was lucrative for both sides. It is the case that broadcasting the EPL has been the biggest jewel in the Fox Soccer Channels programming yet it was outsmarted by NBC. In this quest, the paper shall seek to find out the individual interests of each company in the negotiations and also find out the roles of key figures.
Individuals involved on either side in the negotiations
These key individual figures included EPL chief Executive Officer Richard Scudamore, Sports Coordination Producer Pierre Moossa, President of Programming Jon Miller, Executive Producer Sam Flood and NBC Chairman Mark Lazarus.
Goals and Objectives for NBC and EPL
The chairman of the NBC Sports Network, Mark Lazarus said that after taking over from his predecessor in the year 2011, he targeted the English Premier League as the next step. One of the key strategies that were employed by NBC was that the company knew of what it wanted and had it before their negotiation. Indeed, it is the first thing that good negotiation strategy demands. This strategy is central to a breakthrough in negotiations since the other party at the negotiating table is forced to meet the other on their terms based on their expertise. In the case of NBC, it prided itself of its wider coverage and its better compensation package which was over three times the value of the earlier deal with the FOX Channels. As such, the NBC had a financial leverage over its rivals and with the EPL. Secondly, the NBC as well as the EPL understood its leverage. The EPL had the deal which would bring in profits to the firm and its dealer. On the other hand, the NBC had leverage in terms of its capacity to stream live the games to a wider audience, which was what was sought by the EPL.
BATNA for EPL
The Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) for the English Premier League (EPL) in this negotiation strategy was the earlier holder of the broadcasting rights, Fox Channels. The EPL had this course of action to adopt as a negotiation strategy should the deal with the NBC fail as this would have ensured continuity with a party with whom they had done business for long.
NBC Overall strategy and preparation in two year span
It is also instructive that the NBC had earlier made contact and agreed with British Telecom (BT) even before the start of negotiations with the EPL. This strategy was central and added to the capacity of the firm in clinching the deal. This is because the NBC agreed to enter into a production partnership with the BT. As such, while going into the negotiations with the EPL, the NBC was at a vantage point as it was able to demonstrate that it had the full and requisite capacity to deliver the goods. It is clear that the expertise that each firm has is its own leverage. Further, another key strategy in negotiations is being realistic with one’s interests. It is the case that both sides were realistic in the sense that the EPL wanted a media partner who could provide broadcasting services of the premier league games to a larger audience in the United States. More so, the EPL wanted a better deal in terms of finances and this it was able to acquire from the NBC Sports Network.
A number of tactics were also used by the two sides. For instance, the EPL never gave in to the negotiations until it had exhausted the possibilities that met its interests namely those of availing quality services to a bigger audience at good market value. The EPL CEO Richard Scudamore made it clear that he wanted a media partner that would provide coverage to the games for a wider audience than had been in the prior period. It is also clear that the NBC executive team comprising of their chairman Mark Lazarus, Sports Coordination Producer Pierre Moossa, Executive Producer Sam Flood and its President of Programming Jon Miller had agreed and consulted on several issues before entering the negotiations.
For instance, the President of Programming Jon Miller told the EPL of how the firm plans to roll out its broadcasting to ensure that the viewers are able to watch around 20 out of the 38 premier league games on live television. Further, he explained that the firm would provide the other remaining games free of charge to the viewers who were the NBC subscribers, a clear departure from the situation as it were. The Sports Coordinating Producer Pierre Moossa explained that the NBC Sports Group would utilize its entire NBC universal portfolio to make sure that its programming feat is achieved. To this end, the games would appear on NBC, USA, CNBC, Universal Sports and Telemundo Networks. Indeed, the EPL executives are said to have wanted to watch the games live on the NBC network during the negotiations owing to the ambitious proposal laid out by NBC during the negotiations.
On his part, the Executive Producer said that the company would send its on-air talent for the commentary. Indeed, the commentary offered by most television channels has been a concern for the whole soccer fans fraternity. As a negotiation strategy, the NBC ensured that it tackled this concern. Flood said that the NBC would overlay its own graphics package in addition to the feed that is usually availed by the EPL. He emphasized the need to have an authentic voice and an established presence in the United Kingdom besides the fact that the firm’s major production elements would be situated in Stamford.
Adair, WL and JM Brett. "The negotiation dance: Time, culture, and behavioral sequences in negotiation." Organization Science (2006): 14-25.
Adair, WL. "Integrative sequences and negotiation outcome in same-and mixed-culture negotiations." International Journal of Conflict Management (2007): 24-29.
Adair, WL, T Okumura and JM Brett. "Negotiation behavior when cultures collide: the United States and Japan." Journal of Applied Psychology (2009): 101-117.
Tinsley, CH and MM Pillutla. "Negotiating in the United States and Hong Kong." Journal of International Business Studies (2008): 11-17.