News from early December 2022, including an update on "Pennyworth" on Showcase, and CBC's winter programming plans.
The Premier League, or PL – sometimes referred to as the English Premier League, or EPL – is the top-level men's association football (soccer) league in England, and widely considered one of the best football leagues in the world. Twenty clubs compete each season and, though the specific teams involved change slightly from one season to the next, its current membership includes a number of storied clubs, many formed in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
As of the 2022–23 season, which began on August 5, 2022, FuboTV, a sports-focused streaming service, is the exclusive Canadian broadcast rightsholder to the Premier League, having signed a new three-year contract that runs through the 2024–25 season, with live and on-demand coverage of all 380 games each season (each of the 20 clubs hosts each of the 19 other clubs once per season).
Both of Fubo's current package options in Canada – Essentials (regularly $24.99 per month, or $199.99 per year when billed annually) and Premium (regularly $39.99 per month or $319.99 per year) – will include access to all these games, which will air on the service's "Fubo Sports Network" feeds and/or a dedicated Premier League channel. We encourage you to check the FuboTV website for current subscription options, pricing, and promotions for new customers, as this sometimes changes frequently. (All prices in this article are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated, before applicable sales taxes, and are current as of August 6, 2022.)
While Fubo TV is the only service that will offer every Premier League game this season in Canada, some games will also be available on the NBC broadcast network available to many Canadians over-the-air or through cable TV services, as we'll explain below. Additionally, there are some matches organized by other entities – such as the English governing body known simply as The Football Association (The FA), and the European governing body UEFA – which sell their broadcast rights separately.
How did Fubo get the rights? Didn't DAZN just get these rights a couple of years ago?
DAZN, a rival streaming service based in Europe, did indeed pick up the Canadian rights to the Premier League barely three years ago, for an exclusive contract that covered the 2019–22 period – but is already out of the picture, at least as far as the PL regular season is concerned in Canada. (DAZN still has Canadian rights to competitions like the UEFA Champions League that regularly feature Premier League teams.)
Prior to the 2019–20 season, the Canadian broadcast rights had been split between cable sports channels TSN and Sportsnet, and before that the rights had more or less alternated between the two, going back to the early 1990s.
While we are not privy to the negotiations between the Premier League and potential international rightsholders, we know of two key factors that likely influenced FuboTV taking over the rights so soon after the move to DAZN.
The first is that the Premier League generally works on a three-year cycle for its broadcast rights – a much shorter timeframe than most other leagues or event organizers.
This is a requirement of the British government in regards to the league's UK media rights – the PL recently sought and received special permission to extend its 2019–22 rights deals into the 2022–25 cycle – though it seems the league has decided it's most practical to handle international rights the same way. (On occasion, it has renewed its rights with specific international partners for longer, such as NBC Sports in the U.S. from 2022–28, but in that case NBC has already been a consistent partner for the past nine years.)
The second factor is that, after coming out swinging in the late 2010s with major sports contracts in several countries – including, in Canada, the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and NFL Sunday Ticket / Game Pass – DAZN has incurred a lot of debt, and there have been indications it will aim to cut costs, or perhaps focus more on markets like Europe, going forward. DAZN did recently announce a new deal with UEFA covering Nations League games rights in Canada, but it seems clear it will be reigning in spending on properties for which it may have overspent in the past.
Is this the same FuboTV that's available in the United States?
The Canadian version of FuboTV is offered by the same U.S.-based company (FuboTV Inc.), and as far as we know it is using the same technology and apps in both countries. However, FuboTV in Canada is not as comprehensive as the American version of the service, which includes a much wider range of local, entertainment, and sports channels – as Fubo would need to make separate deals with the owners of the equivalent Canadian channels, and does not have the same ability as traditional Canadian TV providers to import local American TV stations. However, it also costs much less in Canada, with the U.S. service currently starting at US$69.99 per month for new subscribers.
The extent to which this disparity may or may not relate to the ownership of many of these Canadian channels by large telecom companies (and legacy TV service providers) like Bell and Rogers is left as an exercise for the reader.
The FuboTV support site is silent as to what will happen if a Canadian subscriber attempts to use the app while travelling (or appearing to be "travelling") to the United States, or vice versa, so at this point we would not recommend relying on this sort of functionality.
I live in an area without good broadband internet access. Is it possible to subscribe to this package through my cable or satellite provider?
Some readers may recall that the aforementioned DAZN ultimately allowed Canadian TV service providers to continue to offer a version of one of its other properties, NFL Sunday Ticket, following early technical issues. However, DAZN did not make a similar option available for its Premier League package when it owned the rights, nor has there been any sign this will this be possible for FuboTV.
FuboTV is instead available exclusively as an internet-delivered service. In fact, their business model is built around their offering being able to replace your cable TV package – though, as noted above, it may not be quite able to do that yet for the average cable-subscribed Canadian viewer.
I see that FuboTV comes with some channels I already get as part of my cable package. Is there a cheaper option with just the Premier League, or without the duplicate channels?
As noted just above, FuboTV's business model is based on its streaming service being a replacement for traditional cable. As such, there's been no indication that it's interested in offering its exclusive coverage (via Fubo Sports Network) by itself, let alone individual sports properties on an à-la-carte basis.
While FuboTV's selection of channels is currently limited compared to traditional TV services in Canada, there will nonetheless be some duplication between FuboTV and other TV services – particularly on the Premium package, which includes channels like Showcase and History.
For now, if you've decided a traditional TV package still makes sense for you, you will probably want to subscribe to Fubo's Essentials package, which only includes a handful of channels included in typical Canadian basic cable packages like CBC Television and Ici Radio-Canada Télé (and which likely aren't affecting the price very much), as well as all of FuboTV's Premier League and Serie A (Italy) coverage, plus channels that are sometimes a bit harder to find on Canadian providers like BeIN Sports and OneSoccer.
Are there any other options available to Canadians to watch Premier League games this season?
FuboTV's rights are exclusive within Canada – meaning that there is no other Canadian TV channel, or streaming service operating within Canada, that is authorized to offer Premier League games during the 2022–25 contract period, at least not without FuboTV's permission.
However, NBCUniversal currently holds the U.S. broadcast rights to the Premier League. As part of this package, the NBC broadcast network will carry select Premier League games on weekends throughout the 2022–23 season, with the first being Brentford vs. Manchester United on Saturday, August 13, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. Additional matches airing on NBC should be noted here as they are confirmed.
Local NBC stations/affiliates are widely available across most Canadian cable, satellite, and fibre-based TV providers, and in some cases over-the-air in cities near the U.S. border such as Windsor, Ontario. As is the case for other sports events like the Olympics, because these stations broadcast over publicly-accessible airwaves, and because those signals cannot be stopped or blocked at international borders, Canadian TV service providers are allowed to import the signals of these NBC affiliates as-is, without regard to any differences in programming rights in Canada.
The only exception is if there is a Canadian broadcast station airing the exact same program (apart from commercials), in which case simultaneous substitution (simsub) can be invoked – but, barring some sort of sublicensing partnership between FuboTV and a Canadian broadcast network or station, this could not apply to FuboTV's coverage.
The vast majority of NBCUniversal's Premier League coverage will be on its USA Network cable channel, which has not been authorized for distribution in Canada by the CRTC, and its Peacock streaming service, which does not operate in Canada. Even if some games end up being carried in the U.S. on channels like CNBC, which is normally available in Canada, NBCU will not be able to include those games on the version of the channel distributed in Canada. That's because cable channels like CNBC do not operate over public airwaves, so (again, as is the case with the Olympics) different rules apply compared to broadcast networks like NBC.
What about other streaming and networking apps I might see ads for, promising they'll give me access?
We are aware that there are other streaming or networking services that market themselves in Canada as ways to access sports programming like the Premier League. However, with the limited exceptions of the games airing on the NBC broadcast network as discussed above, only FuboTV is authorized to broadcast and stream the games within Canada for the 2022–25 period, as can be confirmed on the Premier League's official website.
Other streaming sites may provide lower quality streams and can be subject to closure without notice or refund. Many international streaming services, even if they operate in Canada and authorized by the Premier League for other countries (such as Paramount+ in parts of Latin America), are required to try to block out-of-country access through virtual private networks. Therefore, we cannot recommend these sorts of services, and any usage is purely at your own risk.
What else should I know about the 2022–23 Premier League season?
The season began on Friday, August 5, 2022, and is scheduled to run until Sunday, May 28, 2023. This season began slightly earlier, and will end slightly later, compared to the previous season, due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup being held this winter in Qatar, which also means there will be a mid-season break from November 13 to December 26.
The twenty clubs taking part this season, ordered by their positions in the standings table in the 2021–22 season, are as follows:
- Manchester City Football Club (F.C.) – 1st place last season
- Liverpool F.C. – 2nd
- Chelsea F.C. – 3rd
- Tottenham Hotspur – 4th
- Arsenal F.C. – 5th
- Manchester City F.C. – 6th
- West Ham United F.C. – 7th
- Leicester City F.C. – 8th
- Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. – 9th
- Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. – 10th
- Newcastle United F.C. – 11th
- Crystal Palace F.C. – 12th
- Brentford F.C. – 13th
- Aston Villa F.C. – 14th
- Southampton F.C. – 15th
- Everton F.C. – 16th
- Leeds United F.C. – 17th
- Fulfam F.C. – newly promoted; 1st place last season in the EFL Championship
- Association Football Club (AFC) Bournemouth – newly promoted; 2nd place last season in the EFL Championship
- Nottingham Forest F.C. – newly promoted; 4th place last season in the EFL Championship and won the play-offs for the remaining promotion spot
As you can see above, three top-performing teams are promoted each year from the second-highest league in England's football "pyramid", the English Football League (EFL)'s Sky Bet Championship, while the three teams at the bottom of the previous season's PL table are relegated (demoted) to the same league. The three clubs that participated in the 2021–22 Premier League but were relegated going into this season were Burley F.C., Watford F.C., and Norwich City F.C.
Beyond that, we are not going to prognosticate about which teams are likely to do well or poorly this year – there are plenty of other sites that would be happy to take your pageviews for that purpose.
And no, it is not the "British" Premier League – the other component countries of the United Kingdom, namely Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, all have their own football leagues, though for historic reasons, some Welsh clubs remain part of the English football pyramid and have occasionally participatied in the Premier League. It's not the Barclays Premier League (BPL) anymore either; Barclays Bank remains a sponsor, but ended its title sponsorship in 2016.
So after all that, we hope the message is clear – as of August 2022, the only authorized way to watch the entire Premier League season in Canada is on FuboTV.
- August 6, 2022 – initial publication