NBC Universal is the surprise front-runner in bidding for U.S. rights to English Premier League soccer, Sports Business Daily reports. A three-year deal starting with the 2013-14 season is expected to be announced next week. NBC is wrapping up negotiations in bidding that started only last week. NBC would pay about $83 million a year, more than triple what Fox Soccer currently pays. Fox and ESPN have been informed that their joint bid was not accepted. Fox has been licensing about 80 games per season to ESPN under the previous arrangement.

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