NBC Sports officially unveiled the details of their English Premier League coverage plans today in New York. We knew NBC was going to make a huge commitment to the EPL after paying over $80 million dollars per year and shocking the soccer world in snatching rights away from Fox and ESPN. The size and scale of that commitment by NBC Sports Network to the English Premier League is more immense than any fan or observer might have expected. The level of coverage from games to review shows to magazine shows to live streams will make the most popular soccer league in the world the unquestioned #2 flagship sport for the nascent cable sports network behind the NHL.
As expected, NBC's lead soccer announcer Arlo White was named as the play by play man for NBC's EPL coverage. He will be on-site at games and call multiple games in a week. His analyst partners will both be former England fullbacks - Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux, who will rotate game duties. Both also have experience working for the BBC as analysts.
Rebecca Lowe will host NBC's studio coverage and be joined by analysts Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. Lowe and Mustoe come over from ESPN, where they both received plaudits for their work. Earle has worked EPL games for a variety of outlets as well as NBC's MLS coverage.
The last piece of NBC's EPL commentator puzzle is a big-name surprise. Former England international Gary Lineker will serve as a special contributor to NBC's EPL coverage and on-site host for select games. After his playing career finished, Lineker became one of the foremost presenters in the UK, anchoring Match of the Day and Olympic coverage for the BBC. In fact, Lineker just signed a contract extension with the BBC and it was reported that NBC were interested in signing him full-time. Now in this limited role, he will work for both networks.
The talent lineup is impressive as NBC combines the on-site game coverage of ESPN with the extensive studio coverage Fox Soccer provides. With the rotating color analysts, it's doubtful NBC will duplicate the popular pairing of Ian Darke and Steve McManaman at ESPN. However, the depth and quality of announcers should ensure the league is in good hands for American fans.
-All 380 EPL matches will be shown on television or streamed live on NBC Sports Extra. Games not shown on an NBC Universal channel will be made available via a package of networks entitled Premier League Extra Time. 154 games will air on NBC Sports Network, 20 on NBC, 76 on Telemundo, 22 on other NBC channels (USA, CNBC, etc.), and every match on NBC Sports Live Extra.
-NBC Sports Network will air a Saturday morning doubleheader at 7 AM and 10 AM. The NBC mothership will air the 12:30 PM ET game. On Sundays, NBCSN will air another doubleheader at 8 AM and 11 AM ET. In addition, the 2:30 PM ET Monday and/or midweek games will air on NBC Sports Network. In all, that's 6 broadcast windows for a typical weekend of Premier League football.Additionally, here's the list of studio, replay, and review coverage NBC will offer from the network press release:
Premier League Countdown – A preview of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season;
Premier League Download – With the help of a number of high-profile celebrity supporters, comedians and journalists, Premier League Download will explore what it is that’s so intensely loved – and loathed – about England’s topflight league. Long-time supporters will enjoy the lively commentary, while new fans will learn the language of the only league that matters;
Premier League 36 – NBC Sports Network’s acclaimed 36 series that follows athletes for the 36 hours leading up to a game/match/race comes to the Premier League;
Premier League Goal Zone – A 30-minute program airing after the matches on Sunday with highlights of all the goals scored on Saturday and Sunday;
Game Cut-Downs – On Monday nights, NBCSN will present a two-hour show featuring cut-down versions of the Manchester United and Manchester City matches. On Tuesdays, a two-hour program will feature the Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham matches;
Match of the Day – A two-hour show featuring extended highlights with the natural calls of every game on Saturday. This show is modeled after the highly-regarded BBC show of the same name. Match of the Day will re-air on Sunday mornings;
Match of the Day 2 – A 90-minute show featuring extended highlights with the natural calls of every game on Sunday. This show is modeled after the BBC show of the same name;
Match of the Week – On Sunday nights, NBCSN will re-air the best match of the weekend in its entirety;
Additionally, NBC will air the Barclays Premier League World, Preview, and Review magazine shows currently airing on Fox Soccer.
The sheer tonnage is staggering. Between six live game windows, pregame, postgame, two Match of the Day programs, the Match of the Week, two game cutdowns, and a boatload of magazine and studio programming you're looking at well in excess of 25 hours a week of EPL coverage.
For EPL fans and soccer fans, this has to be like Christmas in April. Never before has the game had such consistent, expansive, committed airtime. Although it may come at the expense of MLS's growth on television, the EPL product is simply in higher demand at the moment. It's the league of choice for American soccer fans sitting at home. NBC Sports Network is going to dedicate more coverage to the English Premier League than most networks do to American leagues! I'm particularly interested to see how the American versions of Match of the Day compare to some of the other excellent studio shows across sports and its namesake back across the pond. NBC is also smart to dedicate game replays to the big clubs with the largest fanbases (the big six of Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham) as well as replaying the best game of the week Sunday nights instead of the random replay schedule often seen on Fox Soccer.
If you're not a hardcore EPL fan, perhaps you're thinking a goals show, two review shows, a magazine review show, and three nights of replays is too much. You might be right. In fact, you probably are right, it sounds a bit obsessive now that I think about it. Considering where NBC Sports Network is at the moment it makes sense. Even after adding Formula One and other bits and pieces, the network is in desperate need of programming that will draw new viewers to NBCSN.
NBC isn't building NBC Sports Network as a challenger to ESPN as we might have anticipated when the network launched. Instead, they are running what looks to be a more efficient counter-programming strategy featuring second tier sports that have passionate, dedicated fans to slowly build the strength of the network. The NHL is the first anchor of that strategy and the EPL is now the second.
Just being able to catch a majority of Spurs fixtures will be a blessing. Very excited for this Kudos to NBC
For the past two or three years I've been able to watch 9 or 10 of the EPL games each weekend on my TV in English between FSC, FSC+ and ESPN, with judicious use of my DVR. This will no longer be the case.
To say the NBC game coverage is staggering and more than expected is just wrong. It's a step back. I'll have to take the money I used to pay for FSC+ and apply it to an internet feed that just isn't the same as watching my 62' behemoth.
Also, I expect we won't be able to watch each match in it's own capsule, as we can with FSC's coverage right now. I can watch most games each weekend without spoiling the result through a ticker or a commentary team giving away results of other games. I'm sure NBC will do away with the ITV-produced international feed of games which presents each game on it's own. I'm not likely to tape a game and watch it if NBC spoils the result.
Will the EPL be more accessible to the masses? Yes. Will the hardcore EPL fan get the same level of coverage on TV that we have now? No.
@JayRockerz I'm not sure how you're watching 9/10 games a weekend because the usual setup gives 6/7 on tv. You also won't be paying for the online service as long as you have cable, unlike Fox's terrible 2Go service, which is also incredibly overpriced.
I think you're thinking of IMG, not ITV, who produce the international feed, but yes NBC are using them. All games that White doesn't call will be using the international feed. This is a huge move for the hardcore fans, Fox never gave a shit about us, just look at their marketing. They were always trying to pull the casual fan into a niche channel, it never worked.
Not only that, but Fox Soccer's picture quality is astoundingly bad, even in HD. NBC has always had one of the best HD capabilities around and it will be great to see the Premier League on it.
The Premier League has grown out of a niche league for enthusiasts in the Fox Sports World era to more mainstream, live in the now coverage in the US. This NBC deal is further proof of that. Just going to have to adapt to the fact that fans want to monitor the league in real time, even if that's a Saturday morning. We wouldn't expect to have CBS hide scores, real time updates and highlights for the sake of those who might want to watch games delayed on NFL Network of their DVR.
@awfulannouncing you guys gonna be able to find the channel? Lol
@DougMartin17 Didn't hurt the decision process
@jacobkwright saw this yesterday. so awesome.
@AppStateD good stuff from nbc showing America the only football that matters haha
@adrochs1031 nice: "The size & scale of that commitment by NBC Sports Network to the EPL is more immense than any fan might have expected."
@KevinBartl 31 y.o. Fletch likes the fact that Bartl is obsessed with the beautiful game
@awfulannouncing here's everything I need to know ________.
@RooftopHeckler EPL + Formula 1?
@brotherflounder EPL, F1, IndyCar, NHL, and some decent college leagues for FB, hoops, and hockey. Solid.
This is a great job by the BPL to secure this deal They are targeting US fans for their dollars and will gain a lot of new fans with all this coverage
As a dedicated fan of soccer in the United States this is really amazing news. Simply stunning that we went from having to hope and pray my teams game will be shown live to this in just under 5 years. Simply awesome!! I can't wait.
NBC Sports is using EPL going after young, affluent viewers, i.e. males ages 18-34 and particularly high-income males ages 25-34. The same advertisers who buy ads on CNBC are the ones that will be targeted by NBC Sports with the EPL programming. Hiring Rebecca Lowe is no doubt part of the overall strategy. #BPLonNBC @olivertseprod
It's too bad they couldn't have gotten the rights to MLB also, but we can't have everything. Looks like The NFL Network 2...I'm sorry, I mean ESPN, will, unfortunately, have that for years to come.