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SBD/August 19, 2013/Media
NBC Sports Widely Lauded For Debut Coverage Of EPL As Net Seeks Casual Viewers
Published August 19, 2013
NBC GOES ALL IN: In DC, Steven Goff wrote "one thing is certain," and that is the EPL, "regarded as one of the most popular global sports brands, has never had an American stage like this before." NBC is "promoting Premier League coverage as if it's the NFL." Among NBC's challenges is "introducing the league to casual viewers without insulting sophisticated fans" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/17). PHILLY.com's Jonathan Tannenwald spent Saturday morning at NBC Sports' HQs to watch the production and wrote, "I came away quite impressed, as so many television viewers did." There are "certain sporting events you can broadcast with a half-measure, but NBC was committed to not doing so for this." The presentation "lived up to the hype, and to NBC's high standards." Soccer this past weekend "took another big step towards being America's sport of the present" (PHILLY.com, 8/18).
GIVE THE AUDIENCE WHAT IT WANTS: SI.com's Tom Dart wrote, "With NBC Sports emphasizing that all 380 Premier League games are live on television or the internet, it is unfortunate for MLS that its live matches are scheduled far in advance." NBCSN viewers on Saturday were "served up the goalless draw" between the Red Bulls and Union, rather than Sounders F Clint Dempsey's "first start in his home state" of Texas (SI.com, 8/18).
NEW START ACROSS THE POND: In London, Jonathan Liew notes BT Sport launched in the U.K. this month, and Liverpool-Stoke City marked the net's first time televising the EPL. Some viewers "encountered technical difficulties with the BT Sport app." BT Sport's coverage was, "admittedly, a little silly at times." But the "serious stuff was better." Signing up former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis as a pundit was a "cruel masterstroke." If there was "one area in which BT were well stocked, it was bodies" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/19).