SBD/August 11, 2014/Media

After Successful World Cup Appearance, "Men In Blazers" Leave ESPN For NBC Sports

Davies (l) and Bennett will contribute radio, TV and written pieces
The "Men in Blazers" show is "leaving ESPN for NBC Sports, becoming the latest in a series of recent bets on soccer's rising popularity in the U.S.," according to Will Connors of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett "began making television appearances on ESPN during the World Cup in Brazil." Starting shortly after the '14-15 EPL season begins this weekend, the pair will have a "weekly Monday night show" on NBCSN and will "contribute radio, TV and written pieces for the network's various outlets." The terms of their contract were not disclosed, and the show "doesn't yet have a name." The "Men in Blazers" now have "more than 78,000 Twitter followers and are regularly recognized on the street by fans." NBC Sports Group VP/Original Programming Ron Wechsler said. "We saw how they showcased their talent in Rio at a very significant event, and that's how we plan to showcase their talent. We want to be true to the brand that they've established." NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said Davies and Bennett "are not going to stop talking about Major League Soccer, but the focus of their relationship with us will be the Premier League." Connors notes at NBC, the pair will be looking to "maintain their chemistry and unique brand of humor." That includes "building a replica set of the closet from which they broadcast while in Brazil" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/11).

SITTING IN AN ENGLISH GARDEN: ADWEEK's Tim Nudd reviewed a sequel to a spot for NBC's EPL coverage. The spot, via Brooklyn Brothers, N.Y., brings back American football coach Ted Lasso (played by Jason Sudeikis), who has lost his job coaching EPL club Tottenham Hotspur (he lasted just six and a half hours) and has "given soccer broadcasting a try." That "goes wretchedly too, though, as Lasso can't get a grasp on the concepts of relegation, the offside rule or really anything requiring a modicum of basic thought." So, he "returns to America, where he creates a 'Teeny Tiny England' in his own home, gets drunk with friends in the morning while watching the EPL and finds his next great coaching gig." Nudd: "The original film was great, but this one might be even better" (ADWEEK.com, 8/8). Meanwhile, NBC Sports has teamed up with Topps to create custom trading cards for the net's EPL commentators and personalities. Leading up to the '14-15 season, bars in select markets across the U.S. will receive “Season Starter Kits,” including Topps trading cards for lead EPL play-by-play announcer Arlo White, "Premier League Live" host Rebecca Lowe, analysts Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe. Sudeikis' coach Ted Lasso character also has a card (THE DAILY).
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Media, English Premier League, ESPN, NBC

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