EPL Survival Sunday, Manchester City's Dramatic Win Proves To Be Great TV
Fox and ESPN yesterday combined to air all 10 EPL matches as part of Survival Sunday, and fans can "expect an encore next year," as the coverage shows the "power of presenting something in a package," according to Ed Sherman of SHERMANREPORT.com. All the "promotion and the idea that this day was unique in the Premier League" likely piqued a lot of interest among casual soccer fans. Fox aired nine of the 10 matches on various outlets, with ESPN2 airing Manchester City-Queens Park Rangers. However, Fox "should have told viewers that Man City game was on ESPN2" during the coverage of its games, as Man City entered the day on the verge of winning its first EPL title. Even following the conclusion of the Sunderland-Manchester United game on FX, the net "still didn't direct viewers to ESPN2 so they could catch the final minutes of the ... unbelievable comeback" (SHERMANREPORT.com, 5/14). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes the "best part of Sunday's coverage on ESPN2 might have been cutting to the Man U game to show the real-time despair of its fans." Jones: "Brilliant stuff" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 5/14). The GUARDIAN's Martin Kelner wrote of EPL Survival Sunday coverage in the U.K., Sky "may have slightly undersold the massive event." Sky "kept me pinned to my seat, remote by my side, untouched." The Sky telecast yesterday included shots of Man City coach Roberto Mancini "looking a beaten man," and the "obligatory close-up of supporters in tears" as the club trailed QPR in the second half. City scored twice in stoppage time to defeat QPR and secured its first championship since '68. The "incredible ending ... topped everything before." Kelner: "Who better to reflect City joy than co-commentator [and former City F] Niall Quinn, seemingly on a free transfer from the Fanzone?" (GUARDIAN.com, 5/13).
GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE...: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Lilly Vitorovich reports the auction of EPL broadcast rights in the U.K. "is likely to be a two-horse race" between BSkyB and ESPN. BSkyB "secured the lion's share of rights in the last auction and has dominated coverage over the past two decades," while ESPN "could be looking to extend its share." Interested parties "have until Wednesday to apply for a copy of the invitation to tender," and the auction process "is expected to be wrapped up in June." Numis Securities media analyst Paul Richards "expects BSkyB to retain the majority of the packages, but he estimates competition this time round could push up the price" by 10-15%. Meanwhile, UBS analysts Polo Tang and Tamsin Garrity "have forecast a 15% increase," and Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Claudio Aspesi "predicts a 20% rise" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/14).