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Volume 25 No. 63
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Good Morning, Futbol: NBC Preps New Tagline For EPL Campaign

In preparation for its sixth season airing the EPL, NBC Sports Group’s broadcasters and staffers spent much of the last week in England meeting with players, managers and other club execs. The net is aiming to deepen and strengthen its coverage, bringing fans in the U.S. closer to the experience and traditions that you can only feel when you attend EPL matches in person. NBC also is hoping to shine a brighter light on American fans this year, showcasing just how they have grown to love the league here in the U.S.. “When we started covering the Premier League, we did it in a way that was true and authentic to our audience here, but we celebrated it the way that English fans celebrate the Premier League,” said NBC Coordinating Producer Pierre Moossa. “But the American experience is very different, whether it’s the early mornings, breakfast in a bedroom or a pub; that has become a big part of the community and experience.” That tagline, Premier League Mornings, will not only be a big focus of the network’s marking campaign around the season, but also integrated deeper into its broadcast. For example, the net recently spent time with nine different clubs where they had some of their top players create morning-themed marketing content, whether that is a star player juggling a soccer ball while holding a cup of coffee, or just shouting out the tagline and telling viewers to tune in. The theme will also be woven through the coverage of the league as well, noted on the pre-match show in the title itself, but also amplified through user-generated content that will showcase how people are watching the games in the U.S.

SHOULDER PROGRAMMING PLANS: There are not any wholesale changes coming to NBC’s EPL coverage, though Moossa said the net will be airing additional content series around the matches. Roger Bennett, one half of the Men in Blazers duo, is currently shooting a series called "Promoted," which takes a deep dive on the three newly-promoted clubs and their players, history, fans and traditions. Each club will be showcased in a 30-minute documentary. NBC also is working with Manchester United to create an hour-long documentary to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of perhaps the club’s most successful season in ’98-99, when it won three titles including the EPL and the UEFA Champions League. The documentary, called "10 Days in Manchester," will feature archival footage of matches from the club and interviews with players and broadcasters. The documentary is scheduled to air in May to coincide with the 20-year anniversary. There will be several new digital and social features, including a series also done by Bennett that will highlight links between the World Cup excitement and the EPL, as well as a new show on Snapchat that will air on Mondays highlighting the top plays and action from the previous week.

RATINGS DON'T SHOW WHOLE PICTURE: NBC's coverage of the EPL last season only had modest gains, an increase of less than 1% as it averaged a total audience delivery of 449,000 viewers per match window, compared to 447,000 the previous season, which was its lowest since acquiring the rights. However, Moossa said while the net understands it is judged by metrics, he also said it is impossible to quantify the growth of the sport and the EPL in the U.S. He noted that last season, the net’s coverage of the league reached a record 39.3 million viewers, up 14% over the previous season. “You can feel the huge growth of the sport of soccer in the U.S., whether it’s the Premier League, the World Cup, MLS or just soccer in general,” Moossa said. “That impact may not be able to be quantified just yet, but we believe this is a very special time.”