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Volume 21 No. 42
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NBC Sports finds success with EPL fan events

NBC host Rebecca Lowe on the set in Washington, D.C.
Photo: NBC Sports

Before the English Premier League kicked off its season in August, “Men in Blazers” hosted a live audience at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., officially billed as the duo’s second annual Premier League inauguration.

With EPL Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore and British ambassador Sir Nigel Kim Darroch in attendance, NBCSN produced the “Men in Blazers” show with several hundred in attendance, most wearing EPL jerseys and most talking with American accents. The impressive turnout underscored the fact that Baltimore, Washington and Richmond, Va., were the top-three EPL markets last season.

NBC Sports brought the EPL to the D.C. market Sept. 29 for a fan fest where it produced the “Premier League Live” studio show — sort of an English soccer version of “College GameDay.” People started lining up at 4 a.m. just to take part, said Jenny Storms, chief marketing officer for NBC Sports Group. Around 2,000 people attended the event.

NBC’s marketing efforts around the EPL are designed to celebrate the U.S. fans of the sport. “We have this rabid fan base of people really engaged in the U.S.,” Storms said. “How can we build on that?”

Last November, NBC produced “Premiere League Live” in New York City’s South Street Seaport area but did little to market the event outside of a handful of fan sites. NBC executives were surprised by the size of the crowd and the lines to see the event.

“We realized then that this was a successful model,” Storms said.

NBC waited to see how the crowd in D.C. would react before totally buying into the strategy. With the success of its D.C. event, it will have at least one more this season.