Premier League Misses The Mark With Intro Video

There’s something about the new Premier League intro that plays before each game that bothers me. If you haven’t seen it, take a minute to watch it first (click the video above). It’s definitely a feel good video that illustrates the global appeal of the Premier League from Africa to Asia and other continents.

But if you take a closer look at the video, there’s something that bugs me when you analyze the different groups of people who are featured. They represent the following areas of the world:

  • Africa: Group of children running down a path to go to a home where they can watch a game on television.
  • Middle East: Young man wearing traditional Middle Eastern clothes and watching game on television. Near the end of the video, there’s video of two young Middle Eastern men walking down a beach in Dubai with the Burj Al Arab Hotel in the background.
  • Asia: Asian child watching the game on television.
  • United Kingdom: Middle-aged woman in a crowd. Father and son walking toward the football ground.
  • Unknown: Group of fans watching a game in a pub, wearing blue/white and red/white scarves.

It’s this last group that bothers me. What part of the world do they represent? Are they the miscellaneous category of other people from around the world that aren’t represented by the other places profiled — i.e. North America, Australia, the rest of Europe (outside the United Kingdom), etc? It can’t be Australia because EPL games there are played in the middle of the night, and it’s definitely daytime at this pub.

It’s hard to see in the grainy video, but by taking a closer look at the people who are portrayed in the pub, you can see a mixture of men, women and people who are black and white. Then there’s one individual who looks partly Hispanic but then could even be Turkish or  a similar ancestry.

The pub scene is puzzling because at first I thought they were trying to paint the pub scene as being in America — which it very well might be. But if that’s the case, they did an extremely poor job. All of the other areas of the world featured in the video are easy distinguishable between each other except for the pub scene. Perhaps the pub scene is supposed to be people in North America watching a game? However it doesn’t look anything like what happens in Nevada Smiths.

The reason the video bugs me is not because I can’t figure out which area of the world the pub scene is trying to represent. Instead, it’s because North Americans aren’t easily identifiable (if at all identifiable) in this video. The Premier League for too long has been focusing its energy and resources on building the game in Asia and the Middle East, while North America seems like the red-headed step child that receives very little or no attention. To me, the video intro to Premier League games is a slap in the face for football supporters in North America despite the fact that we support the league and its teams just as well as any other part of the world.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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10 Responses to Premier League Misses The Mark With Intro Video

  1. lefthomerow says:

    I understand the argument, and I’m never in favour of vagueness, but you may be asking too much of a 50 second spot. I’d argue that showing an “African” area of the world is no more specific than the generic white pub, with respect to both geographic size and cultural variety. I submit the following image in support of the former:

    http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2006/11/africa_in_perspective_map.jpg

  2. dane says:

    yeah, only that Africa is not a “country”, it’s a continent (as far as I could remember from geography class).

  3. Huh says:

    You must be bored stiff Gaffer LOL.

  4. oliver says:

    if you look up ‘overthink’ in the dictionary, you will find this article

    • Laurence says:

      Interesting but I disagree. The advert has clearly been over-thought by PL bureaucrats. Some of the footage could have been better placed and the ‘stock’ images that they use of people from all over the world just seem stereotypical and largely irrelevant. For a 50 Second slot they could have put something much better forward. Don’t you think?

      it reminded me more of something made in the late-90′s than now, that’s not the biggest crime in the world, but for the amount of money that I imagine they have spent on this, the thought process could have been a little more intricate.

      If it’s being marketed as entertainment, at least make it do what it says on the tin, huh?

  5. dstorm says:

    Gaffer, I think you meant to say “North Americas isn’t easily identifiable” –

    I think it’s a great piece and am glad ESPN shows it, rather than some generic ESPN opening studio shot.

  6. Leeboy says:

    Its awful. Luckily we never see this in the UK (technically, unless you’re watching 3PM games from the int’l feed) as Sky and ESPN do their own intros, as do the BBC for Match of the Day. Look up the Sky Sports 09-10 intro on Youtube, it puts this to shame. Kasabian and some FIFA-esque on pitch action gets you going more than this ‘culturally diverse’ drivel. It smacks of box ticking. The last good intro the PL did was 3 or 4 years ago with the club crests rising out from each stadium – that was so good the BBC used some of it for Match of the Day

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