ESPN to Show Premier League Trophy Celebration on ESPN2

It’s the crowning moment of the Premier League season. The part where the club who wins the Premier League title collects the trophy, and the captain raises it above his head to the joy of players, staff and fans worldwide. The players deserve it. It’s a shining moment in a long season no matter who wins it. And it’s something I always look forward to seeing every season. And this year, it’s a very special honor as Manchester United get to lift the trophy and to establish history as the most successful club in English football after winning 19 top flight titles.

Today’s Premier League title celebrations will be shown on ESPN2’s Manchester United against Blackpool broadcast. The trophy celebration will occur after the game ends.

In the United States, soccer coverage on television and the Internet has improved by leaps and bounds. But the one piece that often gets the cold shoulder by ESPN, Fox Soccer Channel and, when it was still in business, Setanta US has been the trophy celebrations. It’s one of the few moments in the season where you can let the pictures tell the story and there’s no need to say anything. Just sit back and watch the players prance around and take in their deserved applause. In previous years, Fox has not aired all of the trophy celebrations. When Setanta USA had it one year, when Manchester United lifted the trophy, they had some technical problems and we missed seeing the trophy lofted into the air. Even with the FA Cup Final last weekend, Fox did show the trophy being raised but then proceeded to talk over all of the other celebrations on the pitch as Christian Miles and Warren Barton jibber-jabbered about nothing in particular while the real story, the images of the players celebrating on the pitch, was teased in the background on a flat-screen television. Thankfully ESPN2 has decided to show the trophy celebration this year.

Soccer coverage in the U.S. is getting better. National anthems were played during the 2010 World Cup coverage instead of breaking for a commercial. Trophy celebrations are being shown, whether they’re on the Internet or elsewhere. But the TV networks still have a ways to go before they’ve mastered the coverage.

The parts that are missing are the before, during and after matches, i.e. the pre-match, half-time and post-match analysis. Fox and ESPN have tried to provide more of this, ESPN even more so. But it’s still not at the level that the league deserves. Post match analysis has been, for almost the entire history of English soccer shown in the United States, extinct. The game ends, cue the commercials and off we go. After the commercial ends, it’s time to move on to the next sporting event to show. And it’s over just like that. There’s no chance to wallow in the game, to discuss the high and low points, to question the manager’s decisions or to chide the striker for making a glaring miss. The post-match analysis is practically extinct in this country. Ian Darke and Steve McManaman are the exception, having broken new ground by having an after the match chat for ESPN2 viewers of the Premier League this season. And it’s a meaningful chat at that instead of the stuffy, cliche-ridden discourse between Miles and Barton afterwards. But the reality is that post-match analysis or coverage is a rarity, which is partly why trophy celebrations break the mold and have difficulty fitting in.

That’s one area of improvement I’d like to see Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN2 improve upon for next season’s Premier League: Improving its post match coverage and giving us a reason to hang on and watch the final few minutes. ESPN has worked really hard this season to raise the bar on Premier League coverage in the United States. Let’s hope next season is even better.

Thanks to reader Christopher Kull for the news tip regarding ESPN’s decision.

13 thoughts on “ESPN to Show Premier League Trophy Celebration on ESPN2”

  1. I’m sorry, but I don’t get this at all. I’ve been watching sports for a long time, and I have never seen anything remotely interesting during a trophy celebration. The team looks happy, they jump around, they get the trophy, some interviewer comes and asks meaningless questions that get bland answers (how does it FEEL???)…What exactly am i missing?

    1. To me, it’s part tradition but it’s also showing respect to the team who wins by giving them time in the limelight to wallow in their victory.

      What could they possibly say that would sum up the joy of victory? It’s a time where images are stronger than words.

      The Gaffer

  2. nobody cares about united lifting the trophy, mate. if somebody did care, they should find a way to watch it. they should drive to an internet cafe, drive to a university, or stream it from a different site. and they should stop complaining about tv coverage because, mate, we never had it so good.

  3. I also take exception to you questioning what ESPN2 is showing after the groundbreaking, revolutionary trophy celebration. You may not care for tennis, but more people in America will watch the French Open than EPL – it’s a major tournament. It’s very myopic of you to assume that what you’re interested in watching is the opinion of all.

    1. Joe, I didn’t say that. I expressed my own opinion and don’t expect everyone else to agree with it. Thankfully ESPN wised up and decided to change its mind and show the trophy celebration on ESPN2 instead of a tennis match.

      The Gaffer

  4. Personally I could care less about the trophy celebration. In this age of the internet there will be lots of video footage available to watch it when you want to. Besides what the TV channels show is often bland compared to what really goes on during these celebrations both in the crowd and by some players. Of course the winning team’s fans would like to see the presentation on TV. Not me even if my team won it.

    Last week for instance during the Liverpool vs Spurs game there was a streaker that disrupted the game and you could only see the video or photos on the internet. It was actually quite revealing (pun intended). I’m glad FSC didn’t show it but at the same time since it stopped the game and people were curious and were able to find out what actually happened later on the internet.

    The new technologies are changing the way we see things.

    1. Good point Jamie about the streaker. It used to be, decades ago, that they would show the streaker on TV. But in the last decade of so, the TV producers purposefully don’t show them. At least, they try their best not to.

      I still would prefer to see the trophy celebration live than watch it on the Internet, though.

      The Gaffer

  5. I want to see the trophy celebrations – it is part of the game and I would be disappointing if I did not get to see it. I also love the French Open so I can’t wait to see that also. I just naturally assumed who won the rights to the final game would also show the trophy celebrations –

  6. Let’s get to the real point here, why am I not surprised one of the first 3 people mentioning it’s not important here also bring up a edited Liverpool game. Not really the same thing, man, editing for content is a totally differently thing than editing for time. The trophy celebration is part of the season, every club is working with the dream of someday lifting that title, teams fight all season for it. Why the hell would they not show the title celebration> That’d be like cutting off the Superbowl or Stanley Cup right after the game, it’d be ridiculous. I don’t say this just cause I’m a United supporter, I think Chelsea’s win last season should’ve got the same coverage from ESPN2.

    Sorry if it pains some (Liverpool supporters) to see us lift that trophy one more time than you guys, but come on, grow up and have a little respect for one another.

  7. Nick, I’m not a Liverpool fan. Methinks you’re obsessed with Liverpool. Get over it and move on. Your team overtook Liverpool domestically and when you overtake them in Europe then gloat all you want but move on. The fact that I don’t like the trophy presentation is because it’s bland, not becuase it’s Manchester United getting the trophy.

    1. Alright, but still, wouldn’t it be somewhat important or relevant to viewers who’ve watched all season as top clubs have battled to win that trophy?

      I mean, some are saying people who wanna see it should just hunt it down online. Wouldn’t it just be easier for those who don’t want to see it to not watch it?

  8. A bit unfair to ESPN in the sense that for regular season baseball/basketball/american football they do not show 30 minute post-game shows either (except in rare occasions)

    So why should they give that extra block of programming to footy?

    For sure the ESPNNews channel should be doing a much better job of accumulating post game audio clips and summaries though.

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