At the NBC Sports press conference in April to announce plans for the Premier League coverage beginning on August 17, 2013, I had an opportunity to interview NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network Executive Producer Sam Flood about the visual appearance of the Premier League on US television, and what we can expect to see from a production perspective.
“It’ll be different than MLS. We’ll take advantage of the location, the place and the stadiums. And it’ll all be incorporated and developed into an overall look, which we’re in the process of doing that now. Our art department does something special for everything we do.
“We’re always looking to creatively showcase and make people understand why this property is more than special.”
I asked Flood about the new studio in Stamford, Connecticut where Rebecca Lowe and colleagues Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe will be based, and how that’ll impact the TV viewing experience.
“The primary studio has up to seven different ‘locations’ that we can have the talent work from. The home desk has a massive multiple screen wall that can be broken up, so on [the final day of the season] we could have all ten games displayed behind on this giant mosaic. There’s a lot of fun things we can do with it.”
A topic that is a divisive one among soccer fans in the United States is whether a ticker should be running across the bottom of the screen. Here’s what Flood had to say about it.
“When the ball is in play, I don’t allow it. I don’t allow it in hockey. I don’t allow it in this sport. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do for the viewer.”
Following up on the ticker controversy, I asked Flood whether scores from other live matches would be shared during the commentary of other matches.
“At half-time, we’ll certainly be updating everyone with what’s going on. We’re undecided with whether we’re going to drop down scores [during live matches]. What we do with hockey, we drop down scores of other games in progress. I think we should, but we need to make a decision of what will be the fairest to the viewer.”
On a related note, will NBC Sports feature on-screen graphics to enhance analysis of matches similar to ESPN’s Axis replay system?
“We have similar technology. We’ve used it for NFL and hockey. We think we have an enhanced system above that that we’ll probably be using it, but we’re still going through the process.”