NBC Sports has announced that Kyle Martino will be joining NBC’s studio team for its coverage of the Premier League beginning this August. Martino will rotate with Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe as one of NBC’s Premier League analysts, and will work alongside studio host Rebecca Lowe.
Martino joined NBC Sports Group in 2012 as lead MLS game analyst and served as a men’s soccer analyst at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He previously served as an analyst for ESPN, FOX Soccer and the MLS’ Philadelphia Union.
While Martino’s analysis of Major League Soccer and the US national team cannot be faulted, his credibility with Premier League fans is extremely poor. Martino hosted Soccer Talk Live, FOX Soccer’s live soccer talk show, which was an absolute train wreck. After the show was cancelled by FOX in under three months, Martino transitioned into a role as soccer pundit on FOX Soccer Match Day on Saturdays, and Goals On Sunday. Despite an excellent camera presence and confidence in front of the camera on those shows, Martino’s analysis became insufferable for many Premier League viewers, myself included, because of lousy mistakes — being unable to pronounce Norwich correctly, as one example of countless mistakes, or offering analysis that was not insightful at all.
He improved during NBC’s coverage of soccer games at the 2012 Olympic Games. But he’s been off most radars of Premier League fans since then, focusing on covering MLS for NBC.
Now, he’s back. Honestly, I think he deserves another chance. He’s been at NBC Sports for one year so far, and has the potential to improve in the company of Premier League experts Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. Since NBC’s coverage of the Premier League is a new clean slate, I believe Martino should be granted the same opportunity by TV viewers.
While the appointment of Martino may be perceived by some as NBC’s first mistake in their Premier League coverage before a ball has even been kicked, I’m willing to give Martino another shot and hope that he, in conjunction with NBC Sports, will make sure that he’s up-to-speed in time before the new season kicks off on August 17.
In other news, NBC’s two Premier League analysts — Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe — will also call MLS games. Meanwhile, NBC Sports Group has announced that John Strong will be their lead voice for MLS. Strong was quite impressive during the 2012-13 season for FOX Soccer, where he often was considered a much better commentator than Gus Johnson.