4. NBC’s use of their own commentators for 2-3 games per weekend coupled with their decision to use the TWI/IMG commentators for the other games has been a perfect balance.
5. The commentaries have been so practically flawless that there have been so few criticisms this season, which has been so refreshing. Soccer fans in the United States can now concentrate on the games without annoying distractions.
1. Other than the technical glitches and audio/video syncing issues early in the season, I have no complaints.
Other than production and presentation, the other area that NBC had the greatest opportunity to improve on FOX Soccer’s presentation of the Premier League was in the area of analysis and punditry.
1. The team of Rebecca Lowe, Kyle Martino, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe are professionals who are focused on making sure that every word they utter matters. They’re not talking to fill space. Their words are meaningful.
2. The chemistry between the team feels like they’ve been working together for years. No one is trying to out-do another person on the broadcast. You get the feeling that they’re all working together to inform the viewer.
3. It’s clear to see that Martino, Earle and Mustoe work incredibly hard in watching and researching games and stats, as well as working hard in rehearsals to stay on top of their game. There have been very few flubs so far this season.
4. Rebecca Lowe is fantastic. She’s an ideal presenter to bring the Premier League into the homes of America. Her knowledge of the game is exceptional. She’s a great complement to Mustoe/Earle/Martino. And she keeps us listening in to her every word each week.
5. Kyle Martino has been a revelation this season. He’s come along so much so quickly from his days at FOX Soccer. At the same time, Earle and Mustoe have been consistent and a pleasure to watch, too.
1. The analysis by Earle, Mustoe and Martino is beginning to become stale. It’s not that what they’re saying is wrong or misinformed (as was so often the case with FOX Soccer’s Premier League analysis). But the analysis has become too conservative and predictable. After an impressive beginning to the season, it’s rare now that you’ll hear an enlightening piece of analysis of something you didn’t already think or see in the game yourself. The trio of pundits are oftentimes reinforcing salient points without taking the analysis to the next level, where a Gary Neville or Jamie Carragher might reveal something to us that we didn’t know or see.