With 100 games of the 2013/14 Premier League season completed, it’s an opportune time to rate how NBC Sports is doing in its first season of its three season deal in broadcasting the Premier League to a US audience.
The acquisition of EPL US media rights by NBC Sports from FOX Sports has raised the bar on the TV coverage of English soccer in the States. But despite the positive steps, there are still areas of improvement needed that can make the coverage better, which will help bring more viewers to the sport.
In reviewing NBC’s work thus far, I’ve divided their coverage into 9 areas — covering everything from their web coverage and online streaming to TV production, and more.
Now that we’re 25% into the season, here’s how NBC Sports is doing so far:
Production and presentation
NBC’s production and presentation of the Premier League is exemplary. Never before have viewers in the United States had such a polished and professional experience of watching the EPL on US television. Everything from the studio set, to the camera angles and on-screen graphics are exceptional. NBC gives the Premier League (and viewers of the Premier League games) the reverence it deserves.
1. The studio is clean, large and inviting. The open space doesn’t make the broadcast feel stuffy or cramped. Plus the large studio space gives the production crew options for different camera angles to keep the broadcast fresh and exciting.
2. The background music that’s used is unobtrusive and adds to the overall warm-and-fuzzy feeling you get when watching and listening to the broadcast.
3. The incorporation of video such as aerial footage of the stadium, players inside the tunnel before they go out on to the pitch, and fans singing anthems in their entirety before games kick-off has been a joy for soccer fans both new and old.
4. No crawl across the bottom of the screen.
5. The use of a score ticker in the right corner of the Saturday 10am ET game on NBCSN has been a revelation. It doesn’t detract from the game. It can be incredibly helpful to stay on top of the scores from the other games, and it can be useful if you want to switch channels for a second to see a goal from elsewhere (particularly during a break in play in the 10am ET NBCSN game).
6. The pre-match and post-match Premier League Live show features sound analysis and news without the joke fest or shallow coverage that FOX Soccer previously produced. There is now a reason to tune in early and to stay tuned in after Premier League matches.