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NBCSN Begins Playing Mini-TV Commercials During Premier League Matches

nbcsn NBCSN Begins Playing Mini TV Commercials During Premier League Matches

If you live in the United States and you were watching NBCSN’s broadcast of Chelsea against Manchester United on Sunday, you may have noticed that the network played a mini-TV commercial in the top left corner of the screen during the broadcast of the match.

The 10-second TV commercial for an automobile manufacturer appeared in the 67th minute of the match between two of the biggest teams in Premier League soccer. The TV commercial was displayed over the score bug (watch the video below). And as soon as the full-motion commercial ended, the score bug returned to its previous state.

This is the first weekend where NBCSN has begun testing the new advertising unit. The network has increased the number of advertisers throughout the season who have their named displayed next to the score bug during Premier League matches, but this is the first weekend where we’ve seen a mini-TV commercial used.

While NBCSN’s use of advertising on-screen during Premier League matches is nowhere near as intrusive as broadcasts of soccer games in other countries, yesterday’s advertising during the game represents a departure for NBCSN.

Many of us understand that NBC Sports Group is in the business of generating revenue, but is this type of advertising too intrusive and does it detract from the experience of watching a soccer game on television, or not? Is this the start of NBCSN trying to find and sell new ways to advertise to soccer fans considering the lack of commercial breaks during a typical 90 minute broadcast, or did most of us not notice the ad at all and have no issue with it?

Share your opinion in the comments section below.

H/T to World Soccer Talk reader Guy Robert for the story idea.

This entry was posted in Leagues: EPL, NBC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

48 Responses to NBCSN Begins Playing Mini-TV Commercials During Premier League Matches

  1. Goon says:

    That actually doesn’t/wouldn’t bother me. If that helps make ends meet for NBCSN, then that is fine. With that said, I worry that acceptance will then embolden them to try more obtrusive forms down the road.

  2. Ian says:

    Old news. The Progressive ads with Flo have been fully in motion for months. It’s just an expansion of that. That you didn’t notice any of this before means it’s not THAT intrusive.

    As long as it doesn’t take more real estate than the score bug, it’s fine.

    Also, have you watched a game on Univision??? The entire bottom third of the screen is an ad sometimes. Or Fox baseball or football? Or NBC? Sheesh. Calm the heck down. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by my fellow soccer fans’ ability to be persnickety.

    • Christopher Harris says:

      I remember the Progressive ads with Flo but they weren’t mini TV commercials. They were a graphic that moved to catch the viewers attention, which is quite different than the automobile ad.

      Yes, I’ve watched a game on Univision and FOX baseball or football, but that doesn’t mean that NBCSN has to stoop to that level.

      • Ian says:

        You’re picking nits for clicks. The ads on Fox Soccer were WAAAAAY worse than any of this. And frankly, motion graphics with text can be more distracting than full motion video.

        I reiterate, nitpicking.

  3. jdk says:

    Haha. I don’t watch as much BPL as I used to but catch most Chelsea games. Was watching this game and did not even notice this. I try to make a habit not to look at the score and clock that often during the match. Unless it’s in stoppage time or I am wondering if Chelsea is thinking of a substitute it serves no purpose. It’s not like I forget the score as well.

  4. fsquid says:

    When I was in Italy, they ran commercials during the breaks when a goal kick was awarded. I’m talking breakaway for a 10 second clip full screen.

    • Smokey Bacon says:

      I’ve seen that over there too. Corners, throw-ins. Now that is intrusive.

      Unfortunately this is America and advertising pays a lot of bills. At least it was something high quality like a Range Rover. They will lose me if it’s for pro-biotic or Duluth underpants.

      NBCs coverage is awash with advertising. Every segment has a sponsor. I expect the two Robbie’s will have advertising on their ties before too long, and Rebecca Lowe will be brought to you by Victorias Secret, like they do in Italy or Brazil!

  5. Dodge Buck Night says:

    Website that forces you to watch a video before accessing their content condemns television channel for airing commercials.

    • Christopher Harris says:

      If you read the article again, I didn’t condemn NBCSN for doing this. I merely asked the question what you, the readers, thought.

      Yes, there’s a 15-second ad that is displayed for many users before reading content on the website. Sports Illustrated is doing the same for their online content, and most YouTube videos now have a similar pre-roll. We have to pay the bills.

      • Pakapala says:

        Oh that we agree. But just as well you have to agree that NBC has bills to pay as well. I watched the whole game and did not notice the ad until I came on here and saw this article. Quite frankly this is nowhere intrusive and doesn’t ruin the game I am watching. When the audio commercial is introduced and/or the ad become full screened or half screen like in Mexico, then I’ll have a problem.

    • CTBlues says:

      Dodge at least on the internet you can install ad-block plus on your web browser.

      • Christopher Harris says:

        CTBlues, if everyone did that, we’d be out of business and the site would be gone. Seriously. If you enjoy the coverage on World Soccer Talk, then you shouldn’t install extensions like that.

    • IU Gonzo says:

      Is it ironic that I had to watch a video to read this article?

      I’m not condemning WST. I’m just asking a question.

  6. Jim says:

    It was only a matter of time before NBC Americanized their soccer coverage. This is definitely not a good sign but unfortunately we have no option but to accept it. If you want to watch EPL soccer you have no choice but to accept NBC’s coverage.

    NBC is not in the business of caring about how soccer is traditionally covered as much as in the business of making money. Thy didn’t buy the rights to the EPL for prestige but they saw a business opportunity, one that will make them profits.

    • mahluf says:

      “NBC is not in the business of caring about how soccer is traditionally covered as much as in the business of making money.”

      This is statement is so off-base. NBC has continually shown that they do indeed care about how the BPL is covered. I don’t see anyway you can disagree.

  7. Paul says:

    I dont have a problem with this. They aren’t interrupting the broadcast. And the commercial aren’t long or intrusive enough to bother you.

  8. zoomfergie says:

    Saw it. Hated it. But not as bad as the layover ads at the bottom of the screen which we used get during premier league matches on Fox Soccer. Lesser of two evils then.

  9. Frill Artist says:

    It’s distracting and annoying.

  10. scott says:

    It could be worse, during Olympic soccer they had full blown break away commericals during the game. And as others have said it is better than the ads on fox soccer were.

    • Jim says:

      That’s the long term concern that somewhere down the line we may actually have to accept breakaway commercials during a game.

      • scott says:

        Jim I share the same concern, I fear someday I will be telling my daughter what it was like to watch a watch a match unencumbered by commericals. However, I fear we are powerless to do anything about it.

      • xsellers says:

        I agree that it is a bad sign that things could get worse in the future. If they did not need video commercials in the scoreboard on day one why do they need them now? They are only likely to get larger and more intrusive.

  11. Bo says:

    Fine by me.

  12. CTBlues says:

    Was at the pub watching the match talking to friends and fellow supporters and didn’t even notice the mini-commercial. I don’t really mind because it no where near as bad as the American sports that I watch.

  13. Guy says:

    I commented yesterday that NBC were pushing the envelope. I don’t think we are that far away from quick half or full screen commercials after goals, before corner kicks or during injuries. It is only a matter of time considering the costs of obtaining the rights. What are we going to do about it, refuse to watch the matches?

    • scott says:

      I agree completely, over my 34 years on this planet I have watched commericalism invade almost everything, heck even Pbs has commericals.hopefully it never gets as bad as the nfl.

  14. CTBlues says:

    They better not go to the F1 style commercials that they use during the live broadcast.

    • scott says:

      Yeah the F1 style commericals are very intrusive. I didn’t mind so much because Vettel’s dominance made the sport unwatchable the second half of the season.

  15. Dave says:

    NBCSN has been showing that Landrover mini-commercial during matches for a good few weeks. You just haven’t noticed it until now.

  16. Who Cares? says:

    This is very old news.

    That Range Rover full-motion video commercial in the score box had been running during BPL on NBCSN for the past few weeks.

    I remember watching the commercial on New Year’s Day.

    • Christopher Harris says:

      We didn’t notice it until yesterday, but thanks for letting us know you saw it earlier. The ad may have been running for a couple of weeks, but this is the first time anyone is reporting it.

  17. Tyler says:

    When is NBC going to start the Premier League 36 that they talked about when they won the rights?

  18. jdoe says:

    Much better better than the idiotic ads on this site. The ad for the sofascore app complete hijacks my rss app so much that i’ll probably remove this site from my feeds.

    • Christopher Harris says:

      jdoe, I’m not aware of the Sofa Score ad. Are you using the following RSS feed — ? If not, can you send me a screenshot to thegaffer[at]worldsoccertalk[dot]com? Thanks.

  19. eplnfl says:

    All for it actually. Increased ad revenue shows greater interest in the matches. We all agree that NBC has given us all we every wanted and more. So think of as many little ways possible to make money and keep giving us the coverage!

  20. Daniel Feuerstein says:

    It’s fine. All regional sports networks will do this during NBA, NHL & MLB games. NBCSN has done the right thing.

    Just cover the scorebug at the top left corner of your screen for a few seconds to get it out of the way & off we go for the rest of the coverage un-interrupted.

    It’s not the end of the world, nor should it be felt like it.

    • Jim says:

      I have never seen an NBA, NHL or MLB game where there was an ad during the game. It’s always during timeouts which are many in these sports.

  21. yespage says:

    Firstly, I suggest NBCSN only show Stoke City games. That way no one will care if there are commercials during game play. People may actually prefer it!

    Secondly, why can’t they just embed adds on the advertising boards themselves? Can do that the whole game and it would be completely unobtrusive.

  22. nhl says:

    NBCSN has done the same thing with NHL for years now. Its no big deal.

  23. Robert Cottuli says:

    It was no bother to me. It was presented in an unobtrusive fashion, did not impede the view of the game, and you have to expect some amount of ad space for any live sports – that’s how TV networks recoup those millions of dollars they pay to get the right to show the games after all.

    The sky is not falling, folks. Relax.

  24. AJ says:

    Don’t they have promos constantly for NBC’s NHL coverage. I never really notice them. I’m not bothered.

    Gotta remember people ESPN used to have Ian & Macca give verbal promos for stuff including other sports coverage that was coming up. NBC doesn’t control the announcers for most of the games so they have to do this.

    I don’t mind as long as we don’t get anything more than that.

  25. Saint George says:

    If this is the cost of keeping the premier league on our tv screens here in the US, then I’m fine with it…

    If however it’s just the start of something way more intrusive in the future, then I’ll do what I always do in these situations and boycott all the companies advertising….and let them know it too.

    Hopefully NBC will stay on the sensible route

  26. bennett311 says:

    Didn’t even notice or pay attention at that point. But to be honest, that game was over by the 67th minute anyway, so I was naturally on the 2nd screen in addition to watching as well.

  27. Fulhamish says:

    If this relatively minor inconvenience is the cost of receiving access to every match, I’ll gladly deal with it.

  28. JZ says:

    Shhhh. Everyone that keeps saying you didn’t notice the add please be quiet. We don’t want them to be more intrusive and by telling NBC that you didn’t notice them defeats the whole purpose of an add.

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