After Monday’s match between Sunderland and West Ham United, NBC Sports analyst Kyle Martino surprised many by stating it was going to be his last show of the season for NBCSN, but that he would return in the summer for the next season of Premier League soccer.
Martino is heading to Everest as one of the analysts where Joby Ogwyn will attempt the first wing suit flight off the summit of Mt. Everest. Many consider the jump the world’s most dangerous stunt. The show, titled Everest Jump Live, will air live on the Discovery Channel in May.
In an exclusive interview with World Soccer Talk this week, Martino explained his reasoning for taking the challenge and what the reaction was from executives at NBC Sports Group, as well as his observations on how the season has gone so far based on the reviews of the coverage.
When Discovery Channel contacted his agent to say that they were impressed by Martino’s work on NBC and wanted to hire him for the Everest show, Martino said his initial reaction was that he was thinking of passing on the opportunity because of the incredible Premier League season that has been unfolding in front of us. However, NBC Sports execs Pierre Moossa, Sam Flood and others encouraged him to take the project, emphasizing it was a chance of a lifetime opportunity.
What it means for coverage for the remainder of the season is that Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe will now be on every Premier League television broadcast between now and the end of the season.
When asked about his feedback regarding the praise that NBC’s Premier League coverage has received this season, Martino said “It’s been so humbling and so wonderful. The praise feels so good because we know how much we care about it. It’s all about all of us raising the bar so that soccer is more popular in the States.”
Martino has been preparing for Everest by undergoing a nutrition and workout regimen. He won’t be climbing to the top of Everest, but he will be at Everest Base Camp. Martino mentioned that the executives asked him whether he had experience of being at high altitudes. Martino discussed his time training with the US Men’s National Team in Colorado, where the altitude was 10,000 feet above sea level. However, the altitude — even at Everest Base Camp — is 19,000 feet.
Incredibly, though, the Everest Base Camp has excellent WiFi, so he plans on watching as many Premier League games as he can, to stay on top of the coverage, as well as even conducting interviews with soccer podcasts from high in the mountains of Nepal.
The Everest Jump Live broadcast is tentatively scheduled for May 11, the final day of the Premier League season. But Martino said that the date of the live broadcast may change based on weather conditions at Everest.
Lastly, I asked Martino about how he’s been able to stay fresh and not get burned out during a marathon Premier League season that began in August.
“It becomes a lot at NBC Sports because we make sure we’re over-prepared for the broadcast, but the rotation helps out a lot.”
The rotation allowed Martino to have weekends off mostly every two weeks. He took advantage of the time, he says, so he could step into the shoes of soccer fans, watching broadcasts of the Premier League from his home in California, and enjoying the broadcasts, listening to the analysis of Mustoe and Earle.