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Kyle Martino Joins NBC’s Premier League Studio Team: Why He Deserves Another Chance

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.

Since Strong is leaving his post as lead voice for MLS’s Portland Timbers, former FOX Soccer presenter and commentator Christian Miles will replace him.

For more information on NBC Sports Group’s Premier League announcers, read everything you need to know about NBC’s coverage of the Premier League.

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  1. Michael

    July 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I’m sorry but this is disappointing. Also, Robbie Earl might be a Premier League “expert”, but he sucks in front of the camera. Always sounds awkward and not confident at all. I would have loved to have seen Ian Dark/Taylor Twellman.

  2. T. A. Simeria

    June 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I actually think Wynalda knows the MLS very well. He’s got a view that’s a little critical of the current powers that be, and that’s useful for the league and exciting for fans. I think he’d be out of his element with EPL.

    Kyle Martino, I’m not so sure. He’s a nice guy, but…..anyhow, he must be well connected since some people really want to make him a major voice in American soccer.

  3. Andre

    June 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    He was terrible but I can safely say not as bad as Gus Johnson or Ian Wright. If NBC wants to give him a shot, why not. I just wonder what the goal is. Would a competent, informed, flowing Kyle Martino improve the viewing experience in a way another broadcaster can’t? I don’t see how.

  4. Smokey Bacon

    June 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    The thinking man’s Gus Johnson. First poor move by NBC. Always comes across as trying too hard if you ask me. Too fond of terms like PK for my taste. Like Wynalda, he will be totally out of his depth when it comes to he EPL. Stick to MLS where he at least has a shred of credibility.

  5. Guy

    June 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I have always used the studio shows as kitchen/potty breaks. I will give the new new one a shot just to see if it’s worth my while. No big deal to me, one way or the other.

    • jtm371

      June 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      okay no playing you think k martino should be on a pre/post match show from his performance at FSC?

  6. blue moon

    June 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Clueless and useless!

  7. Jeff

    June 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    FFS, some of the comments here are extraordinary. Martino is one of THREE studio analysis, meaning you won’t just hear from him. It’s also high likely he won’t be on the panel some weekends due to his MLS commitments coming first. It’s like how Earle & Mustoe EPL commitments come before their MLS roles.

    I understand that many here don’t like American influences in the coverage (see Gus Johnson as an example) although at least give Martino a fair chance to prove himself when ‘EPL on NBC’ begins before giving him the blowtorch. If he’s a decent analyst, then some of the comments here would be unjustified. If he doesn’t perform, then everyone has a right to criticize his role.

    One final note, if you’re not going to watch a pre/post-match show because of one guy or past experiences of said guy rather than looking at the overall package & everyone involved – that’s your loss…

    • jtm371

      June 24, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      give him a chance he had his chance at FSC and he bombed so he goes to nbc and he is not going to be a idiot.stick to what he can handle the mls leave the EPL to the professionals.

      • Jeff

        June 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

        jtm, you’re contradicting yourself. In the comment you said he bombed at FSC and that “he is not going to be a idiot” at NBC. Can’t be both, either Martino is going to be a better EPL analyst for NBC or he’s going to be like he was on Fox Soccer. I’m just not coming to conclusion like some are here until we see the product and what Martino brings to the panel.

        • jtm371

          June 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm

          i said we know what he brings to the discussion from his work for fsc so why would it be different at nbc.if i had never heard him comment on the EPL i would agree with you and give him a chance.

  8. Steven P.

    June 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Another attempt to Americanize the EPL. When will these people learn? It’s not about the face but the content that counts. He’s been utterly clueless for Fox when he commented on the EPL so why would he be better now?

    NBC hasn’t endeared themselves with this appointment.

  9. walker

    June 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I had Kyle’s brother as a coach some years ago and he was just as clueless about the game as Kyle is…has to run in the family

  10. jtm371

    June 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    he sucked on fsc and he will suck on nbc.very disappointing to hear nbc did not learn anything from fsc errors oh well did not watch pre match or post match before no change.a white and k martino in major roles very sad.

  11. Pete Q

    June 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve been watching more and more MLS coverage on NBC Sports Network since the Premier League rights were bought up by NBC Universal.

    The matches aren’t always entertaining, but I have to say that I’m NOT upset with the quality of the broadcasts.

    I’ve never been a fan of Martino, but I can tolerate him as much as any other announcer.

    The bottom line is he won’t be taking up too much time from the broadcasts. He’s just going to be one of many commentators. So I’m not gonna raise a stink about his appointment.

  12. Dean Stell

    June 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I don’t mind experimentation with guys (e.g. Gus Johnson), but there should be clearly defined goals for whether the experiment is working or not so you know when to stop and try something else.

    As fans, we should WANT the producers of these shows to try innovative things. That means we’ll get exposed to some stuff that is bad and I don’t mind that… long as we’re not STUCK with the bad stuff forever.

  13. tim

    June 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Tough crowd here as it alwasy seems to be when an American is involed with the EPL. Martino is great, period.

    • jtm371

      June 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      some of us were fans before it was cool and we don’t want slop shoved down our throat to make nbc happy to put an American on a panel.

      • Richard Kujay

        June 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

        I totally agree. Fan of footy since…hold your breath…1959.
        Of course my exposure then was the Manchester Evening News delivered two weeks late. At least no one spoiled it by saying “Did you see the game last night?” And then spill the score.

        • jtm371

          June 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm

          glad to have another gray beard to the have me by a few years.hope you will comment on a regular basis with age comes wisdom.CHEERS!

  14. Mark

    June 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t want “Americanized” broadcasts of British soccer. For true insight and perspective, I want opinion and analysis from those that live it and breathe it every day.

    FOX butchered their broadcasts, alternating between analysts who were hell bent on proving what they knew, and giving the impression they were on site. ESPN broadcasts were far better on both insightful commentary and superior video quality.

    Mustoe is quality. And I want British based announcers calling the games. Not Americans who call it as if it’s a hockey game: “Giggs to Rooney to Van Persie…SCORE!”

    • kopite65

      June 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      why do i think that nbc gonna screw this one up……….

  15. Dust

    June 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    He should get another chance..from my recollection it was Nick Webster and Wynalda that led were driving the train wreck.

    What studio show did FOX produce that wasn’t a train wreck? he will be with great pro’s on the show and NBC Sports is a far better outfit than FOX.

    I’ve recently increased my consumption of Sirius XMFC shows to give them another chance…and again.. from what I remember..Kyle is better than all but one of the US or Eng contributors on there (Barnet in particular is just horrid) on any of the shows produced by sirius.

    Hudson is the one that is worth a listen too.. the others lack the facilitation skills and objectivity for good debate…being a former player or GM isn’t enough…neither is just loving the game…

    Good luck to Kyle and NBC on the new package’s…clean sheet!

    Roll on the pre season Hype and shows..roll on Aug 17

    • The Gaffer

      June 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      It definitely wasn’t Webster or Wynalda that were driving the train wreck that was Soccer Talk Live.

      The Gaffer

      • Dust

        June 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

        I disagree but that’s sports.

      • Jason Gatties

        June 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm

        Cmon Gaffer, did he pay you off? Wynalda’s middle name is “Train Wreck”

        • The Gaffer

          June 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm

          Dust said that Wynalda was partly responsible for the train wreck that was Soccer Talk Live, which isn’t true. Soccer Talk Live was the idea of FOX Soccer’s chief executive David Nathanson. That was his first major project after taking over from David Sternberg at FOX.

          The Gaffer

  16. Marc

    June 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I think NBC Sports should leave it up to us, EPL Talk Readers, on who they should and should not hire.

  17. saywhat?

    June 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Any updates coming on agreements being made with cable/satellite providers in carrying the “packages” NBC sports is offering? Sports live extra, extra time, etc…..

    • The Gaffer

      June 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Not yet, but hopefully soon.

      The Gaffer

  18. Wongo1

    June 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    AJ I have to agree I told NBC to give me a call and I would come on board. Obviously they have ignored me and gone for the coif.

    Sorry Gaffer but he has been poor, continues to be poor and will more than likely be poor in the future.

  19. AJ

    June 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Well. won’t be watching the studio shows then. This guy doesn’t have a clue

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