On our dime, World Soccer Talk traveled to Connecticut to find out what a typical Saturday at NBC is like.
World Soccer Talk sat in on a typical Saturday production of the Premier League at NBC studios in Stamford, Connecticut. We wanted to give you a better understanding of NBC’s attention to detail.
Kartik Krishnaiyer (senior writer) and Joshua Tomlinson (videographer) joined me on our trip from Florida and back. After traveling on a Friday night, we arrived in White Plains and then drove to downtown Stamford. The town was deserted except for a Taco Bell that looked like a Fast and Furious scene.
On Saturday morning, we were scheduled to arrive at NBC’s studio in town at 9:30am. So, we caught the early 7:30am ET game first. We watched ManCity-Hull in the hotel and then on our mobile devices as we headed to the studio.
First impressions of NBC’s studios in Stamford
On the approach to the studio, the first surprise was that the building was near a residential street. The building used to be an old Clairol factory. In my mind, I had pictured the building being located in a business district. I was surprised to go from a typical street to a sprawling complex. It was set among trees, creating a bucolic setting.
Upon entering the building, we waited in the lobby for a few minutes and took in the scenery. The lobby area resembled a baseball stadium concourse with signs pointing the way to a “mezzanine.” Around the corner was a large, open working space that was named Central Park. The natural light beamed in through the lobby and working area to create a calming feeling.
A NBC spokesperson took us on a tour of the building before arriving in the screening room. Refreshingly, the entire building that day was focused on NBC’s Premier League coverage.
As part of the tour, we went into the control room to see the heartbeat of the operation. NBC Coordinating Producer Pierre Moossa, along with a team of 30 people, directed the live coverage. They decided which footage and cameras to use. And then they gave cues to the talent (Lowe, Earle and Martino) who were in the studio around the corner.
After the 10am ET matches started, we were granted access to the studio. It was spacious, bright and stunning for NBC’s Premier League coverage. There, we had a few minutes to spend with Lowe, Earle and Martino. We all exchanged pleasantries and caught up with one another. I had met Lowe and Earle before, so it was a pleasure to see them again. Both of them are as humble in person as they appear on camera. And Lowe knows the key to a man’s heart as she offered me a McVities Chocolate Digestive from her secret stash. All credit must go to Earle’s wife for providing Lowe with her supply.
Interviewing NBC’s talent
I had a chance to speak with Martino for a few minutes. While I was a critic of his earlier work with FOX Soccer, I wrote in June that he deserved another chance. I’ve been extremely impressed by all of the hard work, research and analysis he has provided since NBC’s Premier League coverage launched on August 17.
After chatting with the talent, we retreated to the screening room. There, we were able to watch from all of the games being played. It was a first half of 0-0 matches throughout the Premier League. However, we were glued to the large screen TVs affixed to the wall. The action in the second half picked up, which led into the last match of the day featuring Crystal Palace versus Sunderland.
After the Palace-Sunderland coverage ended at 3pm, we were whisked back into the studio to conduct our interviews before the taping of Match Of The Day began at 3:30pm ET. While we set up our equipment for the interview, we were able to eavesdrop on the production meeting for Match Of The Day, which was interesting to watch and listen to. It was refreshing to see that it was a team effort from everyone present to determine what talking points should be featured. That included everyone from the staff members to Moossa, Martino, Earle and Lowe. Martino, in particular, was vocal in sharing his expert opinions.
Winding down the day
After the production meeting ended, we interviewed Earle, Lowe and Martino as well as Moossa. We were impressed by their professionalism, attention to detail and their interest in sharing time with us during what is typically a 13 hour Saturday. With videos and audio in the bag, we rushed out so they could record the Match Of The Day. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to say our goodbyes, but we did not want to get in the way either.
Our seven hours at NBC Sports Studio in Stamford flew by. We left there with a better sense of what goes into a typical Premier League production.
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