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Reviewing NBC’s EPL coverage after 7 years

Reviewing NBC's EPL Coverage

In this story, we will be reviewing NBC’s EPL coverage seven years removed from their acquisition of the rights.

In the seven and a half years, NBC Sports Group have televised the Premier League across their various platforms. For the most part, U.S. fans have been very satisfied with the level of coverage they have received. But a strong case can be made that NBC’s best days of covering Premier League football are behind them. With Premier League rights coming up for bid next year for either a three or six year period beginning with the 2022-23 season, the time has never been better to review where NBC’s coverage has recently fallen short of the mark.

When NBC embarked on broadcasting the Premier League in 2013, for an initial three-year period, they set an incredibly high standard for presentation and production. World Soccer Talk visited NBC Sports Group’s Stamford, CT campus in the early days of NBC’s coverage of the Premier League. What we found then, and was conveyed over-the-air was a level of seriousness in covering a club soccer competition that at the time was unprecedented on American television.

In the summer of 2015, NBC’s rights to air the Premier League were extended a further six seasons, ending with the 2021-22 campaign. At the time, fans rejoiced as the fear of access to and presentation of the league backsliding to pre-2013 levels was real. However, during the course of this current six-year contract, NBC seems to have — of late — regressed relative to the competition that airs soccer in the United States.

Reviewing NBC’s EPL Coverage

Let’s look at some of the key points related to NBC’s recent coverage shortfalls.

Less insightful studio punditry

The usefulness of NBC’s pre- and post-match programming was already waning last season, but the loss of Kyle Martino, the network’s most analytical Premier League studio pundit, has been glaring this season. Tim Howard, his replacement, brings a different perspective and skill set to the job – one that viewers should appreciate as a recently retired player who has either played with or for a number of current managers in the league. But Howard doesn’t quite have the ability to break down matches the way Martino did, though he has recently improved.

Additionally, NBC’s emphasis even before the loss of Martino has shifted from covering the league as a whole to blowing up any story about the “big six” clubs that claim a disproportionate percentage of American fans. NBC’s studio team will spend countless hours discussing Liverpool or Manchester United, but seemingly ignore Brighton or Fulham. In NBC’s early days of covering the league, they spent lots of studio time focusing on every aspect of the competition, but at some point shifted to a top-heavy approach.

Danny Higginbotham’s addition to the studio team in the last few weeks has been a welcome one. The former Stoke City defender has an uncanny knowledge of the league and has an immense ability to talk about clubs outside the “big six.”

Presenter Rebecca Lowe has gone from being a gold standard studio host to someone who oftentimes asks the wrong questions or even the laziest ones. This may be less on Lowe and more on the drift of the NBC presentation in general. Many of the shows Lowe hosts are sprinkled with light entertainment features, something NBC always did, but now seem to take up more programming space than ever.

Less informative

Steve Bower’s regular appearances on Monday’s gave an insight not otherwise present on NBC’s Premier League programming. Prior to this, Bower had regularly hosted NBC’s studio, and served as a second lead commentator.

Gary Lineker’s departure from NBC left the network without a regular pitchside studio for big matches. Similarly, it lost the latest from Goalhanger films. This featured several documentaries hosted or produced by Lineker about non ”big six” clubs.

Semi-regular features with Mark Clattenburg on officiating were also very useful and informative for viewers. Those are now virtually non-existent on the network.

Less original reporting

It was out of NBC’s control, but Neil Ashton’s decision to leave journalism and become a public relations professional in January 2020 left a huge void in NBC’s presentation. NBC did not replace Ashton, like in the case of Bower and Clattenburg. Rather, it filled the void with more “big six” studio talk and fluffy entertainment driven features.

To have a complete studio production to wrap-around matches, you need someone who breaks the news. Or, someone who can make educated analysis and predictions going forward.

The lack of original reporting or analysis of news stories is a huge miss for NBC. Furthermore, replacing Ashton’s insight with occasional commentary from NBC’s sister network Sky Sports News is less useful than doing nothing.

More Sensationalism

Perhaps it is the influence of Sky, now owned by NBCUniversal parent Comcast, but NBC’s studio now seems obsessed with any scandalous story or ones involving large personalities. For example, let’s say a controversy develops involving Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp or Paul Pogba. Expect NBC to devote significant studio time to discussing that rather than on-pitch action. Granted, any Premier League studio presentation discusses similar controversies. Yet, NBC visibly increased emphasis on these topics over recent seasons.

The new CBS standard

The CBS acquisition of the U.S. rights for UEFA club competitions in English changed the game completely. This applies to both studio production and match commentary. The studio crew of Kate Abdo, Micah Richards, Roberto Martinez and Jamie Carragher works well. Simultaneously, they produce cutting-edge analysis and light-hearted entertainment.

NBC used to do this as well. However, the service shifted toward a more entertainment-based focus centered around sensationalism. Consistent coverage of the likes of Jose Mourinho or Paul Pogba dominates air time.

CBS has also brought in at various times some of the best English-language reporters to discuss their areas of speciality in continental football. This is something severely lacking in NBC’s coverage, especially after the loss of Ashton.

In addition, CBS brought to match commentary two of the definitive voices of English-language soccer broadcasts in Clive Tyldesley and Peter Drury. NBC over relies on Arlo White. His dependency as a commentator and an analyst needs rehashing. White remains popular with his Americanized commentary style. But the loss of Bower has left White with too much to do. It’s time for more commentary firepower based in the UK if NBC plans to retain Premier League broadcast rights.

Summary

Indisputably, NBC shifted its emphasis from covering the entire league to more entertainment and the “top six”.

But it can be argued that NBC is just responding to what the market wants. After all, most Americans support “big six” clubs. And consistently in our Twitter polling, NBC studio shows and personalities remain the most popular among American soccer fandom. The coverage also remains “comfortable.” Premier League fans developed a routine of seeing the same commentators and pundits.

However, my view is that as CBS’ coverage penetrates deeper into the consciousness of American fans. Even those big club fans will find NBC’s coverage inferior by comparison. The recent addition of Higginbotham (who also does work for CBS Sports HQ) is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope it’s the first of many.

Surely, NBC plans to retain the Premier League rights in the United States. Therefore, a complete overhaul of the presentation may be necessary. Consequently, an overhaul breathes new life into NBC’s broadcasters.

 

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95 Comments

95 Comments

  1. Debbie

    May 3, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Rebecca Lowe and the 2 Robbie’s are the reasons why I started watching the Premier League in the first place. They really grabbed my attention with their expertise, not just for the league, but the sport itself worldwide. Kyle is definitely missed since he had the most American style of reporting (feels like I was watching an NFL game, not English soccer), but someone please tell me that you wouldn’t miss hearing the brilliant Arlo in the game of the week if they moved to CBS? The man’s a journalist genius. Tim Howard puts me to sleep, even when he has good insight. He’s the most boring person on TV right now as he barely moves a muscle to talk – so robotic and not passionate at all. Kyle went into far more detail about the players and showed much more passion, I miss that. I can’t even imagine watching games without Rebecca and the 2 Robbies – it wouldn’t feel normal to me. I HATE Peacock for being so sluggish, expensive to watch a few games live, games are not always available at 9pm ET as advertised, not being available on Amazon’s Firestick or PCs older than 5 years old, CBS is worse than NBC in my opinion though. Their live reports are more vivacious, but their platform is even worse than Peacock with constant restarting of the game mid-game or having no access at all. The quality of the stream was absolutely horrible too – it’s 1 step away from watching the game with a rabbit ears antenna. I hope NBC sticks with the better parts of their team and continue streaming PL games. Things could be far worse and CBS would be it.

  2. Phil

    January 28, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    They should have stayed with Rebecca, Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle. The bald goalie is a colossal bore and Higginbottom is humorless and over-opinionated. They should also stop kissing Klopp’s and Mourinho’s collective asses. Manchester City seems to be totally ignored yet they lead the league and play spectacular football

  3. Edward

    January 20, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    on a serious note, I think you guys have forgotten how much they discussed Norwich during Project Restart and how critical they were of David Farke. During this new season, they haven’t given the minnows the same attention, but they did try to read between the lines of Farke.

    It also seems like producers are reading this site, I have noticed Rebecca Lowe reference the British press covering the hot topics of the teams during this gameweek…maybe being around Danny has reminded them of the major coverage of the teams

  4. Ryan Hashem

    January 19, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Good article but the coverage on CBS is good but not that much better. A bit chaotic actually and disorganized. I think Rebecca, and the two Robbie’s are excellent and the big thing you missed here is there new faces and how grossly inadequate they are. Do you break up Barkley, EJ and Ernie on TNT. That would be crazy and that is what NBC is doing. I do agree with the entertainment part,m. NBC has really been pushing what makes this special to the side in order to stream line it into their idea of American entertainment. It is gross and makes me not look forward to my premier league rituals on weekends. Peacock is a scam. NBC’s partnership with YouTube should have grown along with NBCSN but they had to make you pay extra. These are not new marketing tactics and we the viewers know. Thanks for writing this as I needed somewhere to vent. Cheers, Ryan

  5. Yespage

    January 19, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Technically there is actual little soccer coverage here. It is much more geared on coverage of the coverage of soccer.

  6. Edward

    January 18, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    @MichaelF: There are only 8 teams in the CPL. Much easier to do haha
    @Christopher Harris: just saying, there has only been one post on WST about the CPL (https://worldsoccertalk.com/2020/08/26/fox-sports-picks-up-canadian-premier-league-tournament-rights/) haha

    Where is the outrage that the upstart CPL is relegated to FS2? I hope ESPN+ or CBS All Access picks up CPL.

  7. Michael F

    January 18, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    @Edward If you are the same person that made this comment quote above… “most of us won’t have enough time in our lives to watch everything”…. I find your more recent comment about being disappointed of inadequate coverage of the Canadian Premier League… quite comical.

  8. KL

    January 18, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    lmao

  9. Edward

    January 18, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    I am quite disappointed by WORLD Soccer Talk for inadequate coverage of the Canadian Premier League. You know, we can directly purchase streaming from the CPL:
    Watch out English Premier League. The Canadian Premier League is coming to get you! Let’s go you HFX Wanderers!

  10. Edward

    January 18, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    I am quite disappointed by WORLD Soccer Talk for inadequate coverage of the Canadian Premier League. You know, we can directly purchase streaming from the CPL: https://onesoccer.ca/
    Watch out English Premier League. The Canadian Premier League is coming to get you! Let’s go you HFX Wanderers!

    • Christopher Harris

      January 18, 2021 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Edward, we’re only focused on the U.S. TV and streaming industry. It’s already a full-time job just trying to keep up with everything in the U.S. 😉

  11. Hans

    January 18, 2021 at 2:22 am

    @DB I feel your pain and grief and totally agree. The whole Peacock debacle is a teething problem and as as I commented many times in other threads the streaming app is an alpha version and we the paying customers are the Beta testers. When looking as ESPN+ and CBS All Access it becomes evident that NBC is clueless in producing a decent streaming app and program content.
    It is also the reason why many of us are hoping that Comcast/NBC get their act together and if that doesn’t come to fruition that the next EPL rights go to someone else. Until then you got to grin and bear it or find a different solution and source on the Internet or from a different country using a VPN.

  12. DB

    January 17, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    So much to say here.

    First, I’m having a hard time complaining about the price. It’s reasonable, especially compared to the Gold service, which broke up Olympic sports and rugby into separate paid tiers. And I think it’s important to note that whatever we have today is not what we’re gonna have eventually. We have seen the breakup of OTA broadcasting’s monopoly on entertainment. The first big change was the introduction of cable TV, which made it profitable to create niche channels for sports, cooking and so on. Now we have services like Peacock that bypass cable or supplement it. But eventually, we will purchase our Premier League directly from the league itself. At each step, someone — local broadcasters first, then networks, now cable bundlers — are being cut out of the business. What’s happening is the natural outcome of disruptive technology.

    Having said all that, some direct services do a good job and others do not. ESPN+ is a pretty solid sports service at a reasonable price. The app works (at least, it does for me; your mileage may vary) and provides a massive amount of content.

    Starting with the app itself, Peacock is awful. The app is godawful slow. (I had to sideload it onto my Fire stick and it may work faster on devices that are supported.) Content is poorly curated. If I’m switching from one game to another, I often have to hunt for the icon for the next game.

    Which raises a question: Why in the wide wide world of sports do I have to shut off one feed and start another when rolling from one game to another, both of which are supported by NBCSN’s pre- and post-game shows? Have a continuous show feed. Make it simple. Don’t give viewers an incentive to leave; make it easy for them to stay.

    Another question: When there are several matches at the same time, as in the traditional Saturday 3 pm window, why can’t NBCSN provide its hafltime show on all of the games? The networks carrying NFL games figured it out decades ago and they have much greater variation in when their halftimes hit. The PL world feed halftime content is filler and doesn’t mention other scores.

    Commercial breaks are a joke. I recall some NBC exec saying that moving games to Peacock would allow for more analysis in pre/halftime/post shows. Instead, we get the same commercial breaks. And the breaks themselves are, if there are no spots, a single still graphic. It’s the same one every break. This is incredibly lazy. If nothing else, repurpose some of the undated PL pieces they air in pregame and halftime, like player profiles and historical pieces. It’s not that hard, unless the goal is to do as little as humanly possible.

    As for the studio shows themselves, I have about given up. I agree with the comment that these have become all about the so-called Big 6 (two of which are nowhere near the top 6 as I write this) and about personalities. I am a fan of Leicester City and the pregame for this weekend’s game against 7th place Southampton was basically an extended promo for the (ultimately disappointing) Liverpool/ManU game and a long promo on a figure skating event. You can see how they’re trying to save some money, too. Many times, the early Saturday game pregame show has just one analyst. When it’s Tim Howard, that’s not helpful. There’s no energy in his delivery (not looking for — ugh — Alexi Lalas here — just a little spark).

    Moving games to Peacock that should be on the cable channel is ultimately self-defeating. Run them on both platforms.

    The shame here is that NBCSN had (no pun intended) the gold standard here and has begun to throw it all away.

  13. Eric Caddy

    January 17, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    These streaming deals are clearly out of hand. I pay $180 a month to Dish including the sports channels and now the networks are making an end run around this option with streaming at an extra cost. Disgusting. To add insult to injury, my Samsung tv does not allow picture only audio on Peacock cos NBC are too greedy to pay for the franchise..
    I get MUTV for $4.00 and it gives me all the Man U games projected onto my tv. They just show the games the day after, I can live with that so screw NBC.

  14. Hans

    January 17, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    @Jesse The reason why the shift from cable packages to streaming is not only monetary but there are other advantages. Shortly the audience of sports events will be shared 50/50 between cable and streaming. Two advantages that streaming has over cable packages. 1st with streaming you can receive the programs on any device with no cable box and any place not just your home. 2nd with streaming you need no DVR as the network store the games for on-demand playback. People prefer to watch TV content on mobile devices while on the go and not only at home. The trend of cutting the cable/cord is accelerating and the networks follow what people want. I have never had a cable provider since returning from the UK 12 years ago and my preferred way is watching games with a streaming provider either on my tablet 27″ PC or in the Home Theater. The providers try to juggle these two different customers and it will only become more complex in 2021 with the TV only audience in the decline.

  15. Jesse Cordova

    January 17, 2021 at 10:37 am

    I am extremely disappointed that NBCSN does not televise as many EPL games as in years past, especially the MASSIVE matches. I do not stream and will not subscribe to Peacock. The past 7 years were extraordinary and now they want us to pay for more. And what is CBSSN thinking where they are charging extra for the Champions League coverage ? They should offer the massive matches on the regular CBS channel but I guess they don’t want to interfere with the soap operas. That is why I now watch the Champions Leaugue & Europa League for FREE on Univision & Unimas, both which are free. Univision shows 4 matches daily from the Champions League.

  16. Edward

    January 15, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    I am quite surprised that Mecum Auctions is running live on NBCSN right now, with masks and possible social distancing(?)

  17. Edward

    January 12, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    @Michael F: more of my response to ppl who celebrate getting all access to everything. More access is great, but most of us won’t have enough time in our lives to watch everything.

  18. Michael F

    January 12, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    @disco george I will have to agree with you on your comments made above.
    That is the double edge sword of this transition from traditional cable tv to the era of streaming. Content is being splintered off in many different directions, where folks have to make choices to save money, and companies will take advantage of maximizing their revenue streams in any which way they can. The consumer is the one that always feels the pinch.
    It is ironic that folks are shelling out more money now for sports and entertainment content than they ever did before during the hey days of traditional cable/satellite tv.

  19. disco george

    January 12, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Nosferatu, I’m with you — I’m at the point where I’m deciding which services to get rid of, rather than looking for new ones to subscribe to. I get Peacock free through Comcast, Prime Video with my Amazon Prime subscription, and Hulu with Spotify, but I don’t know that I would pay extra for those otherwise. Canceling Netflix and CBS All Access since my NWSL team got sold and relocated last month (TUDN/Univision and CBS Sports Network on TV will be fine for Champions League, IMO). ESPN+ makes the cut because I use it pretty much every day, but I decided against doing a streaming add-on for BeIN for the like one La Liga game a month I’d be able to watch live. I like TV and all, but at some point, it’s just too much.

  20. Michael F

    January 12, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Thanks Edward. True. That’s not compared to a euro soccer league, that’s a league cup competition. And my point for saying the above, is there are certain high profile matches aired on ESPN’s traditional cable network channels that a cord cutter can never ever watch on ESPN+.
    I happen to like ESPN+. I just think all the criticism for NBC (while some warranted), went over the top and completely viral here.

  21. Edward

    January 12, 2021 at 8:56 am

    having access to every single FA Cup match is great, but who is going to actually watch every single match?

  22. Michael F

    January 12, 2021 at 8:34 am

    The Streamable.com site is also reporting that Peaock will again stream all EPL matches on-demand starting January 12. They are reversing the bait and switch, and at risk of giving too much credit to NBC for doing this (sorry but I have to mention this),… I would like to point out that no other network is streaming on-demand every single match of the euro soccer league they cover on their streaming only app. ESPN does not have all Serie A or Bundesliga matches available on-demand on ESPN+ when certain matches are aired exclusively on ESPN or ESPN2 or ESPN3. You must have a subscription via cable provider or live tv stream service to authenticate to get those matches aired on ESPN’s traditional cable network channels.
    I honestly thought all along that NBC through Peacock is offering a lot for providing a 24/7 premier League channel AND all EPL matches on-demand…. for only $5 per month. That’s a screaming good deal!

  23. Nosferatu

    January 12, 2021 at 6:46 am

    @Alex, I don’t think extortion is the right word. Is it an annoying business decision to get more people to sign up for an extra service? Yes.

    I could say the same thing about almost all of these extra services these days, though. Do I want to watch the new David Attenborough series that’s on Discovery+? Yeah. Am I annoyed that it’s not on one of their cable networks that I’m already paying Spectrum for? Yup.

    It’s not extortion, though. I’m not going to be signing up for Discovery+ just because of that, though (whereas I did sign up for Peacock; it’s all about how much we want the stuff that’s on these new services).

    I don’t like where we’re going with so many services–it’s like we have more stuff available to us than ever (like the ability to watch every single FA Cup tie this past weekend on ESPN+), but we’re being gouged by all these media companies in the process. I guess you’d call that a win-lose situation?

  24. Hans

    January 11, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    Well as soon as they update their help page as shown in the WST Bait and Switch article I would consider it as confirmed until than who knows. I did see the comment in the Google Play section review but it was written by the people who answer in that review section. While it sounds promising, but taken the rushed and hectic rollout of this app/service, I am adopting the from Missouri approach, show me and I believe it.

  25. Keith

    January 11, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    I got a response to my Peacock app review on the Google play store today saying that all Premier League replays will be available starting January 12.

    You should be able to find their response if you sort reviews by latest.

  26. Alex

    January 10, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Liverpool vs manu is on peackok on Sunday 17th
    this is clearly blackmail extorcion by nbc , the bastards.

  27. LTx

    January 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Can anybody please explain to me why Peacock gives no option to start a game from the beginning if I join late and in general doesn’t offer the same functionality that I get from Youtubetv. Is it licensing restrictions or poor tech? As with most of these apps I don’t mind paying if the coverage can be fit to my schedule not theirs. On another note I wish the BT goal show was available instead of the joke that is Golazzo for Champions League too.

    • Christopher Harris

      January 10, 2021 at 8:52 am

      Peacock TV is mostly on-demand content. I don’t think the original vision for the streaming service was live sports, so that was added later. But even if you go to any of the live non-sports channels on Peacock, you’re not able to start that program from the beginning if you join late.

  28. Christopher Hammond

    January 5, 2021 at 12:39 am

    That article really hits the nail on the head! I really miss Kyle Martino! Tim Howard was asked why Sheffield United went from being in the top half of the table to dead last and historically inept and all he had to say was that it was a sophomore slump! That’s absolutely terrible! No analysis whatsoever!

  29. Edward

    January 5, 2021 at 12:10 am

    Everyone seems to forget that Sky News Sport simulcast every morning on NBCSN provides additional direct coverage. Sure we may be getting less from the NBC Sports paid talent, but there is ample enough coverage from the 24/7 channel to Sky Sports that supplements what NBC Sports has to originate.

  30. Barry

    January 4, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    @Mercator, @Hans

    I’m not going to get in a hissing match with a couple of nut cases whining incessantly about pricing.
    If you don’t want to pay the prices stipulated by Comcast don’t pay them. But constantly complaining about it like a couple of ten year olds is just bizarre. We get it. You want more stuff for less cost and mean old Comcast won’t do it. Boo Hoo. Give it a rest, already. We heard you the first thousand times.

  31. Michael F

    January 4, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    @Hans. It appears that it is you that is fighting a losing battle. It is not me, but you that is upset and angry and constantly whining at every article posted on this site that relates to NBC/Comcast (even when the topic has nothing to do with what you are complaining about). Other than the bait & switch, which was unfortunate and covered in and discussed in length multiple times on this site, I don’t take issue with NBC, although it’s silly to label one a “fanboy” who isn’t upset and angry like you… and have instead gone on this endless tireless charade of whining and feeling the need to provide justification at every turn for your argument and feeling the need to educate us. It appears you think you might be able to change the world with every posting you make. Btw… I also like ESPN+ and am ok with CBS All Access. I choose to pick my providers for content and leave it at that. If I don’t like it, I don’t subscribe. I’ guess I can leave the complaining to you.
    And since you use this ridiculous “fan boy” term so loosely, it looks like you found yours with Mercator. Maybe you ought to get on a separate chat with this individual and complain away as misery loves company. Sorry… but you are just repeating yourself with every post you make. Not telling us anything different or new and not enlightening us in the least.
    @Mercator There are indeed less expensive options out there to pay significantly less than your inflated $70 per month quote to get NBCSN. If you are so concerned over paying too much, the least you could do is do your homework to know what options are available. But I am sure you actually do know.. but simply are inflating these numbers to make (in my opinion) a weak argument in an attempt to educate us, like Hans.
    People will choose to pay for the content they want. No matter what it is. Currently, EPL is only available through NBC & Peacock. If you want to watch euro soccer for less money, there are plenty of other options and euro leagues to choose from.

  32. Hans

    January 4, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    @Michael A bit of free education for you regarding illegality of watching unlicensed streams. Search for “When is streaming illegal?” and you will get readily your answer.
    Watching a stream of unlicensed movies, TV and sporting events is legal! Any discussion of the legality of streaming in the U.S. begins with the Copyright Act of 1976. This grants copyright holders “exclusive rights” to make copies of their work, distribute it and perform it publicly.
    And watching a stream — even if it’s unauthorized by the copyright holder — doesn’t technically violate these rights. There have been numerous challenges and interpretations as copyright law has adapted to the internet, but this reading has essentially held true.
    “I think the best interpretation of copyright law is that it’s not illegal to watch unlicensed content,” Gibson said. “The person who’s merely watching a stream should incur no copyright liability from that act alone.”
    No whether that is moral or not is a different question but than Comcast/NBC has set the bar of what is moral by reneging on their agreement.

  33. Mercator

    January 4, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    @RS. Very well put and I think you covered it all perfectly.

    @Michael F. Yes I understand this and I’m not going to fault NBC for this. What I do fault them for is an overall production that is not up to par anymore. As RS pointed out, CBS seems to lose nothing by having a full studio broadcast out of Europe. Without fanfest, this is a superior option to what NBC now provides, which is 2 or 3 hosts with one jetting out halfway through the day.

    @Barry. No one here is cheap but its fair to make a critique on value. With ESPN+ or CBS All Access, you really get access to all the games for Champions League, Europa, Seria A and Bundesliga. NBC strategically divides the PL matches so you need cable AND their nonsense peacock. This raises the cost from $5-10 bucks to nearly $70. I’m not sure what is wrong with you guys defending NBC and their structure that results in a real cost of 8-10x what CBS or ESPN are offering. Even paying for cable, the NBC/NBC Sports/Peacock apps are terrible, several don’t work outright. So even if I pay this $70 a month, I often can’t stream the games consistently (I like to walk my dog in the mornings and have games going on my phone – I watch Bundesliga for this now). It’s a complete joke, no one minds paying but I’m not going to get lied to and ripped off as if there are no other options. You can call us cheap, but I think there are a number of us here with access to games through multiple channels who still happily pay for ESPN+ or CBS All Access because they have done a decent job at making games available for a fair price, CBS even made a solid attempt at studio analysis. NBC has gone backward and the only reason I’m aware of other ways to watch games are because the Peacock app kept buffering in the middle of an Arsenal game that should have been on the cable channel I pay for anyway.

  34. Hans

    January 4, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    @Michael & @Barry you are fighting a loosing battle because you are supporting a company that breaks agreements and who knows what else. A company sets a price for it’s service and then stipulates the conditions. That is similar to a contract. People now look at what they get for paying the fee and than decide. Searching the topic under Peacock’s FAQs for refund it states, that this is at Peacock’s discretion. Since refunds were issued for the reason of the bait and switch Comcast/NBC admitted that they broke the agreement. This has nothing to do with wanting more for less.
    Again people looked at what is involved in getting all the EPL games and some decided that cable package plus Peacock is not worth it and they come to this conclusion by comparing it to what other networks in the US and other countries offer. Since ESPN+ decided to increase their annual fee at the end of the subscription term individuals will decides to renew or not. Before that you will get some moaning and bitching about the increase as will be the case in years to come as streaming prices will increase in order to stay profitable. Again individuals will than decide YES or NO.
    When little things with Comcast/NBC start to add up and than a major, stupid and despicable break in terms of agreement is forced on people without a warning, than all those other minor irritations come to the fore and are now being complained about as issues.
    Bottom line subscribers do not like to pay for business mistakes that are now passed on by officials earning mega bonuses for making those decisions. The 2013-2016 rights price with the EPL doubled for the 2016-2022 rights. Expect in the upcoming negotiations again a bidding war and sharp increase in the rights fees. Some of us just like to see them on a different network. If we don’t like the change than you got the bragging rights “We told you so”.

  35. Michael F

    January 4, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    @Barry You just provided one of the better comment posts to this discussion.
    To add to your last sentence, these same people that complain that they want more and to pay less, end up doing it illegally and astonishingly… openly admit it.
    So how are they any better than their perceived notion that Comcast/NBC is ripping people off and are greedy? Their justification is a double edge sword.

  36. Barry

    January 4, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    NBC pulling the NBCSN replays off Peacock is a punk bait and switch move. That is a fair assessment. But much of the rest of the whining on here is ridiculous. Somehow if you’re not willing to pay the prices NBC has set for NBCSN and Peacock it’s because they are greedy. It’s never because you’re too cheap. If you don’t want to pay for cable or satellite that’s fine, but blaming broadcasters for putting part of their game inventory on those platforms is about as myopic as possible.

    In threads like this most of the complaints reduce to “I want more and better product and I want to pay less for it”.

  37. disco george

    January 4, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    IMO, the changes to NBC’s Premier League coverage are mostly strategic, with some cost-cutting measures as well. The Premier League coverage is starting to reflect what NBC’s done with the Olympics and Olympic sports in general. They add more ‘entertainment’ and feature content to appeal to a wider audience, usually at the expense of what the more analytically-minded fans like. Hopefully, they don’t end up totally dumbing the coverage down like they have with some other sports.
    On the other hand, NBC has never inflicted Al Trautwig on soccer, so that’s a bonus.

  38. Yespage

    January 4, 2021 at 9:30 am

    I want to watch football with commentators that understand the game, that’s it. All this whining, just sounds like people desperate for something to complain about.

  39. Edward

    January 3, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    @USAJErry: it’s what they think American soccer fans want…Jamie Carragher dressing up as a king, Micah and Jamie laughing
    Roberto Martinez must wonder why he is there. He was so good for ESPN’s coverage

  40. RS

    January 3, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    NBC’s soccer coverage has definitely gone stale .. CBS’ coverage of the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues was a breath of fresh air, and while not perfect, it challenged a number of assumptions that have underpinned NBC’s approach, and in so doing raised the bar .. 1) What matters most is the quality, range and mix of studio analysis .. Martinez and Carragher are perfect foils, often looking a games differently, and often disagreeing and challenging each other .. and in the case of Carragher, he had the brilliant approach of asking questions of Martinez .. As a viewer the experience was one of both learning something, and enjoying the process, including the interjection of humor .. Martino was analytical, but his contribution was that he also brought something different compared to others on the panel from a personality perspective .. Higginbotham has been a welcome addition, but the studio experience feels very flat .. 2) CBS has shown that they don’t have to be in the US in order to appeal to a US audience .. and neither do they particularly have to tailor their approach for an “American audience” (to quite the expression) .. It isn’t NFL, MLB or NBA .. Perhaps the best, and only benefit that NBC have derived from being in the US has been the Fan Fests .. to their credit, a not insignificant contribution, sorely absent in the UK, that shows how fans can come together in peaceful tribalism without fear of violence or crude behavior .. Aside from that, stories or Arlo’s love of Chicago, and discussion of NFL games and rivalries in the middle of soccer matches, are misplaced, unnecessary, and more a sign of weakness, and a throwback to the 70’s when soccer had to be ‘explained’ and ‘sold’ .. 3) While I love Rebecca and think she is a terrific anchor, CBS’s selection of Kate Abdo was a stroke of genius .. Her real-time multi-lingual translation of manager interviews, and the plaudits from the panel, must surely be ‘Top 10′ in the annals of all sports broadcasting .. And her deft, improvisational handling of Carragher and Mika when they got a bit out of hand, also deserves credit … 4) CBS’ digital strategy is also worthy of note .. “All Access” means exactly that .. “access to everything” pre-match, all games, post-match .. NBC’s seemingly randomized cherry picking of what is shown over the air, via cable, via digital, and what is viewable on-demand is confusing at best, and irritating bordering on feeling like being screwed at worst .. It appears NBC view Peacock as incremental revenue, rather than an opportunity to reach either a new audience, or a different segment of the audience .. attempting to force soccer fans to subscribe to cable ‘and’ digital simply undermines their credibility and integrity

  41. Zinedine Zidanski

    January 3, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Arlo White is the worst commentator in television history.

  42. USAJerry

    January 3, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Laughable that the pre/half/post match coverage via CBS gets high praise when it’s just an obnoxious Turner broadcast with a little more tactical coverage and a better set while Kate Abdo still tries to play the role of a comedian. CBS’ coverage is a joke and they spend more time trying to be clever instead of covering the actual matches, storylines, and strategy. Thank goodness for VPN. I watch The Goals Show via BT Sport for whip-around coverage and it is clearly superior to what CBS offers..

  43. Edward

    January 2, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    @Dirt: depends if you are referring to studio show or Clive/Drury…the rest of the match commentators are world feed

  44. DiRT

    January 2, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    I’m not sure what you mean by: “However, my view is that as CBS’ coverage penetrates deeper into the consciousness of American fans…”
    But what I can tell you that I’m constantly annoyed by the commentators at CBS who feel the need to go “There’s an American! Look! Another American is playing!” Who cares? I’m cheering for my clubs.

  45. David

    January 2, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    Howard King is spot on. Champion and Drury are the gold standard – exactly right. Arlo White is NOT – he still thinks he’s on radio and would be better suited to iFollow where they use radio commentary for EPL games (in my case, Blackpool and Radio Lancashire).

    Pundits who need subtitles need banishing, e.g. Tim Howard mumbling, Jamie Callagher and his Scouse,

  46. Howard King

    January 2, 2021 at 7:38 am

    There is a lot to like about this article, however, this idea that Kyle Martino was the best analyst and is missed is hogwash, he offered nothing. The CBS team i like, but I think they are more focussed on entertaiment than NBC. I am not a big Arlo White fan, he is just ok, but I wish Peter Drury was doing more games, he and John Champion are the gold standard.
    The writer is spot on regarding sensationalism, tired of hearing about Pogba and Mourinho, with the scrutiny on VAR and the refs being the central figures, the frequency of Clattenburg spot should have been increased instead of being discarded.

  47. Michael F

    January 1, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    @Mercator. I will spare the time to address all your other opinion, but had to respond to this quote of yours: “NBCSN used to be fantastic, even hosting huge events in cities across the US. Now it’s one, maybe two analysts at a desk interspersed with pictures of viewers at breakfast.”

    Uh, there is a world wide pandemic going on right now, where large gatherings is greatly discouraged and where social distancing is emphasized, in an effort to limit the spread of this virus that kills some people. So there’s that.

  48. Hans

    January 1, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    @Mercator Thanks for your experience and take on the EPL situation. You will incur the wrath of many of the NBC fanboys. Sorry as this is off-topic but it will help with the explanation for Comcast trying to find new ways to get money from their customers.
    Remind you though that they paid billions all-cash price because of a bidding war to Murdoch for the Sky network in various countries.
    From a June 29, 2020 Deadline article:
    Outplayed by Disney in a bidding war for 21st Century Fox Hollywood assets in 2018, Comcast instead acquired British satellite broadcaster Sky — for $36 billion more than it’s worth today, according to one Wall Street analyst.

  49. rej4sl

    January 1, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Peacock is free to Xfinity subscribers. So it costs us nothing on top of ur cable bill . Which is better than NBC Sports Gold which would cost us money. Now we get all Premier League games live which is an improvement to us at least.

  50. Mercator

    January 1, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Shocking to see some of you defending NBC. Kartik is absolutely right, the presentation itself has gone downhill the last few years. How is this even an argument? Higginbotham is good but is about the only positive development in several years. NBCSN used to be fantastic, even hosting huge events in cities across the US. Now it’s one, maybe two analysts at a desk interspersed with pictures of viewers at breakfast. For a good while NBCSN was offering I think the best english PL coverage in the world, I would VPN in to watch when I lived in England because it was just better than Sky/BT coverage. That is not the case anymore, now I do the opposite and mostly watch the Sky/BT streams despite being in the US. That says everything I think about the development of NBC’s coverage over the last few years.

    Part of what makes this so off-putting are the incredibly tedious and complex ways Comcast tries to wring money out of viewers despite a declining product. With ESPN and CBS, I know the football is available online for basically the 5 or 8 dollar monthly fee. With NBC…you need cable and then you need to buy their app on top of that – again, increasing your cost for a worse product. ESPN and CBS you effectively do not need cable, it’s orders of magnitude cheaper to watch Series A, Bundesliga or the Campions League compared to the PL. Sure the PL is more popular, but again ESPN and CBS are charging about 8 bucks a month… NBC is charging me about 70 when you include the cost of cable, which is shocking and offensive and entirely deliberate on their part.

    On top of this, the Peacock app is terrible. Poorly designed, lacking features and technically unable with regular buffering (although this has died down in the last few months). The NBC Sports app never works properly either making it near impossible to stream NBCSN, even if you pay for it. You can say these are minor things to be fixed, but overall for anyone watching the PL its become much more difficult to watch a worse production. Maybe if the bar were a bit lower I would complain less and just be happy to watch the games at all, but with ESPN and CBS doing such a great job and putting NBC to shame, its obviously why many of us would like NBC to lose the rights to one of these two or Amazon. If (almost) all Bundesliga, Seria A and Champions league games can be available to stream for 5 or 10 bucks month, I’m going to expect something similar for the PL. I’m not going to pay for a 70 dollar cable subscription and then hand comcast another 5 bucks a month to be able to watch their declining broadcast, I’ll pirate the games before I do that and if thats not possible I will take my dog for a walk and watch highlights on twitter.

  51. Edward

    January 1, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    Commenters on this site are now complaining that there are not enough games on Peacock. Seems like the vitriol on this site has made it a no win situation for NBC Sports

  52. cm asia

    January 1, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    Hans,
    Thanks for another 8,396 words that never even remotely came close to addressing my question.

    So, let me be as succinct as possible.

    If you are a “cord never”, and you won’t pay Comcast, how have you ever managed to watch Premier League Football in the US without breaking the law?

  53. John Culea

    January 1, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    The Peacock pick-your-pocket network is another way the greedy suits at NBC stick it to those of us who are already paying for cable TV. As for the announcers, at least we are spared Gus Johnson.
    Rebecca Lowe in studio is outstanding.
    Lee Dixon is far above any of the color commentators. Peter Drury is excellent as the lead announcer. I miss Jon Champion and wish Ian Darke was on more. Arlo White is OK.

  54. Jesus

    January 1, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    I agree that NBC has gone backward with its coverage this season. However, I do not think that CBS is much better. In addition to the studio shows faring worse the Peacock Premium deal has also been much worse than the Gold package of the last couple of seasons. The Gold streaming service was great and instead of improving on it Peacock is worse. The studio shows lack substance when in previous seasons they were more informative and worth a watch.

  55. James

    January 1, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    The one aspect this article doesn’t mention is the shambles way NBC are distributing games between NBCSN and Peacock. I am not paying cable prices for NBCSN so I purchased Peacock as it was promoted as the place to watch hundreds of Premier League games.

    However that has not materialized and there is seemingly no formula to the way they distribute games between the two services. And the lack of games on Peacock over the Christmas period is frankly a disgrace. This gameweek (17) there are 8 games on NBCSN, one on NBC and one on Peacock.

  56. Michael F

    January 1, 2021 at 11:52 am

    @MAHLUF. Certainly seems so. And so many of these comments is a wasteful read because it doesn’t relate at all to the topic Kartik raised… which was the quality and standard of coverage of the premier league. There is no mention in this article about issues with how NBC delivers EPL content to the consumer (i.e. via their cable network or streaming), but we have people here post comments like they didn’t even read the article!
    As I commented earlier, I personally don’t agree with Kartik’s overall opinion of this topic he raised, but I can respect that it’s his opinion and appreciate if others agree with him — so as long as they are actually are talking the subject at hand!… and not using it as a forum to continually and exhaustingly blast Comcast/NBC for how they pulled the bait & switch on Peacock subscribers or their perceived issues with the Peacock app.
    Can we eventually move on from yesterday’s news? If you don’t like something, then you can make a choice to not give your money there — that is your prerogative. However, I am confident people here are intelligent and educated enough to draw their own conclusions and make their own choices.

  57. MAHLUF

    January 1, 2021 at 10:00 am

    I must give Kartik credit, he certainly stirred up the pot. Got the comments/traction that he was going for with this unnecessary hit piece.

  58. Michael F

    January 1, 2021 at 3:13 am

    @Hans I find it interesting how you conveniently omit the fact that NBC also has an hefty NFL contract as well as an NHL contract. Your comparisons of EPL contracts in the US vs the American big 4 sports is just plain silly. Compare the NBC network EPL contract vs other euro soccer leagues covered in the US. That is a legitimate comparison. Not comparing what networks pay for sport leagues in this country. EPL is the most expensive contract of the euro soccer leagues in this country, because it is of the most popular.
    Btw… ESPN+ wil raise their yearly fee by 20% starting in January. And they don’t even carry the most popular euro sports league in America. Imagine if they did. That price for ESPN+ would go up some more, no question. Live in reality, please.

  59. Hans

    January 1, 2021 at 2:24 am

    @cm asia Since my comment was one of the dumbest things you ever read, I can tell Comcast loves you since you shower them with your cash and no questions asked. After relocating from London to the US for the past decade I tried to figure out a way of continuing to watch certain EPL teams without paying an obnoxious fee.
    First of all let’s put a US perspective on the EPL being the most expensive league. Beginning 2013 for the next 3 years NBC Sports deal with the EPL was worth an estimated $250 million. Under a six-year agreement starting with the 2016 season it was now worth about $1 billion, NBC retained the rights to the Premier League through the 2021-22 season. In the US, networks pay far more for the rights to major sports. ESPN’s rights fee to the NFL. alone is $1.9 billion a year. So Comcast paid $167 million per year for the EPL rights. Pitiful when compared to NFL, NBA and MLB costs of rights.

    Now to the cost for the individual user for the 2019/2020 season. Premier League Pass $65, Add to that the monthly cable package with all its service and equipment fees plus an ISP. Than add the UCL & EL competitions plus the additional fees for the Cup games. By adding up all those fees, the costs were too high for me plus you had to jump through hoops to get what you want on the screen. Since one needed to juggle services around anyhow to get all the games, enter ones favorite Internet sites and live, full game captures, highlights, BBC’s Match of the Day plus matches having been captured from NBCSN, BT Sports, Sky Sports were posted if you knew where to find them.
    With the 2020/2021 season I tried to find a way of reducing the juggling, so I subscribed for a year to CBS for UCL & EL matches plus ESPN+ for the Cup games. A decent value for the money some $9 per month. This just left the EPL and if Comcast would have stuck to their promise of 380 matches either live or on-demand on Peacock we would not have this discussion. But since they didn’t I cancelled Peacock and watch the EPL games again as I used to in the past.
    Comcast/NBC just wants your best namely your hard earned cash unless you educate yourself.

  60. P2

    January 1, 2021 at 1:08 am

    Seems like Kartik is on the CBS payroll. Seriously had he been watching the coverage – can’t even understand a word that Jaime Carragher says . At least with NBC we can view all the games. CBS has no clue, on a similar level as Fox who used to have Gus Johnson provide color commentary – give me a break!

  61. cm asia

    January 1, 2021 at 12:45 am

    Hans,
    Your latest comment here is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

    You hate Peacock because you think it’s a bait and switch. Fine.

    But you’re a “Cord Never”.

    Before “Gold” or Peacock, how on earth did you ever watch any Premier League matches? Anywhere?

    The one off NBC match every week?
    Stealing streams across the interwebs?

    Before NBC, there were no matches on terrestrial television, and streaming was not a thing.

    How can you be so pissed off at NBC when the only Premier match you could watch over the last 7 years was the NBC Saturday teatime match?

    Hans, you have spewed about 1,476,953 words on your hatred of Peacock.
    How about a few words on the hypocrisy I’m calling you out on?

  62. Mhirado

    January 1, 2021 at 12:12 am

    As an englishmen who moved to the United States in my adulthood, i want to emphasize how incredibly wrong and dull the writer of this article is. NBC has been the best broadcaster of al thing EPL i have come across this includes the UK that i also frenquent during the season. The only quirk i have with NBC is Peacock. On that note i do like the CBS broadcast but Abdo is always out of tune and Micah Richards is laughing through the broadcast OK for a midweek coverage. NBC have been proffesional and incredibly insightful.

  63. Rye Brook

    December 31, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    I just wanna bless ESPN from going from the blandest broadcast network of all time to the coolest, hippest, most wonderful web-casters ever — in the form of ESPN+.

    “What a wonderful way to spend a New Year’s Day
    Watching Dark Blues host Hearts on my screen
    ‘Tis but a second tier Scottish affray
    But sure beats P Cock’s Vaseline!”

    Last line could also be “But brings memories of Alan Gilzean!” Thanks & Happy New Year’s Eve to all WST readers. [I’m here Thursday nights for the rest of the year.]

  64. Ransom

    December 31, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    I happen to enjoy Rebecca Lowe and her crew. I always thought Martino was a weak link and was pleased when he was retired. Arlo White is great. I have rejected Peacock on principle but NBC has broadcast most of the games I am interested in; City, Southampton, Leeds and Fulham. I am in favor of the NBC presentation. The complaints the writer has could stem from the lack of fans who always make a match much more entertaining. Keep up the good work Rebecca. Hope to see you at the next FanZone.

  65. Tim

    December 31, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    While I believe some of the points in the article are accurate, you lost me when comparing it to CBS’s coverage of UEFA which has been subpar and dry. I do enjoy the addition of Danny with his unbiased analysis. Kyle is missed but Tim Howard has picked up his game from a shaky start. I do not see the big six bias on the scale you seem to describe in your article and I enjoy the Men in Blazers which recieve no mention. Also, NBC does a great job in providing access to the games airing. I had nothing be problems with CBS games being streamed where as NBC does off error free. I enjoy watching games live and CBS seems unable to provide error free. If I am unable to watch the games, who cares about what they have to say in the studio.

  66. Adam

    December 31, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    One of the changes that was omitted that I’ve been disappointed in is the removal of an NBC Match of the Day. On Saturdays or Sundays where I wasn’t able to watch, I knew I’d be able to catch up each evening at 11pmish with match commentary to boot. The fact they quit doing that has been a big miss for me.

    Also, I’ve said this before, and I’m going to say it again, but the fact they don’t cover this league outside of the game windows is pretty silly to me. The transfer window opens each July, and they don’t cover that until the first match in August. Manager changes over the summer? The same. It’s disappointing but par for their course.

    I don’t think Kartik is that far off. NBC’s EPL coverage is the best the U.S. has ever seen. That doesn’t mean it’s great.

  67. Michael F

    December 31, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    @KJay. Spot on correct with your last reply to Hans. This article was strictly about NBC’s coverage of the premier league and not at all about how it is delivered to the consumer (ie via traditional cable network and/or streaming). Folks need to stick with the topic at hand and not confuse this with other previous complaints that constantly get littered all over this site at every article posting concerning NBC/Comcast. It is constant regurgitation of the same complaints.

    And EPL is the most popular euro soccer league in the world and in America. So the cost for a provider to obtain it and deliver it will be significantly different than these other networks that carry the other euro soccer leagues.

  68. KJay

    December 31, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    @Hans I mean…this article and most of the comments are under the assumption that people have the necessary sports package. I don’t think this conversation is about “Never Cords” and the article doesn’t really mention streaming services or “single points of entry.” If you’re upset about about cable company fees, put the blame with EPL. The high cost to air matches is generally the reasons the league jumps from network to network over the years.

  69. Hans

    December 31, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    It becomes clear from the comment section what this article is doing. Those that have had a cable package for years perhaps and are used to the NBCSN broadcasts are fine with the recent developments on NBC and Peacock. Those of us who don’t have a cable package and are either Cord Cutters or are Cord Nevers don’t like the recent implementations for airing the EPL games. I am a Cord Never with OTA for local channels and don’t like the present setup for airing the EPL games as well as the quality of contributors for the extra coverage.
    The comment “Until CBS removes the obnoxious paywall” is ridiculous you get the odd game on the local NBC station the rest is also behind a paywall if you DO NOT have a cable package.
    The whole article touches on the fact that many of us prefer ONE streaming service all things EPL rather than this being distributed over NBCSN, NBC and Peacock. All indications are that a single point of entry for all things EPL is the trend for the future and Comcast/NBC has not grasped that yet as they were very late to the streaming game and admit that they are entering a very competitive field.
    Let us see what 2021 will bring and how the negotiations for the next EPL rights go. If you want to play you have to pay and no problem for me to pay for increases in streaming services as long as the money does not go to devious and money grabbing companies that lie in order to get subscribers. Cancelled Comcast as ISP, subscribed to FIOS, cancelled Peacock. So far live is good for 2021.

  70. Jack S.

    December 31, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    A simple question… Is your EPL viewing experience in the US better than it was a year ago? How about 3 years ago, or even 5-10 years ago?

    For me the answer is most certainly “No”. And I’m not even going to get into what it costs me today in subscription fees and hardware necessary for streaming. Just from the experience/convenience point of view I feel like we’re going backwards.

  71. David L

    December 31, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Tim Howard was a mis-step but NBC’s coverage remains a cut above the rest and the last thing we need is more of Jamie Carragher’s ilk. Sky Sports and BT suffer from having the same ex-player pundits (mostly ex-Liverpool) whereas The Two Robbies provide a much more balanced perspective across the PL as a whole.

    I’d say be careful what you wish for. In Rebecca Lowe, you have the best presenter going, Arlo White is the signature voice of the network’s coverage — a much better commentator than the irritating Peter Drury and there is a reason why ITV in the UK gave Clive Tyldesley the boot — and has tremendous rapport with Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux.

    I’d be very sorry to see NBC lose the PL rights; no one has done it better in the two decades I’ve been watching English football from this side of The Pond.

  72. John Frank

    December 31, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    I quite preferred years ago when ESPN would get one or two fixtures on weekends, usually the early matches of the day with Ian Darke & Steve McManamon calling the games. Basically just saying that I don’t think it’s terrible for there to be a main package and maybe a sub-package like how that model was for a time. It would at least give us more options and would maybe push the networks to up their game. That said, I get it is unlikely, I like Tim Howard and he’s good at what he does bring, but for me that is worth having him as like a side-analyst, not someone at the desk doing the main commentary, there is def a void without martino.

  73. Edward

    December 31, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    @MichaelF: Kartik knows what topic has been riling up the readership on this site. Classic clickbait. Taking a page from sports talk radio.

  74. Tayo

    December 31, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Tim Howard is very very boring… geez men he is a downgrade

  75. Tayo

    December 31, 2020 at 11:30 am

    I can’t believe you actually think CBS is doing a good job. For starters, there is no single game on TV, we are forced to stream matches… that is a big downgrade. Instead they are showing some ‘golazo show’… The studio talent is not bad but I cringe when they do unprofessional things, like Jamie popping champagne or trying to banter Richards… that is not professional at all and you will not see NBC do that.

  76. Michael F

    December 31, 2020 at 9:32 am

    @K Jay Couldn’t have agreed with you more. On top of all what you stated: Take a close look at the last Transfer window where NBC devoted many hours to it and provided in depth analysis of every Premier League club. This transfer deadline analysis is still available on-demand on Peacock and it covers all 20 clubs.
    Disappointingly, there was no mention of that at all by Kartik in addition to the things you mentioned. It was a very subjective incomplete review of NBC’s coverage of the EPL, and it seems to have been agenda behind it. All this did was stir the reactions of people here that have been upset about the recent Peacock implementation and the fact that PL matches are split between NBCSN and Peacock.

  77. Brian

    December 31, 2020 at 9:09 am

    Really appreciated this breakdown. Came here to see what the prevailing opinion on Tim Howard is and was not disappointed- I don’t think he’s good at all, in the studio or providing game commentary, and NBC’s reliance on him was always indicative of a lazy approach.

  78. JP

    December 31, 2020 at 5:30 am

    @Edward, all that is part of being a member of Amazon Prime, which anyone can buy. Not the same thing at all.

  79. Edward

    December 30, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    @JP: Amazon gives Prime Video away for free for ppl who want free two day shipping. Amazon gives away Amazon Music (basic) for free for ppl who want Prime Video. Amazon gives away Prime Video for free for ppl who want Whole Foods delivered to their homes.

    “free”

    also, ESPN+ announced a price hike

  80. KJay

    December 30, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    This article is literally a hunt for issues where there are none. Did you mean to write this about MLS coverage? First off, comparing a fully fleshed out operation to the newcomer, CBS, is a very silly comparison. Of course the newcomer will have distinctions that differ from a 7-year operation.

    You speak of sensationalism–CBS spent multiple days covering the loss of Diego Maradona, meanwhile NBC covered him over one tasteful piece. Both honored the man respectfully but it was obvious CBS was trying to piece together a story.

    Until CBS removes the obnoxious paywall to watch individual matches aside from the “Good Goal Show”, there really isn’t ANY comparison between the match coverage between CBS and NBC.

    Complaints like this drive me effing nuts, because IT CAN GET WORSE. You spoke nothing about all the additional coverage like the 2 Robbie’s podcast, Tactics Session, The Men in Blazers, Promoted, Inside the Mind & a YouTube channel that is updated ferociously. They do pretty well around Festive fixtures and they literally air every match live on the final day of the season. The trophy lift is usually shown in it’s entirety and most matches are free to watch and not behind a premium service firewall.

    Has the quality of punditry taken a dive, maybe. Kyle Martino is missed, But the offering from NBC remains top notch in my book and I hope articles like this do not influence any decisions at the network.

  81. Edward O

    December 30, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    Tim Howard and Liam what’s his name are just bad for soccer commentary.
    You can’t even hear what Tim Howard is saying. He mumbles.
    Kyle Martino was very good but the question I have to ask is “did he ever play the game”?

  82. UptheChels

    December 30, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    This seems like someone searching for anything to write an article about. This article is a big nothing-burger with no empirical data to support its wild assertions.

  83. JP

    December 30, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    @Azer, I hear you. But people who pay a lot for RCN, AT&T, or Fios have to pay the fee for Peacock.
    If both weren’t owned by Comcast don’t think it would be an issue or asked the question.

  84. Azer

    December 30, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    @JP. There is no such a thing as ”free”. I pay a lot of money to Comcast/Xfinity every month and they own Peacock. How than can you say it’s free when people like myself pay for it? You’ve actually answered your own question, you just don’t know it.

  85. JP

    December 30, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Serious question, doesn’t it violate some sort of regulation to offer Peacock free to Xfinity subscribers when both are owned by Comcast and the same product costs subscribers of different services a fee?
    This isn’t like someone offering a 3rd party product/service free to entice subscriptions, say Netflix for a month when signing up for internet service as a hypothetical.
    This is like Amazon giving Prime Video free to anyone who has a Fire Stick.

  86. rej4sl

    December 30, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    I love NBC and Peacock. We can watch every game free with our Xfinity package, No NBC Sports gold fees and missed games as we didn’t have access or cash. Thanks NBC,

  87. Hans

    December 30, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    After living for 12 years in London and having grown fond of the EPL, I relocated to the US 12 years ago. So I have only been exposed to UK coverage because for the past 12 years I maintained UK contacts and used the Internet’s rich resources to get my EPL fix. Lineker’s and Chapman’s Match of the Day is the go to for me regarding analysis and highlights and they can be easily found on the Net as can be full game posts of the EPL team’s competitions as well as the live games.
    However since CBS bought the rights for the UEFA UCL & EL competitions I decided to subscribe to CBS ALL Access. In addition since I wanted to see the EPL teams in the Cup competitions I also subscribed to ESPN+ and I am most satisfied with both services.
    Also for the 2020/2021 I decided to subscribe to Peacock Premium but since have canceled that service after they pulled 205 games from on-demand and thus have these services as well as the UK programming for comparison.
    Couldn’t agree more with the article and thanks Kartik for putting into words what has been on my mind and what I tried to express in other threads here. As mentioned in the article I also agree that CBS is setting a new form if not standard for match reporting and/or analysis. Their contributors to the matches who are on site as well as are familiar with the teams is valuable. The contribution by an Argentinian reporter when Diego had died was fantastic and showed CBS all out attempt to air that contribution which required a last minute frantic search. As far as ESPN+ is concerned their FC show also brings excellent viewpoints from expert personnel in addition to the coverage of all the soccer leagues.
    I also hope that for the 2022/2023 season the rights will change to a different outfit. Read in one of the posts here that NBC didn’t go in spending big on sports events. The EPL rights in the US are very cheap compared to what is charged for it in the UK. In the meantime I am all set for my EPL fix using Internet resources and CBS plus ESPN+ for all other soccer events.

  88. SaintsFan

    December 30, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    With a TV & Peacock subscription I can watch every Saints/prem game live.
    Who cares who the pundits are – or what the studio they talk in looks like. Most pre-game/half time stuff is mainly commercials anyway.
    I don’t care who the provider is. As long as they give us every game live then that is what *really* counts. NBC has done a great job. No issues with them at all.

  89. Bobby Moa

    December 30, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Comparing the coverage of NBC & CBS is like apples and oranges. Difference in number of games etc. CBS is a great improvement over Steve Nash and friends but I remember Fox Soccer channel coverage. CBS doesn’t show any games live on the regular channel and you have to pay to watch any live games. I am hoping NBC covers the EPL as long as possible. Be careful what you wish for my friend.

  90. Michael F

    December 30, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    I was really looking forward to this article and did enjoy the video of WST visiting the NBC Sports studio years ago. Sorry though, I agree with MAHLUF above, as I find this too strong a biased against NBC’s coverage of the Premier League and its 20 clubs. I don’t at all sense them making a direct shift and focus to only the ‘top 6’ clubs. No more so than they ever did. I still see the same balanced coverage and analysis as I always have, despite losing Kyle Martino (who I really enjoyed) and gaining the new personalities (Howard and Higgenbotham).
    I simply sense that Kartik is just tired of NBC covering the league and wants to see a change for the sake of change after 2022. Not sure that will be good in the long run or not, but I found this analysis of NBC’s coverage way too subjective and not as accurate as I hoped.

  91. Edward

    December 30, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    NBC Sports YouTube channel was also better staffed last season with a number of clips, like mixing highlights with manager interviews (Sound Up). General layoffs at NBC Sports has been an impact for sure.
    I find myself watching more of Premier League channel on Peacock than NBC, especially when they get really repetitive during the 8-10 hour matchdays,

    I wholly disagree with the perfect balance of analysis and lighthearted entertainment. It’s more 75% banter, 25% analysis.

  92. Abdi

    December 30, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Great article. CBS pre and post match coverage has been great. And they hired the best talent out there. I do agree NBC have to refresh their approach for the pre and post match analysis. Kylo Martino was missed. One thing I would like them to do is to rotate the pundits and move their main studio to London just like CBS. They also need to have reporters on the ground just like CBS and PLTV. Send reporters to the ground that give updates to viewers. They also need to refresh the commentry team. We Don’t need to hear Arlo White for every match. Give Arlo one match and the other big match for someone else like Drury or use World feed 🌎.

  93. MAHLUF

    December 30, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    That’s funny because just in the past few days I watched entire segments devoted to Crystal Palace v Leicester, West ham vs Brighton, Aston Villa v Crystal Palace, Burnley v Wolves and Newcastle v Fulham, but I guess you have decided to omit those kind of details because they do not fit your narrative of slurping off CBS’ horrific coverage of the CL. Be careful what you wish for Kartik.

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