When World Soccer Talk recently interviewed NBC Sports executive Jon Miller who played a crucial role in helping the broadcaster sign the Premier League rights deal, we learned of the roles that basketball legend Michael Jordan and talk show host Seth Meyers played.
Here’s how Jon Miller, president of acquisitions and partnerships at NBC Sports, and previously president of programming at NBC Sports, explained it:
“When we were first going after the Premier League in the September of 2012, the Ryder Cup was in Medina outside of Chicago. [Premier League executives] Richard Scudamore and Richard Masters were there at the Ryder Cup to root for the European team.
“Richard [Scudamore] is a guest in our hospitality [area]. My son, Robby, who is a big Premier League fan and really helped propel our interest in this, went up to Michael Jordan who was a guest of ours at the event. He mentioned that I was sitting with Richard Scudamore who ran the Premier League [at that time], and that I was trying to get the Premier League for NBC.
“[NBC Sports chairman, at that time] Mark Lazarus and I were having lunch with Richard Scudamore. And unbenownst to us, Michael came over, introduced himself to Richard Scudamore, told him what a big fan he was. Richard Scudamore’s eyes popped out of his head.
“The great thing is that Michael Jordan and Richard Scudamore have become friends, and they see each other at every Ryder Cup.
In addition to Michael Jordan helping land the Premier League deal, so too did late night show host Seth Meyers
“We were doing our final presentation to the Premier League in New York when we were going to bid on it in 2012. We were in a small conference room. And Seth Meyers knocked on the door and came in.
“We happened to know that Seth was a huge West Ham fan. When Seth heard that we were pitching the Premier League, he said, ‘Do you mind if I come by and say hello?’
“So he came into the meeting room and, for ten minutes, sat with us. He was obviously his very entertaining fun self with the Premier League folks.
“So, we think that all those little things happened. But what it showed is that we have a broad reach of people that we were going to bring together to help showcase and grow the Premier League, and we’ve been able to do that.”
Editor’s note: The schedule for the 2023/24 Premier League season will be released on June 15.
Photos: IMAGO / PCN Photography and Future Image
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