Premier League Returns For Sophomore Campaign With NBC Sports
Following a triumphant debut season with the Barclays Premier League, NBC Sports Group is back again to provide soccer fans stateside with their fix from across the pond, and with some new production tweaks.
Live coverage returns Saturday morning on NBCSN with studio programming from NBC Sports’ home in Stamford, CT. Premier League Live opens coverage at 7 a.m. ET, followed by the first match of the campaign, Manchester United vs. Swansea City, beginning at 7:45 a.m. ET.
Expectations are high at NBC Sports where the network had a strong first year covering the league, offering all 380 matches on linear and digital platforms. Now comes the opportunity to build upon that rookie success.
“The focus has always been building on what we started last year, and from day one we focus on how we can make each and every show better, and that’s the No. 1 goal,” says Pierre Moosa, NBC’s coordinating producer for the Premier League. “There are small tweaks we can make here and there and there will be some slight coverage tweaks, but generally speaking we want to make every single show we can do possibly better and execute at an even higher level.”
Of course, NBC Sports Group does not actually produce any of the live games themselves; they receive the World Feeds provided by Premier League Productions in the UK. However, according to Moosa, now that NBC has had a chance to build a relationship with Premier League Productions, the UK-broadcasting unit will be offering its American friends a few more feeds to beef up their broadcasts, including a full-field tactical camera – or what American football fans commonly refer to as the “All 22” camera – at numerous games. It will be used in studio for analysis and can be used in conjunction with the studio’s ChryonHego GS2 Multi-Touch touchscreen solution.
NBC will also look to make further steps over into English territory this year with more announcers and news reporters on site at key venues each week.
“The No. 1 focus from day one was trying to bridge that geographical divide between the fact that we’re over in the U.S. broadcasting a league that’s across the pond,” adds Moosa, “so some of the things that we’re working on and continue to work on is being on site more and more, so more on site studios, more reporters, more access and communication with the commentators over in the UK, a little bit more of that ‘newsy’ feel and that sense of place.”
In terms of new programming, NBC brass pulled off a bit of a coup by signing the Men In Blazers. The effervescent duo of Michael Davies and Roger Bennett – who developed a cult following during ESPN’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil – has shifted to NBC Sports to bring their style of anaylsis to their original love, the Premier League.
Men in Blazers is a live and on-demand multi-platform soccer program that will air on NBCSN and will stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app weekly on Mondays beginning in the first month of the Premier League season. A set is currently being constructed at the duo’s New York City-based studio that is being built in the “Panic Room” style that the two made popular in Brazil.