The Premier League officially kicked off this past weekend with a full slate of games. 2018/19 runners-up Liverpool opened the match weekend with a 4-1 victory over newly-promoted Norwich. However, they were quickly upstaged by current champions Manchester City who opened their title defense with a 5-0 victory over West Ham. But enough about the games, let’s talk about what NBC Sports did to showcase opening weekend!
Since 2013, the broadcast company has done a great job in bringing the Premier League into the homes of fans early on weekend mornings. From Rebecca Lowe to Kyle Martino and Arlo White, the NBC Sports Premier League crew has ingratiated themselves well and provided quality coverage day in and day out.
So how did NBC Sports prep to launch the 2019/20 Premier League season?
The show hits the road
To celebrate the start of the season, the NBC Sports crew packed up and headed to England for opening weekend. In a first for NBC Sports, Rebecca Lowe and company hosted a three-hour transfer deadline day program called Premier League Live: Transfer Deadline Day. The telecast was NBC Sports’ first-ever production from the Sky studios in the UK.
Last Friday, the team was at Anfield to host Premier League Live with commentary and discussion from Lowe, Lee Dixon, and Robbie Mustoe in the studio with Robbie Earle and Graham Le Saux providing on-field thoughts. Play-by-play man Arlo White was joined by Kyle Martino in the booth to broadcast the game.
Following Friday’s adventure at Anfield, NBC Sports was live at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday. One day later, the crew traveled to Manchester to broadcast at Old Trafford as visitors Chelsea came into town to open the season. The final result may not have been close, but the result that most Americans cared about happened when Christian Pulisic entered the game in the second half.
But how did the coverage fair? Well, if you’re NBC Sports and the Premier League, you have to be pretty happy. Sunday’s broadcast was the second-best overnight rating for any Premier League cable game in U.S. TV history.
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) August 12, 2019
Pulisic makes much-anticipated debut
For many fans, the opening weekend game of the utmost importance was on Sunday to *hopefully* see Pulisic make his debut for the London-based team. While many expected him to start, the good news he made his debut – the bad news is, well, his team didn’t fair very well. BUT, fans were excited nonetheless.
— Mike Ryan Ruiz (@MichaelRyanRuiz) August 8, 2019
To help celebrate the American’s debut, the NBC Sports crew helped run a promotion where 22 fans would be selected to receive a Pulisic #22 jersey.
To add to Pulisic mania, NBC Sports released a 4-minute on-field interview between Kyle Martino and Pulisic. In the video, Pulisic went through the ringer and answered several questions about sports and life. Unfortunately for Christian, he gave the wrong answer when asked about the great Pennsylvania debate of Wawa versus Sheetz.
NBC Sports adds long-form digital series
As if all the above wasn’t enough to push Premier League coverage prior to and during opening weekend, NBC Sports also debuted a new YouTube series called Crossroads. The first episode debuted before the weekend and is about Sergio Aguero and Manchester City.