(This Picture isn’t entirely relevant but God is she gorgeous)
I can still remember those dark days of my early years. Till this day they haunt my dreams like the monster under my bed who escaped discovery every time my parents went to check. During those medieval times I would risk the life of my laptop in the foolish hope of watching soccer. Down I would go into the dark netherworld of the internet in the search for a quality stream of an English Premier League game, eschewing caution while I navigated through questionable pop-up ads just to watch the game I loved. My desperation was so palpable that I would sometimes watch a VHS of the English Premier League’s greatest goals just to get a taste of the quality of soccer played across the pond.
Before the wide availability of English soccer on TV, Steven Gerrard’s name was just an idea. I would hear stories of his soccer prowess but to me they seemed almost like tall tales, legends that had grown larger as they made their way from Liverpool, England to Oceanport, New Jersey. I can still remember my feelings of constant anger. Anger that us soccer fans were dismissed by major sports networks and anger that MLS could not provide the same level of excitement as the English Premier League. Why did I have to sit there and watch Clint Mathis wander around the Meadowlands like an apathetic cat while people in England got to watch Gerrard gallivant around Anfield like knights of yore? It was not fair.
Thankfully, as soccer grew in this country, so did the soccer coverage. By high school I could watch a good percentage of English Premier League games on my TV and even get Champions League coverage; if my parents were nice enough to buy the sports tier with Fox Soccer Channel on it. However, my insatiable thirst for top-level soccer was still unquenched The increasing number of games only served to highlight how many games were not on TV. There were weekends where I would miss big English Premier League games that were inexplicably not on television. Hope was the only thing driving me those days, and I was beginning to run on fumes.
When NBC acquired the rights to the English Premier League I was wary. For so long all I had known was the Fox Soccer Channel. They were by no means perfect but I knew what they were capable of. NBC Sports was an enigma, what if they provided even less coverage of the English Premier League? The dread of an unknown evil clouded my judgement. It began to make me question whether we were doomed to having to watch more choppy streams from some server in an island in the middle of the Baltic Sea. The subsequent rumors of the collapse of the Fox Soccer Channel brought upon more terror. What would soccer become in this country with the last bastion of American televised soccer being dismantled like a young child cleaning up his Legos. I feared the worst.
But alas NBC has quelled my fears. Fast on the heels of its fantastic MLS coverage, NBC has shown with its proposed EPL coverage that it will cater to the soccer fans of this country. Every game will be available on some medium along with various soccer shows to support its live game coverage. The English Premier League will no longer be a niche sport shown during off-hours on ESPN or the hard to find FSC. NBC is bringing the EPL to the forefront of its network and the brilliance of that move will not go unrewarded. The only caveat is that some will suspect it will decrease interest in MLS. However, have no fear my friends, for more soccer in this country will only help the growth of the sport and MLS in America.
So rejoice my fellow soccer fans! Crawl out from under the crushing weight of American soccer obscurity and breathe in the fresh air of acceptance. Our prayers have been answered, people want to sell to our soccer-obsessed demographic.
(See program coverage details below)
Details of the 2013-2014 NBC Sports Group Premier League programming include:
- All 380 matches presented live on television with studio pre- and post-game coverage;
- All 380 matches streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra;
- Games not aired on a designated NBCUniversal channel will be made available to distributors viaPremier League Extra Time, a package of overflow television channels available at no extra cost for each of their customers who receives NBC Sports Network;
- Championship Sunday – May 11, 2014, when all 10 Premier League matches will be available live on a different NBCUniversal channel;
- 76 Spanish-language telecasts, 10 on Telemundo, 66 on Mun2;
- More than 600 hours of Premier League original programming.
- NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA: Every Barclays Premier League match will be streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktop, mobile and tablets and, in most cases, on the digital platforms of participating cable, satellite, telco and other video subscription services. The vast majority of Barclays Premier League matches will be streamed via “TV Everywhere,” available on an authenticated basis to subscribers of these services.