Posted by: martinworster | June 19, 2013

153. NBC To Show Premiership Football / Soccer Next Season

In what is surely a watershed moment for the continued growth in popularity of football (soccer) in the United States, NBC have announced they will be showing all Premiership games for the next three years. This includes every game live via multi platform delivery as well as football news and roundup shows. I even read that they will be showing Match of the Day. Hurrah.

NBC is the oldest major broadcast network in the US so it’s quite a big deal and as the content is free it will undoubtedly create a surge in interest in the beautiful game. Previously to watch football you had to pay and subscribe to the Fox Soccer Channel which showed most games – the best feature was the ability to record games so when you wake up on a Sunday you could watch the match instead of suffering 4am kick offs due to the early starts. I wonder if NBC will offer a play again feature. I hope so.

NBC buying the rights ($250 million for three years – sounds cheap) is big news for taking the game to the next level. In the seven years I have lived here I have already noticed in that time an increase in interest from Americans. Once they hear your accent or see a soccer shirt I might be wearing they’ll strike up a conversation and ask who you support and who their team is.

I think Americans were always curious about this sport that the rest of the world was fanatical about. As with all sports there are often cultural differences in how the games are consumed and interacted with. I just can’t relate to American Football – I just don’t get it. The stop start, the faux macho air, the cheerleaders, moments of drama where I see no drama – it’s just for me as I’ve never grown up with it. Similarly American’s often complain that football is boring – the low scores, draws, tens of minutes of nothing happening. I can appreciate how they might see it like this, but it doesn’t appreciate how the drama might be in the last few minutes or over for the long run of the season.

I think for me one of the best things about football is how it really brings the world together. The World Cup is a bigger event than the Olympics. Each nation has their own distinct style of playing which really adds an extra level of narrative and excitement to the game. The German game is very different to the Brazilian game. Ditto the Italian to the English game. There is a poetry there and it’s not called the Beautiful Game for nothing.

One thing I can see happening once the American’s really start taking this sport seriously – they will become the best in the world at it. I can see the sport changing into more of a physical game where it’s about absolute fitness, intense training, discipline and having the right gym physique to muscle possession. It will also probably get more technical and stat heavy – you already see this with possession stats, individual player stats and assists. I hope it doesn’t change too much and I bet we see an American team lifting the World Cup in the next 30 years.

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