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The Premier League on American Television

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Soccer fans across the nation have their own rituals: they stay in the night before the weekend emerges, to wake up early to watch the 7 a. m. kickoff of the Premier League on NBC Sports at a local bar, or at home in front of their television. The influence of the Premier League has grown on American soccer fans since NBC Sports Network decided to obtain the rights to broadcast the league in 2013. The Premier League on NBC, as it’s called, not only shows matches, but it also offers pregame as well as postgame analysis, and related programming to attract viewership.

The lead play-by-play voice for the Premier League on NBC is Arlo White. He has been commenting on soccer in the U. S. since being hired as the voice of the Seattle Sounders in 2010. “The Premier League has found tremendous success in America, because NBC treats it like a major-league sport, even though it’s from a different country,” White said. “I felt, coming from the UK, that I hold some sort of role for the league to spread the word into America. ”White previously broadcasted games in Major League Soccer, and the U. S. National Team. He started off his career working for BBC Radio in 2001, where he was a breakfast sports reporter until 2005. “I’ve always had this fascination for the U. S. and American sports ever since I was a kid,” White said. “Their culture of sports here is different from other countries.

The first baseball I liked was the Chicago Cubs because I’ve briefly lived there when I was younger, and I now follow the NFL. ” White was chosen to commentate on Super Bowl XLII for BBC Radio 5 Live in 2008. It was the first time he would broadcast an American sport. “Giants-Patriots, Plaxico Burress in the end zone, a great pass from Eli Manning,” White said, claiming that it was his favorite broadcasting memory. “The fourth quarter of that Super Bowl got me into American Football. ”White went on to broadcast five Super Bowls for the BBC, the latest one in February 2010, when the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Miami. He was disappointed for not being able to call the Super Bowl XLV, when his favorite team, the Green Bay Packers won. “They should have shown up while I was still commenting for the Super Bowl!” White said, much to his disgust for missing out a year early. “Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to do it later on. ”Ex-professional Premier League soccer player, and one of White’s colleague’s at NBC, Robbie Mustoe, suggests it’s White’s “British heritage and knowledge of American culture” that makes him appealing to fans. “Arlo’s background enables him to casually speak to American fans in a way that they feel they aren’t being lectured by a foreigner,” Mustoe said. “And that’s a very hard to do, because most people outside of the U. S. , and especially if they’re from Europe, think Americans have no perceptions on soccer whatsoever. ”Mustoe adds that White, other NBC commentators, and himself prefer to express their opinions using British terminology when they’re analyzing a soccer game.

“We’ve learned very quickly that American soccer fans want authenticity. ” Mustoe said. “We try not to ‘Goalie’ instead of Goalkeeper, or shutout because that’s American soccer language, and we understand that. But we do the English game, the English league, in the English way and it can only expand an American’s vocabulary on the game. ”Coordinating Producer for NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage, Pierre Moossa said the network is going to stick with the recipe that has made it successful over the years. “NBC has invested an awful lot of money into the Premier League from a marketing standpoint,” Moossa said. “Keeping the talents of Arlo, Rebecca [Lowe], Kyle [Martino], and many others will be important for us in the future. Everyone cares very deeply about what they’re trying to do here. NBC has always excelled in sports broadcasting, and Arlo is with us because he has proved time and time again that he can excel in the Premier League sphere. ”

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