We are a few months into the Premiership season and, in my humble opinion, NBC has done alright by soccer fans with their coverage. They’ve got the right games on, the commentators are alright (ok, so who doesn’t think they could do a better job on the mic themselves) and they have done a pretty exceptional job of educating the average American sports fans.
And for me (a long-time fan of the sport) the build up was cool to watch.
From the hilarious Jason Sudeikis spoof as a Tottenham F.C. manager going viral, to the huge Billboard in Times Square with Gareth Bale (at the time one of the most exciting players in the EPL) and then of course quickly replaced with the “don’t call it soccer” billboard as Bale negotiated the biggest transfer deal EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT out of the EPL and over to Real Madrid of La Liga …oh nevermind!
YouTube link: Jason Sudeikis spoofs the English Premier League
You get my point, …EPL on NBC is a BIG deal. And there has been no other occasion since World Cup 2010 that has had the impact on the sport’s popularity in the States. This summer, it seemed NBC was investing in the American soccer fan as much as much as the American Sports Fan.
And, all the while, local bars and pubs like us quietly thought to themselves…Fecking fantastic! Somebody better up the keg orders!
Yep, this all meant that our Saturday and Sunday mornings were going to get busier.
Fast forward 3 months and the Americans haven’t let us down one bit. They are into it and behaving just as disgruntled and passionate as all of our regular footie-loving ex-pats. They support “their team”, they read up and know their stuff and, most importantly, they are decisively pro or anti Manchester United.
What the new American soccer fan gets more than anything else though is that its just not the same at home on the couch. Atmosphere at the Pub is everything. The banter, the obligatory round that follows a big win and especially the shared misery in a loss ….it’s all best experienced at a pub along with other club supporters.
So, Cheers NBC! Keep up the good work. We promise to continue to do our part as well.
Ps. Since footie chants are synonymous with English Football, here are some classics that just never get old.