There are a lot of places I’d rather be at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday””for example, in my bed, still asleep. But where do I find myself? On the couch, in front of the TV, preparing to watch the Arsenal v. Fulham game.
If you’re a soccer fan, you know my plight, because you’ve probably been in the same situation. People always ask me, “Why don’t you just record it and then watch it later?” Well, for one, I don’t have a TV recording system during the school year, and, two, I just can’t. Can’t and won’t. There’s some sort of magic that only exists when you’re watching the game live, and if you try to watch it at any other time, it just feels wrong. (Ask me how I feel about watching recorded basketball games…) So that’s how I spent my Saturday morning, watching soccer until noon.
Aug. 17 marked the start of the Barclay’s Premier League. It was a morning I spent in a sports bar, yelling expletives at the TV (partially in tears) because my favorite team, Arsenal, had lost their first opening home game in 13 years to a team that was almost relegated last season. Despite this awful tragedy, this day also marked the beginning of NBC Sports Network broadcasting Premier League games.
As an obsessive soccer fan, I’m probably a bit biased when I say that this is the greatest thing to happen to sports broadcasting. BPL games used to be on Fox Soccer, which is a deluxe sports package channel that Trinity woefully does not have. ESPN2 usually aired some of the Saturday morning and Monday afternoon games, so I was always able to watch those, but because I am the kind of person who needs to watch every single game, last year I paid $20 a month to access Fox Soccer 2 Go. The problem with Fox Soccer 2 Go was that it was really geared toward airing Champions League games, and when it did show the occasional Premier League game, you could only watch the games two hours after kick-off because there was a viewing delay. Needless to say, I was not happy. This is why I believe NBC Sports is the greatest thing to happen to sports broadcasting.
The NBC network will broadcast every Premier League game””a $250 million investment. In addition to BPL coverage, they will also provide steady coverage of Major League Soccer: NBCSN will air 40 matches per year. NBC is also streaming every BPL game online for free, and every week there will be at least one BPL game on regular network NBC. The fact that NBC is starting to broadcast European soccer also shows how soccer is slowly emerging toward the forefront of American sports fans’ interests. I love MLS, but there is a huge difference between the quality of European and American soccer, and that’s solely because soccer isn’t regarded as highly here as it is everywhere else. NBC has brought the BPL to the U.S. and it will help increase soccer viewership and fandom in the U.S., something that I believe desperately needs to happen. NBC has truly revolutionized the American soccer fan’s viewing experience and abilities.
Consistent, accessible BPL broadcasting is something that any soccer fanatic living in America has been waiting to have for a very long time. However, if you’re like me and you still need your Champions League fix, don’t fret, because Fox Sports 1 always airs Champions League games, although usually the popular teams like Barcelona get preference. If you don’t have cable, you can also opt to pay for Fox Soccer 2 Go, which is a small price to pay to watch the best teams in the world compete in the highest form of competition. Or if you want to be surrounded by fellow soccer fans, you can always head over to a soccer-favored sports bar; below is a list of my favorites, and where you might find me when I should be in class on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.
Bars to watch BPL:
The Lion & the Rose: 5148 Broadway
Fox & Hound: 12651 Vance Jackson Road Suite 110
Free Tail Brewing Company: 4035 N Loop 1604 W Suite 105
*Note: Ignore these bars’ hours of operation, as they will usually be open for Premier League matches