NBC set to capture drama of Premier League’s final match day
NBC’s Sports Group already had the makings of a dramatic Sunday with the English Premier League coming down to the final day, but Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur’s dramatic comebacks in the Champions League semifinals have created even more excitement.
All 10 games will air across NBCUniversal platforms, but the most attention will be on league leader Manchester City, which is seeking its second straight title, and Liverpool, which is seeking its first Premier League championship. The two teams have traded places leading the league 26 times this season.
“We’ve hoped for a title race like this for a number of years, but never did we genuinely think we’d get such a flip-flop, unpredictable, high quality race to the finish,” studio host Rebecca Lowe said.
Liverpool’s game against Wolverhampton will air on NBC while Manchester City’s match at Brighton & Hove Albion is on NBCSN. Liverpool trails by one point and needs a victory along with a Manchester City loss or draw to seize the title.
“In a week where we have already had a couple of football fairy tales, I’m not ruling out anything that could happen on Sunday,” said Robbie Earle, one of NBC’s Premier League studio analysts.
This is the second time in six seasons that NBC has aired the Premier League that the championship has come down to the final day. The 2013-14 title race also came down to the same two teams. Manchester City had a two-point lead heading into the final day and kept it as both teams won.
NBC has aired all games on all its platforms on the final day since it started airing games in August 2013. Pierre Moossa, NBC’s coordinating producer for Premier League coverage, said the audiences for Manchester City and Liverpool will be receiving constant updates on how each team is doing with frequent picture-in-picture look-ins at key moments.
With 10 games going simultaneously, Moossa said there are myriad challenges, including making sure each game gets in and out of halftime seamlessly, as well as giving all teams their due diligence on the final day.
Since Manchester City is on the road, Moossa thought that putting the main announcer crew at Liverpool made for a better scene.
“There is something special about Anfield, especially with the scene that happened on Tuesday night (Liverpool rallying to advance to the Champions League final),” Moossa said. “This season, no matter what happens, has been memorable. This has been one of the toughest title fights and it has been between two iconic clubs.”
Earle and NBC are hoping the title comes down to the last kick, like it did in 2012 when Manchester City rallied in injury time to defeat Queens Park Rangers and edge Manchester United for the championship.
“I’m sure we will get caught up with the emotion a little bit in the studio. It has been a great showing for the league this season,” he said.
NBC and NBCSN are averaging 420,000 viewers per match, according to Nielsen and Network numbers. Those are even with last year.
A rundown of the channels for all 10 Premier League games Sunday (matches start at 10 a.m. EDT):
Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (NBC/Universo); Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester City (NBCSN/Telemundo); Manchester United vs. Cardiff City (USA Network); Leicester City vs. Chelsea (CNBC); Tottenham vs. Everton (SYFY); Burnley vs. Arsenal (MSNBC); Watford vs. West Ham (Golf Channel); Fulham vs. Newcastle (Olympic Channel); Crystal Palace vs. Bournemouth (NBC Sports Regional Networks); Southampton vs. Huddersfield (NBC Sports app & NBCSports.com).