NBC Sports Attempts a Red-Zone For Soccer


Americans have always had an interesting relationship with the game of soccer, and every World Cup that comes around their is a sliver of hope from ex-pats living in the US that Americans will adopt the sport. After all, everyone is an expert at that point. But NBC Sports attempted to make inroads in attracting the American sports fan last week on New Years Day with Premier League Breakaway.

If you’re like most American football fans, you’ve heard of the Red Zone Channel for Sunday NFL games. The channel is attractive if you are a fantasy football player or simply enjoy watching important scoring plays as opposed to commercials. Premier League Breakaway was an attempt at this for soccer. It aired eight Premier League matches that looked in to all the goals and shots on goal live switching from coverage of one to the next

Not all the feedback has been positive, however. One search on Twitter of Premier League Breakaway and you’ll get a number of people complaining about an announcer who gave too much away, to complaints of it looking too much like a highlight reel from Youtube. One common theme from the anti-Breakaway crowd was it missing the nuance of a Premier League match.

This was there first go at it, and they’ve already shown a willingness to tweak the program to appease its viewers. Because of the overwhelming negative response to the foreshadowing by the announcer, Rebecca Lowe, at halftime she switched to allowing the viewer to see what happens. One can imagine that they will adjust a few other things for their next matches.

What comes of the experiment we will see, but perhaps more interestingly, we will see if this converts the casual EPL fan to fandom. But the European fan is fundamentally different than the American fan, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out as well.