CT-based NBC Sports has high hopes for new Premier League season


STAMFORD — Ten years ago, the current stars of the English Premier League were kids or up-and-coming prospects. None of the league’s 20 teams had their current managers. And a Connecticut-based organization had to yet prove itself as the broadcaster of one of the world’s preeminent soccer competitions.  

Now, Stamford-based NBC Sports is embarking on its 11th year carrying Premier League matches in the U.S. As the league’s 2023-24 season kicks off this weekend, NBC Sports is looking to build on the momentum of the previous campaign, when it averaged a total of 527,000 viewers for each TV “match window,” with nine games averaging at least 1 million viewers — marking the second most-watched Premier League season in the U.S. 

“Our mission has always been to grow the game for generations to come,” Pierre Moossa, NBC Sports’ coordinating producer for Premier League coverage, said in an interview. “When we first started covering the Premier League, it wasn’t nearly as mainstream in the U.S. as it is now. For our American audience, it’s been fantastic to see how much they’ve grown their passion for it.” 

NBC Sports will carry all 380 matches of this season, with coverage across the NBC, USA Network, Telemundo and Universo channels, as well as digital platforms. Highlighting the growing online audience, every game will be livestreamed on the Peacock streaming platform, NBC Sports.com or the NBC Sports app. Last season, Peacock livestreamed four exclusive matches with more than 750,000 viewers. Leading the way, Peacock’s exclusive presentation of the 2-2 draw on April 9 between Arsenal and Liverpool averaged 833,000 viewers, the largest-ever streaming audience for a Premier League match in the U.S.  

“We often get ‘teased’ by people in the U.K., that they want to come over to the states to watch the final day of the season when 10 different matches are available on 10 different platforms,” Moossa said. “Peacock has been tremendous. It allows everybody to have access to all the matches, which makes a huge difference in building the fanbase.”  

The on-air team includes announcer Peter Drury, while NBC Sports has added this season another venerable commentator, Jon Champion. They will be supported this season by a Stamford-based team of about 65 people. New features for this season include a new studio at NBC Sports’ headquarters in Stamford.  

“What NBC Sports has done during their tenure covering the English Premier League is nothing short of remarkable. The ratings speak for themselves, as does the quality of the productions,” Josh Shuart, director of sports management at Sacred Heart University’s Jack Welch College of Business & Technology, said in an email. “What is most impressive is a seemingly never-satisfied mindset at the top, where there is a clear commitment to always improve, always innovate and (above all), engage at the highest level. It is fascinating to see how steadfast the company is to their game broadcasts, the pre- and post-shows, their social media and taking things ‘on the road’ for the benefit of their fans.”   

Pre-season games played at U.S. stadiums have helped to grow the Premier League’s audience. Last month, NBC Sports has carried a “summer series” of stateside matches featuring Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton, Chelsea, Fulham and Newcastle United. In addition, NBC Sports has hosted fan festivals in the past few years in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Miami. It intends to continue the fan festival series this season.   

“To have Premier League clubs in the U.S., in the summer, is very significant. It helps build fans’ connections with the clubs,” Moossa said. “The summer series was a massive success, and I think you’ll see Premier League clubs continue to come to the U.S.” 

Unsurprisingly, other broadcasters have discovered the growing popularity of soccer in the U.S. — a trend seen not only in the Premier League’s expanding audience, but also in the excitement accompanying the arrival last month of World Cup winner Lionel Messi at Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami. Alongside NBC Sports, whose partnership with the Premier League runs through the 2027-28 season, other key player include Bristol-based ESPN, which carries European competitions such as England’s FA Cup and Carabao Cup, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga and the Netherlands’ Eredivisie.

Hearst, the parent company of Hearst Connecticut Media and CT Insider, has a 20 percent stake in ESPN.

“We’ve always believed that a rising tide lifts all boats,” Moossa said. “You can watch more than one club and more than one league. The passion of the fan base will only continue to grow.”

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