I’m not going to lie. I’m more than a little intrigued by the commercials for Barclays Premier League soccer on NBC and the NBC Sports Network. I played one year of recreational soccer in first grade, and I’ll casually watch the World Cup every four years, but soccer has never been a sport I know a lot about. Major League Soccer in the United States is by no means the most elite professional soccer league in the world and that it part of the problem. I might not be the passionate fan of the four major sports if I didn’t have such easy access to the NFL, NHL, NBA, or MLB, four leagues that have the world’s best players in their respective sports. Now that the Premier League will be on regular American television, I might find myself giving it a shot without any real effort on my part.
It appears that NBC is attempting to become the masters of niche sports with intense fanbases as they try to compete with ESPN for viewers. They already had the NHL, the Olympics, horse racing, golf, tennis, and Notre Dame football to go along with the Sunday night NFL game that keeps them in the rotation to broadcast the Super Bowl every three years. While their decisions with regard to scripted TV shows continues to be baffling and frustrating, I really like what NBC is doing when it comes to sports.
The extent of my knowledge of Premier League soccer comes from Monty Python and the episode of Community in which Professor Duncan (John Oliver) hangs out with Jeff so he’ll have a big screen TV at his disposal to watch Liverpool play against Manchester United, so I have almost as much to learn as the American football coach in London.
This might be a good way to understand the World Cup the next time it rolls around. If I watch more soccer, I might actually know who some of the players are, and I might have a better understanding of the rules. It should be fun. Based on my uncanny ability to watch any sporting event that is on TV if I have nothing better to do, I just might become a die hard soccer fan. This might not be the last soccer post on this blog if I get hooked.