One of the biggest off-season stories was the start of the NBC/MLS relationship. To date, the broadcasts have been high quality, the announcers first rate and the ratings slightly better than expected. Most impressive has been promotional efforts of the Peacock. The NBC Sports Network has done an excellent job putting MLS in front of their NHL audience and during other telecasts. Although the network’s ratings (outside the Stanley Cup Playoffs) have been low, NBC has done a great job promoting the MLS telecasts. How is NBC doing? Here is what Dave Laidig reported from the preseason NBC phone conference.
NBCSports starts their coverage this Sunday with FC Dallas and
NYRB , and previewed their coverage to the press on Wednesday.
NBC made it clear that MLS is a priority, and point to their
assignment of Pierre Moosa – with his experience on NBC’s Sunday Night
Football broadcast – as an example of their commitment to having a
first class production.
Further, NBC promised there would be no gimmicks, just honest
reflection of the game. Moosa emphasized, “the game is the most
important thing, the reason people watch, the reason people care.”
Thus, the network plans on using the standard 8-10 camera angles, to
support its philosophy of covering the basics first.
As part of the production, the network will offer a pregame, halftime,
and post-game show. The pre-game show is intended to present game info
and present hot topics around the league with expert analysis. The
network has worked with the league to obtain access to players for
pre-game interviews, which may be worked into the telecast. The halftime show will
focus on the “why” of the first half. And the post-game show will
cover analysis of the game, player interviews, and upcoming match-ups
around the league.
A key feature of the broadcast will be locating a broadcast team
member on the sideline, in this case the role goes to ex-player Kyle Martino. NBC presented this model (one in the booth and one on the
sidelines) as an extension of the model used in the NHL. In its
defense, the networked pointed out that, at the time the bench
reporter was introduced in the NHL, the establishment thought it was a
dumb idea. And now, the model is the “gold standard” in hockey. For
his part, Martino looked forward to obtaining information that is
simply not available from a booth high above the action. On the
sideline, he will draw not only on perceptions honed from years of
playing experience, but also from the shouted instructions from
coaches, or communications between teammates. This insight willbe
incorporated into the broadcast, providing a more complete experience
for the fan. The network revealed it produced two rehearsal games at
the recent Orlando tournament, and felt confident about the flow of
the game and the working relationship between Arlo and Kyle.
Also, NBC indicates it will strongly emphasize social media in its
soccer production: pointing first to its ProSoccerTalk website, and to
its plans to connect via Facebook and that it will show a Twitter
hashtag on the screen. For its rollout, NBC plans on using the first
few games getting in the groove, and then ramping up the social media
All in all, the excitement for the venture in the room was palpable
and we have yet another reason to look forward to the start of a new
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