Back live after a brief vacation on the high seas (sort of) and I thought I would touch on some of the business issues involving NBC that have made headlines over the last few days. The first involves NBC and the success of the recent Stanley Cup telecasts. NBC has done an effective job of promoting its soccer properties during the hockey playoffs and the ability to MLS showcased on NBC is one of the biggest benefits of the league’s relationship with the Peacock. Yet there is little question that the focus of the network’s marketing might has been the EPL and not Major League Soccer. NBC’s investment in the Premier League is far more significant than its MLS payments and the ratings for domestic soccer remain weak. Whether NBC will leave MLS in the rear view mirror when the renewal comes up next year remains to be seen, but with the league looking for a long term television home the NBC promos bear intense scrutiny.
Keeping with NBC for a moment, the network has announced its new lead soccer voice. With the departure of Arlo White after less than two seasons (for purportedly greener overseas pastures with NBC), the Peacock has turned to John Strong to front its MLS broadcasts. Strong has been the Timbers’ lead voice and will now join Kyle Martino and Russ Thaler as the lead team. Martino will also provide analysis of EPL matches while Premier League voices Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe will now provided occasional analysis for Major League Soccer. From the official press release: and Pierre Mossa, the Coordinating Producer of NBC Sports ““With the addition of John Strong to our team, we have the best American voice in soccer leading our MLS broadcasts. By expanding the roles of Kyle, Robbie, and Robbie, our expert commentators will be able to share their knowledge across all of our soccer coverage.”
Finally, NBC had one of its better days, with approximately 150k for its recent Seattle/Vancouver match-up. The strong numbers continued last weekend with 133k catching the Colorado/Portland match.
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