Real Salt Lake Visit Portland Timbers This Friday, October 17 At 10 PM ET on NBCSN as 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs Near

NBCSN_LogoFC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids Saturday at 3 p.m. ET

STAMFORD, Conn. – October 15, 2014 – NBCSN’s coverage of Major League Soccer continues this Friday, October 17, when Real Salt Lake visit the Portland Timbers and midfielder Diego Valeri at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Valeri led the Timbers to a crucial victory over the San Jose Earthquakes last Wednesday, scoring two goals in their 3-0 win.

Real Salt Lake, third in the Western Conference, secured their spot in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 win against San Jose last Saturday. A Portland Timbers win on Friday, coupled with a Vancouver Whitecaps loss or draw on Saturday, would put them in the fifth and final Western Conference spot for the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs with one regular season game to play.

NBC Sports Group’s lead MLS play-by-play announcer John Strong calls the match, and is joined by former Jamaican National Team player Robbie Earle and host Russ Thaler.

Immediately following NBCSN’s Premier League coverage at 3 p.m. ET this Saturday, October 18, FC Dallas host the Colorado Rapids. FC Dallas earned a playoff berth for the first time in three years last Sunday against the LA Galaxy, when forward Fabian Castillo scored an 87th-minute goal, leading the team to a 2-1 win.

Colorado Rapids’ lead play-by-play commentator Richard Fleming calls the match, alongside former MLS player Brian Dunseth and CSN Houston reporter Sebastian Salazar.

Strong on this weekend’s matches:Friday night’s game will feature varying degrees of desperation. The Timbers know they need to win to keep themselves alive in the hunt for a playoff spot, while Real Salt Lake will be motivated by pressure from below to try to stay in third-place to avoid the knockout round game. Saturday will feature a Rapids team trying to make sense of a season that’s slipped away from them, but FC Dallas have plenty on the line: chasing RSL for third, holding off Vancouver for fourth, and trying to follow up Sunday’s impressive comeback win against the Galaxy.”

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

NBCSN’s coverage of MLS this weekend will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play.

About NBC Sports Group’s Soccer Coverage

NBC Sports Group’s networks and platforms are leading destinations for soccer fans in the U.S. Its soccer portfolio includes Major League Soccer (MLS), U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches, the men’s and women’s Olympic soccer tournaments, and the Premier League. NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, is the home for all 380 Premier League matches, as well as comprehensive shoulder programming. NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and mun2 also provide comprehensive Spanish-language soccer coverage. Both channels air Premier League matches, as well as serve as the U.S. Spanish-language home for the FIFA World Cup from 2015 through 2022. In addition, NBC Sports Regional Networks provide exclusive live coverage of five MLS teams, including the Philadelphia Union, D.C. United, New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo and San Jose Earthquakes. Online, ProSoccerTalk on NBCSports.com provides comprehensive coverage of the sport, from the Premier League to MLS to the U.S. National Team and other key international soccer stories. 

For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

NBC SPORTS GROUP

FOX Sports Names Announcers for Coverage of CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament

fox-sports-logoReporter Jenny Taft Embedded with USWNT

30-Minute Pregame Show Precedes Every USA Match

Los Angeles – FOX Sports today unveils the announcers and analysts covering the complete 2014 FIFA Women’s World Cup CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament across the FOX Sports family of networks beginning Wednesday, Oct. 15.  For the first time ever, all 16 tournament matches are televised, with coverage provided by FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Sports GO and FOX Soccer 2Go.  The announcement was made today by FIFA World Cup on FOX Executive Producer David Neal.

“The group we’ve assembled for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship is an exciting mix of veterans and newcomers who we’re sure will blend together nicely, providing soccer fans the insight and coverage they clearly expect,” said Neal. “We’re committed to providing a level of coverage this tournament has never seen, and we’ve set a terrific foundation.”

FOX Sports’ game analysts include numerous U.S. Women’s National Team veterans. Cat Whitehill is a 10-year veteran defender and current player-coach for the Boston Breakers in the National Women’s Soccer League, while midfielder Angela Hucles played on the USWNT for seven years, including two FIFA Women’s World Cups. Defender Danielle Slaton spent five years with the national squad before moving on to play for Olympique Lyonnais, where she was a starting defender on the French First Division team. Tony DiCicco, best known as head coach of the USWNT that won the legendary 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, adds a coach’s perspective.  Completing the team are former University of Minnesota soccer star Kyndra de St. Aubin, who has covered women’s soccer for the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Networks, and former Canadian Women’s National Team striker Christine Latham.

Jenny Taft, a FOX Sports 1 reporter and update anchor and a former Division I college athlete, is assigned exclusively to coverage of the USWNT for the duration of the tournament. Taft is embedded with the USWNT throughout the 12-day tournament, providing an in-depth look, news updates and features from the inside. Her reports also appear daily on FOX Sports 1 studio shows AMERICA’S PREGAME and FOX SPORTS LIVE.

Calling play-by-play throughout the tournament are John Strong, JP Dellacamera, Mark Rogondino, Justin Kutcher, Jenn Hildreth and Mark Followill who have all called the game at the international, professional or collegiate levels. Each play-by-play announcer is paired with various analysts throughout the tournament.

Before every USWNT match, coverage on FOX Sports 1 or FOX Sports 2 kicks off with a 30-minute pregame show live from Los Angeles with host Rob Stone alongside a rotation of expert analysts.  Included in that group are U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Eric Wynalda, former USWNT stars Leslie Osborne and Heather Mitts, as well as former Mexican Women’s National Team defender Monica GonzalezJulie Stewart-Binks also hosts pregame coverage for select matches. FOX Sports soccer insider and Sports Illustrated senior columnist Grant Wahl serves as a tournament correspondent, and longtime FIFA and Match Commissioner Dr. Joe Machnik provides insight and opinion as it pertains to officiating.

The CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying journey begins on Wednesday, Oct. 15 with a doubleheader live from Kansas City’s Sporting Park on FOX Sports 2 as Guatemala takes on Haiti at 6:00 PM ET, followed at 8:00 PM ET by the USWNT opener against Trinidad and Tobago, also live on FOX Sports 2. All games stream live on FOX Sports GO and FOX Soccer 2Go.

Group Stage and Playoffs

(All times ET; schedule subject to change)

Date                 Time                Show/Match                 Announce Team           Network

Oct. 15             6:00 PM            Guatemala – Haiti          Dellacamera/Hucles       FOX Sports 2

8:00 PM            Pregame                       Stone/Mitts/Wynalda     FOX Sports 1

8:30 PM            USA-Trinidad                 Strong/Whitehill/Taft      FOX Sports 2

Oct. 16             6:00 PM            Jamaica-Martinique        Followill/de St. Aubin     FOX Sports 2

8:30 PM            Costa Rica-Mexico        Kutcher/Slaton              FOX Soccer Plus

Oct. 17             6:30 PM            Haiti-Trinidad                 Hildreth/de St. Aubin     FOX Sports 2

8:30 PM            Pregame                       Stone/Mitts/Osborne/   FOX Sports 1

Wynalda

9:00 PM            USA-Guatemala Dellacamera/Whitehill/ FOX Sports 1

Taft

Oct. 18             4:00 PM            Costa Rica-Jamaica       Hildreth/Slaton FOX Sports 2

6:30 PM            Martinique-Mexico         Rogondino/Whitehill      FOX Sports 2

Oct. 20             5:00 PM            Trinidad-Guatemala        Rogondino/Latham        FOX Sports 2

7:00 PM            Pregame                       Stone/Mitts/Osborne/   FOX Sports 1

Wynalda

7:30 PM            Haiti-USA                      Strong/DiCicco/Taft       FOX Sports 1

Oct. 21             5:00 PM            Martinique-Costa Rica    Dellacamera/Hucles       FOX Sports 2

7:30 PM            Mexico-Jamaica            Kutcher/Whitehill            FOX Sports 1

Oct. 24             4:30 PM            Semifinal 1                    Rogondino/DiCicco       FOX Sports 2

7:00 PM            Pregame                       Stewart-Binks/Mitts/      FOX Sports 1

Osborne/Wynalda

7:30 PM            Semifinal 2                    Kutcher/Whitehill/Taft     FOX Sports 1

Oct. 26             3:00 PM            Third-Place Match          Hildreth/DiCicco            FOX Sports 1

5:00 PM            Final                             Strong/Whitehill/Taft      FOX Sports 1

*Update: Due to scheduling conflicts, Costa Rica-Mexico has been moved from FOX Sports 2 to FOX Soccer Plus.

- FOX SPORTS -

Second-Place Manchester City Host Sixth-Place Tottenham This Saturday at 7:45 AM ET on NBCSN

nbc-epl1

First-Place Chelsea v. Crystal Palace Saturday at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN

Premier League Viewership Up 16% This Season

Match of the Day Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC

THE MEN IN BLAZERS SHOW Returns Next Monday at 10 PM ET on NBCSN

All Matches Available on NBC Sports Live Extra

STAMFORD, Conn. – October 13, 2014 – Following the international break, Premier League coverage continues with second-place Manchester City, last season’s champions, and forward Sergio Aguero (five goals in seven Premier League appearances) hosting sixth-place Tottenham this Saturday, Oct. 18, at 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and mun2. NBC Sports Group’s Premier League lead play-by-play announcer Arlo White calls the match joined by Lee Dixon at the Etihad Stadium.

Also on Saturday, first-place Chelsea and forward Diego Costa, the Premier League’s leading scorer with nine goals, visit Crystal Place at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and mun2. Chelsea, six wins and one draw, are off to their best Premier League start since the 2005-06 season, when they won their first seven games and went on to capture the Premier League title.

All matches not shown on NBCSN in the Saturday 10 a.m. ET window will be available on Premier League Extra Time, a bonus television package available to MVPDs at no extra cost for customers who receive NBCSN.

Premier League viewership through the first seven weeks of the season is up 16% on NBC/NBCSN with an average of 498,000 viewers per telecast (vs. 429,000 for last year’s opening seven weeks).

NBC presents a live, 90-minute, Match of the Day at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday hosted by Rebecca Lowe, joined by former Major League Soccer and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Kyle Martino and former Premier League footballer Robbie Mustoe, providing in-depth analysis, plus, post-match interviews and reactions from the day’s matches and extended highlights with match commentators.

On Sunday, coverage begins at 7:30 a.m. ET with Premier League Live on NBCSN followed by Queens Park Rangers hosting Liverpool and captain Steven Gerrard on NBCSN and mun2. White and Dixon call the match from Loftus Road. Stoke City host Swansea City at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN, wrapping up Sunday’s match coverage.

On Monday, coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET with Premier League Live on NBCSN followed by fourth-place Manchester United and midfielder Angel Di Maria, who has three goals and three assists in five appearances since joining the club for a British record transfer fee (approx. $99 million), visit West Bromwich Albion at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and mun2. The Red Devils come off a 2-1 victory over Everton.

NBCSN presents Goal Zone live at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday followed by NBCSN’s live, 60-minute Match of the Day II at 2 p.m. ET featuring host Lowe, joined by Martino and Mustoe.

THE MEN IN BLAZERS SHOW hosted by Michael Davies and Roger Bennett returns next Monday, Oct. 20, at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with an encore at midnight ET.

All matches will be preceded and followed by Premier League Live pre- and post-match shows from the NBC Sports Group International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. Lowe hosts Premier League Live alongside Martino and Mustoe.

All Premier League games will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets.

Arsenal v. Hull City on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. ET will be shown in select U.S. cinemas for “Barclays Premier League LIVE.” For a complete list of theater locations and prices, visit www.FathomEvents.com (theaters and participants are subject to change).

Below is the schedule for NBCUniversal’s soccer coverage this week (all times ET):

Date Time Match Network
Fri., Oct. 17 10 p.m. MLS: Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake NBCSN
Sat., Oct. 18 6 a.m. Barclays Premier League Match Pack NBCSN
Sat., Oct. 18 6:30 a.m. Barclays Premier League Preview NBCSN
Sat., Oct. 18 7 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Oct. 18 7:45 a.m. Man City v. Tottenham NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Crystal Palace v. Chelsea NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Arsenal v. Hull City Extra Time
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Everton v. Aston Villa Extra Time
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Newcastle v. Leicester City Extra Time
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Southampton v. Sunderland Extra Time
Sat., Oct. 18 10 a.m. Burnley v. West Ham Extra Time
Sat., Oct. 18 12:30 p.m. Match of the Day NBC
Sat., Oct. 18 3 p.m. MLS: Colorado Rapids vs FC Dallas NBCSN
Sat., Oct. 18 11 p.m. Match of the Day NBCSN
Sun., Oct. 19 6:30 a.m. Match of the Day NBCSN
Sun., Oct. 19 7:30 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sun., Oct. 19 8:30 a.m. Queens Park Rangers v. Liverpool NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Oct. 19 11 a.m. Stoke City v. Swansea City NBCSN
Sun., Oct. 19 1 p.m. Goal Zone NBCSN
Sun., Oct. 19 2 p.m. Match of the Day II NBCSN
Sun., Oct. 19 10:30 p.m. Match of the Day II NBCSN
Mon., Oct. 20 12:35 a.m. Match of the Week NBCSN
Mon., Oct. 20 1:30 p.m. Barclays Premier League News NBCSN
Mon., Oct. 20 2 p.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Mon., Oct. 20 3 p.m. West Brom v. Man United NBCSN, mun2
Mon., Oct. 20 5 p.m. Goal Zone NBCSN
Mon., Oct. 20 10:30 p.m. Barclays Premier League Review NBCSN

NBC Sports Group will once again make all 380 games from the Premier League available in the United States on the networks of NBCUniversal, on the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra. Every MVPD has the option to carry every Premier League match on live television and via live streaming at no additional cost to consumers.

–NBC SPORTS GROUP–

DC United Host Sporting Kansas City In Top-Tier Eastern Conference Match This Friday At 8 Pm ET on NBCSN

NBCSN_LogoNew York Red Bulls Host Houston Dynamo Saturday at 6 p.m. ET

San Jose Earthquakes Host Portland Timbers Saturday at 11 p.m. ET

STAMFORD, Conn. – October 1, 2014 – NBCSN’s coverage of Major League Soccer continues with three matches this weekend, beginning this Friday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m. ET when Eastern Conference leaders DC United host last season’s MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City, third in the Eastern Conference, and U.S. Men’s National Team members Graham Zusi and Matt Besler.

On Saturday, Oct. 4, New York Red Bulls and current MLS-leading goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips (24 goals in 28 appearances), host the Houston Dynamo, who come off a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire, at 6 p.m. ET. The New York Red Bulls will be looking to maintain a playoff spot in a tight Eastern Conference, as they sit in the last playoff spot entering the final month of regular season play.

NBC Sports Group’s lead MLS play-by-play announcer John Strong calls both DC United vs Sporting Kansas City and New York Red Bulls vs Houston Dynamo joined by former Jamaican National Team player Robbie Earle and host Russ Thaler.

MLS coverage on NBCSN continues Saturday at 11 p.m. ET when the San Jose Earthquakes and U.S. Men’s National Team forward Chris Wondolowski host the Portland Timbers and midfielder Diego Valeri.

CSN California’s Anthony Passarelli calls the match from Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., joined by former MLS player Brian Dunseth and CSN Houston reporter Sebastian Salazar.

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

NBCSN’s coverage of MLS this weekend will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play.

About NBC Sports Group’s Soccer Coverage

NBC Sports Group’s networks and platforms are leading destinations for soccer fans in the U.S. Its soccer portfolio includes Major League Soccer (MLS), U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches, the men’s and women’s Olympic soccer tournaments, and the Premier League. NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, is the home for all 380 Premier League matches, as well as comprehensive shoulder programming. NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and mun2 also provide comprehensive Spanish-language soccer coverage. Both channels air Premier League matches, as well as serve as the U.S. Spanish-language home for the FIFA World Cup from 2015 through 2022. In addition, NBC Sports Regional Networks provide exclusive live coverage of five MLS teams, including the Philadelphia Union, D.C. United, New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo and San Jose Earthquakes. Online, ProSoccerTalk on NBCSports.com provides comprehensive coverage of the sport, from the Premier League to MLS to the U.S. National Team and other key international soccer stories. 

For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

NBC SPORTS GROUP

Matchup Of Last Season’s Top Two Teams Manchester City V. Liverpool Mon., Aug. 25 On NBCSN Highlights Week 2 Premier League Action

nbc-epl1Everton v. Arsenal Saturday, Aug. 23 at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC

Tim Howard Makes ’14-15 Broadcast Debut on Monday With Lee Dixon & Matt Smith in On-Site Studio at Manchester City-Liverpool

Crystal Palace v. West Ham United Live in Theaters Saturday at 10 a.m. ET

All Matches Available on NBC Sports Live Extra

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 20, 2014 – A matchup of last season’s champions Manchester City and runners-up Liverpool on Monday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and mun2 highlights NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage this weekend.

On Saturday, fifth-place finishers Everton and U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard host last season’s fourth-place finishers Arsenal at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and mun2.

Two days after playing against Arsenal, Howard makes his season broadcast debut with NBC Sports Group joining Lee Dixon and ITV Sport’s Matt Smith at the Manchester City-Liverpool match for a live on-site studio appearance for Premier League Live at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports Group’s Premier League lead play-by-play announcer Arlo White calls both Everton v. Arsenal and Manchester City v. Liverpool, joined by Lee Dixon at Everton’s Goodison Park and Graeme Le Saux at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

NBC Sports Group’s coverage on Saturday kicks off with Premier League Live at 7 a.m. ET followed by Aston Villa v. Newcastle at 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN. At 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN and mun2 feature coverage of Chelsea v. Leicester City. All matches not shown on NBCSN in the Saturday 10 a.m. ET window will be available on Premier League Extra Time, a bonus television package available to MVPDs at no extra cost for customers who receive NBCSN.

Sunday’s coverage kicks off at 8 a.m. ET on CNBC with Premier League Live, followed by Tottenham v. Queens Park Rangers at 8:30 a.m. ET. Coverage switches over to NBCSN at 10:30 a.m. ET for Premier League Live, followed by Sunderland v. Manchester United at 11 a.m. ET.

On Monday, August 25, prior to Manchester City v. Liverpool, NBCSN presents back-to-back new episodes of Premier League Download, which take a look back at last season’s top two clubs. The first episode, at noon ET, revisits Liverpool’s memorable campaign and features an exclusive interview with manager Brendan Rodgers, and is followed by an episode at 12:30 p.m. ET highlighting Manchester City’s title-winning season, including an interview with captain Vincent Kompany.

All matches will be preceded and followed by Premier League Live pre- and post-match shows from the NBC Sports Group International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. Rebecca Lowe hosts Premier League Live joined by former Premier League footballer Robbie Mustoe, and former Jamaican National Team player Robbie Earle.

All Premier League games will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets.

Crystal Palace v. West Ham United on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 10am ET will be shown in select U.S. cinemas for “Barclays Premier League LIVE.” For a complete list of theater locations and prices, visit www.FathomEvents.com (theaters and participants are subject to change).

Below is the NBCUniversal schedule for the second week of the Premier League season (all times ET):

Date Time (ET) Home v. Away Network
Fri., Aug. 22 7 a.m. Barclays Premier League World NBCSN
Fri., Aug. 22 7:30 a.m. Barclays Premier League News NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 23 6 a.m. Barclays Premier League Match Pack NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 23 7 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 23 7:45 a.m. Aston Villa v. Newcastle NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 23 10 a.m. Chelsea v. Leicester City NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Aug. 23 10 a.m. Crystal Palace v. West Ham Extra Time
Sat., Aug. 23 10 a.m. Southampton v. West Brom Extra Time
Sat., Aug. 23 10 a.m. Swansea City v. Burnley Extra Time
Sat., Aug. 23 12:30 p.m. Everton v. Arsenal NBC, mun2
Sat., Aug. 23 11 p.m. Match of the Day NBCSN
Sun., Aug. 24 8 a.m. Premier League Live CNBC
Sun., Aug. 24 8:30 a.m. Tottenham v. QPR CNBC
Sun., Aug. 24 8:30 a.m. Hull City v. Stoke City Extra Time
Sun., Aug. 24 10:30 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sun., Aug. 24 11 a.m. Sunderland v. Man United NBCSN, Telemundo
Sun., Aug. 24 1 p.m. Premier League Goal Zone NBCSN
Sun., Aug. 24 10 p.m. Premier League Download NBCSN
Sun., Aug. 24 10:30 p.m. Match of the Day II NBCSN
Mon., Aug 25 7 a.m. Premier League Review NBCSN
Mon., Aug 25 Noon Premier League Download NBCSN
Mon., Aug 25 12:30 p.m. Premier League Download NBCSN
Mon., Aug 25 1:30 p.m. Barclays Premier League News NBCSN
Mon., Aug 25 2 p.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Mon., Aug 25 3 p.m. Man City v. Liverpool NBCSN, mun2
Mon., Aug 25 5 p.m. Goal Zone NBCSN

NBC Sports Group will once again make all 380 games from the Premier League available in the United States on the networks of NBCUniversal, on the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra. Every MVPD has the option to carry every Premier League match on live television and via live streaming at no additional cost to consumers.

–NBC SPORTS GROUP–

NBC Sports Group’s Premier League 2014-15 Season Kick Off Notes & Quotes

nbc-epl1Rebecca Lowe on Opening Day: “Today is the day where each and every football fan is filled with that yearly sense of hope.”

Robbie Earle on New Manchester United Manager Louis van Gaal: “He’s going to be a story for the whole season.”

Robbie Mustoe on Manchester United: “It looks like their players are so thoughtful, so concentrated on their positions in this new system. They have almost forgotten to go out there and play.”

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 16, 2014 – NBC Sports Group kicked off the 2014-15 Premier League season today with Premier League Live on NBCSN at 7 a.m., followed by Manchester United v. Swansea City on NBCSN and mun2, Leicester City v. Everton on NBCSN, and Arsenal v. Crystal Palace on NBC and mun2.

Rebecca Lowe hosts Premier League Live alongside former Jamaican National Team Player Robbie Earle and former English footballer Robbie Mustoe. All matches are preceded and followed by Premier League Live pre- and post-match shows from the NBC Sports Group International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn.

Premier League Live (7-7:45 a.m. ET)

Rebecca Lowe: “We know it’s been a long three months but fear not, the Barclays Premier League is back and we have every single moment right here.”

Rebecca Lowe: “Today is the day where each and every football fan is filled with that yearly sense of hope. The day where each can still dream that this year will be their year…We are hoping that everyone’s alarm clocks are working this morning because you don’t want to miss this.”

On Tony Pulis stepping down as manager of Crystal Palace:

Robbie Earle: “You can kind of see an argument for both sides [former manager Tony Pulis and Chairman Steve Parish]. Tony Pulis wants greater control of the transfer deals and wants to upgrade his players. He doesn’t want to be fighting relegation again…What I didn’t see coming is the dramatic way – a day before the season starts – that Tony Pulis leaves his football club.”

Robbie Mustoe: “There are two sides, but I am firmly on the side of the football club. This is the club that gave this man the opportunity to get back into the game after losing his job at Stoke City… Crystal Palace have to be very careful, it seems to me that it’s very easy for Tony Pulis to walk away from Crystal Palace because he knows his stock is as high as it’s ever been, being the Premier League Manager of the Year last season.”

On whether the start of this season feels different from the start of last season:

Robbie Mustoe: “It does feel different. We sat here a year ago and we talked about how open this league is. There were lots of questions we had, different managers coming into the big clubs and wondered how they were going to get on. Well, we know now how they’re going to get on, they’ve been winners. [Manuel] Pellegrini won the league, [Arsène] Wenger won the FA Cup, You’ve got [Louis] van Gaal who is a winner, [José] Mourinho is a winner as well, Brendan Rogers would like to win, he’s been close, it’s a secure situation from the managers at the top. The race for the top four is going to be huge.”

Robbie Earle: “We’ve lost one big star in Luis Suarez but the league has gotten bigger and better…You can’t look beyond Louis van Gaal. We lost one in Luis Suarez; we gained one in van Gaal…He’s going to be a story for the whole season.”

The top three story lines to look at this weekend:

Robbie Earle: “Three promoted teams are back…we know how important home form is. They all have games at home in front of big, excited crowds, can they get three points? My second is West Ham v. Spurs, and I have had the fortune of seeing Mauricio Pochettino work in Seattle with the Spurs team…he was outstanding. Can he make his mark with Tottenham? The other one is Stoke City v. Aston Villa, and all I will say is Bojan Krkić – Barcelona striker to Stoke City.”

Robbie Mustoe: “It has to be Chelsea. What you’ve seen in the transfer market is great business for José Mourinho. He’s fixed the problems of last season…Arsenal, Alexis Sánchez, a player that I’ve watched for many years, I think he makes them better, no question…The other game is Newcastle v. Manchester City, the champions, and I’m interested to see the mentality and the attitude.”

On whether Louis van Gaal is enough to take Manchester United to the top of the table:

Robbie Earle: “Yes, to the top four, with this squad. I don’t think to the very top and win the league. He needs new players, extra players, particularly defending players to get that far up and to win the league.”

Robbie Mustoe: “You talk about managers like van Gaal’s experience and at the other side, [Swansea City manager] Garry Monk’s inexperience…we’ll learn a lot about this guy and whether he can make a mark in the Barclays Premier League.”

Halftime: Manchester United v. Swansea City

Swansea City lead 1-0

Rebecca Lowe at halftime of Louis van Gaal’s debut as Manchester United manager: “That renewed sense of hope at Old Trafford is currently on hold.”

Robbie Mustoe on Swansea City’s first-half goal: “The midfield of United was all over the place.”

Robbie Earle on Manchester United’s first half vs. Swansea City: “They can’t get it in to the midfield players. Their passing is slow [and] a bit pedestrian. They are flat.”

Robbie Mustoe on Manchester United: “I’m so disappointed with the tempo of the game for Manchester United.  This is their opening day. The excitement and enthusiasm is there at Old Trafford with a new manager in place, but we have seen nothing in the attacking third, we have seen very little passing from the back into the midfield.  It’s been poor…It looks like their players are so thoughtful, so concentrated on their positions in this new system. They have almost forgotten to go out there and play. Go out there and make things happen.”

Postgame: Manchester United v. Swansea City

Swansea City win 2-1

Rebecca Lowe after Swansea City’s 2-1 win over Manchester United, unbeaten in their six preseason matches: “And that is why preseason results should be taken with a large pinch of salt.”

Robbie Earle on Manchester United: “It was like last season’s form.”

Halftime: Arsenal v. Crystal Palace

Match tied 1-1

Rebecca Lowe: “It’s Day 1 of the new Premier League season and already we’ve seen the customary unpredictable nature that makes this league just so special.”

Postgame: Arsenal v. Crystal Palace

Arsenal win 2-1

Robbie Earle on Aaron Ramsey, who scored the late game-winning goal for Arsenal: “Always finds himself in the right spot. Always hits the target.”

Opening weekend coverage continues Sunday on NBCSN with Premier League Live at 7:30 a.m. ET followed by Liverpool-Southampton (NBCSN) and Newcastle-Manchester City (NBCSN, Telemundo).

NBC Sports Group will once again make all 380 games from the Premier League available in the United States on the networks of NBCUniversal, on the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra. Every MVPD has the option to carry every Premier League match on live television and via live streaming at no additional cost to consumers.

–NBC Sports Group–

USA-Portugal: Most-Viewed Soccer Match Ever in U.S.

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnUSA-Portugal: Most-Viewed Soccer Match Ever in U.S.
  • ESPN Telecast Averages 18,220,000 Viewers and Peaks with 22,961,000 viewers
  • Match Generates WatchESPN Viewership Records
  • Most-viewed Non-Football Telecast on ESPN Ever
  • Significant Viewership Growth Over 2010 and 2006, including in All Key Demos
  • Sets Rating Record in 18 markets; Washington, D.C.; New York and San Francisco Highest-Rated Thru 32 Games
 
ESPN’s telecast of the United States’ 2-2 tie against Portugal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Sunday, June 22, is the most-viewed soccer match in the United States ever, across all networks, averaging 18,220,000 viewers based on a 9.6 HH US rating. It surpassed the previous high of 17,975,000 viewers for the 1999 Women’s World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC. Additional television highlights:
 
  • The telecast peaked from 7:30 to 8 p.m. ET with an average of 22,961,000 viewers and an 11.9 HH US rating.
  • The match is ESPN’s most-viewed program excluding NFL and college football telecasts.
  • While Sunday’s 9.6 HH US rating is the highest-rated men’s soccer telecast ever (topping a 9.5 for Italy vs. Brazil in the 1994 final), it is the second highest-rated soccer match overall behind an 11.4 HH US rating for 1999 Women’s World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC.
  • The first 2014 FIFA World Cup match involving the United States (a 2-1 victory over Ghana) averaged 11,093,000 viewers and a 6.3 HH US rating, making it the highest-rated and most-viewed men’s soccer match on ESPN or ESPN2 on record at the time.
 
In addition to setting a television viewership record, Sunday’s match also set product records on WatchESPN with a 490,000 average minute audience, and total of 1,373,000 viewers and 61,691,000 minutes viewed.
 
Significant Television Viewership Increases Over 2010 and 2006
Overall, ESPN’s 2014 World Cup coverage is posting significant viewership increases over 2010 and 2006. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have combined to average 4,273,000 viewers and a 2.6 HH US rating through the first 32 matches, marking increases of 50 percent and 109 percent (vs. 2,857,000 in 2010 and 2,048,000 in 2006), and 44 percent and 86 percent (vs. 1.8 in 2010 and 1.4 in 2006), respectively.
 
In addition, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have posted significant audience increases in every key people and male demographic, highlighted by double-digit growth in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 categories.
 
WatchESPN Growth Over 2010
WatchESPN has averaged 259,000 viewers in the average minute across 32 World Cup matches, which represents a six percent lift over the ESPN Networks’ English language TV audience for a total of 4,533,000 viewers across TV and WatchESPN.
 
In addition, WatchESPN has posted a 158 percent increase in viewers and 167 percent in minutes through the first 32 games, averaging 759,000 viewers and 33,319,000 minutes viewed per match.
 
Success beyond USA Matches
In addition to Sunday’s record telecast, ESPN tied the record for the highest-rated World Cup match not involving the United States on ESPN or ESPN2, averaging a 3.4 US HH rating and 5,735,000 viewers for Germany vs. Ghana on Saturday, June 21 (tied with the 2006 Italy vs. Germany semifinal). Overall, the 2014 World Cup coverage has delivered six of the highest-rated and most-viewed Group Play matches not involving a United States team on ESPN and ESPN2.
 
Metered Markets
Washington, D.C., led all markets for ESPN’s USA vs. Portugal telecast with a 13.3 rating, followed by Columbus (12.6), New York (12.5), Boston (11.5), Hartford/New Haven (11.3), Providence (11.2), Atlanta (11.1), Baltimore (11.0), Norfolk (10.5), Orlando (10.5) and Sacramento (10.5).
 
Eighteen markets recorded their highest overnight rating for a World Cup match on ESPN or ESPN2, including seven that were among the top 10 largest for the telecast: Columbus, Boston, Hartford/New Haven, Providence, Atlanta, Baltimore and Sacramento. The additional 11, ordered by highest rating: Kansas City (10.1), Dayton (8.9), St. Louis (8.7), Jacksonville (8.4), Tampa/St. Petersburg (8.3), Nashville (7.8), Greenville (7.6), Greensboro (7.5), Memphis (7.5), Pittsburgh (6.9) and Birmingham (5.8).
 
Overall, Washington, D.C., continues to lead all markets for matches on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC through the first 32 games with a 5.0 average rating, followed by New York (4.3), San Francisco (4.1), Orlando (3.8), Los Angeles (3.7), Hartford/New Haven (3.7), Atlanta (3.6), San Diego (3.5), Boston (3.5), West Palm Beach (3.5) and Richmond (3.5).
 
Upcoming ESPN World Cup Coverage
ESPN’s FIFA World Cup coverage continues this week with two matches at 11:30 a.m. and two at 3:30 p.m. each day from today through the completion of Group Play on Thursday, June 26. The match for the United States (against Germany) airs on Thursday, June 26, at 11:30 a.m. (on ESPN).
 
ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of the tournament includes all 64 matches televised live on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, as well as 54 matches on ESPN Deportes and another 10 on ESPN Deportes+.  ABC’s matches will also available on WATCH ABC. Schedule.
 
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ESPN TV and Radio Commentators for 2014 FIFA World Cup, Through June 26

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnESPN’s month-long coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil continues with of Group Stage matches, culminating Thursday, June 26. Lead play-by-play commentator Ian Darke and analyst Taylor Twellman will call the much-anticipated United States vs. Portugal match from Manaus on Sunday, June 22, at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, while JP Dellacamera and Tommy Smyth will provide commentary on ESPN Radio’s broadcast of the match. Other weekend highlights:

  • Jon Champion and Stewart Robson will call Germany vs. Ghana, a key match in Group G, on Saturday, June 21, at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN;
  • Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno, ESPN’s English-language commentating team for Mexican National Team matches, will describe the action from Croatia vs. Mexico, a decisive Group A match,on Monday, June 23, at 3:30 a.m. on ESPN;
  • Darke and Steve McManaman will call Costa Rica vs. England on Tuesday, June 24, at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2;

ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of the tournament includes all 64 matches televised live on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, as well as 54 matches on ESPN Deportes and another 10 on ESPN Deportes+.  ESPN Radio is also broadcasting all 64 matches.

ESPN 2014 FIFA World Cup Media Kit

2014 WORLD CUP TV SCHEDULE – ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC (All matches also airing on ESPN Radio)

u  All times EASTERN  u  Schedule is subject to change  u  ABC Sports broadcasts in italics

Date Time (ET) Network Match Group Site Match #
Fri 6/20 11:30 a.m. ESPN Italy vs. Costa Rica

TV: Derek Rae, Kasey Keller
Radio: JP Dellacamera, Tommy Smyth

D Recife 24
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Switzerland vs. France

TV: Daniel Mann, Efan Ekoku
Radio: Ross Dyer, Shep Messing

E Salvador 25
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Honduras vs. Ecuador

TV: Fernando Palomo, Alejandro Moreno
Radio: Mark Donaldson, Janusz Michallik

E Curitiba 26
Sat 6/21 11:30 a.m. ESPN Argentina vs. Iran

TV: Adrian Healey, Roberto Martinez
Radio: Donaldson, Michallik

F Belo Horizonte 27
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Germany vs. Ghana

TV: Jon Champion, Stewart Robson
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

G Fortaleza 29
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina

TV: Mann, Ekoku
Radio: Dyer, Messing

F Cuiaba 28
Sun 6/22 11:30 a.m. ABC Belgium vs. Russia

TV: Rae, Ekoku
Radio: Donaldon, Paul Mariner

H Rio de Janeiro 31
  2:30 p.m. ABC South Korea vs. Algeria

TV: Mann, Keller
Radio: Dyer, Michallik

H Porto Alegre 32
  5:30 p.m. ESPN United States vs. Portugal

TV: Darke, Taylor Twellman
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

G Manaus 30
Mon 6/23 11:30 a.m. ESPN Netherlands vs. Chile

TV: Champion, Robson
Radio: Dyer, Messing

B Sao Paulo 36
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Australia vs. Spain

TV: Mann, Keller
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

B Curitiba 35
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Croatia vs. Mexico

TV: Palomo, Moreno
Radio: Donaldson, Michallik

A Recife 34
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Cameroon vs. Brazil

TV: Healey, Ekoku
Radio: Dyer, Messing

A Brasilia 33
Tue 6/24 11:30 a.m. ESPN Italy vs. Uruguay

TV: Champion, Robson
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

D Natal 39
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Costa Rica vs. England

TV: Darke, Steve McManaman
Radio: Dyer, Michallik

D Belo Horizonte 40
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Japan vs. Colombia

TV: Mann, Twellman
Radio: Donaldson, Mariner

C Cuiaba 37
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Greece vs. Ivory Coast

TV: Rae, Keller
Radio: Dyer, Michallik

C Fortaleza 38
Wed 6/25 11:30 a.m. ESPN Nigeria vs. Argentina

TV: Rae, Ekoku
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

F Porto Alegre 43
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran

TV: Mann, Craig Burley
Radio: Dyer, Messing

F Salvador 44
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Ecuador vs. France

TV: Healey, Moreno
Radio: Dyer, Messing

E Rio de Janeiro 42
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Honduras vs. Switzerland

TV: Palomo, Keller
Radio: Donaldson, Michallik

E Manaus 41
Thu 6/26 11:30 a.m. ESPN United States vs. Germany

TV: Darke, Twellman
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

G Recife 45
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Portugal vs. Ghana

TV: Champion, Robson
Radio: Dyer, Messing

G Brasilia 46
  3:30 p.m. ESPN South Korea vs. Belgium

TV: Healey, Moreno
Radio: Donaldson, Mariner

H Sao Paulo 47
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Algeria vs. Russia

TV: Rae, Ekoku
Radio: Dyer, Messing

H Curitiba 48

 

ESPN Inc.’s 2014 FIFA World Cup in the United States

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be ESPN’s eighth World Cup and most comprehensive presentation to date.  ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to air all 64 matches live and in high definition (June 12 – July 13). All ESPN and ESPN2 games will be available on WatchESPN, while ABC matches will be available on WATCH ABC. ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network available in more than 85 million homes, will present matches live in multiple languages (other than English and Spanish).

ESPN’s presentation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will include comprehensive news and information coverage of the month-long soccer showcase with renowned journalists reporting on the tournament and the host country of Brazil. Additional English-language coverage of the quadrennial event will total more than 90 hours of original programming and will include SportsCenter at the World Cup,anightly World Cup Tonight program, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, a 30-minute pre-match show, halftime and post-match segments, as well as a World Cup-branded ESPN Films 30 for 30: Soccer Stories series, E:60 shows, and access-driven long-form storytelling features.

ESPN garnered more than 40 industry awards, including three Sports Emmys, for its presentation of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – more accolades than any single event in the company’s history.

ESPN and Past FIFA World Cup Tournaments (Men’s):

South Africa 2010 – All 64 matches live and in high definition. All studio programming originated from South Africa

Germany ’06 – All 64 matches live and in high definition

Korea/Japan ’02 – 58 ESPN and ESPN2 matches live (six tape-delayed broadcasts on ABC)

France ’98 – ESPN 27, ESPN2 23 and ABC Sports 14 (all 64 matches live)

USA ’94 – ESPN, 41, and ABC, 11 (all 52 matches)

Mexico ’86 – ESPN, 15 matches (U.S. cable television rights)

Spain ’82 – ESPN, 7 matches

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Transcript of ESPN World Cup Media Conference Call with Taylor Twellman

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnTaylor Twellman, ESPN’s match and studio analyst for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, participated in a media conference call earlier today to discuss the month-long quadrennial tournament. Full details of 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN networks HERE.

A transcript of the conference call follows:

Q.         There has been a lot of discussion, we’re getting radio shows and phone calls about the whole notion of stoppage time, because there were five minutes added on, and the team had no idea how much time was really left in the game after Brooks scored.  Can you talk about how a player deals with that uncertainty and the excitement that comes when the guy walks out and holds up the knee on board to show how much extra time is going to be added, and whether the vagueness of it is fair?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  I don’t think there’s any problem with it whatsoever. I will say this:  Eight out of ten times, a player, you know, you’re involved in the game, so you don’t necessarily see when the sign is held up.  You don’t see the number.  You’re playing the game.  I mean, the game can be going on when the fourth official lets you know on that.

So I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, and I think the players deal with it as you go … You had Jozy Altidore’s injury and Clint Dempsey’s injury, and you had Matt Besler go down, and you had a couple challenges for Ghana. So it is what it is.  It’s part of the game, and I don’t think players think about it too much.

Q.  I know you’ve been calling the United States games, but I wonder if you’ve been able to pay any attention, or how much attention have you been able to pay to Costa Rica and their defense, and specifically the play of a guy like Giancarlo González?  Have you taken much note of what they have done as a team and what Giancarlo has been able to do?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN: Yeah, I think when you look at the first round of games, Costa Rica is, if not 1A the surprise of the tournament, 1B; the way they reacted going down early.

Giancarlo is very good.  I think he has been a great addition to the Columbus Crew.  But I think when you talk about Costa Rica and you are guy, that opening game, you have to marvel at how they broke, and they broke in transition very well against Uruguay.  They made Uruguay look extremely slow on the back.

Giancarlo González, the back four in Costa Rica did very well.  But I think what was very impressive to me was how anemic in the back Costa Rica made Uruguay seem, particularly in the second half.  Joel Campbell, obviously special player in the books at Arsenal, and they were very good and a surprise of this tournament, and I think they are going to have something to say about getting out of the group.

Q.  Could you give us a couple of the keys to the U.S. and Portugal match?  What does the United States have to do to be successful in that one?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  A couple things.  One, forget about the Ghana game.  You put so much into three and one-half (3½) years of preparation. You put so much into playing their nemesis in the last two World Cups, and there’s this sense of jubilation, and there’s this sense of yes, we have achieved three points.

But the real goal is to get out of the group and advance as far as you can.  As quickly as you celebrate it, it has to be even quicker that you forget it.  And I think that’s one … Two, the game is in Manaus.  We are going to see a game in a little bit here, Cameroon‑Croatia.  Manaus is very humid — very much like playing in July and August in Houston — and I think it’s going to be very interesting to see what kind of pace, what kind of tempo this game is played at.

The number one thing you cannot do against Portugal is when you lose possession is leave Cristiano Ronaldo open.  We saw in the UEFA playoff qualifier against Sweden, tactically they were very naïve, almost to a point where they looked like they didn’t even prepare. The three in the middle for Portugal, Moutinho, Veloso, Carvalho, Varela, William — it depends on who it is — but particularly Moutinho, will cause problems. Because immediately when that ball turns over, almost to a fault, they are looking for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Now, the question is:  How fit is Ronaldo?  Obviously he’s dealing with knee issues, leaving training almost consistently with an ice pack on his knee.  But if you control the counterattack immediately when that ball turns over, the United States will have a very good opportunity of getting a result.

Q.  Following up on Portugal on the Sunday match‑up, I’m just thinking about watching Spain go down two‑nil, because of the Champions League, a lot of pressure and a lot of intensity, and just wondering if maybe the Iberian players are a little bit worn out too much.

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  I think it’s a good observation.  I think there’s no doubt that the Champions League wore out some big players, whether from Atlético Madrid or Real Madrid.  Yes, it’s a good observation, and yes, I think it’s a huge part of it.

Now, in saying that, I think Spain, that is part of their equation.  The other part is, they have won three major tournaments in a row.  If they were going to make a run at this, you’re still in the conversation of arguably the best generation to ever have played a national team.  It’s just one of those things that it’s happened too soon.

I think what’s interesting, to go on that same topic, I don’t think I’ve ever seen in the first round of games, this amount of cramping, this amount of injuries, this amount of fatigue.  And some of the analysts here disagree with me but I think the humidity is playing a huge factor in this.

I’ve been at two of the stadiums.  It’s humid.  We’ve seen comebacks.  We’ve already seen six comebacks in games already, where in 2010 we only saw three, and we are only through the first round of games.

So weather is playing a factor in this.  So I don’t know if it’s necessarily just Iberia.  I do think it’s a product of the situation.  However, you can’t not say that there’s too many games being played and there wasn’t a long enough break for some of these Champions League and the high‑quality teams.

Q.  Who do you think starts up front Sunday for the United States?  And as you watch the hype and tension build, there’s a very real possibility that Sunday’s game might be the most‑watched soccer game in U.S. history.  What do you make of the growth of attention all of a sudden the last couple days?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  I think the ascension of the sport was inevitable.  Does it help that the United States won their opening game against Ghana?  Of course.  But is Portugal going to be the most‑watched game?  Probably.  But guess what, Germany is going to outdo that, and if they get out of the group, you’re looking at some huge numbers. The sport is growing no matter what.  The access we have to every league in the world:  It’s 2014 – ESPN is doing a wonderful job.  It’s just the sport is growing.  It’s factual and you see statistics that back it up.

Up front for the United States, there’s still time to figure this out.  I think Jürgen Klinsmann will have to address: One, what’s the state of Clint Dempsey – will he wear a mask, won’t he?  I think, what do you get from Aron Jóhannsson, what do you get from Chris Wondolowski? Do you just play one up front and allow Michael Bradley free reign, so you clog up the midfield which makes life difficult for a Ronaldo in transition.

So I’m not sure what Jürgen does, he has a couple decisions to make but I think first and foremost he has to find out what he gets from Clint Dempsey.  Because, again, everyone is talking Jozy out the door, Matt Besler and those injuries.  Clint Dempsey has a broken nose.  I’ve played with those.  It’s a difficult situation.

So Clint and Jürgen need to figure out how much he can give, and in what spot does he need help up front.

Q.  I wanted to get your thoughts on what the experience has been like so far broadcasting from Brazil.  We think about this as the home for soccer and soccer fans nowadays, and compared to other things you’ve broadcast and other experiences you’ve had, I’m curious what it’s like — if there’s any emotion for you in the broadcasters booth and just being around that kind of environment.

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  It’s no different than playing.  I think it’s an interesting question, because it’s no different than playing.  It’s a World Cup.  We are all fans of it. Put it this way:  I slept, I think, four-and-a-half hours over the last two to three days.  My travel from Natal back to Rio with (play-by-play commentator) Ian Darke is the same distance as St. Louis to Milwaukee.  It took me 15-and-a-half hours; delays, strikes … whatever is going on here in Brazil.  And yet there’s partying, and it’s like, yeah, I’m tired; yes, I’m exhausted; yes, I’m starving.  And oh, by the way, there’s another game on.  Let’s go watch the game, let’s go analyze it and let’s put some makeup on and do television.

It’s been a great experience so far.  There’s so much left, and I’m really looking ready to go be a part of the broadcast and just being a part of enhancing the experience for the fans back home.

Q.  When you talk about how it’s no different from being a player, I was just curious if you could expand on that a little bit, how in particular you’re bringing your experience from recently being on the field or how you’re bringing that to people back home and how you’re trying to do that?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  I think it comes from energy, excitement.  Obviously calling the U.S. World Cup games, I’m going to give my professional, unbiased opinion.  However, it’s difficult to remember that I’ve got a microphone in front of me and I’m not a fan.  I’ve played 30 times for my country, so it’s very exciting to call those games.

I think it’s just talking about, you know, we are sitting here with a bunch of great analysts, players from all over the world, that know the game and we all look at the game very differently.  You’ve got someone in Roberto Martinez, and then you have a Michael Ballack and an Alexi Lalas.  So you have so many different angles in just talking about it, and then giving my opinion.

One thing that I’ll do is I’ll do my homework, and then the other thing is, I’m not going to hold back on opinion. And I’ll give an opinion and hopefully spark debate as fans and viewers watch at home.

Q.  I was just thinking about Kyle Beckerman the other night was arguably one of the best players on the field; just was wondering as a former player, how you feel about the MLS guys are doing in Brazil?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  Well, I think you look at it, obviously the U.S. win, big for the United States, and also big for your domestic league, Major League Soccer.  I think it’s a huge part of it.

Tim Cahill, for me, so far, goal of the tournament.  To hit a ball that’s over your shoulder that way with that technique, great finish.  Obviously that’s a feather in the cap of Major League Soccer.  It’s part of the sport growing.

You know, I think, at times, we want the sport to grow so quickly here in the country.  Yet, what are we, 19, 20 years in Major League soccer.  There has to be a little patience.  There has to be some evolution.  You know, 2002, we had two teams fold and now we are growing with soccer stadiums and all that.  There has to be a little patience. I think you’re starting to see some of that growth in the World Cup when you have a player like Tim Cahill, who everybody thought was done when he went to the Red Bulls.  What has he done?  He’s come in and scored two good goals in the World Cup.  It’s all part of the process.

But to go back to my earlier comments, three points against Ghana is great.  Getting out of the group with a huge contingent of your roster being from Major League Soccer is more important.

Q.  How important do you think it is, then, for the other side of Klinsmann’s mandate to help the technical development of the game; that there’s at least significant progress at this group stage?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  I think it’s important because I think it’s positive reinforcement.  I think three points against Ghana has already signified that.

Now, I want to remind everyone, the United States beat Ghana the old‑fashioned way.  There was nothing new about how they won.  They scored an early goal, defended like crazy and then won the game on a set piece. So there’s nothing new about what the United States under Klinsmann did against Ghana.  There’s a time and place for it.  You play the games now to win.  You play the games the best way possible that you can to get out of the group.  Then you assess it afterwards, and then you come together, and you then work on your technical plan to develop players at a younger age, and I think that discussion will be had here.

You know, we will have that discussion at ESPN during this World Cup at some point, but it’s hard to assess that now.  Now Jürgen Klinsmann is only thinking about getting a result against Portugal and then you evaluate at the right time and hopefully make adjustments.

Q.  You clearly laid this out about the growth of the sport and the interest that we are seeing back home in this particular tournament.  It’s leading us to write about soccer in all kind of ways, including sort of the next generation.  Do you see some guys in the pipeline you want to identify?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  Can you explain to me the question?

Q.  I’m just really asking about the next generation of guys coming through and just wondering if there’s some of those folks that you’re seeing that potentially could be playing in the World Cup in Qatar or Russia?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  Well, to be quite honest, Russia or Qatar, it’s so far down the road.  If you would have told me four years ago in 2010 that John Brooks would score the game‑winning goal against Ghana, I would have told you you were nuts. Or DeMarcus Beasley being the starting left back in the World Cup — for the first time, an American plays in four World Cups.

It’s one of those where you never know.  As much as Julian Green is on this roster, there’s no guarantee he’ll be part of the roster four years from now.

So it’s such a long, tedious process.  I’d be naïve if I gave you a couple names now that are on the bubble.  I will say this: that DeAndre Yedlin being on the roster has been the carrot for a lot of those homegrown players, a lot of these academy systems within Major League Soccer, and quite frankly any American club team. You look at it, you get a young kid that comes through and now makes a World Cup roster at a very young age, now there are plenty of kids where that didn’t happen in 2002 when I was growing up watching in ’94 and ’98 and all that.

So there is that carrot at the end.  There is that golden ticket, so to speak, of saying, listen, that could be me in the next four, eight years.  But you know, whether I single a player out here or there, who knows around a month from now, let alone four years.

Q.  If you look at Portugal, what do you think their mental state is right now?  Is it, they are going to come in on Sunday really fired up or do you think they are going to come in nervous and the U.S. can take advantage of that?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  They are not nervous.  They are a wounded animal with arguably the greatest player in the world, 1A, 1B – however you want to look at it if you’re a Messi guy or a Ronaldo guy.  Very dangerous if you’re the United States against Portugal in the first 25 to 30 minutes, because they are wounded, and they have Cristiano Ronaldo.

In saying all of that, you can get inside of a player’s head and you can make life very difficult.  What I saw in World Cup qualifying from Portugal is simply this – Israel, Northern Ireland got results against them … Making life very difficult to get Ronaldo on the break. When Ronaldo gets on the break, then you have any of the players running off of him, they are dangerous and they can kill you.  When they have to try to break you down, and it’s very congested in the midfield and very crowded, they struggle.

Again, Israel, Northern Ireland got results against Portugal.  To say the United States can’t would be extremely stupid.  They can get a result, but you have to be careful.  You want to be very careful of a wounded animal with a player like Ronaldo, which is why I think 25, 30 minutes, they have to be ‑‑ the United States has to be just smart, be very smart defensively, don’t sit in deep.

When you do play in Portugal’s end, push forward, and you know, let those thoughts creep in the back of the Portuguese mind that, wow, there’s potential here.  We might only have one point after two games.

Q.  How will Pepe and Coentrão being out, how will that affect?

TAYLOR TWELLMAN:  It’s huge.  Obviously it’s a huge impact.  Now in saying that, they have quality players to fill in behind.  Pepe, to me, it’s so out of character for him to headbutt a player when the ball is away, right?  It’s kind of comical to me. But I don’t know, I mean, I think it will be very interesting to see.  Jozy Altidore being out is much bigger than Pepe or Coentrão for Portugal if you ask me.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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USA-Ghana: ESPN’s Highest-Rated Men’s Soccer Match Ever and WatchESPN’s Largest Audience

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnUSA-Ghana: ESPN’s Highest-Rated Men’s Soccer Match Ever and WatchESPN’s Largest Audience
  • ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Ratings Up 19 Percent Over 2010 to Date with Increases in Key Demos
  • WatchESPN Shows Significant Audience Increases
  • Second Highest-Rated Telecast on ESPN in 2014
  • Rating Record for World Cup in 16 Metered Markets, including Washington DC, Boston and New York
 
The United States’ thrilling 2-1 victory over Ghana in the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Monday, June 16, set numerous audience records for ESPN and WatchESPN.
 
  • ESPN’s telecast averaged a 6.3 US HH rating and 11,093,000 viewers, making it the highest-rated and most-viewed men’s soccer match – including 265 from the FIFA World Cup – on ESPN or ESPN2 on record, according to Nielsen.
  • The match also garnered a 469,000 average minute audience on WatchESPN, which set a product record for an event which had a total of 1,400,000 viewers and 62,400,000 minutes viewed for the contest.
  • USA vs. Ghana is ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed telecast since January 6 when its BCS National Championship coverage averaged a 14.4 US HH rating and 25,572,000 viewers (the third largest audience in cable history).
  • In addition to its record audience for USA vs. Ghana, WatchESPN generated its second best event ever in unique viewers for Monday’s Germany vs. Portugal contest with 1,100,000 viewers.
  • Washington, D.C., led all markets for ESPN’s USA vs. Ghana telecast with an 11.8 rating, followed by New York (10.2), Hartford-New Haven (10.1) and Boston (10.0) at a 10.0 rating or higher. The remaining top 10: Columbus, Ohio (8.9), Baltimore (8.7), Providence (8.4), Orlando (8.3), San Francisco (8.0) and Norfolk (7.8).
  • Boston’s 10.0 is the highest overnight ever in the market (on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC) for the men’s World Cup. An additional 15 markets recorded their highest overnight ever for a World Cup group-round match (on any network), including Washington, New York, Hartford, Baltimore, Providence and Orlando in the Top-10, and Buffalo, Charlotte, Dayton, Greensboro, Greenville, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Nashville, Portland and Richmond.
 
Audience Highlights Tournament to Date
  • ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have combined to average a 2.5 US HH rating and 4,112,000 viewers through the first 14 matches, marking increases of 19 percent (vs. 2.1) and 23 percent (vs. 3,346,000), respectively, over the 2010 World Cup.
  • In addition, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have posted significant increases in the key people and male demographics (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) where the networks lead all networks in the United States that televises the World Cup action.
  • WatchESPN has averaged 247,000 viewers in the average minute across 14 World Cup matches, which represents a seven percent lift over the ESPN Networks’ English language TV audience for a total of 4,359,000 viewers across TV and WatchESPN.
  • In addition to Monday’s record telecast, 2014 World Cup coverage has delivered ESPN and ESPN2’s four highest-rated and most-viewed Group Play matches not involving a United States team on record.
  • In addition, WatchESPN has posted a 170 percent increase in viewers and 180 percent in minutes through the first 14 games, averaging 736,000 viewers and 31,900,000 minutes viewed per match.
  • Driven by the three World Cup matches on Monday, WatchESPN, posted its best day ever with 2,700,000 devices and 191,000,000 minutes viewed. It marks the third time since the World Cup began on Thursday, June 12, that WatchESPN has set a record for its best day.
  • Washington, D.C., continues to lead all markets for matches on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC through the first 14 games with a 5.0 average rating. San Francisco is second with a 4.4 followed by New York (4.1), Boston (3.8), Orlando (3.7), Los Angeles (3.7), Miami (3.7), Hartford (3.7), Atlanta (3.6) and (all tied) Seattle, West Palm Beach and San Diego (3.4).
 
Upcoming ESPN World Cup Coverage
ESPN’s FIFA World Cup coverage continues today with three matches: Belgium vs. Algeria (11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN), host nation Brazil vs. Mexico (2:30 p.m., ESPN) and Russia vs. South Korea (5:30 p.m., ESPN). ESPN will also televise the next match for the United States (against Portugal) on Sunday, June 22, at 5:30 p.m.
 
ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of the tournament includes all 64 matches televised live on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, as well as 54 matches on ESPN Deportes and another 10 on ESPN Deportes+.  ABC’s matches will also available on WATCH ABC. Schedule.
 
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