NBC Sports Group Debuts Opening Weekend Of Premier League – Ratings, Notes & Quotes

NBC-Premier-FeatureNBC Telecast of Swansea City-Manchester United Posts Highest Overnight Rating in U.S. History for Premier League Opener

Rebecca Lowe on opening Saturday: “The Premier League kicked off and it was quite some style.”

Robbie Mustoe on Chelsea Manager José Mourinho selecting his lineup: “He’s got to pick the right amount of artists and soldiers.”

Kyle Martino on Manchester United Forward Wayne Rooney: “Although you don’t see a lot of smiling from him, he contributes.”

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 18, 2013 – NBC Sports Group kicked off its exclusive coverage of the Premier League on Saturday with three live matches — Liverpool-Stoke City and Arsenal-Aston Villa on NBCSN followed by Swansea City-Manchester United on NBC. Live match coverage continued today on NBCSN with Crystal Palace-Tottenham and Chelsea-Hull City.

Saturday’s NBC telecast of Swansea City-Manchester United drew the highest overnight rating (.8) in U.S. history for a Premier League opening weekend match.

Additional notes on Saturday’s coverage:

  • NBC Sports Group’s three live opening-day Premier League telecasts averaged a .5 overnight rating – up 67% from last season’s opening Saturday three-game average (.3 average for one match on ESPN and two on Fox Soccer)
  • Washington, D.C. topped all U.S. markets for local ratings of NBC’s Swansea City-Manchester United telecast. Following is the top ten:

Washington, D.C. (2.2)
Tulsa (1.9)
Austin (1.8)
Seattle (1.4)
Buffalo (1.4)
Los Angeles (1.2)
Philadelphia (1.0)
Cincinnati (1.0)
Orlando (1.0)
Hartford/New Haven (0.9)

  • Fans streamed more than four million minutes of Premier League action via NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. This is the first time ever that all Premier League games are available at no extra cost (to fans with NBC Sports Network) via live stream.
  • This the first time that all Premier League games are available on television on the networks of NBCUniversal and the Premier League Extra Time bonus television package. Extra Time is available at no extra cost to fans who receive NBC Sports Network through their cable/satellite/telco providers.

Rebecca Lowe hosted today’s Premier League Live alongside former U.S. National Team midfielder Kyle Martino, and former English footballer Robbie Mustoe. Following are highlights from this morning’s telecast:

Premier League Live, 8-8:30 a.m. ET

On Opening Day:

Rebecca Lowe: “It was yesterday that the Premier League season kicked off and it was quite some style. An opening day packed with storylines and great action.”

Kyle Martino on Manchester United: “Opening day you tend to see a lot of focus on the reigning champions and on Manchester United, they were both of those. Combining with the fact that after 26 years, [new Manchester United manager David] Moyes at the helm, everyone was looking at this game and a lot of people were predicting an upset. Manchester United come off, they have a community shield, he gets his first win, Wayne Rooney comes off the bench and although you don’t see a lot of smiling from him, he contributes, Danny Welbeck already has double the number of goals he had last year, so a terrific start for David Moyes.

Robbie Mustoe on Arsenal: “The scenes around the Emirates Stadium, the worried scenes, the upsetting nature of this performance. I always think the first game of the season is quite a strong one and Arsenal last year lost big games, embarrassing defeats but they bounced back and I’m sure Arsenal will bounce back. But the first game of the season will stay in their memory a little bit and that might be tough to pull the squad around, which they have to very quickly because they’ve got a Champions League qualifier to get into the groups stages for real. Big test for [Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger again.”

Martino on Tottenham: “They can’t underestimate this [Palace] team.”

Martino on Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway: “He’s a quote machine… He’s classic.”

On Chelsea manager José Mourinho:

Mustoe: “We might expect an emotional return. I think it means a lot to the club and the bond he’s got with the fans there and all the officials is very strong. His character, his personality is so interesting and his preparation, attention to detail, the way that he brings the club together, it is pretty special. All of that said, he’s a winner, and that’s the most important part, he wins. Wherever he’s been, he’s won stuff, so expect dramatic interviews, expect at times to wind up the other managers, that’s going to happen, guaranteed at some point. It’s going to be a fun ride.”

Martino on why he thinks Chelsea with Mourinho are the favorites: “He’s the most revered manager in the league with, arguably, the best team in the league, even though he didn’t bring in the type of players that Manchester City with the $100 million they did spend.”

Premier League Live Halftime: Crystal Palace-Tottenham

Mustoe on Mourinho choosing today’s squad: “He’s got some issues to sort out and different sorts of midfielders than what he had a few years ago. These are a lot more creative, maybe not quite so hard-working. He’s got to find the right balance. I always think that artists and soldiers make the right team. He’s got to pick the right amount of artists and soldiers.”

NBC Sports Group’s exclusive Premier League coverage continues tomorrow at 2:30 p.m ET on NBCSN with Premier League Live, followed by Manchester City-Newcastle at 3 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports Group presents the most ambitious, extensive and comprehensive coverage of the Premier League available anywhere in the world.  All 380 Premier League matches will be made available live 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 — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktop, mobile and tablets. In total, NBC Sports Group will present more than 1,600 total hours of Premier League programming.

– NBC Sports Group –

Robbie Earle on Opening Weekend: “It’s like being a little kid on Christmas Day.”

Robbie Mustoe on Wayne Rooney: “It’s just surprising to me that he wants to leave.”

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 17, 2013 – NBC Sports Group began its exclusive coverage of the Premier League today with Premier League Live on NBCSN at 7 a.m., followed by Liverpool- Stoke City on NBCSN at 7:45 a.m. ET.

Rebecca Lowe hosts Premier League Live alongside former Jamaican National Team Player Robbie Earle and former English footballer Robbie Mustoe. 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.

Premier League Live (7-7:45 a.m. ET)

Opening Montage (narrated): “By the time the first whistle blows today, all across England, hundreds of thousands have already been singing, singing from Wales to East Anglia, Tyneside to London, in Merseyside and Manchester. They’ve been at it since dawn, from the tube to the pubs, from the car park to the pitch, swaying in the creaking stands, chanting for their lads. And though their throats may be raw and their faces flushed, from August to May, these chants run through their veins and vocal chords as faith. Welcome to the new home of the Premier League.”

Rebecca Lowe: “The opening weekend has arrived… Welcome to Premier League Live, we are coming to you live this morning from our International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. It’s a big day for everyone here. For the next nine months, we will be your home for exclusive coverage of Barclays Premier League. The new season has at last arrived and we will cover every angle of the opening weekend and bring you all 10 matches live… An exciting weekend ahead.”

On how it feels to be a player the first day of the season:

Robbie Earle: “It’s a little bit like being a little kid on Christmas Day. You can’t wait for the day to unfold.”

Robbie Mustoe: “I was nervous. It was always a very big occasion, your family traveled to wherever you were going and of course the anxiety of the first game for the club with your targets for the new season… There are so many uncertainties, but of course, very, very exciting.”

Robbie Mustoe on Manchester United’s Rooney: “It’s just surprising me that he wants to leave. He’s at a great football club, he’s been there a long time, and has the potential to be a real legend at the club.”

Earle on Rooney: “Anyone who’s played or knows Wayne Rooney will tell you that this guy just loves playing football. It’s almost as if it’s in his DNA.”

Earle on looking forward to Swansea-Manchester United: “The great Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer with [Manchester] United. David Moyes is the new era. The eyes of the football world will be on everything David Moyes does today. That, for me, is a huge game for Manchester United.”

Earle on manager Mark Hughes’ changing Stoke City’s ethos: “He’s got a big job because he’s got to change his identity, player style on the pitch, to start to play more possession, but also the perspective of what people think about Stoke City, the reputation, the long ball, the rough style, that’s going to be a difficult job. There are some good things about Stoke, the dangerous set pieces, they’ve got a good work ethic, they must retain some of that, but just adapt the style a little bit going forward.”

Earle on the “new” Stoke: “That’s a huge challenge, and this doesn’t happen in six weeks of preseason. This happens over the course of years. What we’ll see is something evolve in terms of not going quite so long, playing a little bit shorter, mixing the game up, having more dimensions to the play. In the old Stoke, it was like hammering at the door one way, now they need to be a little bit cleverer and a little bit more cuter in terms of how they open up the defense.”

Halftime: Liverpool-Stoke City

Earle on US Men’s National Team and Sunderland player Jozy Altidore: “It’s going to be a big season for him with the World Cup coming up. Can he get his craft and learn to be a collaborative footballer as well as a powerful footballer? I’m looking forward to seeing how he does this year.”

On Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge’s goal:

Mustoe: “This is what Liverpool are all about, this is what they try and do, find a way through the middle.”

Earle: “What I liked about Sturridge in that move is that he allowed the Stoke defenders to go back towards their own goal as defenders always do to defend. He just stayed still and a little bit of space – didn’t go and get himself marked. That allowed him to strike, it was a wonderful finish.”

On what Liverpool has done well:

Earle: “Their persistence, their ability to move around and not stay in set positions against Stoke positions… They’ve had great rotations, haven’t quite finished off enough and I think they’ll need a second goal, but certainly the way they’ve played has been impressive for the first day.”

Mustoe: “It [the intensity] didn’t slow and the persistence paid off with the high energy from Liverpool as well.”

Mustoe on challenges facing new Everton manager Roberto Martinez: “Roberto Martinez, new job, new challenge, and the pressure really to be successful at Everton after [former Everton manager] David Moyes finished sixth last year, but in his own way. That’s going to be difficult.”

Post-Game: Liverpool-Stoke

Lowe: “Now that is what we’ve been missing over the summer, a bit of classic Premier League drama, a gripping end to the game at Anfield. We are done with the first Barclays Premier League match of the season: Liverpool 1, Stoke City nil.”

On Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet:

Earle: “What a way to introduce himself to his new set of fans.”

Mustoe: “When it comes to the crunch, he steps up very, very big. It’s a crucial save and a double save as well there.”

Pre-Match: Arsenal-Aston Villa

Earle on Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere: “Jack Wilshere has to get that rhythm of playing regular games over the course of the season. We’ve seen that in short spells how good he can be, now he needs to get a good season under his belt.”

Mustoe on Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: “It’s a big year for him, and I think he’s ready now to step up. I believe in him. I think he’s going to have a big season.”

Earle on Aston Villa’s inexperienced back four: “What happens if you look at the goals, is that it was a lot of individual mistakes. You can work and as hard as you want on the training ground and get your organization, but if somebody slips over, if somebody doesn’t make a clearance, if somebody doesn’t make a header, it costs you a goal at this level of football. That’s the lesson that this young Villa team have to learn. You cannot give easy goals away.”

Mustoe on Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski not starting: “I think it stands out a little bit. I think he was absolutely fantastic for Arsenal last season with his creativity, with his goals.”

NBC Sports Group presents the most ambitious, extensive and comprehensive coverage of the Premier League available anywhere in the world.  All 380 Premier League matches will be made available live 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 — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktop, mobile and tablets. In total, NBC Sports Group will present more than 1,600 total hours of Premier League programming.

– NBC Sports Group –

NBC’S PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT NOTES & QUOTES – PART II

Robbie Earle on Manchester United’s victory: “It sent a message to the rest of the league.”

Robbie Mustoe on Aston Villa: “They came back with tremendous character and that firepower we know they have.”

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 17, 2013 – NBC Sports Group began its exclusive coverage of the Premier League today with Premier League Live on NBCSN at 7 a.m., followed by Liverpool-Stoke City on NBCSN at 7:45 a.m. ET, Arsenal-Aston Villa at 10 a.m. ET on NBC, and Swansea City-Manchester United at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Rebecca Lowe hosts Premier League Live alongside former Jamaican National Team Player Robbie Earle and former English footballer Robbie Mustoe. 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.

NBC’s lead Premier League voice Arlo White was joined by former Premier League star Lee Dixon to present the Swansea City-Manchester United match at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Premier League Live Post-Match: Arsenal-Aston Villa – 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN

Lowe on Aston Villa’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal: “It [The Premier League] certainly is back and what a start for [manager] Paul Lambert and Aston Villa’s season.”

Mustoe on Aston Villa: “Very confident, very strong, very powerful. They went 1-0 down this game very early on and came back with tremendous character and that firepower that we know they have.”

Earle on Arsenal fans: “To a certain degree, the fans have been let down a little bit by Arsenal Football Club and Arsène Wenger. All this talk about who they were going to bring in and all this talk about now is the time to spend money and nothing’s happened yet… These question marks over Arsène Wenger have never been there before.”

Premier League Live Pre-Match: Swansea City-Manchester United – 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Earle on the pressure on Manchester United and manager David Moyes: “They lose today at Swansea, the media will start, Jose Mourinho will start, and the whole of the football world will be saying, it’s not quite the same. And that’s the pressure that’s on David Moyes and his team to get off to a good start. It’s a huge day because the eyes of the football world are on David Moyes and how he starts his reign as Manchester United manager.”

On Manchester United Wayne Rooney:

Earle: “I still think he’ll be a Manchester United player at the end of the season.”

Mustoe: “When I look at it, I think, ‘He’s an excellent player Rooney, he’s been there a long time, he’s been a really important part of what they’ve done over the last nine years when he’s been there.’ Why not enjoy it, why not take it on? It’s a new manager, a new regime, playing behind Robin van Persie, get back to being happy and playing football.”

Swansea City-Manchester United

Arlo White sets the scene for Swansea City-Manchester United: “Hello, welcome to the Liberty Stadium. We’re in the city of Swansea in South Wales, 187 miles to the west of London, and Manchester United, the champions, begin the defense of their Premier League title. This is where they begin a whole new era under David Moyes. Sir Alex Ferguson, of course, ended his 26 and a half year reign with retirement in May, and we are underway. The rain pouring from slate grey skies, Wayne Rooney on the bench for Manchester United.”

White’s call of Manchester United Robin van Persie’s goal: “Moved into the penalty area, Robin van Persie’s there…he’s still there! Robin van Persie with the first goal of the David Moyes reign at Manchester United, it’s come against the run of play, the Golden Boot winner in the last two seasons in the Premier League opens the scoring this afternoon. Swansea nil, Manchester United one.

Lee Dixon on Persie’s goal: “That’s a great finish, but it is sloppy and it should have been cleared [by Swansea]. When the ball gets put into the box, they’ve got men back, they’re in decent position but the right fullback just drops off, played him onside and now they’re playing catch up. Flores misses his kick, and van Persie outstretches Williams and the ball is in the net.”

Mustoe on ability of Manchester United: “If there’s one thing we’ve learned with Manchester United over the years, it’s that they can win in many different ways.  They can boss games with possession and win, and they can also go – in big games in the Champions League – and still win without much possession. You just get a dense of the quality they’ve got, van Persie and then the assist from Valencia on the right side just shows you that even though they weren’t playing great, they’re two-nil up.”

Earle on what a strong showing does for Manchester United: “I thought it sent a bit of a message to the rest of the league. They come away from this with a good, convincing win, it puts them in good stead for the difficult games they’ve got over the next four games.”

Premier League Live Post-Match: Swansea City-Manchester United

Mustoe on Rooney: “It’s all business for Wayne Rooney. When he’s out there, he’s going to play the game, but we all know he doesn’t want to be at this football club.”

On Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over Swansea:

Dixon: “Very impressive. They’ve been really, really solid in the back, creative up front, solid midfield. Very impressive game indeed.”

White: “Victory then for Manchester United on the Opening Day. Swansea will be licking their wounds.”

Lowe: “Quite simply ‘job done’ on Day 1 for David Moyes… A really fascinating day in the Barclays Premier League and relief for David Moyes.”

NBC Sports Group’s exclusive Premier League coverage continues tomorrow at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN with Premier League Live, followed by Crystal Palace-Tottenham at 8:30 p.m. ET and Chelsea-Hull City at 11 a.m. ET.

NBC Sports Group presents the most ambitious, extensive and comprehensive coverage of the Premier League available anywhere in the world.  All 380 Premier League matches will be made available live 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 — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktop, mobile and tablets. In total, NBC Sports Group will present more than 1,600 total hours of Premier League programming.

– NBC Sports Group –

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