Not so good news on Friedrich, NBC ramps up BPL coverage

When we recorded the latest episode of the Fire Confidential podcast last Wednesday it seemed that things were moving along with Arne Friedrich’s injury recovery and the veteran centerback would be back in the line-up if not for the Houston game then certainly for the upcoming match against Columbus on Saturday. Now it seems that Friedrich won’t be making his return as soon as had been hoped. According to’s Anthony Zillis, Frank Klopas told reporters after training today that Friedrich had suffered a setback and he was not sure when he would return to the line-up.

Friedrich was non-committal about his availability for the Houston match at the time of recording last week but sounded like he felt that the Columbus game was a sure thing. When he didn’t travel to Houston most assumed it to be a precautionary measure but it seems that the “setback” occurred on Friday in the last training session before the Dynamo game. Regardless of when it happened, this is certainly not good news for a team desperately in need of shoring up a defense that has allowed the most goals in MLS through six matches.

Friedrich’s absence probably means that Jalil Anibaba and Austin Berry will continue to start in the middle with Wells Thompson at right back. Klopas does have Mike Videira available but Steven Kinney was listed as questionable last week with a quad issue.

NBC Sports and the Premier League

NBC Sports Network unveiled massive plans for the upcoming 2013-14 Barclay’s Premier League season. The network acquired the US rights to televise BPL games last October for an impressive sum of somewhere between $80-85 million dollars annually and they’re continuing to invest in a big way. Here’s the release:

All 380 games of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season will be presented live on NBC Sports Group’s television and digital properties as well as other NBCUniversal channels. NBC Sports Group’s schedule, which begins on Saturday, August 17, includes live matches on NBC, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Mun2, the Premier League Extra Time package of overflow television channels, the NBC Sports Live Extrawebsite and app, and other NBCUniversal channels including CNBC and USA.

As previously announced in October 2012, NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Premier League through a multi-year agreement that begins with the 2013-14 season. Per the agreement, NBCUniversal becomes the exclusive English- and Spanish-language media rights holder to all 380 Barclays Premier League matches across all media platforms and devices in the United States.

Details of the 2013-2014 NBC Sports Group Premier League programming include:

  • All 380 matches presented live on television with studio pre- and post-game coverage;
  • All 380 matches streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra;
  • Games not aired on a designated NBCUniversal channel will be made available to distributors via Premier League Extra Time, a package of overflow television channels available at no extra cost for each of their customers who receives NBC Sports Network;
  • Championship Sunday – May 11, 2014, when all 10 Premier League matches will be available live on a different NBCUniversal channel;
  • 76 Spanish-language telecasts, 10 on Telemundo, 66 on Mun2;
  • More than 600 hours of Premier League original programming.

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA: Every Barclays Premier League match will be streamed live viaNBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktop, mobile and tablets and, in most cases, on the digital platforms of participating cable, satellite, telco and other video subscription services. The vast majority of Barclays Premier League matches will be streamed via “TV Everywhere,” available on an authenticated basis to subscribers of these services.

NBC Sports Live Extra provides a primary and second screen experience across mobile, tablet and desktop, delivering high quality video, match/player stats and video highlights while aggregating Premier League content from social media.

PREMIER LEAGUE EXTRA TIME: All games not aired on a designated NBCUniversal channel will be made available to distributors on Premier League Extra Time, a package of overflow television channels available at no extra cost for each of their customers who receives NBC Sports Network.

CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY: The biggest day on the Premier League schedule is the last day of the season when all 20 teams play at the same time. NBCUniversal will present each match ofChampionship Sunday live across a host of NBCU channels, including NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA, MSNBC, E! and more.

STUDIO AND ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING: NBC Sports Network will present more than 600 hours each year of studio and original programming surrounding Premier League. Shows include:

  • Premier League Countdown – A preview of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season;
  • Premier League Download – With the help of a number of high-profile celebrity supporters, comedians and journalists, Premier League Download will explore what it is that’s so intensely loved – and loathed – about England’s topflight league. Long-time supporters will enjoy the lively commentary, while new fans will learn the language of the only league that matters;
  • Premier League 36 – NBC Sports Network’s acclaimed 36 series that follows athletes for the 36 hours leading up to a game/match/race comes to the Premier League;
  • Premier League Goal Zone – A 30-minute program airing after the matches on Sunday with highlights of all the goals scored on Saturday and Sunday;
  • Game Cut-Downs – On Monday nights, NBCSN will present a two-hour show featuring cut-down versions of the Manchester United and Manchester City matches. On Tuesdays, a two-hour program will feature the Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham matches;
  • Match of the Day – A two-hour show featuring extended highlights with the natural calls of every game on Saturday. This show is modeled after the highly-regarded BBC show of the same name. Match of the Day will re-air on Sunday mornings;
  • Match of the Day 2 – A 90-minute show featuring extended highlights with the natural calls of every game on Sunday. This show is modeled after the BBC show of the same name;
  • Match of the Week – On Sunday nights, NBCSN will re-air the best match of the weekend in its entirety;
  • Barclays Premier League World – A weekly magazine show produced by Premier League;
  • Barclays Premier League Preview – A weekly show produced by Premier League that previews the upcoming week’s matches;
  • Barclays Premier League Review – A weekly show produced by Premier League that recaps all the matches from the past week.
GAMES BY PLATFORM (Subject to Change)
NBC 20
Premier League Extra Time 184
Telemundo/Mun2 76
Other NBCU Channels 22
NBC Sports Live Extra 380



Saturday Sunday Monday/Midweek
7 a.m. – NBCSN 8 a.m. – NBCSN 2:30 p.m. – NBCSN
10 a.m. – NBCSN 11 a.m. – NBCSN/Telemundo
12:30 p.m. – NBC

Arlo White will be leaving the MLS broadcast booth and will serve as the lead play by play announcer for the Premier League games on NBC and their affiliates.

Now if only some of this can translate into MLS and television viewership for the domestic league……


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  • cant wait for the NBC package :)

    i think this will translate well for MLS. if ppl get hooked into the excellent play of BPL soccer, they will get more curious about MLS as well

    any idea what fox soccer ch is gonna carry next year to pick up the void? i cannot stand italian league, so i am kinda hoping for bundesliga. otherwise i will probly drop FSC :(

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    FSC is going to cease to be, from what I understand.

    Rough news on Friedrich. Not good at all, given the defensive misgivings thusfar this year.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    FSC as we know it will be gone in August. Their UEFA Champions League and soccer coverage will be broadcast on a channel called Fox Sports 1 which isn't solely a soccer channel. Bummer.

    That being said, the NBC package sounds phenomenal. It should help MLS since they won't be competing for audiences head to head. If MLS can somehow dovetail/coordinate matches on NBC to begin immediately after a BPL game on Saturday or Sunday morning it should help draw eyes that wouldn't necessarily be watching MLS games.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    To be fair to ESPN and NBC also, I think FSC cut their own throat by the very nature of how they ran their channel.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    meh, ESPNs BPL matches were always on so darn early

    FSC has them mid-morning. i liked FSCs timing better

  • Do we have any idea how ESPN's soccer coverage while change with the BPL going to NBC? I'd love to see them pick up Bundesliga games.

  • In reply to Lewis26:

    while = will

  • In reply to Lewis26:

    Bundesliga is under contract with GolTV. Can't remember offhand when the contract is up, but I want to say it's through the end of next season.

  • I'm afraid that GolTv has or will likely be dropped from ComCast in favor of beIN Sports. My service use to offer Hallo Bundesliga as part of On-Demand, but hasn't since December.

  • Midweek game tonight. NY v SKC, I'm going with a draw.

  • I am less sanguine that the NBC deal will be all that helpful for MLS. I made a similar point on a previous post.

    When you compare the MLS deal to the fact that NBC paid so much money for EPL and is going balls to the walls on coverage of the latter, that is all you really need to know.

    You may get some spillover viewership if an MLS game immediately follows an EPL game, but more likely the casual and new fan will be drawn in to the EPL's history, atmosphere, and quality of play on the pitch and that does not necessarily translate to affection for the MLS.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Maybe, but look at it this way....the NBC deal won't hurt MLS either. I don't believe they'll lose viewers or fans because the Prem is on NBC. It sometimes easy to forget that MLS is only 17 years old and that history and atmosphere is being built now. The quality will eventually follow and so will the TV money (or so they hope).

    MLS' current deals with ESPN/NBC/Univision currently nets them about $20 mill per year and should increase when the deals expire.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    this is how i am looking at it - i have some friends that, well... are pretty casual soccer fans at best.

    they'll watch the US matches during world cup, and maybe catch the occasional WC qualifier on ESPN, but they generally dont go to the far corners of the cable channels (or pay for extra channel packages) to find soccer, nor wake up at 6am saturday to watch ESPN show a BPL match.

    if NBC can show some good quality soccer on mainstream cable channels, and they can see the incredible atmosphere as well as great players of some of these matches, its gonna draw some of these casual fans in to find out more

    one thing that will help a ton is they need to have someone explain some of the strategy/tactics used, and why they are used. theres a ton of ppl that dont understand the game, just see it as hockey played with feet & are only seeing a ball be knocked up and down the field, without really "getting" whats going on

    whether thats done pre-game, or during the game, i dunno whats best, but theres plenty of soccer "noobs" out there that mite be interested if they just knew what was going on

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I have DISH and I don't think I get CLTV. If it is on DISH, can someone tell me the channel? Or will it still be available on Direct Kick? I'm going to the game but always TIVO it to watch later.

  • In reply to Doug:

    It's the MLS stream of the week if all else fails.

  • How many homes have NBCSports Network (aka the old Versus) and how many people have Fox Soccer Channel? I thought that FSC had a far larger number of homes in the US? It would be nice to have a soccer news show that didn't come from Canada where the guys all have funny haircuts and mispronounce a lot of the teams' names. Don't get me wrong, I really like FSC overall. I miss Fox Soccer Fone-In. I got a huge kick out of that show. I liked that we could text in and see our Go Fire messages on the crawl. My kids loved doing that. I do think that not having the BPL will kill FSC (or the new Fox thing). They need to try and get Ligue 1 and Serie A again. Maybe even broadcast the Championship games.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I believe NBCSN reaches twice as many homes as FSC. I'll miss FSC as well and I was also a fan of FFF (particularly the Wynalda version) but NBC simply does it better. By a wide margin.

  • Fire COO Atul Khosla is our guest on the next Fire Confidential podcast. TV, radio, third kits all discussed.

    Stay tuned.

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