NBC will have crews at Arsenal and Manchester City for the Premier League's Championship Sunday

Fri, May 17, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

NBC will have crews at Arsenal and Manchester City for the Premier League's Championship Sunday

Rebecca Lowe has reported on many significant Premier League moments during her 11 seasons hosting NBC's coverage.

The one thing missing has been a title change happening on the final day of the season.

This weekend, Lowe and the network's studio show will be at Emirates Stadium as Arsenal tries to do something that hasn't happened in Premier League history - move up from second to first on Championship Sunday.

"Are we due one? Maybe," Lowe said this week before leaving for London.

Manchester City has a two-point lead going into the final match day. Arsenal needs a win over Everton and needs City to lose or draw against West Ham to win its first Premier League title in 20 years.

If City wins, it becomes the first team to win four consecutive titles since the Premier League became England's top division in 1992.

Lowe thought she was close to seeing history two years ago when Liverpool took an early lead against Wolves and Manchester City fell behind by two goals to Aston Villa. City rallied for a 3-2 victory and ended up winning the title by one point.

While the studio team will be at Arsenal, the top announcing crew of Jon Champion and Graeme Le Saux will be in Manchester. That covers NBC no matter what happens Sunday.

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Coincidentally, Arsenal was the last team to vault from second to first in England's top division in 1989.

"You don't want to be where the story isn't. It is a difficult decision because it is a dynasty in Manchester, but sometimes in sports, the greatest stories are the underdog stories," Lowe said of the decision for the studio show to be at Arsenal instead of Manchester City.

NBC will once again have coverage of all 10 matches going on simultaneously. NBC will air the Manchester City match, USA Network has Arsenal while CNBC will air Brighton vs. Manchester United and Golf Channel has Chelsea vs. Bournemouth. The remaining six matches will be streamed exclusively on Peacock.

The title going down to the final day will cap what has been a record season for NBC's coverage. Premier League matches on linear television and streaming are averaging just over 540,000 viewers per match, which is on pace to surpass the 2015-16 record.

This will be the third straight season and fourth overall NBC has averaged over 500,000.

Six of the most-watched Premier League matches in the U.S. have come this season, including a record 2.1 million for Manchester City's scoreless draw against Arsenal on March 31. Peacock had two matches this season that averaged over 1 million.

The influx of new fans - driven in part by the title race but also NBC going on the road to different cities during the season for Premier League fanfests -- has been one of the biggest things coordinating producer Pierre Moossa has been pleased about this season.

"We want to make sure we're authentic and true to the sport. but at the same time, we want to be inclusive and welcoming to the new audience," he said.

The other has been the addition of Champion, who was already a favorite among U.S. soccer fans from his work with ESPN. Champion and Peter Drury, who is in his second season with NBC, gives the network two top-flight announcers.

"What I've noticed is they bring out different aspects of Lee (Dixon) and Graeme's game. Lee and Graeme when they work with John is a different listen than when they work with Peter. Both are excellent listens but different perspectives, point of views and commentary. I think the viewers really benefit from that," Moossa said.

Besides the title race, NBC will be keeping an eye on Liverpool hosting Wolves in Jurgen Klopp's final match as Liverpool's manager.

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JOE REEDY Sports writer based in Los Angeles. twitter mailto "
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