The Premier League is in a great position to see its US audience grow. England’s top soccer league beat the NBA, NHL and MLS back to the field. That means sports-starved Americans are more likely than ever before to flip over to NBC Sports Network to watch a game.
Roger Bennett of the popular Men in Blazers podcast was on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday and said that those Americans may be more inclined to watch a Premier League match now that the biggest soccer star the US has to offer is back on the pitch. Christian Pulisic has been injured since the beginning of the year. The young American rejoined his Chelsea teammates on Sunday and made an immediate impact.
“What’s remarkable is he didn’t start and (he) came into the game when his team was one down…in the 55th minute. Within four minutes, he made a run to the far post, jabbed the ball home — his seventh (goal) of the season,” Bennett told Eisen. “From an American football perspective, he’s our lord and savior. From a world football perspective, he’s just another good player fighting for minutes.”
Bennett is right to point out that Pulisic’s star power doesn’t shine as brightly around the world as it does in the United States. Even domestically, there are plenty of sports fans that might recognize the name, but not know who exactly Christian Pulisic is. That undoubtedly has a lot to do with the US Men’s National Team failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
In addition to patriotism, Bennett expects Americans will follow Pulisic because there is something familiar about the way he plays soccer.
“When you watch him play, he plays a little bit like a point guard in the NBA. Just finding slivers of space, changing pace, incredible bursts of speed, and really hurt opponents.”
Certainly no one at NBC or the Premier League is going to bat their eyes at a little more star power, but it may be fair to wonder just how much Pulisic really matters. The lack of options has already made international soccer more popular with American gamblers than ever before, and in terms of popularity, Pulisic didn’t even crack the top 20 in a recent survey of Premier League fans. The Premiership’s real star power rests in Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Pulisic’s Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kante.
Still, NBC has multiple billions invested in the Premier League. The company owns Great Britain’s cable sports network Sky, so while some of those costs can be deferred, anything that brings more American eyeballs to NBCSN’s broadcasts and creates better numbers to show potential advertisers is likely welcome.
Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set
“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”
Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.
The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.
Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.
“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”
Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.
Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.
Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.
Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock
“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”
Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.
According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.
Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.
The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.
The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.
Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast
“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’
First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.
No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.
Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.
McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.
“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.”
In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.
There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.