NBC Sports picked the perfect time to have its Premier League studio crew return to England for the first time in nearly three years.
The team of Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe and Tim Howard are at three games this weekend, culminating Sunday in a pivotal clash between Manchester City and Liverpool. The teams have combined to win the last four titles.
Defending champion City holds a one-point lead over Liverpool heading into the match at Etihad Stadium, which will be on USA Network at 11:30 a.m. EST.
The urgency of the title race makes this trip even the more special for Lowe. The last time NBC’s studio crew was in England was August 2019 for the opening week of the season.
“This trip feels immediate and kind overly timely,” Lowe said. “We’ve usually done it the opening weekend, which is always full of hope, grandeur, pomp and ceremony. That’s all great, but this is really the business end now and to have this game on Sunday is really special.”
The studio crew was in Newcastle, England, Friday for Newcastle’s 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton. They will be in Birmingham Saturday when Aston Villa hosts Tottenham at 12:30 p.m. EST on NBC.
“I think in some respects on football terms we’re in a bit of a special place with with the league. You’ve got two clubs who are forever setting the benchmark and pushing the benchmark between them winning titles,” Earle said.
The first post-COVID trip to England also comes with the added security that NBC will have the Premier League for the next six years after agreeing to a $2.5 billion extension last November. NBC has aired the league since August, 2013.
Going into the weekend, Premier League matches are averaging 502,000 viewers, an increase of 17% over last season.
“The trips are something to look forward to because it is something different to freshen things up a little bit,” Lowe said. “One of the many great things for NBC moving forward for the next six years is the ability to be able to plan and who knows maybe other ideas will come along to add into the England trips as well as just always looking to increase and improve our coverage.
“But for the England trip, there’s nothing better. To be on the field within touching distance of the players. For the viewers back home, that’s what they want.”
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