Over the last few years, NBC’s coverage of the Barclays Premier League has grown exponentially. As interest in English football here in the United States grew, EPL coverage followed suit. Now not only do you get the regular games on NBCSN and NBC, but USA Network also airs matches in the 10:00 AM slot when most of the week’s schedule takes place. And if you team’s match isn’t on one of those channels, you can always watch the games on the NBC Sports Live Extra app. It’s pretty impossible to not be able to watch a game… or so I thought.
Today is the final day of the 2015-2016 season and as is the new norm for NBC and its family of channels, they air every single match live on TV. Every. Single. One. Ten matches, ten channels, twenty teams. It really is a fantastic way to end the season, except if you’re an Everton or Norwich City supporter. That match was put on Esquire Network which I came to find out I do not have. As it turns out, many people don’t have the channel and those that do only have it in standard definition. Maybe it’s different for other cable subscribers but for DirecTV customers there’s nothing that can be done. You can’t even get access on the online app because the channel is not supported.
Normally I wouldn’t mind Everton and Norwich City being on an obscure channel that nobody gets, but today is different. In an absolutely dreadful season supporting Everton, this was the one match I was looking forward to. Today is Tim Howard’s final appearance for the Blues after ten terrific seasons with the club. As an American who only got into soccer within the last decade, Tim Howard is the reason I became an Everton fan. The star keeper for the United States Men’s National Team played in England? I knew that was the club I wanted to support. And I wasn’t able to watch his final match.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. Even though Howard has declined in recent years, he’s still the #1 keeper for the USMNT and has a huge following here in the States. Everton supporter or not, those here in the USA would’ve loved to watch Timmy’s final hoorah in blue. That’s why I don’t understand why the match was put on an obscure network to begin with. Sure the match means nothing, but it means everything to those here in America. Not saying the match should’ve been on NBC, but at least SyFy or E!
To make matters even worse, as if that was possible, NBC’s execs were given a second chance. The Manchester United/Bournemouth match that was set to air on NBCSN was postponed. All they had to do was slide Everton/Norwich City to the now vacant channel and all would’ve been forgiven. However, they decided to put on the Manchester City/Swansea match that is already airing on NBC. People with the most basic of cable get NBC. Why does the same match need to be on the two most popular channels when one match can’t even be viewed by most of the fans?
NBC, your EPL coverage is usually spot on, but you dropped the ball on this one… big time.