NBC Teaches Americans About the Premier League

Last weekend, NBC began their exclusive coverage of the 2013/2014 Barclays Premier League. This season marks the first year of their 3-year US broadcast deal, having taken the reins over from their network television competitors at Fox (who had split coverage rights with ESPN since the early 2000’s).

In the lead-up to last weekend’s season openers, NBC have been putting (what seems like) significant support behind promoting NBC Sports, the channel they set-up to broadcast most of the games, as the new home of the Premier league.

The campaign is multi-channel, covering OLA, OLV, TV, OOH (most notably the huge Gareth Bale billboard in Times Square), and print.

See one of the excellent online video’s they produced below (was also cut into a TV spot):

And a particularly well targeted banner ad on Seamless.com…

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 12.47.46 PM

Why I’m Curious?

It’s been interesting to watch this campaign unfold. As I see it, NBC Sports has two fairly distinct targets to speak to with this campaign – Diehard Premier League fans, who presumably already know that NBC Sports is the new go-to station, and new converts…people who are interested in soccer, might not know where to watch it, and might be somewhat daunted by the task of learning the ins and outs of a very foreign league.

A few notes below…

  • The viral video starring Jason Sudeikis is impressive…The video speaks very pointedly to both targets. Leveraging Sudeikis’ star power, the video follows an American football coach who has somehow found himself the coach of Tottenham Hotspur (one of the PL’s elite clubs). The video features the squad’s actual players, which is awesome, and the jokes are spot-on for anyone well-versed in both the PL, and American sports. For the new fan, Sudeikis as an American football coach has immediate appeal, and, cleverly, the video teaches the viewer through having the characters in the video teach Sudeikis about the league/sport.
  • Continuing with the “Educate” approach that partially characterized the Sudeikis video, NBC Sports produced a series “what you need to know” videos for each PL team (can be seen here). In watching these you get a very firm sense that these are for uninitiated fans, and in teaching the target about the team/sport, they continue to use the American sports references that made the Sudeikis video so successful. It’s difficult to determine what information is relevant to someone new to something…especially something as rich in history and information as the PL. I’m curious to know how helpful new fans have found these.

All in all, I think they’ve been doing a good job…will be very interesting to see what viewership looks like compared against this time last year.


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