The Premiere League is heading into the home stretch and NBCUniversal has begun trumpeting the impending of arrival of Championship Sunday with promo spots sporting a Game of Thrones feel.
The 2013-14 Barclays Premier League campaign concludes on May 11 with 10 matches being played simultaneously at 10 a.m. (ET) and for the first time all of the games will be available on linear TV here in the States. Primary outlets NBCSN and NBC will be joined by USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Syfy, Esquire Network, E! and Oxygen. In addition Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo and its cable cousin mun2 will also provide coverage.
NBCU’s schedule will not be determined until May 7, following the outcome of the Manchester City–Aston Villa and Sunderland-West Bromwich Albion matches that conclude the BPL’s 37th and penultimate round.
The networks of NBCU, though, kicked off the first pair of promos on the networks on April 26, and on Comcast cross-channel avails, according to Bill Bergofin, senior vice president of marketing for NBC Sports and NBCSN. He also said messaging in on tap on the IGuide.
Entering the final days of the season, much remains to be determined on the pitches around the BPL. The title is on the line – Liverpool is in the lead -- while seven other spots hang in the balance for UEFA’s top two team tournaments, the Champions League and Europa competition. Then, there is relegation derby, where three sides face being dropped from the U.K.’s top circuit.
As such, NBCU is treating Championship Sunday “like a miniseries, an epic battle to draw Premier League fans, plus viewers from non-traditional sports networks like Oxygen and Bravo,” Bergofin said. “There’s so much at stake, from the top of the table and qualification for Champions League. Then you have the teams trying to get into the Europa, and those looking to avoid relegation.”
One spot is heavy on words, with copy reading in part: “It will all get settled on Championship Sunday. A day so massive it takes 10 television networks to cover. Twenty Premier League teams will meet for a last time to determine their fates. From Liverpool to London, from Wales to Manchester, who will rise, who will fall?
The other spot is more, er, stark, with graphics carrying the message. Banners and kits flagging Liverpool, and its stalwart Steven Girard, Chelsea and Manchester City, as well as fans are interspersed with “For Supremacy. For Survival. Championship Sunday. 10 Networks. 1 Will Rise. 3 Will Fall.” The spot concludes with the voiceover: “Championship Sunday. May 11. Across the networks of NBCUniversal.” It is accompanied by the logos of the televising networks.
You can check them both out here.
Bergofin said there is more creative in the works, but NBCU is still determining its final game plan. He said it’s likely some spots will be dedicated specifically to highlight particular matches. However, NBCU may instead elect employ “promos based on the themes.”
Bergofin stopped short of making predictions for May 11, but he does expect the day to continue BPL’s strong Nielsen performance. He noted that Formula 1 racing is also delivering for NBC Sports Group, helping to create a new daypart of sorts. “People are tuning to our live event coverage on Saturday and Sunday mornings,” he said.
In addition to linear coverage, the Championship Sunday matches will be live-streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra. CNBC will present Premier League Live pregame show at 9 a.m., while NBC will end the campaign, the first of NBC Sports Group’s three-year $250 million rights deal, with a season wrap show at noon.