by Sean Arrieta-Kenna
The English Premier League is the most watched sports league in the world. However, it has only now been made easy to watch in the United States. In my lifetime, coverage of this league has grown immensely. I remember waking up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings, while my father ordered a Pay-Per-View game by phone. Then followed a few years of different channels that bought the rights to show some of the games. These channels were available to buy for a steep price and only from a few providers. Finally, FOX decided to take control of the soccer situation in America and created FOX Soccer Channel, a channel devoted to showing games from around the world, news, and special features on soccer. This channel was a part of many providers’ extra sports package. And FOX Soccer Plus, an add-on channel that showed even more of the games would cost an additional fee. ESPN also paid into the game, already owning the rights to the international games of the World Cup and Euros. ESPN bought the rights to show one game every weekend. The Premier League has steadily been gaining a larger audience, but it was still relatively limited.
The three-year licensing deal that FOX had bought to televise the games, of which they sub-licensed one game to ESPN, was worth about $80 million. This year, NBC paid a staggering $250 million for the television licensing rights to the league. "The Barclays Premier League is the pre-eminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the U.S.," NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said. NBC promised that they would be very committed to delivering the league to the United States. This gamble they made, however, has a huge potential for reward. Although, $250 million may be more than it is worth currently, NBC are hoping that with their coverage the audience will grow and the rights to show the games will be worth much more. In England—where to many people the English Premier League is like a religion—broadcasting rights were bought from the EPL for $4.86 billion.
NBC has also heavily promoted the league. During the summer, there were several billboards in New York City. They hired comedian actor, Jason Sudeikis to do a video promotion where he is acting as manager of one of the teams. In addition to this, in television advertisements, they made many promises assuring the quality of their coverage
NBC’s coverage began in August, and so far, they have lived up to their promises. FOX had done a good job, but many people complained about their attempt to “Americanize” the coverage. A few of the analysts and commentators were brought in that did not have a good familiarity with the league and sport. NBC imported all of their commentators and analysts from English channels. The commentators go to every game from where they are reporting. Also, NBC created a magnificent studio to analyze the games in. Another enticing promotion is NBC’s creation of their own Match of the Day program. MOTD began on the BBC in August 1964 and is one of the longest running television shows in Britain. It is a highlights show for the EPL on Saturday evenings. It has become a part of British culture throughout the years. NBC decided that in addition to showing all of the games, they would also implement an American edition of MOTD on their NBC Sports Network channel.
NBC shows six of the ten games each week on television, and all ten of the games are available to stream online for free. Most of the games are shown on their cable channel, NBC Sports Network. One game is even shown on their primary network every Saturday. They are hoping that college football fans that tune in early to watch will see the most exciting league and become hooked.
NBC was rewarded with the highest ever ratings in America for the league-opening game. They have sustained the audience well, with 9 million viewers watching the first five weeks of action, and the most watched game of the season so far garnered more than 1 million viewers. This is 200,000 more viewers than this fixture had been averaging in the previous years. Hopefully, NBC’s plans work. We will have to wait and see. I am confident that the more people that the league is available to watch, the more popular it will become. The league action is exciting on its own, it has only needed promotion, and finally NBC are taking the reins. With the World Cup this summer, soccer’s popularity will most definitely be on the rise in the coming years.
Posted in Sports
By Tyler Marona
Matt Barkley has impressed every NFL scout while at the same time has broken USC’s Quarterback records. Barkley has been the spark plug of the nation’s leading receiver, sophomore Robert Woods. Woods and Barkley alone have connected 111 times for 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns. Most critics would say that since the emergence of freshman wide receiver Marquis Lee, Robert Woods took the backseat. Marquis Lee, who added 73 receptions 1,150 yards and 11 touchdowns, was at that time dubbed USC’s fastest receiver. USC has had no lack of speed, and often turns games into track meets. Barkley used his football IQ to power past the nation’s elite teams.What impresses the NFL scouts the most is Barkley’s sense of the field and his innate ability to change the play without even taking a look to the sideline.
In fact, one need not look further than the result of the game than to realize his skillful abilities. However, as is with almost every sport, the contender always has a nemesis; in this case, Barkley’s is Stanford’s very own Andrew Luck. Luck is projected as the Number 1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft and arguably the smartest player in the nation. When USC and Stanford matched up this year on October 29, 2011, Luck brought home the win without a shortage of excitement and overtime sensations. Eventually falling in a 48-56 offensive showcase, Barkley was worn out and his brain took flight.
In other news, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III took the Heisman hardware home this year, leaving Barkley without an invite and a trophy during this off-season. The question now is, does this give him more motivation to return to his roots? The Quarterback starving league of the NFL is screaming for Barkley to come out this year and make an immediate impact.
Barkley’s ability could propel him to a first round pick and a lump of money alongside. His accuracy alone could make him one of the most desirable Quarterbacks in the entire league. With half of the league under .500 and a third of the league desperately needing another option at Quarterback, Barkley’s name stands resolute. Two teams stand out as possible destinations: Washington D.C. and Seattle. Both teams need consistency and accuracy to complement their aging receiver.
The crowd is split down the middle: half are saying that he will cut ties and become a successful Quarterback while others are screaming one more year to the All-American Quarterback. His future remains to be seen; yet, the present dictates that USC is one of the top dogs of the PAC-12 again. South Champions UCLA has had their fair share of trouble against Barkley and would love to see him go, only more motivation for the opposing team. Exiting what could have been his last game, Barkley gave a hurrah to the adoring crowd (while wearing the “real PAC-12 Champions” T-shirt) as he raised the sword of troy and a V for victory. Regardless of where Barkley chooses to go, it is indubitable that his success will follow.
by the Knight Life Staff
February 9, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl Sunday comes only once a year, and this one was set to be a good one. The Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 in a good but not exactly classic game. If you want game coverage, I recommend logging on to www.espn.go.com or www.foxsports.com .
Now, a recap of everything that had nothing to do with football:
Photo Courtesy: Life Magazine
The Dallas-Fort Worth area was hit with some of its worst weather in recent memory as it prepared to host the Super Bowl at Cowboy Stadium (located in Arlington). The weather got so dangerous that ice falling off the roof of the stadium injured six spectators and seriously hurt a cameraman. Game conditions weren’t expected to be a factor as the stadium was planned to have a closed roof for the game, but the frosty temperatures made it difficult for fans to get to Arlington from Fort Worth.
The snowstorms cleared up by Sunday morning, but the stadium was hit with another issue. In an attempt to increase the size of the stadium and challenge the Super Bowl attendance record, the Cowboys installed temporary seating into Jerryworld seemingly hanging from the rafters in the nosebleed section. The NFL deemed the seats too dangerous for fans and forced the stadium officials to offer a refund or a re-location of the fans. I can’t imagine anyone would turn down the chance to be at the Super Bowl, but I also can’t imagine they were relocated to an empty seat anywhere in the building. A few hundred fans were forced to enjoy the game on their feet. Ouch.
Christina Aguilera had a pretty tough 2010 but had a chance to start off 2011 with a bang by singing the national anthem. I love Christina to death, but her rendition was pretty pitiful. She forgot the lyrics and repeated the second to last line in the first verse to fill the gap, but she doesn’t even have the excuse of being Canadian like Celine Dion when she screwed up. Throw in some dreadful runs and a flat ending and you have one of the worst starts to the Super Bowl in years.
By Daniel Gong
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images
In their final game of the season, the NCAA sanctioned USC Trojans defeated the UCLA Bruins 28-14. Led by running back Allen Bradford (28 carries, 212, yards, 1 TD), the Trojan offense amassed a total of 474 yards while UCLA offense mustered a total of 358. After suffering a high ankle sprain against Oregon State, USC quarterback Matt Barkley (15/26 198 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) made the final start of the season, though far from healthy.
The Bruins, ending the season at 4-8, showed some spark early on offense, scoring on a 59 yard TD by running back Jonathan Franklin (13 carries, 109 yards, 1 TD). However, several crucial turnovers, including a fumble that was recovered by the Trojans for a 68 yard touchdown, prevented the Bruins from getting into an early rhythm. UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut (20/35 230 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) eclipsed his season high in passing yards but was unable to upend the Trojan defense.
Both USC and UCLA head into the offseason to prepare for the 2011 season. USC is focused on harboring potential in its young players to battle the NCAA sanctions for one more season. UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel commented at the end of the game, “We will do better.” UCLA looks to shake off a disappointing stretch and improve for the 2011 season.
By Daniel Gong
Photo Courtesy: Reuters
After suffering a loss against Auburn, LSU was looking to take on the Crimson Tide of Alabama in hopes of upsetting the much hyped team of the SEC. Capitalizing on two turnovers and converting on crucial plays, LSU did just that.
On a 4th and 1 during the 4th quarter and down 14-21, Les Miles opted to go for it. The Tigers ended up running a reverse run play that went for 23 yard which eventually set up a touchdown to tie the game at 21. LSU QB Jordan Jefferson was solid going 10/13 for 141 yards and one touchdown. Meanwhile, Alabama’s high powered offense was held to a total of 325 yards with QB Greg McElroy passing for 223 yards with 2 TD’s and an INT, and RB Mark Ingram rushing for only 97 yards with an average of 4.6 yards per carry.
After converting a 3rd down in the last few minutes of the game, LSU was able to run the clock down to secure their victory over Alabama at 24-21. Chances are slim of reigning national championship Alabama clinching the SEC title with two losses. They are looking to take on a very confident Mississippi State team. They hope they can win to keep chances of making the title game alive. Meanwhile, LSU has grabbed the attention of the nation as a BCS title contender. Now ranked 5th in the BCS poll, the LSU Tigers take on Louisiana-Monroe where they hope to continue their winning streak and strive for a bid in the BCS National Championship game.
By Daniel Gong
After demolishing the Trojans in 2009, the Oregon Ducks made their way to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to take on the Trojans in a much hyped Pac-10 matchup. Having last hosting a #1 team in 1988, USC looked to dethrone the top-ranked Ducks.
The game was a shootout offensively for both teams. With 11:19 left in the 3rd quarter, USC regained the lead at 32-29 when quarterback Matt Barkley (26/49 for 264 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) punched it in from one yard out, throwing the stadium into an energized frenzy. However, quarterback Darren Thomas (19/32 for 288 yards, 4 TD’s, 1 INT) and LaMichael James (36 carries for 239 yards, 3 TD’s) bounced back, marching past the struggling USC defense.
Oregon scored 24 unanswered points to end the game at 53-32. The Trojans return home to face a solid Arizona St. team, where USC hopes to maintain composure after suffering a disappointing loss. Meanwhile, now taking the top spot in the BCS poll, Oregon hopes to maintain its undefeated record, though faces challenges in both 15th ranked Arizona and rival Oregon St.
By Daniel Gong
Photo Credit: University of Oregon
In a matchup between two Pac-10 powerhouses, the 9th ranked Stanford Cardinal made their way into Autzen Stadium to take on the 4th ranked Oregon Ducks. Leading 21-3 after the first quarter, the Cardinal seemed to be en route to a win by dismantling the Ducks’s defense and scoring at will. However, Oregon’s offense gained momentum in the 2nd quarter, with quarterback Darron Thomas (20/29 238 yards, 3 TD’s, 2 INT’s) passing for 2 touchdowns and running back LaMichael James, who set single game rushing yard school records with 257 yards and 3 touchdowns, scoring on a five yard scamper. Going into halftime, Stanford led at 31-24.
In the second half, Oregon’s defense shut down Stanford offense while Oregon’s offense scored 28 unanswered points. Stanford quarterback Andre Luck (29/46 341 Yards, 2 TD’s, 2 INT’s) had a chance to cut the deficit to seven threatening at Oregon’s own 5 yard line, but after a botched snap and a failure to convert on 4th down, Stanford’s hopes for a comeback were extinguished.
Even with a conference loss, Stanford is still ranked in the AP’s top 25, and look to take on the USC Trojans, who suffered a last second upset against Washington, in Palo Alto. Meanwhile, Oregon looks to improve their record to 6-0 when they travel to Pullman to take on Washington State.
By Timothy Nguyen
Already into its sixth week of play, the English Premier League, also known as the Barclays Premier League, has had its ups and downs. With twenty teams and trades involving many high class players, it is unsure how things will eventually turn out. The league’s first place defending champions, Chelsea, had suffered their first loss to Manchester City, with Carlos Tevez’s single strike clinching victory. Arsenal, who currently sits one standing below Chelsea, also had their first loss to West Bromwich Albion 3-2, whose players Peter Odemwingie and Gonzalo Jara scored within two minutes of each other. There were several game draws during the week, most notably the game between Liverpool and Sunderland. What seemed to be a lost cause for Liverpool losing 2-1 turned into a draw when Steven Gerrard saved his team with an equalizer off of a cross from Fernando “El Niño” Torres.
Even though it is early in the season, the standings look fair. The four powerhouses maintain their place at the top while the other teams are struggling to make a difference. Chelsea and Arsenal have received their first loss of the season while the famed Manchester United is in third and derby rivals Manchester City in fourth. Stoke City, West Ham United, and Everton have a long way up from the cellar in which they currently reside. As the season gets into its latter phase, things will start to heat up and tensions and passion will rise for fans’ favorite teams to come out on top.
The season runs from August to May, playing thirty-eight matches each for the twenty teams. Forty-four clubs have competed in the EPL, but only Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United have managed to win a title. Since its inception, the English Premier League has become the most popular professional league in the world. As we continue to watch the season progress, we will see many great talents, controversies and achievements that have shaped the EPL to what it is now.
By Daniel Gong
Photo Courtesy: AP
In one of the biggest matchups of the season, college football fans were not disappointed by the showdown between top ranked Alabama and tenth ranked Arkansas, both considered to be national title contenders.
In his second game since a knee injury sidelined him for the opener, Alabama running back Mark Ingram (24 carries for 157 yards, 2 TD’s) was crucial in bringing the Crimson Tide to victory. With 3:18 left in the game, Ingram would score a go-ahead touchdown to make the final score 24-20.
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett passed for an impressive 357 yards, but had three interceptions, one of which was thrown with 1:48 left in the game. Though stung by the loss, the Razorbacks look to get on a winning streak as they take on Texas A&M at home in Fayetteville in two weeks. Alabama returns home next week to take on Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators in one of the most anticipated SEC match ups of the season.