By, Kyle Gibson
NBC continued to revolutionize American soccer coverage by airing all eight of its 10 a.m. English Premier League games at the same time with “Breakaway.”
Kind of like the NFL’s “Red Zone,” the main NBC sports channel would show one game on a screen at once, but skip to other games when there were goals, free kicks, or other important moments, such as penalty decisions.
Fans still had the option to watch their team exclusively via the NBC Extra Time or Live Extra services, but it was clear they wouldn’t really miss a key moment from their game if they decided to stick with the breakaway coverage.
This type of TV requires a traffic-cop style of host who is good under pressure, which Rebecca Lowe handled amazingly. NBC’s lead soccer host proved her value again by being so composed and concise during what could only have only been chaos in the studio.
The NBC team did a great job keeping viewers informed, switching to key moments quickly and also in tying everything together through Lowe’s quick descriptions leading to a switch in action.
It also didn’t hurt that the debut of the Breakaway coverage was met with 23 total goals in the eight games. Only one game failed to register a goal, the matchup between Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. Newcastle and Burnley set the scoreboard on fire in a 3-3 contest.
The one thing I was disappointed in is just a minor gripe. I wish they could have still shown the goals again at halftime. I missed a few goals while my brother, a Liverpool fan, wanted to watch the game against Leicester exclusively. Still, they might have just needed a break during such a hectic half. This one complaint was nowhere near enough to spoil the coverage though.
The 10 a.m. slate of EPL games is my favorite of the weekend because so many things happen at once and the highlights are spectacular. To watch it all happen at once changes the way I want to watch these games from here on out.
I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing this Breakaway coverage every match weekend.