NBC Retains Rights to Premier League in Six-Year Deal

August 11, 2015

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“Two years of success broadcasting England’s Premier League proved a basic truth to NBC Sports: It would have to pay a lot more to keep carrying the league’s games. Now it will. Under a six-year agreement announced Monday that starts next season and is worth about $1 billion, NBC retained the rights to the Premier League through the 2021-22 season. NBC will pay steeply more for the package starting next season — the new rights fee basically doubles the annual cost of NBC’s current, three-year $250 million contract — but its willingness to do so was an acknowledgment of how the globally popular league has come to redefine NBC’s sports cable network, NBCSN, and also of the value NBC sees in Americans’ growing appetite for top-shelf European soccer.” NY Times

Live and Kicking: Soccer Games to Watch This Week
“As you settle in for another week of soccer viewing in your comfiest chair, spare a moment to think about the soon-to-be-weary legs of the players at Barcelona, which will soon be the latest victim of the club’s success. The soccer editor Andrew Das tells you what to watch.” NY Times


EPL season preview: Familiar four should compete for 2015-16 title

August 11, 2015

“The Community Shield is rarely a reliable gauge to anything–as Arsenal proved last season by cruising to a 3-0 win over Manchester City then winning only two of its opening eight games of the season–but what was apparent on Sunday was how many of the doubts that have been expressed about Chelsea’s capacity to retain its title were played out. Jose Mourinho’s side looked sluggish–perhaps simply behind Arsenal in terms of physical preparation, with a view to peaking later in the season and so heading off the spring fatigue it suffered last season–raising key questions about the depth of the squad. Arsenal, meanwhile, was sharp and eager, having apparently carried over the form of the end of last season into the beginning of this (but then again we’ve said that before).” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Always Lucky, Rarely Good: The Manchester United Story

August 11, 2015

“Manchester United were not a good soccer team last season — and they haven’t been for four or five years running. For a while, that didn’t stop them from winning. The end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure was marked by the outsize performances of under-talented squads, but when he handed the same team over to David Moyes, the magical carriage turned into a seventh-place pumpkin. With Moyes ousted after one season, Louis van Gaal came in, and the great United rebuild began anew under the urgent mandate to return to the top four and Champions League in any way possible. In typical United fashion, they finished fourth, but they did it on the back of results that outstripped the quality of their performances.” Grantland


Here’s how the 2015-16 La Liga season in Spain will pan out

August 11, 2015

“Season previews are the worst kind of sports content. They’re so lame. They tell you nothing because we know nothing. It’s part of the beauty of sports that we basically don’t know anything going into something. Soccer is especially difficult because the margins of victory are just much thinner, so unlike baseball or basketball, where over time you can make accurate predictions based on statistical models, in soccer you just can’t. But since La Liga is always pretty much the last of the leagues to start and since it’s pretty much been all quiet on the Western front for the past few weeks, we’re going to shove some pukey, cliche’d season preview content down your throats.” Fusion


In European Soccer, Usual Suspects Are Expected to Win

August 11, 2015

“The European soccer season gets under way in earnest in the days ahead. But as usual, there is something missing: true uncertainty about who will be on top when the season ends. While each of Europe’s top five leagues is made up of as many as 20 teams, only a few rich teams are seen to have a real chance at winning the league title. A look at bookmaker’s odds shows that for the have-nots, the chances of winding up at the top of the table are increasingly close to zero. In this exercise, the chances are calculated by translating odds to percentages — a team that is 2-1 has a 33 percent chance of winning the title, for example, and an 8-1 shot has an 11 percent chance. However you figure it, the deck is stacked against most of the teams in every race.” NY Times


How West Brom secured Salomón Rondón thanks to Vladimir Putin’s protectionism

August 11, 2015

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Salomón Rondón’s move from Zenit St Petersburg to West Bromwich Albion began with a phone call from Tony Pulis to André Villas-Boas asking him if there was any talent in Russia he should be looking at. The Zenit manager replied that because of new restrictions on foreign players – a direct diktat, it is said, from Vladimir Putin, concerned by the national side’s poor performances in qualifying for Euro 2016 – he was having to offload Rondón. The 25-year-old Venezuelan, he believed, would thrive in the Premier League.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Tactical Analysis: Newcastle United 2-2 Southampton | Space between Newcastle’s lines and Saints’ rotational movement

August 11, 2015

“Newcastle United and Southampton entered the 2015-16 season on the back of contrasting campaigns the last time around. The Magpies endured a tumultuous campaign with relegation a real possibility towards the latter stages. Southampton on the other hand were a revelation as they put behind a mass exodus to thrive in what was Ronald Koeman’s first season in charge.” Outside of the Boot


Hipster Guide 2015: Which clubs across Europe could spring a suprise in the 2015/16 season?

August 11, 2015

“Writing an article like this will get most people a platinum card to the sacred hall of Football Hipsters, or get them a one way route to the exit from the Football Man club. Either way, Cabral Opiyo is taking the risk to bring the list of some of the less mainstreamEuropean clubs that might just cause a few heads to turn this season.” Outside of the Boot