NBC Sports announces Premier League programming plans

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The on-air talent behind NBC Sports’ Premier League coverage wasn’t the only big announcement made Tuesday. NBC also rolled out its programming plans for the 2013-14 season that includes live multi-platform (television and digital) coverage of all 380 matches, live television coverage of Championship Sunday (May 11, 2014) on NBC Universal channels, and more than 600 hours of original and weekly studio programming on NBC Sports Network.

For the first time ever fans will have live access to all 380 games of the Barclays Premier League. Here’s how it works. All matches will be presented live on television with studio pre and post game coverage. The matches will also be streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra. Games not aired on a designated NBC Universal channel will be made available to distributors via Premier League Extra Time, a package of overflow television channels available at no extra cost for customers who receive NBC Sports Network. As NBC acquired both English and Spanish rights, the bundle will include 76 Spanish-language telecasts, 10 on Telemundo, 66 on Mun2.

NBC will also be providing a host of new and traditional Premier League content, including (but not limited to): Premier League Countdown (a preview of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season); Premier League 36 ( NBC Sports Network’s acclaimed series that follows athletes for the 36 hours leading up to a game); and Premier League Goal Zone (a 30-minute program on Sunday highlighting all the goals of the weekend) as well as traditional favorites Match of the Day, Match of the Day 2 and Barclay’s Premier League Preview/Review/World and much more.

MORE: White, Lineker,  Dixon,  Le Saux,  Earle and Mustoe join NBC Sports’ on-air talent

Last October when NBC Universal shelled out the reported $250 million to acquire the three year package of rights for the English Premier League, many wondered what kind of coverage would be provided. The answer is now clear – unprecedented coverage. Whether you support Arsenal or Norwich, Manchester United or Swansea, you’ll be able to catch every single one of your squad’s matches live from your couch or standing in line at the airport. Say goodbye to monthly fees for digital platforms and say hello to a fully integrated multi-platform setup that looks poised to take the Premier League coverage in America to the next level.

Game on!

For more information, check out the full press release below:

NBC SPORTS GROUP’S 2013-14 PREMIER LEAGUE PROGRAMMING PLANS

Live Multi-Platform Coverage of All 380 Matches

Matches to Air Live on NBC, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Mun2, Premier League Extra Time, NBC Sports Live Extra and Other NBCUniversal Channels

All 10 Matches on Championship Sunday – May 11, 2014 – Available Live on an NBCUniversal Television Channel

More than 600 Hours of Original and Weekly Studio Programming on NBC Sports Network

New York – April 16, 2013 – All 380 games of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season will be presented live on NBC Sports Group’s television and digital properties as well as other NBCUniversal channels. NBC Sports Group’s schedule, which begins on Saturday, August 17, includes live matches on NBC, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Mun2, the Premier League Extra Time package of overflow television channels, the NBC Sports Live Extra website and app, and other NBCUniversal channels including CNBC and USA.

As previously announced in October 2012, NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Premier League through a multi-year agreement that begins with the 2013-14 season. Per the agreement, NBCUniversal becomes the exclusive English- and Spanish-language media rights holder to all 380 Barclays Premier League matches across all media platforms and devices in the United States.

Details of the 2013-2014 NBC Sports Group Premier League programming include:

  • All 380 matches presented live on television with studio pre- and post-game coverage;
  • All 380 matches streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra;
  • Games not aired on a designated NBCUniversal channel will be made available to distributors via Premier League Extra Time, a package of overflow television channels available at no extra cost for each of their customers who receives NBC Sports Network;
  • Championship Sunday – May 11, 2014, when all 10 Premier League matches will be available live on a different NBCUniversal channel;
  • 76 Spanish-language telecasts, 10 on Telemundo, 66 on Mun2;
  • More than 600 hours of Premier League original programming.

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA: Every Barclays Premier League match will be streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktop, mobile and tablets and, in most cases, on the digital platforms of participating cable, satellite, telco and other video subscription services. The vast majority of Barclays Premier League matches will be streamed via “TV Everywhere,” available on an authenticated basis to subscribers of these services.

NBC Sports Live Extra provides a primary and second screen experience across mobile, tablet and desktop, delivering high quality video, match/player stats and video highlights while aggregating Premier League content from social media.

PREMIER LEAGUE EXTRA TIME: All games not aired on a designated NBCUniversal channel will be made available to distributors on Premier League Extra Time, a package of overflow television channels available at no extra cost for each of their customers who receives NBC Sports Network.

CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY: The biggest day on the Premier League schedule is the last day of the season when all 20 teams play at the same time. NBCUniversal will present each match of Championship Sunday live across a host of NBCU channels, including NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA, MSNBC, E! and more.

STUDIO AND ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING: NBC Sports Network will present more than 600 hours each year of studio and original programming surrounding Premier League. Shows include:

  • Premier League Countdown – A preview of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season;
  • Premier League Download – With the help of a number of high-profile celebrity supporters, comedians and journalists, Premier League Download will explore what it is that’s so intensely loved – and loathed – about England’s topflight league. Long-time supporters will enjoy the lively commentary, while new fans will learn the language of the only league that matters;
  • Premier League 36 – NBC Sports Network’s acclaimed 36 series that follows athletes for the 36 hours leading up to a game/match/race comes to the Premier League;
  • Premier League Goal Zone – A 30-minute program airing after the matches on Sunday with highlights of all the goals scored on Saturday and Sunday;
  • Game Cut-Downs – On Monday nights, NBCSN will present a two-hour show featuring cut-down versions of the Manchester United and Manchester City matches. On Tuesdays, a two-hour program will feature the Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham matches;
  • Match of the Day – A two-hour show featuring extended highlights with the natural calls of every game on Saturday. This show is modeled after the highly-regarded BBC show of the same name. Match of the Day will re-air on Sunday mornings;
  • Match of the Day 2 – A 90-minute show featuring extended highlights with the natural calls of every game on Sunday. This show is modeled after the BBC show of the same name;
  • Match of the Week – On Sunday nights, NBCSN will re-air the best match of the weekend in its entirety;
  • Barclays Premier League World – A weekly magazine show produced by Premier League;
  • Barclays Premier League Preview – A weekly show produced by Premier League that previews the upcoming week’s matches;
  • Barclays Premier League Review – A weekly show produced by Premier League that recaps all the matches from the past week.

GAMES BY PLATFORM (Subject to Change)
NBC 20
NBCSN 154
Premier League Extra Time 184
Telemundo/Mun2 76
Other NBCU Channels 22
NBC Sports Live Extra 380

TYPICAL WEEKLY PROGRAMMING GRID (All games live; All times ET)
Saturday Sunday Monday/Midweek
7 a.m. – NBCSN 8 a.m. – NBCSN 2:30 p.m. – NBCSN
10 a.m. – NBCSN 11 a.m. – NBCSN/Telemundo
12:30 p.m. – NBC

For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com (http://nbcsportsgrouppressbox.com)

Juventus bumped by Atalanta at the death

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Juventus is still in firm control of the Serie A title race, but they were dealt a slight setback as Atalanta secured a 2-2 draw with a dramatic 89th minute equalizer in Bergamo.

Dani Alves had given Juventus the lead in the 83rd minute on a header after a brilliant far-post cross by Miralem Pjanic, but Remo Freuler answered late as he grabbed a point.

The goal came on a fortunate bounce as Pjanic and substitute Stephen Lichtensteiner got tangled up on the ball and failed to clear, and the ball squirted to Freuler who suddenly found himself free in front of Gianluigi Buffon. The Juventus keeper came off his line to smother the chance, but he failed to completely collect, and the ball again popped free. Freuler followed up the loose ball, and with a trio of Juventus defenders flying in, the 25-year-old Swiss attacker knocked it in.

The draw was deserving for Atalanta, who had controlled the game for much of the first half, and went ahead just seconds before the break on a goal by Andrea Conti. Atalanta outshot Juventus 7-4 in the first half, 3-1 on shots on target. Juventus took over control in the second half, and got back on level terms just five minutes after the break as Juventus loanee Leonardo Spinazzola put one in his own net.

Alves’ goal put Juventus in front, but that lead only lasted six minutes. Juventus goes nine points clear at the top of the Serie A table with the draw, but Roma has the chance to cut that to six if they can beat Lazio at home on Sunday.

MLS Week 8: Litmus tests across the board

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Week 8 in MLS action could teach fans a lot about clubs with plenty to prove.

With questions still abound regarding teams like NYCFC, New England, Seattle, Portland, and New York Red Bulls, all those teams have a chance to make statements regarding their potential strength this season.

[ MORE: Week 8 MLS Power Rankings ]

In addition, struggling teams such as Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Montreal all have opportunities for much-needed points against arguably weaker opposition.

Let’s take a look at the weekend slate chronologically:

Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo
7:30 p.m. ET Friday

Toronto got a pair from Giovinco last time out, and sitting near the bottom of the crowded East mid-tier, they need points fast to avoid finding themselves in a hole behind the top of the table. There’s goals in this one, with Houston defensively challenged and Cubo Torres on fire to start the year.

Montreal Impact vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
3:00 p.m. ET Saturday

An all-Canadian clash actually serves as a vitally important match for both clubs. With each side near the bottom of their conference standings, they both need a result badly to jump-start the campaign. A draw does nobody any good here moving forward.

Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids
4:00 p.m. ET Saturday

The Lions are one of 2017’s surprises, and Cyle Larin is on an absolute tear. Unfortunately, so far, anyone who shuts down Larin shuts down Orlando City. That said, good luck to Colorado shutting down an early MLS Golden Boot challenger.

Cyle Larin has 6 goals in 6 games this season (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images).

NY Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire
7:30 p.m. ET Saturday

New York has seen bumps on the early-season road, but overall remains a strong Supporter’s Shield contender. They face a big test against another strong Eastern Conference side, and a win here would make it three straight, all over good competition. Chicago is reeling after its defeat to Toronto, out-shot 9-1, but has another chance to pick up a road win before heading back home.

Columbus Crew vs. NYCFC
7:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Columbus has been poor on the road, but they return home to Mapfre Stadium to take on a strong NYCFC side. This game could potentially teach us a lot about whoever comes out on top, as both look to build separation from the rest of the pack in the East. Both have lost two of three, but both still appear strong up front, and three points in this game could prove to be a marquee win to point to later in the season.

Minnesota United vs. San Jose Earthquakes
8:00 p.m. ET Saturday

Minnesota United, owners of one of the worst starts to the season, has shown signs of life. Can they keep it going against another team struggling for points?

FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers
8:00 p.m. ET Saturday

This is a marquee matchup, and with FC Dallas unbeaten so far, represents a huge test but also a huge opportunity for Portland to announce itself as a true top contender in the West. They’re top of the table, but have played at least one more game than most teams just below them. Can the Timbers find a way through the strong Dallas D?

Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake
8:30 p.m. ET Saturday

A big rivalry game with big table implications, Sporting KC has the unfortunate luck of catching RSL after hiring Mike Petke and not before. This should be a fun one.

Seattle Sounders vs. New England Revolution
10:00 p.m. ET Saturday

We still don’t know exactly what New England is. For every step forward they’ve taken one back, and for every setback they’ve had they’ve found a way through. This is a fantastic test. There are plenty of excuses for a potential loss with the team going cross-country to face one of the league’s best attacks, but a result could be a true statement.

LA Galaxy vs. Philadelphia Union
10:30 p.m. ET Saturday

With Philadelphia struggling and now traveling a long way, this should be a chance for the Galaxy to turn things around. Should be.

Atlanta United vs. D.C. United
3:00 p.m. ET Sunday

Atlanta is back home for the first time in over a month. They have slipped a bit since the torrid start, but still appear a dangerous club. D.C. will have its work cut out.

Asian FIFA executive pleads guilty to bribery charges

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A guilty plea was entered early Friday by senior Asian Federation (AFC) official Richard Lai to bribery charges, leading FIFA to suspend the 55-year-old indefinitely.

Lai has served as the head of the Guam FA since 2001, and is a member of the FIFA audit and compliance committee. He was also formerly a member of the AFC executive committee, and currently sits on the AFC marketing committee. Lai is a United States citizen.

The guilty plea confirms more than $1 million in bribes accepted by Lai, including those from Kuwaiti officials looking to increase their influence over FIFA voters in the confederation. Two unnamed AFC executives, including one Kuwaiti, were also named as co-conspirators.

“One of the functions the defendant Richard Lai performed for Co-Conspirator #2 and Co-Conspirator #3 in exchange for the funds they sent him was to advise them on who was supporting which candidates in AFC and FIFA matters, including elections, and who Co-Conspirator #2 and Co-Conspirator #3 should recruit to support their chosen candidates,” a Department of Justice document published on Friday said.

That wording seems to indirectly implicate Qatari executive Mohamed bin Hammam, who was banned for life by FIFA in 2011 for bribery.

“I would like to thank the American authorities for their continued efforts to stamp out corruption from football,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement following the plea. “I am happy to confirm once again, that FIFA will provide whatever assistance is needed by the U.S. and any other authorities around the world.”

Lai has also been provisionally suspended by the AFC.

Argentina closes in on Sampaoli, according to FA boss

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The Argentinian FA is hoping to convince Jorge Sampaoli to abandon Sevilla and take the opening in his home nation.

President Claudio Tapia confirmed that Sampaoli is their top target, calling the 57-year-old their “chosen one” in an interview with ESPN.

“We have chosen a coach that has a contract,” Tapia told ESPN. “We want to be respectful and wait because he has a release clause which is once the tournament ends. We will communicate it to the club and we will sit down and negotiate his departure and release clause. We want things to go well in the final games he has left.”

Argentina dismissed coach Edgardo Bauza after the country fell to fifth in CONMEBOL World Cup qualification following defeats to Paraguay, Brazil, and Chile over the past six months.

Sampaoli is under contract with Sevilla until the summer of 2018, but has a $1.6 million release clause, to which Tapia was referring. Sevilla sits in fourth position in the La Liga table, level on points with Atletico Madrid but behind significantly on goal differential. The club finishes its league season on May 21st against Osasuna, and Argentina’s next game is a friendly on June 9th at home against Brazil. The next World Cup qualifier is in August against Uruguay.

Samapoli has been with Sevilla since since last summer in his first European club job, but the Argentinian has ample experience to take over for his home country. He managed Chile for four years, winning the 2015 Copa America in Chile. He resigned in early 2016 due to a contract dispute, paying a heavy price to do so as he gave up bonuses to wriggle free of his contract.

Argentina’s desire to secure Sampaoli as coach is nothing new, as the man himself confirmed an offer for the job a week ago, but said he would not consider it until the end of the season. It appears now that a deal is likely, and he will have a very short turnaround to get his first look at the team against a fierce continental rival.