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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)

‘The Workers Cup’ sheds light on migrant workers in Qatar

DOHA, QATAR - APRIL 09: Migrant workers play football on an area of wasteland beneath the sky scrapers of Doha's West Bank on April 09, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) Director Adam Sobel never intended to end up in Qatar, but it was 2010, jobs were scarce in the U.S. and his longtime girlfriend – now his wife – had just been offered a job teaching at a Northwestern University Qatar. So they went.

[ MORE: Man City, Spurs draw and more in Saturday’s PL action ]

While there, Sobel found work with a local production company that did news stories and documentaries for outlets like BBC, CNN, and HBO. One particular story was requested frequently: That of the migrant workers who were building the facilities for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. He didn’t know it at the time, but the assignment would ultimately provide the foundation for his documentary, “The Workers Cup,” which premiered Thursday night at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Because the subject is so sensitive and because media restrictions were so significant, we either had to hide people’s identities or work undercover. The human touch was lost,” Sobel said. “We wanted to do something that went much deeper than that and really honored the workers for their sacrifices and their hopes and their dreams rather than doing something that just saw them as victims … I wanted to build empathy for the workers instead of sympathy.”

The film centers on the multinational men, from Kenya, Ghana, India and the Philippines, who have given their lives over to slavery-like contracts and dangerous conditions to build the stadiums from the ground up. One man, Kenneth, who was a soccer player in Ghana, shares his story about how a recruiter had told him that if he came to Qatar, he’d get a club soccer contract. It was a lie, and now he’s stuck in Qatar under horrific circumstances.

“We’ve had a lot of context about how the recruiting agents are selling a false bill of goods but certainly I didn’t expect that to be wrapped up in a professional soccer contract,” Sobel said.

The title of the documentary refers to the FIFA-sponsored “workers cup” whereby teams from different construction companies play against one another in a tournament. For men like Kenneth, it takes on a greater poignancy. Yes, it’s a welcome distraction from the conditions, but the fact remains that they are still stuck there.

“We saw (the tournament) as an opportunity because we knew they were interested in promoting this and showing to the world that workers welfare standards were improving,” Sobel said. “There was a definite PR angle there that we took advantage of and we somehow managed to stick around and keep shooting in the camps. We were able to actually get pretty close to the story.”

Sobel worked on the documentary for three years, and kept it completely secret for two due to the sensitive nature of what he planned to show and the strict media standards in the country. He’s excited that his subjects are getting their voices heard at Sundance.

“It’s a story about these guys whose lives have been sacrificed in some way for our own entertainment and that in and of itself reveals that we’re all complicit in the system,” Sobel said. “This is a story of globalization.”

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ldbahr

French league responds after Mario Balotelli racially abused

FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 file photo, Nice's Mario Balotelli controls the ball during the Europa League group I soccer match between OGC Nice and FC Salzburg, at the Nice stadium, southeastern France. Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura says he will talk to forward Mario Balotelli before the Azzurri's next set of matches in March. Balotelli has revived his career in France, scoring eight goals in as many matches for Nice, but has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)
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PARIS (AP) The French league will open an investigation after Nice striker Mario Balotelli spoke out against Bastia fans he said made monkey noises during a match on Friday night.

[ MORE: City, Spurs draw, Reds fall to Swansea in Saturday’s PL action ]

In a brief statement Saturday afternoon, the French League said it “deplored all of the incidents” that happened on Friday. Before the match, Nice’s team bus had been pelted by stones as it arrived at the stadium.

[ MORE: Saturday’s results from around the Bundesliga ]

The LFP’s disciplinary committee will start looking into the matters when it convenes on Thursday and once it has received further information from officials and both clubs.

Balotelli wrote a message on his Instagram and Twitter pages earlier on Saturday, describing the abuse he heard during the 1-1 draw at the 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari stadium in Corsica and complaining that the French league had not acted swiftly enough.

“Is it normal that Bastia supporters make monkey noise (and) `uh’ `uh’ for the whole game and no one of the `commissions discipline’ say nothing?” Balotelli wrote, referencing the French league’s disciplinary committee. “So is racism legal in France? Or only in Bastia? Football is an amazing sport. Those people like Bastia supporters make it horrible!”

Balotelli, 26, the son of Ghanaian immigrants to Italy, concluded his post by writing in French that what happened was “une vrai honte,” or a total disgrace.

Nice’s official Twitter account shared Balotelli’s message. On its website, the French Riviera club threw its support behind Balotelli.

“Nice, which already had stones thrown at its bus before the game, is outraged by what happened to its players on Friday night, and in particular to Mario Balotelli,” a statement read.

Bastia did not immediately respond to an email from the AP seeking a response to Balotelli’s claim.

Balotelli joined from Liverpool on a free transfer in August and has scored eight league goals in 10 games to help Nice challenge for the title.

He did not say in his message whether or not he had informed referee Clement Turpin, who had the authority to stop the game, of the crowd’s actions. Commentators from broadcaster Canal Plus, which covered the game, made no mention of any racist abuse during the match.

In May 2013, when playing for Italian side AC Milan, Balotelli was subject to racist abuse from visiting Roma fans, causing the Serie A game to be briefly halted by the referee during the second half after warnings to stop the abuse were made throughout the stadium. Massimiliano Allegri, Milan’s coach at the time, made stinging comments against those who had racially abused Balotelli.

Bastia was docked two points by the LFP in the 2007-08 season after its fans racially abused Burkina Faso forward Boubacar Kebe by holding up a banner during a second-division home game against Libourne. The kickoff was delayed by a few minutes until the banner aimed at Kebe was removed.

PL Sunday preview: Chelsea looks to extend lead, Gunners host Burnley

HULL, ENGLAND - MARCH 22:  Diego Costa of Chelsea (2L) celebrates with Filipe Luis (L) and Cesc Fabregas (2R) as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Chelsea at KC Stadium on March 22, 2015 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea received everything they wished for on Saturday after several of the Premier League’s big boys all dropped points in crushing fashion.

Now, the Blues have the opportunity to extend their gap at the top of England on Sunday while two other matches are slated on the day.

[ MORE: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Southampton vs. Leicester City — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Saints will have to make do without one of its most important defensive figures following the sale of Jose Fonte, however, Claude Puel‘s men won’t have to deal with several of Leicester’s attacking threats as the African Cup of Nations rolls on. Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Daniel Amartey will each be absent for the Foxes as they play for their respective sides at the tournament.

Southampton has taken points against Leicester in four straight PL fixtures (1 W, 3 D), however both sides have been vastly inconsistent in form throughout the campaign. Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and his side continue to struggle, with the Englishman having posted just five goals this season after netting 24 in league play a season ago.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Man City, Spurs finish level ]


Arsenal vs. Burnley — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Gunners are unbeaten in five straight matches against Burnley, and Sunday presents the chance for Arsene Wenger‘s side to win its fifth consecutive fixture against the Clarets. Wenger’s men currently sit eight points behind league leaders Chelsea, and after the rest of the the PL’s title contenders slipped up on Saturday the Gunners will be looking to avoid any stumble at the Emirates Stadium.

Olivier Giroud is expected to be back for Arsenal, while Hector Bellerin, Kieran Gibbs and Francis Coquelin are also healthy once more. Meanwhile, the Clarets are said to be expecting Dean Marney, Ashley Barnes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson back in the squad after missing the team’s FA Cup victory during the midweek.

[ MORE: WATCH — Wayne Rooney’s top Man United goals ]


Chelsea vs. Hull City — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Blues will be expected to take advantage of this match but all eyes will be on Antonio Conte’s team sheet, particularly with close attention on Diego Costa. The Spaniard was said to have missed the team’s last PL match due to a back injury, although reports have also suggested interest from China. Chelsea has yet to lose to Hull in nine PL fixtures, having won seven encounters and drawn the other two matches.

Meanwhile, Hull could have some of its reinforcements available on Sunday, including Olympiakos defender Omar Elabdellaoui. The Tigers will have a massive task at hand against the Blues, who have won 14 of their last 15 league matches. Marco Silva’s side currently sits in the relegation zone, however, a victory could propel the team above both Crystal Palace and Swansea City.

Watch: USMNT midfielder Hyndman provides assist in Rangers debut win

United States midfielder Emerson Hyndman (8) gets past Cuba defender Adrian Arturo Diz Pe during the first half of a CONCACAF men's Olympic qualifying soccer match Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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Well, it didn’t take long for Emerson Hyndman to make an impression at his new club.

[ MORE: Man City, Spurs finish level in Saturday’s PL action ]

The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder provided the game-winning assist for Scottish side Rangers in Saturday’s 2-1 Scottish Cup win over Motherwell after picking out Kenny Miller for his second goal of the match.

[ MORE: Ghana books place in AFCON quarterfinals, Egypt edges Uganda ]

Hyndman, 20, joined the Scottish giants in January after coming over on loan from Premier League side Bournemouth. The rising USMNT attacker only made three appearances for the Cherries prior to completing the loan move to Rangers.

The former FC Dallas academy product has risen through the USMNT set up over recent years, appearing for the Under-17, U-20 and U-23 sides before Hyndman earning his first cap with the senior team in 2014.

Check out Hyndman’s game-winning assist below.