The Top Three Football Media Developments of 2013

NBC’s Premier League coverage: It’s hard to say whether NBC’s Premier League coverage has nbc premier leagueearned such widespread adulation because of Rebecca Lowe’s slick transitions between games and Robbie Earle’s clever studio analysis, or merely because the network decided not to recruit Warren Barton. I honestly don’t know, but I’m pretty certain that NBC won over a lot of doubters simply by not hiring the superhumanly stupid former defender.

The Ted Lasso video helped, too.

BBC Sport’s European football coverage: The crazy sports fan who can’t stop checking scores on his phone, even while on a date or nursing his dying mother, has become embedded in popular culture, his obsession immortalized in dozens of commercials. As a football fan, I see that guy and think: what a stud. As a human being, I recoil. And then I check the Manchester United result.

Before this year, I’d always wished that the BBC Sports site would expand its addictive live-text football coverage to include all the major European leagues. I try to follow European football pretty closely, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to watch everything. This season, my wish was granted: the BBC finally unveiled a section devoted entirely to European leagues, complete with an interactive live-text feature. Like the fan in the commercials, I can now stay up to date on Serie A and La Liga while pretending to do something else.

The Times’ Game Podcast: The Guardian’s popular Football Weekly podcast seems torn between the competing demands of two types of football fans: the so-called connoisseur, who throws around phrases like “Ukranian second division” and expects coverage of every European league, and the curmudgeonly traditionalist, who complains when his local team isn’t mentioned.

As it tries to appeal to both camps, Football Weekly rushes from topic to topic, simultaneously covering everything and nothing. By contrast, each hour-long episode of the London Times’ Game Podcast, hosted by Gabriele Marcotti, focuses on just two or three interesting news stories. Sometimes the panelists talk about Serie A and the Bundesliga. Sometimes they don’t. The result is a far richer conversation.

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