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Jim Williams: NBC Universal giving English Premier League the star treatment

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Sports,Jim Williams

At their 30 Rockefeller Center offices in New York on Tuesday, executives from NBC Universal showed fans just how committed they are to the English Premier League. Yes, we are aware NBCU paid the league a reported $250 million over three years to make sure fans can see all 380 games on their cable or satellite service.

The deal breaks down to 20 games on NBC, 154 on NBC Sports Network, nine on CNBC, six on USA and seven on NBC Universal. Seventy-six games will air in Spanish on Telemundo and mun2.

The key point, however, is that all 380 games will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra. That is a big win for soccer fans.

The lead announcer for NBC Universal will be Arlo White, whom many know as the voice of the MLS telecasts on the network. His color analysts will be Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux.

They will be in England to handle two games each weekend, one on Saturday and another on Sunday. The other broadcast teams will be announced at a later date.

Back in Stamford, Conn., the studio host for the pregame and postgame shows will be former ESPN England anchor Rebecca Lowe.

Joining her as studio analysts will be Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, both of whom have strong broadcasting resumes. Earle has been with the BBC, ITV, Sky, the Portland Timbers and ESPN, and Mustoe served as a longtime ESPN soccer analyst.

On Saturday nights, NBC Sports Network will air a new show called "Match of the Day," borrowing much from the iconic BBC show that airs weekly in England. This will be repeated Sunday mornings, with "Match of the Day 2" on Sunday nights showcasing the best of that day's action. "Premier League Goal Zone" will roll out all of the weekend's goals as soon as Sunday's action is over.

Lastly, there will be "Premier League 36," the network's signature profile program that it does similarly for IndyCar, Formula 1 and the NHL. The show will follow a select team for 36 hours heading into a match.

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.

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