Thursday, August 22, 2013

What Has Happened to Watching the EPL?

For the longest time, if you wanted to view the best soccer league in the world, you would have to wake up early on Saturday or Sunday mornings, travel into the city and find a pub that was picking up the feed of the English Premier League games.  It wasn't always the team you were a fan of, but it was EPL soccer and you were desperate to watch.

As of last week, you can now see every game from the Barclay's Premier League on your television at home.  NBC Sports Network began it's coverage of the BPL with games on their main channel, a game on NBC Channel 5, as well as the remaining games on separate channels on DirecTV and other providers.

There was always something special about waiting for a bar like Sedgwick's to open so that we could get inside and watch the sport that we were unable to see anywhere else.  Sometimes the person in charge of opening for that day was the same person that closed the bar just hours before.  Numerous times, the kitchen didn't have your food ready until the second half, but that was all part of the adventure.

The camaraderie of watching a game with people you didn't know, everyone wearing jerseys of their favorite squads, no matter if they were playing or not. Getting the nod from someone walking by your table because you wore the jersey from their favorite team.

And once the games ended, you had to push past the throngs of people coming into the bar for a full day of college or NFL games.

Now, with more and more sports and beer establishments around, they are showing the games on the weekends, but there isn't the need to leave the comfort of your home to see, not only a big game, but the team you pull for, on a weekly basis.

Will America watch enough of the games so that the coverage will continue?  Is Soccer finally getting big here in the US?  Are the naysayers finally learning to watch, or is it the youngsters that have grown up and enjoy watching the game?

Manchester United, the defending Champs play Jose Mourinho's Chelsea squad next Monday.  Think I need to find a place to watch this one with a group of soccer fans instead of the solitude of my basement.  Anyone interested in getting together?