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Your quick, neophyte viewer’s guide to Premier League Saturdays

Jul 29, 2013, 10:37 PM EDT

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The Premier League makes its debut on NBC Sports in a little over three weeks, giving fans in the United States an unprecedented amount of access to games from the world’s most popular soccer league.  For sports addicts, however, that can be a dangerous thing, with early kickoffs allowing fans to roll out of bed and straight into the peak of another country’s soccer weekend.

There’s a sublime pleasure to starting your sports weekend before people in your life have even considered coffee, but it can also be the start to a full day in your pajamas, with soccer bleeding into college and pro football, bleeding into fall evenings of basketball and hockey. Kiss your wife on the cheek, say goodbye to your children, and get used to ignoring their agape mouths when they comeback from Ice Age 12 to see you’re still on the couch. You’ll be sympathetic at first, but soon you’ll be tired of apologizing for incorporating the Premier League into your weekend ritual.

Don’t worry. We’re here to help. No, we’re not going to help you find a balance. All that’s over. We’re here to help you get the most out of your Premier League weekends; specifically, those Saturday mornings where the league’s early kick offs will really test your commitment.

Heed the following:

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THAT EARLY KICKOFF

That 7:00 a.m. Eastern start is daunting. That’s what time most Premier League weekends will begin each Saturday, usually with a game that’s worth your time (Aug. 17th’s features Liverpool). While that commitment may seem imposing, there is something mundane about two hours you’ll spent on the quiet of morning watching soccer before the life around you stirs.

But don’t underestimate that commitment. With most big college football games kicking off in the early afternoon (at the earliest), we’re talking about moving your day’s new kickoff up five or six hours – the perfect amount of time to take in the Premier League Saturday before transitioning to your other favorite sports.

If you’re an alarm clock person Monday through Friday, you’ll want extend that routine an extra day. If you’re not an alarm clock person, you might consider the investment.

PREGAME IS NOW PART OF THE PACKAGE

For those familiar that routine, the days of waking up to the teams’ handshakes are over. Early games on NBC Sports Network will be preceded by Premier League Live – a 45-minute pregame show that will lead in each day’s matches. While most early games are going to kickoff closer to 7:45 a.m. Eastern, your weekend starts at the top of the hour.

KEEP SUPPLIES ON HAND

If you need your coffee, have it on the shelf Friday before you go to bed, and if you’re somebody that needs to snack on something through the games, make sure the Captain Crunch is in supply before kickoff. Once the games start, you’re not going to want to venture far from your screen. With Saturdays typically featuring three successive kickoff times (7:45 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. Eastern), you’re either going to remember to stock up or become famous at the local pizzeria for being the person who calls at 11:00 a.m. on the nose.

HAVE YOUR LAPTOP, MOBILE DEVICE HANDY

If you get NBCSN at home, you also have access to NBC Sports Live Extra, where games will be streamed live to your desktop, mobile device, or tablet. If somebody’s monopolizing the televisions in your house, you’ll still have a way to catch games, and if you’re lucky enough to have your set tuned to NBC or NBC Sports Network, your laptop or tablet becomes a great way to check for stats and updates at NBCSports.com or keep track of the conversation at ProSoccerTalk.

But don’t underestimate the power of soccer and social media. Twitter, in particular, has a dense and ardent soccer community. For U.S.-based fans often watching in that morning’s peace, Twitter becomes a great way to connect (and complain) with others.

THOSE COMPUTERS WILL COME IN HANDY AT 10 A.M. EASTERN

Enjoy that 7:45 a.m. game and the luxury of watching one game at a time, because the next kickoff time (10:00 a.m.) will feel like watching the early NFL kickoffs. On a typical Saturday, you’ll get five or six games starting at the same time, leaving you monitoring NBCSports.com to keep track of the latest goals, cards, and controversies.

So keep that laptop or tablet handy, because whatever games aren’t available on NBC Sports Network, you’ll be able to stream via NBC Sports Live Extra. If your game looks like it’s over, you can jump to another spot in the league to see England’s evening games wind down.

SWITCH TO NBC FOR THE MAIN EVENT

Most Saturdays, the day’s final match will be featured on NBC – big, national broadcast, over-air NBC. On the season’s first weekend, that means defending champions Manchester United will kickoff at 12:30 p.m. Eastern against Swansea City. In the weeks that follow, Everton-Chelsea, Swansea-Arsenal, Arsenal-Liverpool, and Manchester City-Tottenham will get that regular, prime spot on NBC.

AND BACK TO NBC SPORTS NETWORK FOR THE POSTGAME SHOW

After each day’s matches, Premier League Live will wrap up the action from NBC’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., part of the over 600 hours of studio programming set to augment the network’s live coverage. That total includes Match of the Day – a two-hour highlights show modeled after the BBC program of the same name, set to air after Saturdays’ games.

RECHARGE, RESET

Premier League addicts are going to get a full Saturday worth of programming, every Saturday. And for those who will incorporate Premier League soccer into their existing rituals, NBC’s offering a full day’s worth of action to fill that morning void before you favorite sports start.

But regardless of how much you take in, there’s always Sunday, were the league typically allocates two high profile games. And in the soccer world, Monday Night football’s also a thing.

And no matter who much Premier League you take in each weekends, Saturdays take a little getting used to. As well as some preparation.

  1. jdfsquared - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    Hmm… Transitioning to my other favorite sports on Saturday, like football & basketball? I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not altogether good news for MLS when even Richard Farley is seeing the big bright lights cross the pond and forgetting about our minnow league that also happens to play on Saturdays.

    I value this site so much for AMERICAN soccer news and musings. Please don’t abandon me, Richard!

    • Richard Farley - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      I don’t even …

      • jdfsquared - Jul 30, 2013 at 7:45 AM

        Didn’t think so, man. But now that the big dogs are here, these are my fears, Richard. These are my fears.

  2. krazymunky - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Sucks for us on the westcoast when your team gets a 4:45 am game….

  3. tbutler704 - Jul 30, 2013 at 5:35 AM

    Just don’t hire Gus Johnson for the love of Christ…..

    • liketheriver7 - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      Luckily he is a Fox guy and not NBC. I believe I read that there are no “American” announcers on the main broadcasts. Also all of the in studio shows looked like it was people from UK/Europe

  4. absynthedrinker - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I for one, cannot wait. FOX stunk!

  5. 21stcenturybluesvues - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Nice to meet you, Richard. My hubby is a Brit, me – South Philly hard-core NFL and more, who learned to like Soccer living in the land of my dad…Ireland. I have Direct TV (that knows NOTHING about the schedule, so thanks for the above.) However…I have NBCSN (220 on Direct) and the local NBC channel, but no Arsenal to be found. Please excuse my unawareness as to the plethora of channel offerings, but am I correct in assuming that NBC Sports Live Extra is only on the computer? Also, I have a Spanish package (because I teach it). Are you able to tell me the channels on the Spanish networks that are showing it? I spent more minutes than I care to mention with Direct TV, to no avail.

    One last thing: THANKS for taking it out of the hands of Fox (yuk), as well as the odd-ball one of ESPN. One thing that is REALLY annoying is when the announcers/presenters give the scores to the other games without saying something first so I can mute it (worse yet, ESPN runs the scores to all the games across the bottom!) If we know all the scores then…why watch?

    Looking forward to it, and thanks much, if you have a moment to reply. Rock on.

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