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Q&A with NBC Sports Premier League studio host Rebecca Lowe

When NBC Sports' Premier League broadcasts concluded on Saturday, studio host Rebecca Lowe had been on the set for seven and a half hours

Q&A with NBC Sports Premier League studio host Rebecca Lowe

(Photo courtesy of NBC Sports)
(Photo courtesy of NBC Sports)

STAMFORD, Conn. - When NBC Sports' first Premier League broadcast concluded on Saturday, studio host Rebecca Lowe had been on the set for seven and a half hours. She wasn't on air the whole time, but she was in charge of bringing viewers through all seven games that were played between 7:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

As I took in the action from a nearby screening room, it felt like I had just been watching the NCAA tournament. This was especially true between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., when there were five games taking place at once.

After everything ended, Lowe chatted with some of the reporters who NBC had invited to watch the day's proceedings in person. Here are some highlights from the conversation.

What's your verdict on the opening day of the Premier League season, and NBC's broadcast?

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Wow. Well first of all, can I just say that to be able to watch all those games was just - have I got the best job in the world or what?

It was fascinating. I think we learned a lot. [Manchester] United are here, there's a statement gone out. I think Arsenal are in turmoil. I think Liverpool play lovely football - we maybe knew that anyway, but they need to strengthen up top.

And I think we just enjoyed classic Premier League today. There were lots of goals, lots of action, lots of incidents, a bit of controversy. A perfect opening day.

Talk about the pace of the broadcast today. Seven and a half hours is a long time to be on air, but it seemed to go by very quickly.

My gosh. It went in a flash. And the minute you throw to a game, you catch your breath, you maybe get a bite to eat - a biscuit* or a quick cup of tea - you look at the game and you're already 10 minutes in, and you're engaged in the game and enjoying the game. Then it's halftime again or it's the end of the game.

Then we've got all these segments. It's more advertising breaks than I'm used to. I'm used to longer segments and longer ad breaks. It's all a little bit slower in England. Here's it's wham, bam. I love that. It's so America.

* - I'm sure you already knew Lowe is from England, especially if you watched her Sunday. But just in case... no, a biscuit over there is not the same thing as a biscuit over here.

You talked about being able to watch all of the games live today. Your friends back home are probably a little bit jealous of that, because the games that kick off at 10 a.m. Eastern here - 3:00 p.m. over there - aren't allowed to be televised in the United Kingdom. What's it like to be in America and see in person that we have it better here than the English do?

Oh, yeah, America definitely has it better than English football fans. To be able to sit at home today and put your feet up and watch three live games, but also see the goals and highlights from when we whipped around all the [other] games, that's a real treat.

To see it finally come to fruition, in terms of knowing that I was coming over here a few months ago, knowing what the plans were, and knowing the fans were excited about it - to come here and do the first day, and actually be able to show everybody everything, it's phenomenal.

The ban on televising 3 p.m. kickoffs in Britain exists so that fans will go out to watch lower league games in person. But given the popularity and financial strength of the Premier League - not to mention the increasing availability of games online - it's getting harder to keep principle above profit. Do you think that ban will ever go away?

Yeah, it will. I think it will have to go away. Because at the end of the day, money talks.

I understand why they do it, and in a way I want them to carry on doing it. I love lower-league football. But football fans of the lower leagues, if they know there's a 3:00 game, will they spend 20 pounds and go to Rochdale, or will I stay in and watch Manchester United? Not all of them, but some of them will stay in.

What happens? Rochdale loses money. And I think that's a bad thing for English football generally, and the national team - and the Premier League, ultimately. I hope that Richard Scudamore and the Premier League, if they're the ones with the power, keep things like that [as they are]. But I think you also have to understand that the Premier League is a great business, and the demand is there.

So whatever they decide is fine with me.

How does working with NBC so far compare to your previous jobs with ESPN and Setanta Sports, among others?

It's totally different. It's very intense, it's very adventurous. It's a big, big deal, and I think what I've done at ESPN and Setanta before has helped me. I've been so exposed to Premier League football for so long.

I'm able to sit here and use all that knowledge. And you need all that knowledge. Because to be able to jump from Carrow Road and arrival shots of [Norwich City manager] Chris Hughton, to [Arsenal manager] Arsène Wenger - you've just got to be awake.

Hearing producers in your ear non-stop, it's a bit of a give and take. They're prompting you, but at the same time so much of it is about what you can do on the spot. Is your relationship with producers any different here than it has been in the past?

Not really. We have a slightly different talk-back system and the roles are slightly different. I'm used to hearing more voices, and here I hear one or two. So far, our working relationship has been great.

Pierre Moossa has been super in my ear, and I cannot say how crucial a role that is for me. He is the one who's saying, "Actually, no, we're not going to Arsenal, we're going to [Manchester] United and we're seeing [manager David] Moyes."

He's got to be short and sharp and snappy, because every time he comes in my ear, I've got to listen to also listen to Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, and think about what I'm going to say next. So there's quite a lot going on. It was certainly an experience today.

One of the highlights that people might note from this morning was when they played "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Anfield before the Liverpool-Stoke City kickoff. We don't know much over here about how they treat that kind of moment in the U.K., but in the U.S. a lot of times, the people on air just keep talking over whatever it may be. And that goes for a lot of sports.

To stop right then and let it breathe - as you said on air, "Let's listen to the tune that is Liverpool" - what was that like in the moment that it happened?

I've got to say that it was a bit goosebump-y. I'm lucky enough to have been at Anfield when they sing "You'll Never Walk Alone," and every single time I'm there, I get goosebumps. And I'm not a Liverpool supporter. It's just one of those anthems which thrills you.

It's very alien, don't get me wrong, to not talk when you're on live TV. It's strange as a presenter. And you are kind of worrying about if you should come in. But the NBC directive was "Less is more." Maybe lots of United States fans hadn't seen that before. They don't need me talking all over it. They want to hear it and get the feeling. It was an intentional thing, and something we'll do going forward.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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