NBC Striking Out with Premier League Soccer Coverage

My name is Clint Brasher.  It has been 2 years since I have subscribed to cable…

That’s right — unplugged.  We stream our content. Bought a HD antenna at Best Buy ($70) for local channels.  My kids were watching way too much tv — usually just drifting to find something.  We have discovered that, with streaming, the kids (and adults!) only watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. In other words, they do not sit around watching television for no purpose (goodbye Disney channel, Nickelodeon, etc.)  No more channel surfing.  Content-specific viewing is the wave of the future — and cable and satellite are fighting it at every turn.  I will refer to cable and satellite generally as Dial Up since their packaging is a vestige of a bygone era.

Look, cable had its time.  When I was growing up, we had 3 channels.  Then, when I was in 5th grade, something miraculous happened — cable television.  Someone figured that people wanted to watch more than just three channels.  Back then, there were only 2 movie channels (HBO and Showtime — 1 channel each).  My first night with cable I saw Eddie Murphy Delirious and Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke (not sure where my parents were).  It was bliss!

ESPN was introduced — albeit a fledgling program.  Back then, it did not have the right to broadcast any meaningful sport.  WGN introduced me to the Cubs.  Life was good.  There was no internet, not ability to watch television other than cable.  The year was 1982.

Satellite television was around in that era — but not how you know it today.  People that had satellite (like my uncle in Mississippi) actually had a satellite installed on the ground.  It was big and white.  To be accurate, you manually rotated it.  My first memory of DirectTV was 1999.  We received it for Christmas.  Again, even in 1999, high-speed internet was not widely available so there was no option to stream.  Your choices were cable, DISH, or DirecTV.  That is not the case today.  Like big oil squashed early efforts at the electric car, cable and its progeny are doing everything they can to thwart content-specific purchasing of programming.  How are they doing it?

They do it by locking in major broadcasters to their service, limiting their ability to sell on the open market.  For example, ESPN3, when it started, was a free streaming service anyone could use.  If you had high-speed internet and you wanted to watch programming on their site, you could do it.  And, if you were advertising on that site, wouldn’t you want it that way?  BUT, cable has wised up to this — beginning a couple of years ago, they closed that loophole and now require evidence of a cable subscription to view content on ESPN3.

And that is what NBC is going to do too.  NBC is bragging on the web that, “for the first time” ALL EPL games will be available for viewing.  What they bury in the details is that you can only access those games to stream IF you have cable or satellite.  I miss you already FoxSoccer2Go!

Fox, who has had the contract in the states for years, allowed people like me to content-select.  In other words, I did not want to subscribe to cable but am willing to spend money to pay to watch soccer.  So, FoxSoccer2Go provided a subscription so that, provided I paid my fee, allowed me to watch soccer via the internet.  Do not be fooled by NBC’s claims to provide such a service.  What puzzles me, though, is why wouldn’t they?

Why not sell individual streaming packages to people interested in the product?  There can only be one answer — various cable companies, DirecTV, ATT U-Verse, and DISH have paid NBC not to allow it.  How ironic that these losers are the same people crying foul on piracy.   They are inviting it.  Shame on the Premier League for not preventing NBC from tying their product to cable.  What do they care — they got a quarter of a billion dollars — for that kind of money, who cares who is watching it.

So, here is a breakdown of NBC viewing platform for EPL soccer this fall per their tweet:

81 RETWEETS 23 FAVORITES
Here is what NBC Sports Network says:

All games not aired on NBC Sports Network will be made available to cable, satellite or telco TV providers through a package called Premier League Extra Time, a package of overflow television channels available at no extra cost for each of their customers who receives NBC Sports Network. Check with your provider for specific channel and Premier League offering available.

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

Every Barclays Premier League match will be streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra, online at NBCSports.com/Live Extra and on iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices with the free NBC Sports Live Extra app. There is no additional charge for this service, simply login to NBCSports Live Extra using the Username and Password you use on your providers website. If you do not have, or do not know your Login information contact your service provider.
As you can see, while “all” games will be available, cable/satellite subscription is required. No “a la carte” sports network subscriptions available.  Yet, their motto is, “watch live, anytime, anywhere.”  (There will be a few games broadcast for free — whatever games they show on their basic NBC station will be available for free streaming; so, it makes sense, they are broadcasting very few games on their major network).  Try to get access to the NBC Sports Network without a cable subscription.  Like I said, I miss Foxsoccer2Go already.
How do you get those channels?  I called DISH network to inquire what it would cost me in packaging to have those channels.  For starters, they do not sell a package that bundles these stations together.  And, since I was willing to subscribe again, I also wanted FoxSoccer (because they still have all the Champions League matches) and BeIn sport (which shows a lot of US qualifying matches, Serie A, Ligue 1, La Liga, and nPower Championship, and other soccer).  But, to just get the NBC stations in the tweet above, through DISH you have to subscribe to their 250 channel package (their largest).  For DirecTV, the 285 channel package.
“No” you cannot subscribe directly with NBC Sports Extra.  Well, what about BeIn sport?  You may ask, can I subscribe directly to BeIn sport?  The answer is NO.  Cable won’t allow it — they throw back a few cents/subscription to BeIn to get the exclusivity.  On BeIn’s webpage, when you click “subscribe now” here is what it says:

Bring international sports to your home.

Subscribe now! Contact your cable or satellite provider to get beIN SPORT today!

Link.

What a joke.  Cable is fighting to the last man to keep their monopoly on broadcasting.  Thank goodness for Netflix and Amazon Prime.  Content-specific viewing is the wave of the future — cable is trying to keep us in a “dial up” era.  Content specific viewing is a threat to their business.  You see, cable are just middle men that deliver the content.  Now that the technology is easily available, they do not want us contracting directly with the providers — they want their “middle man” fee.  And you can trust they will fight to the death to keep it since they offer no services of their own.

Happy sailing.

20 Questions Vol. V: USMNT Player Joshua Gatt!

images-31.  Where are you from?  I was born and raised in Plymouth, Michigan. Located right in between Ann Arbor and Detroit.

2.  At what age did you start playing soccer?  How did you get introduced to soccer?  I was about 4 years old when I started playing soccer at my local YMCA. My mother put me in soccer because she said I was a “high energy child” and it was a great way for me to run around and expend some energy. At the time it wasn’t anything serious, it was just for fun.
3.  What other sports did you play?  And, if you played other sports, did you drop them at any point to concentrate only on soccer?  I was as much as an all-american boy as you can imagine. I played hockey, basketball, baseball, football; I wrestled and ran track.  But at about 14,  I gave up on almost all other sports and concentrated only on soccer. Not only because I loved it the most (by far), but it was the sport I was best at. (I ran track and wrestled in high school only so I could help stay fit for soccer.)
4.  What youth clubs did you play for?  I started my competitive soccer career at the Plymouth Kicks, our local youth travel team.  At about 13 I switched clubs to the Michigan Wolves (now named Columbus Crew Wolves I believe)) and played in the Premier League (US Youth Soccer) until the Academy league started up.  I played with the Derby County Wolves Academy team for 3 years, up until I was 18.  logo
5.  What position do you currently play?  At what age did you specialize in that position?   I am currently an outside midfielder/winger and also have played professionally as an outside right back. I started as an outside midfielder at 16 for the Wolves because I was always a striker before, but, at the time we had a lot of big name youth soccer players join our club who were also strikers (Soony Saad, Jordon Tyler, Reed Losse) so my coach asked me if I could move to outside midfield because I was the only player versatile enough to play the position. So I agreed and started my career there.
6.  Inspiration/Influence to play (who)?  I never had a soccer icon I followed. I knew of some players but never any professionals I ever watched and wanted to be like. I played because I loved it. No other motivation besides that.
7.  Favorite cleat?  Favorite cleat right now are the latest Nike Vapors. Wouldn’t wear any other shoe than that.pDSP1-14896186p275w
8.  What club do you currently play for?  I currently play and start for the 2 time defending Norwegian champions Molde FK in the first division in Norway.Unknown-1
9.  At what age did you start mixing with the USMNT program?  How did you get introduced to the USMNT program? (was it through club, ODP, Molde, manager, etc.)  At the youth system, I was never a national team player; it was only once I turned pro at 18 when I was playing in Austria in the second division that I received my first call in to the U-20 World Cup team.  That call up launched my United States career.
10.  Favorite Spongebob character?  How can you choose a favorite Spongebob character?? Everyone on that show just cracks me up!!!
11.  If you were a superhero, what would be your best 2 powers?  (fly, fire, ice, teleport, talk to animals, mad ninja skills, speed, weather, mind 

images-7reading, etc.)  Well based on how I am now, I would assume I’d have super speed and if I could choose a second it would be to heal instantly, so i’d never have to worry about injury or pain and could always be playing.

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12.  How/why did you decide to play soccer in Europe?  As a young boy I decided at about 14 I was gonna play soccer in Europe professionally. It’s all I ever wanted to do, and it’s all I ever told my parents I was going to do. I never had any other plans but to play soccer in Europe. It was my goal/dream and I achieved it the summer before my senior year of high school. Me and 20 other hopeful young American boys took a trip to Europe to trial with professional clubs in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium because our coach at the time, Jon Spencer with the Orange County Blue Stars, saw potential in all of us to make it in Europe. Needless to say the trials went very well for me and I got offered contracts to sign with clubs in Germany and in Austria. I went with Austria because it was a first team contract and it meant I was going to play real first team games. Which is a huge experience for an 18-year-old american boy.
13.  As a professional footballer, on a weekly basis, how much time do you spend working out, training, playing, etc.?  (compared to, say, a 40 hour week)  I would say based on my schedule I play now, we work everyday of the week for about 5 hours total a day, so it is about a 35 hour work week.
14.  Can you compare the passion for soccer in Austria and Norway versus, say, Michigan or the States?  No, you cannot compare the passion the Europeans have for soccer with anything in the states. For them it is not a game, it’s a religion, a passion, it is what most of their lives revolve around. There is no comparison for the amount of passion Europeans have for soccer.images-4
15. In 10 years, you will be ____________?
In 10 years I will still be playing soccer, around the prime of my career, playing for the best clubs in the world and slowly working my way towards retirement.
16.  Your Wikipedia says you run the 100 meters in 11 seconds — have you always been fast?  Do you do anything to improve your speed?  I have always been very fast, with age I’ve gotten faster because I have grown taller and have gotten stronger. But unless it is natural it is impossible to improve ones’ speed, but you can improve your acceleration and I have worked on improving and have improved that significantly.
17. Can you describe the feeling of your first professional goal?  How many matches did it take to score?  My first professional goal was in Austria about 5 months into my career. I’ll always remember it. But it will hopefully be one of many goals I score throughout my life. It was an amazing thing to have happen but every goal feels as good as the first. No matter if it’s my first or 40th, it will always give me the same explosive joy it always has given me.
18.  Was it hard to move to Europe at age 19?  Has language been a problem?  It was very hard to move alone to Europe at such a young age, the language barrier did not make it any easier. Most people at my club could speak some english but living in a place where you don’t understand much of what was going on is tough, I had to learn a lot quickly and there were many days where I thought I couldn’t make it. But I toughened up and stuck it out, and it was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life.
19.  Favorite norwegian food and treat?  Salmon is the best norwegian food there is, because of how fresh it is. Treat wise well… I leave that to my mother to send me some american treats. Nothing will ever beat out homemade american cookies. haha
20. How often did you play soccer when you were 7? 8? 9? 10?…  Around that time I played almost every day, If not with a team than by myself in my backyard for hours. It wasn’t hard for me to motivate myself. I loved doing it, I wanted to play, and I had fun playing.
21.  Best FIFA player on the USMNT — where do you rank?  I haven’t spent a lot of time playing my USMNT teammates in Fifa, but when I have, I have normally won every game. I’d have to say I am at least top 5 out of all the players.
22. What advice can you give to young players who want to follow your path?  My advice to any young man who wants to follow my footsteps, dream big, believe in yourself, know what makes you special and never for a second doubt that ability, and most importantly, have fun! If you take it to seriously at a young age you will burn yourself out and start resenting the sport! Play because you want to, not because you have too, love every second you can play because whether you play for 30 years or 30 minutes, make sure its the happiest moment of your life right then and there.
You can follow Josh @JoshuaGatt
His team site:  Molde FK (good luck with the language!)
His league (Norwegian Top Division) The League Winners for this division (called the Tippeligaen) enter then UEFA Champions League in the Second Round of Qualifying (summer qualifying).  This season, Molde beat Sligo on aggregate 3-0 to advance to the Third Round.  In the first Leg of the 3rd Round, they tied Legia at 1-1 (so, they conceded an away goal).  Their next game is August 7 in Poland.  They need to at least score 1 goal.  If they advance through the 3rd Round, there is one more Round (Playoffs) before they make it into the final Group Stage for Champions League.  The Playoffs to set up the final groups are played on August 20,21 and the final leg on the 27th.  Here is a link to the playoff schedule and information for Molde FK.  Molde FK qualified for the Champions League by winning the top division in Norway.
Thanks Josh!  We will be rooting for your fast recovery and successful career!