NBC Sports' Premier League ad is great, but needs some realignment
Way back in October of last year, NBC Universal announced that it had acquired the media rights to all English Premier League matches shown in the United States. Soccer fans across the country rejoiced (No more watching tape-delayed matches on Fox Soccer Channel or clicking through ads on illegal streaming sites!), but the question remained: Would the American public tune in enough to make the $250 million deal worthwhile?
With the EPL season now rapidly approaching, NBC Sports has rolled out an insightful and humorous marketing campaign aimed at attracting viewers. The first entry was a video of former SNL star Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach woefully and hilariously out of his element as the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur.
Now, from the streets New York, a city known for its soccer bars and pockets of Premier League supporters, comes a bus stop advertisement that’s less laugh-out-loud funny and more quietly clever. A map of the city shows New York’s boroughs and some specific neighborhoods assigned to each EPL club (Liverpool is the Upper West Side, Newcastle United is Staten Island, etc.), and drives home the message with the appropriately British suggestion to “Keep calm and pick a side.”
The ad is eye-catching, intelligent and original, like something Don Draper would’ve dreamed up if he had a Cockney accent. There’s only one problem: It’s wrong. Norwich as the Lower East Side? Cardiff as all of Brooklyn? Come on. Either somebody on the American side doesn’t know their Premier League teams, or somebody else across the pond doesn’t know their New York neighborhoods. Luckily, Extra Mustard is slightly informed about both and here to correctly (read: completely subjectively) identify which EPL side goes with which location in the Big Apple.
Manchester United: The Bronx -- Man U are the Yankees of the EPL. Unlike the Yankees, however, the Red Devils still know how to win trophies.
Tottenham Hotspur: East Village -- Coming on strong over the past decade as a favorite for impartial fans because their friends say its cool. Once residents are able to make more money, they leave. Well done, NBC, you nailed this one.
Manchester City: Financial District -- Money. So, so much money. But nobody goes there for the culture.
Arsenal: SoHo -- It used to be artistic and exciting, but is now overpriced and boring.
Swansea: Williamsburg -- Michael Laudrup and Michu are so trendy right now. Somebody alert the New York Times!
Everton: Chinatown -- Perpetually overshadowed by the neighbor next door (In Chinatown’s case, Little Italy).
Fulham: Park Slope -- Unremarkable, but family friendly! At least until your child wants to go out and explore what the rest of the soccer world looks like.
Aston Villa: Central Park -- You’re right, nobody lives in Central Park. But have you ever met an actual Villa fan?
Crystal Palace: Harlem -- It’s nice being up here for a bit, but you’ll probably have to go back down sooner or later.
Chelsea: Too easy (Although not, apparently, for the NBC ad office.)
Liverpool: Upper West Side -- A bastion of old-school success and high society. Lots of teething babies as well. Perfectly placed in the ad.
West Ham: Lower East Side -- Loads of history, with a gritty veneer and a reputation as an important fixture in the EPL despite baffling real estate decisions.
Sunderland: Greenwich Village -- That ranting, arm-waving lunatic in Washington Square Park was actually Paolo Di Canio.
Cardiff: Hell’s Kitchen -- Do we really have to go all the way over to the West Side just for this?
Hull City: Staten Island -- Is Staten Island really in New York City? Is Hull City really in the Premier League?
Norwich: Murray Hill -- Anthony Pilkington seems like he's a bro. The Canaries were interesting for one year when they were promoted but then people got tired of them and moved on.
Southampton: Red Hook -- Underappreciated and relatively unknown, it has its share of attractions if you look hard enough. Just look at Rickie Lambert.
Stoke City: Midtown -- Sure, the Brittania Stadium looks nice, but once inside opposing teams find themselves stuck in crowds and repeatedly knocked down.
West Bromwich Albion: Queens -- How did we get here? Where we are? (Another one the ad gets right.)
Newcastle United: Upper East Side -- Pleasant to visit for a change of pace, until you realize all the locals seem like they’ve banded together against you.