Watching the Premier League
OK. So now we know how the Premier League works, and who the teams are. The next question is how do you watch a league which is played thousands of miles away in Europe? There are two ways to watch.
The first is from the comfort of your couch (which eventually becomes nervous pacing). NBC Sports for all its faults on how it covers other sports (looking at you NHL) covers the Premier League very well. They show every match via either paid (Boooo) NBC Sports Gold App, or on one of their multitude of channels. (You haven’t lived until you’ve watch Stoke v West Brom on the MSNBC at 7:30 in the morning.) If you don’t have NBC Sports, there are other less legal ways to watch (cough Reddit cough streams cough).
The second way is from a Pub. Every city will have some Pub that opens up oddly early to show Premier League games. Soccer supporters are like Mole People. You never knew they existed, living right under your nose, until one day you stumble across their little cave/pub, to find out that there is a whole civilization. A whole living breathing sub-culture right inside that Irish Pub that you pass by on your way home from work.
Some of these Pubs will be team specific (IE will only show the match of that specific team) some, will be a general soccer pubs where they will show all of the games on that day. As a newbie, and one who probably hasn’t had a team grab hold of his or her heart yet. I would suggest hitting up the “neutral” pub first, but you do you, jump into the deep end if you want!
Phew… that was a lot. Now let’s circle a couple key dates on the calendar. These dates are significant to the entire league. Each week there will be rivalries to watch, but instead of listing them all out, I’ll let you go and figure out what games interest you. That’s what this is all about. Watch a lot of matches, find what you enjoy, which players, which teams, which style of play you like, you do you.
The Season has begun! You ducked out of work early and headed to a pub to catch the first game of the season, right!? Manchester United and Leicester City kicked-off the 18/19 Premier League season. This match was also the start of your new religion. Kiss your other weekend activities goodbye!
The Winter Transfer window opens! So we haven’t talked transfer windows so let’s do that now. In European soccer in general, there are no trades, like there are in US sports. Rather teams across Europe buy players from each other. Let’s use the highest profile example that just happened. Cristiano Ronaldo was just sold from Real Madrid in Spain to Juventus in Italy for 100 million euros. One club just gave another club a dump truck full of money for one of its players. This can only happen during certain periods in the season. The Summer Transfer window just shut on August 9th in England, and will open again January 1st staying open for one month.
Match day 38 of 38. This is the last day of the season. Every team plays at exactly the same time to end the season. Relegation, the League Title and a top four spot can all hang in the balance on this final day. It can be exciting, depressing, tense and just outright fun. A perfect send off to the Premier League, and the beginning of the long wait until next season. Three months GAH!
All of this can be daunting believe me. I’ve been there. The best part to me was finding this odd sub-culture, this group of Mole People living all around me. This religion. I found, and held onto it, it’ part of me now. I hope that it can become the same thing for you.
This sport can be a incredibly rewarding thing. A place to get away from it all, even if it’s all experienced from your couch or a dark pub at 10 am. Do your research get to know the history, the teams, and the players. When a grizzled veteran of the Premier League next to you is talking, soak in what he or she has to say. Maybe even buy them a pint learn of what makes it great for them, what makes it their religion.
Welcome to your new congregation.