Peter Drury’s voice has been synonymous with the Premier League for over 20 years. As he embarks on his first season as NBC’s play-by-play announcer, his new bosses have made one thing clear — don’t change the style.
“It’s a very strong message I’m getting,” Drury said as he prepared for the opening weekend of games. “I don’t necessarily think of myself as speaking to any different audience than I already have over the years. It’s my job simply to tell the story of the game. It doesn’t change whether I’m in the UK or America, or anywhere else in the world.
“It is very clear that the American audience does not want a condescending Englishman talking down, provided he or she has to have the game explained to them. The relationship has gone far beyond that.”
Drury takes over for Arlo White, who called NBC’s coverage of England’s top soccer league since they bought the rights in 2013. White is the lead announcer for the LIV Golf Series and calls some games for Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire.
Although Drury may not be familiar to casual observers, he is known to die-hard fans. He has been calling the best Premier League games since 1998, most recently on the league’s world feed. Drury was also the lead announcer for CBS Sports coverage of the Champions League.
Pierre Moossa, the coordinating producer for NBC’s Premier League coverage, described Drury as an incredible wordsmith who can make an audience appreciate and understand what is happening during the match.
“He has such a warm, inviting and inclusive voice and way of telling that I think people are really going to enjoy, especially early in the morning,” Moossa said.
Drury will team up with Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux for three games on the opening weekend. They will call Friday’s opening game between Crystal Palace and Arsenal on USA Network, Everton host Chelsea on Saturday (also on USA), and Sunday’s game between defending champions Manchester City and West Ham, which will be streamed on Peacock.
NBC will not have any matches this weekend due to their coverage of the Women’s British Open. Their first game will be on August 13 when Brentford host Manchester United.
On most weeks, the US will have at least four games with one on NBC and the rest only on Peacock.
It’s also a milestone season for NBC as it begins its 10th season with the Premier League. NBC agreed to a six-year renewal of the broadcast rights last November. The deal is worth an average of $450 million per season, well above the three-year, $250 million deal that NBC signed in 2012. The previous six-year deal, which began in 2016, was worth $1.1 billion, an average of 183.3 million dollars per season.
Last year’s games averaged 507,000 viewers per televised match window on NBC, USA, CNBC and NBCSN, the second highest average for the Premier League in the United States. The record 12 games also averaged at least 1 million viewers.
Studio host Rebecca Lowe said the biggest difference she’s seen is that soccer no longer feels like a niche sport in the United States
“This is mainstream now. For many, many decades, we all know that America has said football is coming, football is coming. Football is now here,” Lowe said. “When I moved over in 2013, I would see the odd football jersey maybe in a park or at the airport. Now I will say that as I go about my day here in Northern California, I see Premier League shirts on a daily basis. A Man City fan just walked into the Starbucks where I’m sitting. It happens all the time .”
Former US national team goalkeeper and NBC analyst Tim Howard, who played for Manchester United and Everton, pointed out that football is consumed in a different way compared to other countries.
“The way we teach the game now on NBC, we teach the game, we show the game, but before that I had friends in the NBA and still do, and friends in the NFL, they play a video game and hop on a plane in the offseason and go to Chelsea to watch football matches, he said. “When we look at our coverage, people get up at all hours of the morning to watch us. It’s become our thing. It’s very American and we do it the right way. »
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