NBC Sports Live Extra Dials Up Digital Offering for Premier League Viewers
New tools help make streamed coverage more informative, more interactive
With 380 matches in a season — many occurring simultaneously on most Saturday and Sunday mornings — Barclays Premier League fans in the U.S. have grown accustomed to using multiple platforms to get their soccer fix.
This year, NBC Sports Group is offering a bevy of new features on its streaming service NBC Sports Live Extra to help make its Premier League coverage more informative, interactive, and complete.
The NBC Digital team designs its digital Premier League offerings with the understanding that, for many viewers, this is not just a second- or third-screen experience. In many cases, it’s the first and only screen for fans of clubs whose matches are not available on one of NBC Sports’ linear channels that day.
“That’s part of why we never want to cover any of the video with our enhancements,” says Jack Jackson, VP, product development, NBC Sports. “Our production teams are the best in the business in terms of the telling of a story of [a Premier League] match. Whatever extra tools we can give the consumer — the things they might be searching on their phones while watching a match — we want to make it available here at their fingertips; it gives them a great understanding of what’s going on in the match. But they can always go full screen with the video. The video is the primary product, and we try to never get in the way of that.”
The look hasn’t changed much, but the service does feature some new elements. The desktop version is the most robust offering, with synchronized stats, animated box score, and highlights tray surrounding the main video simulcast of the match. There are also interactive players cards, a league-wide scoreboard (which can be blocked out to avoid spoilers), and a real-time league-standings table.
An update to the mobile and tablet versions of NBC Sports Live Extra, due in the next few weeks, will make many of the features currently in the desktop platform available in the mobile version.
One of the major improvements to the NBC Sports Live Extra player is its ability to better track latency and properly synchronize the live data being displayed. This helps prevent some elements, such as the live box score, from spoiling the action happening on the live video player.
The Tactical Camera viewing option will also be available on more matches this year and will be added to tablets and mobile viewing platforms soon, if they haven’t been already. Jackson adds that the ability to alternate between Tactical Cam and the main game feed will be more seamless this season.