The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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April 17, 2014

NBCUniversal gets it right

We now interrupt this weekly entertainment column to bring you this special announcement ...

Championship Sunday is coming to the NBCUniversal family of networks on May 11!

What is Championship Sunday? Glad you asked!

On that day, all 10 of the Barclays Premier League’s final-day matches will be broadcast on 10 channels. Those channels include NBC, NBCSN, Bravo, Syfy, Oxygen, USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Esquire Network and E!.

Coverage will kick off at 8 a.m., with all the games beginning at 9 a.m.

You might be wondering to yourself, at this point, what this column has to do with entertainment. Soccer (or football, as it’s called everywhere but the U.S.) is a sport, after all.

The reason this column is appearing in the GetOut! section is because I have to give kudos to NBCUniversal for giving America’s television viewing audience an expansive look at The Beautiful Game.

The final day of the Premier League is probably one of the most exciting single days in sports. Let me give you an example of why. Let me take you back two years ago, to the final day of 2012.

Soccer fans, you know what I’m talking about.

Manchester City and Manchester United. Two bitter rivals, tied atop the standings in points (with Manchester City officially on top, leading based on goal difference), one game left. One little slip-up could cost either team the championship.

Fast forward to near the end of each game: Manchester United is on its way to easily beating middling Sunderland, while Manchester City is down to Queens Park Rangers, a team near the bottom of the standings and fighting relegation.

With QPR up a goal, the game goes into extra time. (Extra time is additional time added on at the end of 90 minutes of play, determined by the referee, based on things like injuries, time-wasting, etc.) Approximately five minutes have been tacked on to the contest, and two minutes into extra time, Bosnia-Herzegovina international Edin Dzeko fires a shot into the net, tying the game.

It’s not enough for Manchester City, though, as they need to actually beat QPR, not tie, in order to win the championship.

Five minutes into extra time, and Manchester United have won at Sunderland. The United crowd is jubilant, as their team is about to win the Premier League once again.

But that’s when a miracle happens: Manchester City striker and Argentinian superstar Sergio Aguero finds the back of the net, and despair turns into pandemonium for Manchester City, while the opposite happens for Manchester United fans.

It all could happen again this year.

Liverpool currently is atop the league table, with Chelsea only two points behind and Manchester City another four points behind. All three teams still have championship aspirations.

Drama will continue to unfold over the next few weeks, and maybe even the last day of the Premier League, once again.

And NBCUniversal is letting the American TV audience see it all.

Don’t want to keep flipping back and forth through channels? No problem. NBC Sports Live Extra, a live streaming product for desktop computers, mobile devices and tables, will be showing all 10 games.

So wake up early, put the coffee on, make the eggs, and get ready for a great morning of football ... er, soccer.

Joe Malan is editor of the GetOut! section. Email him at

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