A lot of American sports fans think soccer is boring and an un-American sport. Apparently the folks at NBC Sports think differently as they recently outbid ESPN and Fox in a $250 million deal to secure the rights to English Premier League broadcasts for three years. NBC Sports currently airs every league match live.
As a fan of London based Arsenal Football Club, the opportunity to regularly view the team that I support from this side of the Atlantic is amazing. Of course, seeing them play live is even better.
Over the years I have made a number of trips to England to see Arsenal matches in person. Being inside the stadiums surrounded by other Arsenal fans is without a doubt, the most enjoyable way to watch the team play. The atmosphere and the interaction of the crowd in supporting the club is an experience unlike any other sporting event I have ever attended.
I knew that the EPL was popular throughout the world, but I really saw how true this is after joining Twitter. At the present time, I am currently connected with Arsenal fans from 104 different countries. According to a November 2013 article in the Daily Mail, Arsenal has the largest Twitter following of the 20 EPL clubs. The team currently has 3.69 million followers.
The growing popularity of the EPL in the states offers the league and clubs the opportunity to expand their brand and grow their fan base. This has resulted in a number of teams visiting the US market during the EPL’s pre-season. Over the past few summers, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton and Chelsea have all played exhibition matches in various markets throughout the country.
For us Arsenal fans, the wait is finally over. Arsenal will be on US soil for the first time in 25 years this summer when they travel to New York for a meeting with the Red Bulls on July 26th. Making the visit even more of a must see for Arsenal fans is the fact that former Arsenal great Thierry Henry currently serves as captain for the Red Bulls.
In a statement on Arsenal’s website, Henry appears ready to welcome his old club to his new home.
“It goes without saying that hosting Arsenal at Red Bull Arena will be a special moment for me both on a professional and personal level. As I have said before, the club is in my heart and this will be another terrific chapter in my relationship with Arsenal Football Club. Along with my teammates, I am excited to host Arsenal in New York – one of the greatest cities in the world – and hope that Red Bulls and Arsenal fans will be able to enjoy the match."
Arsenal America and Arsenal NYC are already making plans for the club’s arrival this summer. One thing that is certain is that New York based Arsenal supporters will be out in full force at Red Bull Arena on July 26th to welcome the club.