All it took was a Real Madrid versus Chelsea soccer match in Sun Life Stadium to speak volumes about South Florida’s huge soccer fan base – which may soon grow even more.
Starting on Saturday, NBC Sports will begin broadcasting all the Barclays Premier League soccer games every weekend, spread over various NBC channels.
"It's going to be great to have that league shown on network television in the U.S.,” says Tim Robbie, the managing director of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. “I think it's great for the sport, and it's great for the fans."
What's also referred to as the English Premiere League draws an incredible audience all over the world. No one knows that better than Robbie, whose team has struggled to fill seats. He hopes the hype about the English Premiere League will trickle down to ticket sales at Lockhart Stadium.
"I think anytime the sport of soccer gets that kind of exposure, it helps everyone in the game. And the game is growing tremendously on all levels here in the U.S.,” Robbie said.
And for all the fans on this side of the pond, The Pub at Pembroke Gardens will be one place that will be ready. Something that's great for the fans will also be good for business.
"We air soccer games if we get the channel. Or if we can’t get the channel we’ll try to get it. We have watch parties all the time,” said Angelo Gallo, The Pub’s general manager. “It's really a good vibe and the guests love it."
He is hoping that all the added publicity around the sport will bring new people in.
"I think that being on NBC it will broaden the market a little bit, get some people that normally don't watch soccer to watch it,” he said.