NBC Sports announced that it has tapped Joe Scarborough to be the host of a new Series exploring Premier League Soccer.
The show to be titled, “This is Football,” is set to premiere on Canada’s Boxing Day holiday, Tuesday, December 26, according to Variety.
The series will follow the history of the sport and the rivalries between clubs. The first episode, for instance, will feature the rivalry between the Manchester United and Manchester City clubs.
In a statement about the new series, Scarborough said that the opportunity is just an extension of the interest he garnered watching the sport with his son.
“I actually grew up an American football snob of sorts. We never could understand why kids would play soccer. We were always a little contemptuous of it. So it was a bit of a shift in 2006 when my son asked me to fill out a bracket for the World Cup. ‘OK, I guess so.’ I’m sitting there watching with my son and about halfway through the World Cup, we really started getting into this.”
Scarborough added that he “completely fell in love” with soccer after taking it up with his son.
The new host marveled at how intense fan involvement can be in the game.
“You plan weddings around in the fall when rivalries are not being played. Nobody likes to come to the wedding – or, God forbid, a funeral,” he joked. “I grew up thinking that was the most intense rivalry in sports, but you look at the rivalries in European football, in English Premier League football, and I think there’s even a greater rivalry there. And it’s far more personal, more tribal.”
According to Variety: “Scarborough will interview Alex Stepney and Paddy Crerand, two former longtime Manchester United players; Mike Summerbee, who played for Manchester City for a decade; and Sir Howard Bernstein, the former Chief Executive of Manchester City Council. In addition, Scarborough talks with the owner of The Old Nags Head bar, one of the biggest United supporter bars in Manchester; a Manchester United chant writer, and a Manchester City superfan who has attended the last 800 matches.”
The show is currently planned for a three-episode order with an option for more if it catches on. The first episode will debut at 4 PM on the day after Christmas this year.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.