NBC’s Premier League coverage will look somewhat different in a couple weeks when the 2020-21 season starts. Long-time studio analyst Kyle Martino has left the network in advance of the upcoming season, which he announced on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

Here’s the full text of Martino’s post.

I wanted you to know that in the last few weeks the difficult decision has been made that this past season will be my last on NBC’s Premier League Coverage. I’m humbled and proud to have been a part of the special coverage we’ve delivered over the past 7 years. It has been one of the joys of my life to have been on this incredible journey, but it’s clear the time has come for me to take on new challenges. It’s with tremendous gratitude, and appreciation, that I say goodbye to my NBC Soccer Team. I’ll still be there every weekend, but now as one of the many fans waking up to watch the best team in sports, cover the best league in the world. Love you guys!
-KMart

Martino, Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, and Robbie Mustoe formed one of the most well-liked studio crews in all sports, not just soccer, on American airwaves. The quartet had been together since NBC took over as the Premier League’s US rightsholder prior to the 2013-14 season. The network hasn’t made significant changes (aside from bringing in temporary hosts to spell Lowe from time to time) since they took over, and they still have two more seasons on the six-year extension to the original rights deal. Both Lowe and main play by play broadcaster Arlo White are reportedly tied to NBC through the end of that extension, though the contract statuses of both Earle and Mustoe are unknown.

Earlier this month, NBC laid off plenty of employees in both the digital and local spheres in an attempt to cut costs. NBC is also reportedly shifting away from in-game reporting at its RSNs. It’s unclear whether or not Martino’s departure is linked to this cost cutting, though it doesn’t seem to make logical sense for the network to consciously remove popular talent from one of its premier (no pun intended) live rights packages.

If Martino’s goal is to continue on in broadcasting, he shouldn’t have much trouble finding a job, as he is one of the few American soccer pundits that doesn’t make his point by talking louder than everyone else on set with him. He also took a brief hiatus from his role as a Premier League pundit in late 2017 to run for the US Soccer presidential role, which eventually went to Carlos Cordeiro. In the final round of voting, Martino finished in a tie for second, though he came in fourth in each of the prior two rounds. Cordeiro resigned earlier this year, and was replaced by former USWNT gold medalist, World Cup winner, and National Soccer Hall of Famer Cindy Parlow Cone.

Could Martino look to get back involved with US Soccer nearly three years after that failed presidential run? It wouldn’t at all be a surprise, and would make plenty of sense given his previous dalliances with the federation and the lack of success for the non-USWNT programs in recent history.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.