Seven weeks remain in an improbable Premier League season. If you are Rebecca Lowe, who very ably hosts NBCSN’s Premier League coverage, there is no better place to be these days than the network’s studio in Stamford, Conn.
But Lowe will have to watch the season’s final weeks from home. She is eight and a half months pregnant, and after Sunday’s eagerly awaited Manchester Derby between United and City, she will begin her maternity leave.
“The season is so long, and if you’re female and you want to have a baby, there’s never a good time,” she said. “The season is 10 months long. Of all the seasons in the Premier League, it’s typical that this is arguably been the best one and I won’t be there for the end.”
The baby, her first, is a boy. Lowe’s husband, Paul Buckle, who has two children from a previous marriage, coaches Sacramento Republic F.C. in the United Soccer League and will return to their home in Connecticut as often as possible.
“My mom is coming over next week,” Lowe said.
Since being hired in 2013 from ESPN UK, Lowe has become the defining face of the Premier League at the NBC Sports Group, part of the extensive British influence imported by the network. The coverage has been a critical and viewing success — an average of 530,000 viewers for each match window this season on NBCSN, NBC and USA, up 9 percent from last year at this time.
Last August, as NBC was about to start the final season of its current three-year deal, it retained the Premier League rights for another six years for $1 billion. Lowe signed a similarly long contract.
“My husband and I had a Plan A, if we kept the rights, and a Plan B if we didn’t,” she said. “We brought our lives to the U.S. and to NBC. We want to make this our life, and it would have been harder if we didn’t get the rights.”
Thirty-eight weeks of exposure on television have raised Lowe’s profile in the United States, but as a homebody who works outside Manhattan, she says she does not feel widely recognized.
In her absence this spring, Arlo White, the network’s lead play-by-play voice, will fill in for Lowe in the studio for two weeks. Steve Bower will fill in for five.
“It’s impossible to replace her,” said Pierre Moossa, coordinating producer of NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage. “She’s really the glue on the set with the announcers. She gets the best out of them. She has a great sense of story, and no one knows the material as well.”
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