Your average American sports fan has no idea what is going on when it comes to professional soccer in Europe. It's the main reason that American can't latch themselves onto the sport. Are there seasons? When do they start? When do they finish? What are all these different cups and leagues? Who's the champion? Exactly what are they the champion of? Do they play within their own country or do all of the best teams play against each other? These soccer leagues overseas should change their rules to accommodate us Americans because we Americans are more important, obviously. But since the rules won't change, hopefully I can clear things up.
The Barclays Premier League is now airing on NBC Sports Network, NBC, USA, and CNBC in the U.S. Since we will see live games on our television from the Premier League, I'll break it down.
The Barclays Premier League has 20 teams. Each of them plays the other twice during the season, once at home and once on the road, to add up to 38 games for each team. Whichever team finishes with the most points at the end of the 38 games is the champion, there are no playoffs.
Teams are rewarded three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss.
There is no overtime, only two 45 minute halves for a total of 90 minutes. At the end of the 90 minutes it is either a win, loss, or a draw (there is no penalty kick shootout).
The League "Table"
The table is the term used to show the standings of the teams. The table shows all 20 teams, the points they have accumulated and the number of games played. It also show their Goals For (GF), Goals Against (GA or A), the overall Goal Difference (GD or D) (these are used for tie-breakers at the end of the season if necessary). Here's the 2012-2013 Barclays Premier League table:
What To Play For
If you do not finish first in the BPL there are still plenty of things to play for. The top four teams qualify for the Champions League (soccer's NCAA College Basketball Tournament). The Champions League is a tournament where all the best teams from all the other leagues in Europe qualify for, last years champ was Bayern Munich from Bundesliga (German League). Prize money is also determined by your finishing position in the BPL.
Every season the bottom three finishers get relegated to the league below, the English League Championship, while the top three teams from the ELC get promoted to the BPL. Not sure why the lesser league would have 'championship' in it but whatever.