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ESPN Shows English Favoritism With Champions League Schedule

champions league logo1 ESPN Shows English Favoritism With Champions League Schedule

ESPN and Setanta Sports have both unveiled their TV schedules for the Champions League quarter-final games, to be played on April 7-8 and April 14-15, and unfortunately it’s a slap in the face to soccer purists.

There’s no surprise on April 7 when ESPN2 will feature Manchester United against Porto, while Setanta will show Villarreal against Arsenal. But, on April 8, ESPN2 have put ratings before football by deciding to show Liverpool against Chelsea instead of the tie of the round which is undoubtedly Barcelona against Bayern Munich.

Sure, this is a Premier League blog and I love my English football, but I’m much more looking forward to see Barcelona clash against Bayern Munich than seeing another mindnumbing match between Liverpool and Chelsea, who are renowned for sucking the life out of soccer whenever they play in big cup matches.

Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday, April 7

  • Manchester United v Porto, 2:45pm, ESPN2
  • Villarreal v Arsenal, 2:45pm, Setanta Sports

Wednesday, April 8

  • Barcelona v Bayern Munich, 2:45pm, Setanta Sports
  • Liverpool v Chelsea, 2:45pm, ESPN2

Tuesday, April 14

  • Bayern Munich v Barcelona, 2:45pm, Setanta Sports
  • Chelsea v Liverpool, 2:45pm, ESPN2

Wednesday, April 15

  • Arsenal v Villarreal, 2:45pm, Setanta Sports
  • Porto v Manchester United, 2:45pm, ESPN2

What are your thoughts regarding the matches that ESPN and Setanta Sports selected? Share your opinion by clicking the comments link below.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

22 Responses to ESPN Shows English Favoritism With Champions League Schedule

  1. Eladio says:

    Wow…a network that is struggling to find an audience for soccer in the states has the nerve to show the game which will EASILY get higher ratings. I can’t believe they would put their advertisers first.

    If you were a real fan of soccer, then you’d pay the extra money to get Setanta and you wouldn’t be whinging about not being able to see Barca and Munchen.

  2. kenny says:

    I certainly wouldn’t say Barca/Bayern is “undoubtedly” better than Liverpool/Chelsea. They are both great matches.

  3. Fer says:

    I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say that Chelsea Liverpool would get better ratings. Are we forgetting the Hispanic population in the US? Most of them would prefer to see Marquez and Leo Messi; not to mention that Barca, at least up to this point, has been making the best football I have seen in many years. Just my 2 cents.

  4. Jammer says:

    Fer – you mean, like Hispanics would want to watch the Barca/Bayern game? Maybe even in Spanish? Guess what! ESPN has a whole channel for that!

    ESPN Deportes will be showing Barca/Bayern live, and in Spanish, for our Hispanic friends.

  5. Eladio says:

    Not forgetting the large Hispanic population. Barca/Munchen will be on ESPN Deportes live both days.

  6. Ivan says:

    Who cares, as long as they show the other game on tape at 5 on ESPN Classic. This discussion is unnecessary.

  7. The Gaffer says:

    Eladio, I already have Setanta Sports but there’s a huge portion of the soccer audience who do not. And some of them are going through some tough economic times right now. From a strictly football experience, I feel that Barca against Bayern will be more entertaining and less predictable than Chelsea against Liverpool.

    The Gaffer

  8. timmyg says:

    this goes to show we all should really worry about ESPN getting the international rights here.

    it’ll just be MU/Arse/Chel/’Pool TV.

  9. Fer says:

    I am not so sure that being Hispanic automatically entitles you to get ESPN Deportes; there are many other factors such as providers, subscription packages and the like. Although impossible, it would be great to see an audience ratings comparison of Chelsea Liverpool vs. Barça Bayern. if both were played on ESPN2.

  10. Matthew says:

    I think the Liverpool/Chelsea draw has picked up in entertainment since last years match. How could anyone forget the Riise own goal that sunk the hearts of Liverpool fans everywhere..

    Liverpool in the past 2 weeks, granted a short time, have been by far the best football team in the world. Barcelona vs Bayern Munich in my opinion wont be close..Yeah, Bayern completely pantsed Sporting Lisbon…. But that was Sporting Lisbon, not Barcelona.

    Either way the rest of the champions league should be superb.. Arsenal are starting to find their form and their big guns are returning from injury. Liverpool are playing out of this world.

    I think more fans would be upset about not seeing Liverpool/Chelsea then seeing it. If anything the draw failed us… Liverpool/Chelsea 3 years in a row is some bad luck.

  11. jimmy squirrelpants says:

    Chelsea/Liverpool last year was a much, much better tie than Barca/ManU which was supposed to be the “tie of the round”. Not to mention ESPN will be showing Barca/Bayern on one of its channels (and probably online, too). Why not do a little research before posting next time?

  12. Mark says:

    yeah i agree liverpool and chelsea play the worst football, but as im english i would rather watch and see the english teams go through than barca – bayern. Also Gerrard usually produces smomething special in the champios league. We all know Arsenal on there day are brilliant to watch so it all depends if they tur n up to the game

  13. The Gaffer says:

    Jimmy, the research was done, but I’m concentrating the article on the ways that most of us watch our Champions League football — which is still either ESPN2 or Setanta Sports. A lot of the soccer fans out there still don’t have ESPN Deportes and/or ESPN360.

    The Gaffer

  14. uh? says:

    no shit really? english teams have bigger ratings. not rocket science.

  15. The Gaffer says:

    I realize that Chelsea against Liverpool would get higher ratings than Barcelona versus Bayern Munich, but what I’m trying to demonstrate here is that ESPN’s decisions are always going to favor English teams instead of the matches that may be more exciting or entertaining. I’m a fan of the Premier League clubs as much as anyone else, but I would much rather see Bayern against Barca than Chelsea v Liverpool. I’ll end up watching both matches, but for all of those people who don’t have Setanta, they’ll have to settle for Liverpool versus Chelsea.

    The Gaffer

  16. Ryan says:

    The game will be shown on ESPN Classic at the conclusion of Liverpool/Chelsea, you have to wait an extra two hours, unfortunate, but its two lousy hours.

  17. Mike K says:

    I’m sorry but I can’t remember a single live Arsenal game on ESPN2 all year. The last game (I think) was the quarterfinal last year against Liverpool, and I’m pretty sure there weren’t any of there group games on ESPN2 last season. I’m sorry but it doesn’t favor Arsenal, they pick Man Utd and Liverpool, and then Chelsea, and then Arsenal from what I’ve seen. Can any other Gooners back me up on this? I feel like I’m the only one who notices this.

  18. Chris says:

    Where have you guys seen ESPN Classic showing Bayern vs. Barca? It looks like Deportes and Setanta are the only ones with the replay that evening, and I don’t have either.

  19. Elphenet says:

    english premier league sucks! they are just killing football, brainwashing the ignorant world that there football is the best. by the way how does their poor national team fare? they brag and always declare themselves favourites before major tourneys yet the idiots always get eliminated like small pox. f**k the premier league!

  20. Dave says:

    I agree with Chris, I haven’t seen the Barca-Bayern match as being listed for the usual ESPN Classic 5:00 slot. Unfortunately, that’s taken up by some 1964 Master’s Film show that no one is going to watch. It’s actually listed as though it’s going to be shown on THURSDAY at 5:00. So before I get extremely angry at ESPN for failing to show this game on the day it’s played, and send some nasty emails to their station, someone please tell me this is either a mistake in the listings or a cruel joke.

  21. Joe says:

    Yes please, let this Masters thing be a joke. I depend on ESPN classic to watch Barca.

  22. Chrisinho says:

    I certainly could have not said it better myself actually when you said “Liverpool and Chelsea, who are renowned for sucking the life out of soccer whenever they play in big cup matches.” this is so true its not that good of soccer. When Barca and Bayern play you know for sure its going to be good because both of these teams know how to keep true soccer in play when it comes down too it.

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