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ESPNFC Press Pass Debuts On US TV Beginning Wednesday, August 15

espnfc press pass logo ESPNFC Press Pass Debuts On US TV Beginning Wednesday, August 15

Just in time for the 2012-13 Premier League season, ESPN will launch what will be feel like a new soccer TV show for US viewers — ESPNFC Press Pass. ESPNEWS will air the soccer discussion show six nights a week beginning Wednesday, August 15.

ESPNFC Press Pass, previously known as ESPN Soccernet Press Pass and rebranded as ESPNFC Press Pass beginning tomorrow, has been available to soccer fans across the globe — except the United States — since 2002. That changes Wednesday night when the show will be available on US television at 11pm PT/2am ET on ESPNEWS. The lively 30 minute show airs six times a week (Monday through Saturday) and features intelligent discussions about world soccer — including everything from the Premier League, Serie A, South American leagues, MLS and more.

First launched ten years ago as a once-a-week program on ESPN International’s English-language networks, the show has since grown in popularity. In 2009, it expanded to 5 nights a week before adding a sixth night in 2011. The show is available to viewers in United Kingdom, Africa, Pacific Rim, Middle East and the Caribbean. And now, despite brief appearances on US television in the past, the show will be regularly available to soccer fans stateside.

ESPNFC Press Pass features expert pundits including Gabriele Marcotti, Shaka Hislop, Tommy Smyth, Janusz Michallik, Robbie Mustoe and Steve Nicol as well as guest contributors such as Raphael Honigstein, Stewart Robson, Craig Burley, Robbie Earle and Sid Lowe. The host of ESPNFC Press Pass rotates between Dan Thomas, Adrian Healey and Andrew Orsatti.

“It’s a global football show that appeals to fans all over the world,” said ESPNFC Press Pass Producer Steve Palese. “The show is on in 107 countries around the world, and it’s a show that is pretty much based around the big teams in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, a little bit of Bundesliga, some Paris Saint-Germain talk — mainly the most important stories in football. I think that translates to any country.”

“There are occasions where we will regionalize parts of the show if it makes sense,” added Palese. “We feel we have an editorial focus that makes sense for football fans everywhere. Obviously if it’s USA versus Mexico, we’ll probably cover that separately just for the US market.”

When asked what makes ESPNFC Press Pass different than other soccer-related shows on television, ESPNFC Press Pass pundit Janusz Michallik was quick to answer.

“We’re much freer to dive into any [soccer] topic,” answered Michallik. “When I listen to talk shows or especially television in England, you look at some of these players and you just know that they can’t be absolutely honest. There’s only so much they can say. If [the English pundits] still have aspirations to be a manager, [they] can’t say anything.”

The feedback from the sometimes fickle soccer aficionados in England has been positive. “I remember when we launched [Press Pass] in the UK,” said Michallik. “I was thinking that [people were] going to come out [and say], ‘Americans, what do they know about football?’. [It has been] very refreshing to see the reaction.”

“The show is most popular in Africa,” added Palese. “In the UK, it’s growing where it’s starting to have a loyal following. The most popular country is Nigeria. We get about 70% of our viewer feedback from there.”

ESPNFC Press Pass debuts on US television on Wednesday, August 15 at 11pm PT/2am ET. In addition to ESPNEWS, each video episode of ESPNFC Press Pass will be available each night on ESPNFC.com.

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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.
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41 Responses to ESPNFC Press Pass Debuts On US TV Beginning Wednesday, August 15

  1. Fernando says:

    I realize that this is a step in the right direction but who honestly will stay up to watch the show on the east coast at 2am?

    Why even have this on ESPNEWS? If they want to air it, why not put it on ESPN Classic? Is the World Series of Poker too important to keep this show off the air at a decent hour?

    Yes, you can DVR it but it just seems like there’s an extra hurdle for fans just to watch this show.

    • Evan says:

      I don’t have the ability to DVR this so I guess I’ll have to pass. I have better things to do at 2am…. like sleeping.

      • The Gaffer says:

        Evan, each episode of ESPNFC Press Pass will also be available on the ESPNFC.com website, so even if you can’t tape it, you can watch it in the morning or during the day.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • Jason Gatties says:

          So cool! Even if I choose not to watch it at 11pm, I can always DVR it and watch it before work. Beats the hell out of watching “Morning Joe”, which is my current routine.

  2. harry cee says:

    If you guys get the ESPN Soccernet app you can catch it that way. I have been doing it for 6 months now.

    I actually like this idea…something comparable to the Fox Soccer report and if you can’t stay up late to watch it…they still make VCRs right?

  3. Yespage says:

    2 AM?! Who’s the aimed audience demographic, cats, owls, and moles?

  4. The Gaffer says:

    I think the expectations are that the show will be DVR’d — especially for viewers on the east coast. Personally, I don’t watch TV after 9pm ET on a weeknight, so I end up taping FOX Soccer Report (soon to be FOX Soccer News) and I’ll tape ESPNFC Press Pass, too.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

    • Fernando says:

      I think the issue is the relative lack of respect for the US audience.

      Sure, they’re going to air the program but an absurd hour and not on ESPN/ESPN2.

      I mean Fox could attempt to do that kind of show as well but they can’t be bothered to produce their own daily news show.

      • The Gaffer says:

        I don’t think it’s a lack of respect. If anything, it’s a good opportunity for soccer fans to prove to ESPN that there’s enough of an interest from soccer fans in the US for a show like this.

        It’d be hard to have the show air on ESPN or ESPN2 in prime-time or late night. ESPNFC Press Pass, no matter how good it is, wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near the same ratings as traditional American sports programming.

        In comparison, the same show airs on ESPN UK at 11.30pm BST.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • Fernando says:

          ESPN likes to toot its own horn about how much it loves soccer and then schedules it’s own show at 2am.

          That just makes no sense.

          • The Gaffer says:

            The show tapes usually around 5pm ET, so ESPN doesn’t have a whole lot of choices regarding where to put the show on when they’re showing other shows with much bigger ratings.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

      • Jason Gatties says:

        ESPN’s MMA show airs late and MMA fans simply appreciate the coverage & ESPN making an effort. Perhaps that’s the attitude soccer fans should adopt. Plus, the MMA show is only once per week. ESPN is giving us this show SIX nights per week.

  5. CTBlues says:

    How are they going to show highlights? When I watch it sometimes online they have to black the screen out because they don’t have the rights to show the highlights to matches they are talking about? If it is going to be like that then don’t waste your time and listen to the podcast of the show.

    Also 2am I think they could put it on at an earlier time all that ESPNNEWS shows is condenced Sports Center all day. I think they could take a break from that for 30mins.

    • The Gaffer says:

      It’s not a highlights show. It’s a serious soccer discussion show.

      From time to time they may show limited highlights, but those particular segments can be regionalized based on the different rights ESPN has (or doesn’t have) around the world.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • CTBlues says:

        I know it’s not a highlight show, but when they are reviewing matches and they start start talking about a specific moment in the match and cut to the match highlight to say a match you didn’t watch you don’t have any refrence to what is going on.

        • The Gaffer says:

          We’ll have to see how the show looks, but I don’t believe they’ll have many instances where things like that will happen. It’s more of a discussion about latest developments in the sport, rather than analysis of micro incidents or moments in matches.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

  6. Paul says:

    Its a great show IMO. good chemistry between the pundits. It is also available on soccernet website.

  7. IanCransonsKnees says:

    Smugfest

  8. Cody says:

    It is a pretty good discussion show, but from what I remember ESPN barely has rights in the USA to show any highlights. Every time I’ve watched it online, it blacks out about 95% of the highlights. Certainly they won’t do this on TV…

    As for the 2am EST timeslot….I guess I’ll still watch in online.

  9. Efrain says:

    Shame its so late. That time slot if awful; almost as its being set up to fail.

  10. Matt says:

    Press Pass was actually on ESPN Classic a few years ago when I was in college, once a week at some weird spot like Tuesday’s at midnight

  11. harry cee says:

    ok…I think I will say it again….for everyone complaining about the lateness of the hour you can:

    DVR it since it’s not live when it comes on anyway

    Get the ESPN Soccernet App and watch it whenever

    or just don’t watch.

    There are too many options to actually check this show out without complaining about the lateness of the hour, because again…it’s not live when it airs.

  12. BA14 says:

    I listen to the podcast. It’s available to watch or listen online. Many options no need to complain when it’s on.

  13. Eplnfl says:

    The show has been available online for some time to US viewers. It is informative and enjoyable. The cast is very good at what they do. It’s light hearted without out being less than serious. I assume you can also see it on ESPN3?

    I think the 11:00pm PST is designed to attract the large soccer audience from the west coast. Hey guys ESPN sees the ratings for its football/soccer programming sky high from the western part of the US. Hence the timing.

  14. Spurs1974 says:

    One exciting bit of news beINsports announced 40 minutes ago a 730pm launch tomorrow on DirecTV…

  15. Matt says:

    1) this is absurdly late, but I’m definitely up for DVRing it and making Fox Soccer Report and ESPNFC a normal morning routine.

    2) With BeinSport launching tomorrow (it seems that all signs point to it taking over Directv channel 620, with GOLTV moving to 627), could we start to see GOLTV start picking up subliscencing from both Fox Soccer and BeinSport? The potential for them to grab a premier league game and a pair of la liga games would be excellent from a fan’s perspective. After all, GOLTV doesn’t have much more than the Bundesliga right now…

    • The Gaffer says:

      beIN SPORT says that they’re not interested in doing any sub-licensing at all except in rare circumstances. GolTV will stick to what they have left, which is not much.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Matt says:

        Wow. That might spell doom for them. I wish they had kept La Liga, then there would be very equal competition between the 3 networks…

  16. Matt says:

    Anyone else try to watch the 8/16 Press Pass online and get the message: “CONTENT UNAVAILABLE: This video is not authorized for your location (US)”?

    So we can’t watch it online now that it’s on TV in the US? Since I don’t have ESPNEWS (or a DVR), I’m bummed.

  17. harry cee says:

    Watching it now via DVR and Slingbox…so far I likes. I even liked the fact that even with the lateness of the hour, they managed to show the highlights of the US v Mexico game.

    Going to see if I can find the app and try that next.

  18. Bostonirish8 says:

    Did anyone watch it after the Germany- Argentina freindly? One of the pundits apparently wasent aware they were live He lost his thought on a question and says “sh*t guys im sorry, can i start again” followed by the host reminding him it was live. good stuff!

  19. Cliff says:

    What’s worse is that now Press Pass is ‘unavailable in the US’ on the website. I like this show and enjoyed it on the web. Sadly I won’t be able to watch it anymore. I don’t have nice things I’m thinking about ESPN right now.

  20. Mark_in_LA says:

    On the bright side there’s more packed soccer in the 20 odd minutes of PP than a week of the new lamentable Fox Soccer News that seems aimed at pre-school audiences (Kara Lang handling the Kindergarten questions). Who the f is Brendan Dunlop? Clearly the worst ever Fox soccer presenter and there have been some bad ones.

  21. lad4theblues says:

    Anyone know why Press Pass just disappeared from channel listings on ESPN News (U.S.) starting with tonight’s show? Cheers, Mike

    • jay a. says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Did ESPN already cancel this show in the U.S. now that American football season is here? I was enjoying this show.

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