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CBS takes soccer coverage to next level with UEFA broadcasts

CBS takes soccer coverage to next level

CBS takes American soccer coverage to the next level with UEFA broadcasts on Champions League and Europa League.

After suffering through 18 months of UEFA club competition broadcasts on Turner Sports, soccer fans in the United States have been largely glowing so far in their response to CBS Sports. The network, which has eschewed broadcasting high-level soccer for decades, jumped head-first into the sport this summer with coverage of the NWSL Challenge Cup, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League. The network’s level of production and professionalism have instantly elevated both NWSL and UEFA club competitions on US television and streaming.

Much like Turner, most of CBS’ live offerings are behind a subscription OTT service. However the similarity ends there, as CBS All Access is a tried-and-tested streaming platform that many soccer fans already own a subscription to, whereas B/R Live was clunky, unreliable and cost-prohibitive.

CBS has quickly made itself into the anti-Turner. Unlike Turner’s eclectic blend of features in a larger, largely unpredictable studio show, CBS has thus far proven reliable. Features by CBS in the pre-match programs have focused on tactics and important aspects of the sport both on and off the pitch.

CBS’s UEFA coverage starts with talent

With a relatively quick turnaround to try and put together a roster of talent, CBS decided to use IMG Studios in London as their home base who, until 2018, produced UEFA’s world feed broadcasts. The London location allowed CBS to bring onboard some of the most seasoned and recognizable English-language voices in the sport. In particular, Roberto Martinez has once again shown the depth of his analysis, a style which made him a star of ESPN’s World Cup and Euro coverage between 2010 and 2016.

Additionally, there is an impressive crew outside of CBS’s UEFA coverage. New York-based Ian Joy and Poppy Miller enhance its free CBS Sports HQ soccer offerings on UEFA matchdays. Joy was a standout of FOX’s coverage of Bundesliga action the last five years after arriving from beIN SPORTS while Miller was one of the top presenters in US lower division soccer working with the Charleston Battery for several seasons prior to joining CBS.

Here are some takeaways of CBS’ coverage of Europa and Champions League:

Hassle-free streaming

CBS All Access is flawless in streaming – the quality is the same as on an HD television and there are zero buffering issues. I streamed a total of eight matches this week on the platform and only had one problem early in the first match when I switched my television from the input with CBS All Access back to satellite to watch CNN. The problem did not occur any other time I went back to satellite afterwards, and the streaming on my laptop was as good as watching a downloaded (not streaming) Amazon Prime or Netflix video.

When you compare this to the absolute hassle of B/R Live and the consistent issues with maintaining a stream that did not cut out for two hours on that product, it’s a massive upgrade for both competitions.

Excellent hosts, smooth transitions

CBS's UEFA coverage - Kate Abdo

Whether it was CBS Sports HQ with Poppy Miller and Ian Joy or CBS Sports Network/All Access with Kate Abdo and Alex Scott, the hosts were comfortable with the surroundings and the commentary/reporting talent. Unlike Turner who made a mess out of dual hosts and dual studios at times, transitions between Abdo and Scott were smooth as the format involving Miller and Joy.

Pulling no punches in discussions

Jamie Carragher, like his Sky Sports colleague Gary Neville, has been a consistent critic of UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, although unlike Nevillle, Carragher has also been critical of Manchester City’s flaunting of the rules. My assumption was that CBS, as a new UEFA rights holder, would avoid rocking the boat and not allow Carragher to express this viewpoint on the network’s first Champions League pregame show.

However, CBS not only let him speak his mind on it but facilitated a full-on discussion of FFP, with Carragher giving American audiences similar arguments to what he and Neville have given British viewers in the past. Peter Schmeichel — who would stand out on both Friday and Saturday with some very blunt analysis — pushed back on Carragher’s views. It made for an outstanding discussion.

On Saturday, Schmeichel took the entire concept of VAR to task after the Barcelona-Napoli match, which much like Friday’s Juventus-Lyon match had been engulfed in controversial VAR decisions.

Studio banter

CBS takes soccer coverage to next level

Stu Holden is outstanding and one of the top analysts of soccer in the United States, but the rest of the Turner studio analyst team was largely subpar when compared to the ensemble cast CBS has assembled. This might explain why Abdo visibly struggled at times with Turner. Even then, her studio work showed her dialed in during his first two days at CBS.

Micah Richards had a poor first day, perhaps out of partiality to Manchester City. But he bounced back with some very strong talking points in the pre match show Saturday. Carragher showed at times limitations in his knowledge of continental football on Friday, but was otherwise strong both days. Martinez and Schmeichel were on-point even if they sometimes struggled with timing and chemistry – elements that will no doubt come in time.

Roberto Martinez

Martinez adds an element to studio discussions that not only were lacking on Turner, but are generally missing on FOX and NBC as well in their coverage of soccer. Only ESPN, with its rotating cast of analyst talent flanking Dan Thomas and the other ESPN FC hosts, comes close to having the sort of analytically smart individual on set at all times.

The presence of Martinez makes CBS’ studio can’t miss television.

Bracketology

CBS takes soccer coverage to next level

CBS’ is quite possibly best known for its coverage of NCAA March Madness. Building the idea of bracket discussions into the network’s soccer coverage gives some appeal to crossover viewers without being excessively Americanized like so much of what FOX and Turner have done with this competition in the past. A perfect balance was struck here of giving a familiar American-style discussion while not being overtly dumbed down.

Accessibility on linear television

I am going to get in trouble here with some readers but I believe it is perfectly reasonable in this day and age for a broadcaster to stream all matches live behind a paywall, but then replay a taped match on a cable channel.

The CBS Sports Network television channel has fewer programming commitments than NBCSN, ESPN, FS1 or Turner, so it has the ability to do this. If you set your DVR properly, you have hours worth of UEFA programming when you wake up the next morning – including on Europa League match days. If you take into account tape-delayed broadcasts, CBS has already shown more individual Europa League matches on TV (four) than Turner did in its year and a half of airing the tournament (just one final). Never once did Turner take a completed broadcast and put it on air overnight for those who did not sign up for the streaming service to watch on their cable package.

CBS’s UEFA coverage and commentary

CBS's UEFA coverage

ITV’s decision to release Clive Tyldesley, a move that was met with much criticism in the UK media, ended up being a massive break for soccer fans in the United States. The classy veteran commentator was superb in his CBS debut, working alongside former England goalkeeper Rob Green. Tyldesley made several references during the match to being on CBS. Also, he taped a pre-match segment discussing the Champions League receiving long-awaited network coverage to this standard.

For viewers of the Premier League on NBC, the outstanding Saturday performance of the familiar Peter Drury and Jim Beglin team was no surprise. The duo have frequently done both world feed matches that appear on NBC as well as commentaries exclusively for NBC.

Drury knows he calls for a specifically American audience. He mentioned Konrad de la Fuente making the FC Barcelona bench for the first time.

As always, Drury excelled and Beglin chimed in with smart takes. One particular exchange stood out for me as the type of deep-dive they would generally not engage in when calling matches on the international feed for either the Premier League or Champions League. A smart, intelligent conversation about Napoli’s colorful and controversial owner Aurelio De Laurentiis highlighted some of the discussion of the Italian club in the second half.

It was reminiscent of the deeper conversations Arlo White and his analysts have on NBC Premier League broadcasts, and unlike how Drury and Beglin generally approach such subjects when more conservatively calling matches on world feeds.

CBS bringing on board Tyldesley, Drury and Beglin is top shelf stuff, and a real privilege for American viewers.

On-site reporters

CBS takes soccer coverage to next level

The involvement of Guillem Balagué in Barcelona and Rafa Honigstein in Munich was a pleasant surprise and replicated the ESPN FC use of Sid Lowe and Honigstein as reporters in cities hosting matches in the past. These are two of the most respected English language football journalists and their involvement further elevated CBS’ coverage.

Interviews

CBS played all relevant pre and post match interviews, something Turner often skipped and had two exceptional moments. In the first, Honigstein post match interviewed Bayern’s talisman Robert Lewandowski exclusively for CBS. And in the second, Abdo used her Spanish language skills to accurately translate Barcelona Manager Quique Setién’s postgame press statement.

How does the competition respond to CBS’s UEFA coverage?

Last year, when ESPN brought Jon Champion to the United States to call MLS matches, the level of US network-produced match commentary was elevated. Similarly, the presence of Drury and Tyldesley calling matches exclusively for a US network elevates the level expected by viewers in this country.

From my vantage point, NBC’s coverage of the Premier League has become stale and predictable. Studio shows are largely repetitive and have become less worthwhile for the viewer. An emphasis on big clubs has dominated recent seasons and the departure of Neil Ashton as an insider has made the programs even less useful.

SEE MORE: Schedule of UEFA Champions League games on US TV and streaming

My thinking is that NBC executives who watched CBS this past week would have noticed how broadcasting of this type has moved way beyond what NBC offers currently.

This summer has seen ESPN elevate its broadcasting style, camera work and commentary during the MLS is Back Tournament as well as with Serie A and the FA Cup. The network will also begin broadcasting the Bundesliga next season. With CBS’ addition to the soccer broadcasting landscape, NBC seems the most on the back foot, outside of FOX who honestly appear to have mailed it in on this sport recently.

NBC brought a new style of soccer coverage via the Premier League in 2013. Yet, currently, ESPN and now CBS offer features and commentary both in studio and with matches that NBC lacks.

How NBC responds with two years remaining on its current Premier League deal will be of great interest.

Conclusion

It may be too early to say CBS has set an unreachable high bar for match coverage and studio programming, but the competition no doubt tuned in this past week and were blown away. The few loose ends in CBS’ studio team and minor kinks in the broadcasts will no doubt be worked out in the coming weeks.

Ultimately, the winners are soccer fans in the US who have been given a window into how well European club competition can be covered on US television.

Watch live coverage of every round, including every game of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League on CBS All Access. New to CBS All Access? Get your 30-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

 

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43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Barry

    August 16, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    After reading the comments I am evidently having a completely different experience than most of the posters.

    I have not experienced any trouble with streaming the games on my android TV. No, disconnects, not even any buffering. The picture quality is superior to what I get through my Directv receiver. Everything looks and sounds great. Today I checked one hour after the game ended to see if the match replay was available. It was. It also included the halftime show.

    From the time CBS agreed to take on this summer’s games they had just a short while to organize their broadcasts before the games began. For the brief time they had to prepare I think their presentation has been phenomenal and should only get better as they receive viewer feedback and work out the bugs.

    Last point. If I want to subscribe to CBS Sports Network through Directv I have to spend an additional $16 a month to upgrade my package. Even if they put every game on that network why would I want to pay almost three times the money for a worse picture? To me CBS All Access is a far better option.

    • A

      February 23, 2022 at 3:05 pm

      Please get off my daytime tv.. .. please

  2. NickelMRL

    August 16, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Behind the paywall for knockout round Champions League is BS. It’s not like it’s advert free when you logon.

  3. Edward

    August 15, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    lots of issues with heavy usage…lot of disconnects

  4. Ivan

    August 14, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    How so? You folks are delusional.
    My dad called me saying the game is not on, told him to check the Mexican channels.
    CBS the way of TNT, can’t put football behind online paywall, it will take them a few yrs to realize it.
    In the meantime, Univision Deportes and other means.

  5. Earl hamil

    August 14, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    I wish they would outlaw streaming of live content until the world is 100% 4G. its not only a ripoff but a pain to deal with. UEFA and the FA need to get real broadcast TV. Streaming is for urban yuppies. On top of everything else, you cannot HDMI Cable the streaming device to a TV .

    I gave up on ESPN, probably going to on CBS as well

  6. Serg

    August 13, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    I hate CBS all access. I don’t need another sub service.
    B/R had a large amount exclusive to their online service but they at least had the main games live on tv as well as on their service. LIVE not hours after
    CBS delays the game until 9:00pm. Why? CBS all access is terrible.
    “hours worth of UEFA programming when you wake up the next morning “? What garbage.
    Why watch it if i know the score. If CBS put the highlight on twitter secs after airing. A day after? not look at my phone until i get home the next day? avoid talking to anyone or look at any news?
    This isn’t an article it’s an advertisement.
    Just another reason to return to illegitimate streams instead of paying for more and more services.

    • BOB

      August 16, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      I agree with everything you said, but I would like to add I was glad to see you can go to CBS All Access to watch a replay without a spoiler there. Many on-demand sports have the final score on the thumbnail.

  7. Edward

    August 10, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    NBC’s option of natural sound was great for Project Restart

  8. JP

    August 10, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    This may have been answered somewhere else already, but are these streams in 1080 or 720? Watching Inter now…..2-1 already and penalty pending VAR right now
    Looks worse than ESPN+. Improved going through Prime Video rather than the All Access App on my Fire Stick, but still not as crisp.

  9. DT

    August 10, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Shouldn’t most of the praise go to IMG for most of this? Kind of like praising NBC if they started using Sky Sports coverage.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 10, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      CBS Sports are using IMG Studios but the talent was hired by CBS Sports, and the production and direction is being handled by CBS Sports Producer Pete Radovich, who is in London.

  10. Ivan

    August 10, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Rumors swirling that college football season will not take place this fall.
    With curtailed MLB and NBA seasons and no college football (NFL is a 50-50, perhaps), ESPN will be starved for content and live sports. On 2 of the channels Saturday early evening, ESPN had a foosball documentary and a cornhole regional tournament. Ouch!
    Not to mention the mass exodus of advertisers if college football doesn’t happen this fall.
    Surely, this will drive soccer games to the ESPN networks. They can show poker and curling reruns for so long…let’s see what the Greedy Mouse does there.

    As for CBS and their “paywall”, they should perhaps put the NFL Sunday game behind an online paywall as well, since this is the “future”. See how that plays out.
    I think they will crash and burn and the investment will not pay off, not unlike the epic Turner, B/R failure. I for one will be watching on Univision Deportes and other means.

    Not to mention the whole push for soccer hidden behind a paid online wall will be a massive step backwards for the game here. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s that simple.

  11. Val USA

    August 10, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Kartik must have watched 2 games at the SAME time. But the people who didn’t do that experienced the following problems, despite having subscribed to CBS All Access:
    1. The games are supposed to be available LIVE and then ON DEMAND after the game is over. 2 problems here:

    • ON DEMAND availability is only 4 hours after the game is over. This is too long.

    • There are no thumbnails when fast forwarding or rewinding ON DEMAND

    2. Highlights of Chelsea-Bayern do not work even 2 days after the game.

  12. Karl

    August 10, 2020 at 11:43 am

    CBS coverage has been good but I agree with those upset about the All-Access paywall. While CBS Sports Network is available to CBS, I haven’t heard anyone talk about CBS-owned Paramount Network (formerly Spike) which already airs some live MMA and boxing and likely has horrible daytime viewership. I know that the whole play here for CBS is to drive All-Access subs, but it’s frustrating to not see this event get better distribution that casuals can find for the dollars they’re investing in the coverage.

    Unfortunately, I agree with Karthik that the business-end is going to drive more and more soccer behind paywalls. The reality is that I think any live programming that struggles to draw millions of viewers (soccer, early-round golf and tennis, non-power 5 CFB & CBB) is destined for streaming services that better serve relatively niche audiences.

    • Eddie

      August 10, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      What about the Paramount Network which owns CBS Viacom they air live sports including MMA and Boxing live. Im hoping they can air UEFA champions league or air live sports of CBS sports program includes CBS and CBS sports network properties.

    • taylork

      August 10, 2020 at 6:28 pm

      Is this from the viewpoint where Paramount network isn’t behind a paywall?

      The only non-paywall is OTA.

      • Eddie

        August 10, 2020 at 9:46 pm

        Why can’t there air on the paramount network since CBS buys Viacom last year owned by ey owned by Viacom CBS?

  13. Marc

    August 10, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Does anybody know if CBS All Access will show next seasons Champions League and Europa League qualifying rounds that start late this month? Thank you in advance.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 10, 2020 at 8:38 am

      No decision has been reached yet.

  14. Jeff

    August 10, 2020 at 4:06 am

    I’m really perplexed by this article – it makes it sound like CBS has reinvented the wheel when it comes to football coverage when all they’ve done (at least so far) is ripped up the Turner model and steered the Champions League back to a more ‘traditional’ coverage format. Yes, they’ve introduced on-site reporters (which is a welcome addition) and separate All Access/HQ pre/post shows (even though they really should be tied in together). Yes, the network has put together a solid team together – especially at such short notice. However, they haven’t done anything that has taken football coverage to the “next level” as Kartik claims they have. While NBC’s PL coverage could do with a few new voices to ‘freshen’ up things (integrating Sky’s pundits more into the coverage would solve that issue quickly), CBS hasn’t done anything to come even close to surpassing them.

    One example which highlights that – people both here and in other places rightly criticized Turner for not airing any Europa League matches on TV. What that decision meant was that the competition became virtually ‘non-existent’ for most sports fans in the US. The same thing is about to sadly happen to the Champions League if CBS decides to only air a few games live on the main network/CBS Sports Network each season. Unlike what Kartik suggests, people don’t seek out delayed games – they want to be able to watch sports games/events live. It’s one of the reasons why live sport is one of the few things which can still attract audiences for TV networks. By placing the overwhelming majority of matches on All Access, the only people who’ll watch the competition from now on are a) ‘Hardcore’ football fans who’ll actively seek it out and b) Some All Access subscribers who come across it whilst using the service. By contrast, the Premier League will continue to attract a broad audience because NBC ensures the ‘big’ games are shown on linear TV whilst still promoting their streaming platform (Peacock) by putting the UK non-televised games on there

  15. Daniel Mullen

    August 9, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    Absolutely spot on review Kartik, it’s been so awesome. Although I will say my impatient self was a little apprehensive after a couple days of Europa we didn’t have any analysis, magazine shows, etc, but I guess they’re really doing that mainly on the UCL side of things. But yes it’s fantastic, top rate stuff!

  16. dstorm

    August 9, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Here are my thoughts:
    – The set in London looked fantastic.
    – For the games on CBSSN no ticker – first time I’ve ever seen that on that network – looked great.
    – Hidden gem on CBS all-access. All the UEFA produced magazine shows, highlights shows, etc are all available on demand. FANTASTIC. So you can get them after hours on cbssn or anytime on all access.
    – The post match studio show also on demand I noticed.
    – For the first time in my life I’ve now watched Europa League highlights and will likely tune in for more.
    – 2 great pre/post game shows between HQ and studio – just wish I could watch them both.
    – the fact that they pulled this off in just a few weeks after taking over the content is incredible.
    – i remember the days of wanting to watch reruns of champions league on Fox sports in and they literally would spoil the results of the recorded game you were watching with the ticker at the bottom of the screen. That tells you all you need to know about their quality. Enough has been said about Turner’s attempt and Bleacher Report. We’ve just jumped light years forward and now have a great English language option for CL games.
    THANK YOU CBS!!!

  17. Thyname

    August 9, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    This is all pointless if not on cable tv. Why the games (the vast majority of them anyways) are not on CBS Sports Network channel is beyond my understanding. I am at work during the day, and would very much prefer to DVR them, and watch when back in the evening. Not the streaming BS. Like the Inter Europa League was unwatchable in CBS All Access this week. I do have subscription to CBS All Access.

    I plan to watch them on the Spanish speaking channels, UniMas, Galavision, etc. although I understand zero Spanish.

    • BOB

      August 16, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Same. I’ve been very unimpressed with the streaming quality of CBS All Access. Nothing but problems. Not so for other streaming platforms I watch. I pay additional money for the “sports pack” and “Latino pack” on cable. This allows me access to CBSSN, yet they want me to pay more to access poor streaming. Why are they showing Tiki Barber sports talk instead of UCL? PGA, NCAA etc. I could understand. I’d rather watch a seamless broadcast in Spanish (which I too don’t speak) than a choppy broadcast in English.

  18. David the Yank

    August 9, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Great article. All of the comments about “freshening up” nbc’s wildly overrated studio group show me that not one person making such comments haw ever spent a PL weekend In the UK. The analysis on nbc is AWFUL and you learn absolutely nothing about tactics or players. Time is wasted on so much and the weekends they do the fan fests are utterly unwatchable.

    But nbc has an easy and brilliant solution. Comcast also owns Sky. So fire the NBC pundits and simulcast Gary Neville, carra et al. I GUARANTEE audiences will be mesmerized by the punditry.

  19. rej4#l

    August 9, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    We couldn’t see the team names by each feed so it’s guess work to find your game.

  20. JP

    August 9, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    There are indications college football will not be played this fall. Would leave a huge hole in Saturday afternoon programming for ESPN, Fox, and CBS.

    Do you think ESPN would show more Serie A and Bundesliga on cable (or even over the air!?) if this turns out to be the case,

  21. Azer

    August 9, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Kartik – You’re a good sales person but you’re not telling the whole story. Starting tomorrow on August 10th and continuing until August 19th, that is 9 days straight, there will be a game every day but CBS will not show any of them on TV until the Final. How do you explain that? Why the silence? CBS needs to be criticized not praised. Please don’t tell me how cheap CBS all access is, the price is not the point. Can we please have a conversation without mentioning the price?

    • Michael

      August 10, 2020 at 1:38 pm

      Azer. He did respond to that. He said, “I am going to get in trouble here with some readers but I believe it is perfectly reasonable in this day and age for a broadcaster to stream all matches live behind a paywall, but then replay a taped match on a cable channel.” He is absolutely correct. That is the way of the world. Cable is dead. We will see if they have some space if COVID shutdown College Football & College Basketball. Then there may be some open spots for for us…but you are beating a dead horse. TV companies are in the business to make money. Period. They will never replace PGA Saturday’s and Sunday’s because there are millions of people that show up for those ratings. If football and basketball are in session it will never get bumped. Tennis will never get bumped. I have a friend in Toronto and every single Soccer match is behind the paywall and they are just fine. I have had CBS all access trial it is awesome. I am going to get the year plan at the end of the 30 days. In order my watch my baseball teams I had to pay $120.00 for MLB.TV. Paying $60 for UCL is a bargain. My only complaint is that Sling doesn’t have a carriage deal with CBS and only a few with Viacom. 5 years from now there will be no Cable…but ATSC 3.0 is coming out and will greatly expand the bandwidth and channels available for people broadcast of the air. Now, they still will charge you for it…but it will be as simple as getting an antenna. But until then….going behind the firewall is the the way people watch TV.

  22. Christian Miles

    August 9, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    I concur with Kartik’s review of the coverage. Well done, KK! CBS, for me, is the best coverage of UEFA competitions, I’ve seen, to date, in the US. Kate Abdo is the smoothest of operators with a multilingual ability that only boosts her already well established credibility. The depth of knowledge and observations from analysts, specifically, Martínez, Carragher & Schmeichel, takes viewers to a deeper level of insight. However, what sets the CBS coverage apart is the free reign given for the host and the panel of analysts to engage in conversational debate and narrative which generates chemistry. These are primary, essential factors in establishing audience interest. What CBS understands is that discussion and narrative of the game is as appealing to fans as the game. itself. Well played, CBS…..

    • Daniel Mullen

      August 10, 2020 at 2:09 am

      well said.

  23. nosferatu

    August 9, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Agree with most of these points, though I do wish they would allow you to pause a live stream. It’s frustrating that NBC doesn’t allow that when you’re streaming on a device like a Roku, though at least with them you can do so on your computer (same with the B/R Live service). But obviously we know this technology exists since it’s used by all sorts of other streaming services, from ESPN to MLB, and that’s on all devices.

    Otherwise I’m quite pleased at the efforts CBS has made to put on a very professional show, both the games and the studio stuff. NBC might feel a little stale at this point, but I do like that they keep it pretty straightforward. I don’t know that I would agree so much with losing Neil Ashton. Now, if they could replace him with someone from a more respected publication, then I’d be happy. And it’s easy to say they focus too much on the big teams when comparing to CBS here; all CBS has to cover right now basically are big teams!

  24. LIguy

    August 9, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Agree about CBS coverage, how the app, bit rate could be improved IMO. Completely disagree about ESPN, bringing in Jon Champion elevated the coverage? Ummm no, I mean check your own site for ratings, I know everybody on this site will disagree but he is a boring commentator to me, absolutely nobody who wasn’t watching before is checking it now because Jon Champion is there. Also what have they elevated in regards to the FA cup and Serie A? Both are buried on ESPN plus and the weekly Serie A match is usually a match nobody has any interest in, you think Donaldson and Bonetti covering Lecce Sampdoria is some type of elevation? For the FA cup final they had Dan Thomas who plays the clown role with Craig Burley playing the angry man role, I guess if that’s your thing that’s broadcasting elevation. The Bundesliga will also be buried on ESPN plus. Agree about NBC, love their coverage but it would be nice if they bought in a new personality to mix it up a little.

  25. CHARLES WOOD

    August 9, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    Not sure that Micah Richards will be good enough in the long term, and not sure about the scouse accent from Jamie Carragher with USA viewers, because he is very knowledgeable.Other than those remarks CBS really improved the EUFA finals presentation.

    • Rich

      August 16, 2020 at 8:51 am

      Carragher annoys me already. I feel like I don’t learn a thing when he opens his mouth. I’m fine with Richards.

  26. Bem

    August 9, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    I’ve watched two recorded match replays on CBS so far. Everything is great, except they cut it very short at the end. The first match I watched (Man City v Real Madrid) actually cut off the last few seconds of the match. The second match (Barcelona v Napoli) cut almost immediately after the match ended. It’s weird not to be able to see the winners celebrate, teams shaking hands, etc.

  27. Brian

    August 9, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    100% agree on your points Kartik. They did more with UCL in one week than Turner did in two years. I was worried about what they would do with it but no longer am I. I even bought All Access for the full year. Yes I want more on TV and hope they do in the years to come. Think they have a shot to rope in the casuals and new fans. One thing weird to me though is they have duel shows going on at the same time. I was watching HQ with that group and didn’t know the IMG studio show was going on all access. I think they should run the Poppy group before the IMG show begins. So there is a two hour build up and I don’t feel torn which one to pick.

    Finally I agree on your NBC points. I think it’s time to shake that studio group up actually. Time to bring in a fresh voice for the last two years. Which I hope they keep that contract. But will be interesting if CBS makes a run for that too?

    • dstorm

      August 9, 2020 at 11:18 pm

      I agree it was surprising they actually have produced 2 pre/post game shows that run at the same time. Both are an improvement over turner – yes, please have the HQ lead into or follow the IMG studio shows!

    • Chris Guardiano

      August 14, 2020 at 3:32 am

      Hi Brian,
      You make a good point about NBC and the need to shake up the studio group. As for CBS wanting to bid for the PL, I read somewhere that they are because they are eager to add more sports programming to All Access. CBS’s president of sports programming has come out and said that they are actively pursuing the rights to a variety of properties such as NASCAR and the NHL both of which have deals that expire with NBC around the same time NBC’s PL deal ends. NBC stands to lose all three of these sports if they get outbid by CBS or others but losing the PL would be the biggest blow for them in my view given how popular the league has become in the US in recent years thanks to their coverage. Like you, I hope NBC keeps the PL. Regardless whether or not they wind up with the PL contract, expect CBS to bid for the MLS rights which expire either at the end of next season. This would be for the portion of the rights that is currently held by Fox since ESPN owns a stake in the league and has its television contract already sorted out.
      Speaking of Fox, I expect them to lose the MLS rights given the fact that their coverage is quite poor (although their MLS is Back tournament coverage was decent) with too much focus on the big market teams especially LAFC, the Galaxy, Atlanta, and the NY Red Bulls and too few games on network TV. Compared to ESPN which was going to show 10 matches before the pandemic hit on ABC, Fox was only going to show 3 on network TV with the rest on FS1. For a league that is trying to grow like MLS, it needs games on network TV to expand its fan base among the casual sports fan and make it seem like the league is important. Fox has shortchanged MLS the past 5 years with their deal and it is time that the league looks to a new broadcast partner. If CBS got the MLS rights, I would expect them to follow the same model they used with the NWSL in which the majority of the games they show would be on All Access with a few on network TV or CBS Sports Network. However unlike the NWSL in which CBS has all of the coverage, MLS fans would still be able to watch their teams on ESPN, ABC or ESPN +. Also if CBS All Access and ESPN + had MLS, this would be the end of MLS clubs trying to negotiate local TV deals which can be both good and bad depending on how you view the local broadcasters.

      • Rich

        August 16, 2020 at 8:49 am

        Good post, but I disagree about the local coverage. ESPN+ just relays local broadcasts so I would expect CBS to do the same if it got the league package (which I doubt they will).

        You do bring up a good point about CBS and the PL. CBS has enough room in Saturday’s (one SEC football game) to possibly pick up PL in the future. They’d also be able to promote it better as CBS has more mainstream sports events than NBC does.

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