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How Apple’s new TV app will impact soccer fans: World Soccer Talk Podcast

World Soccer Talk is a weekly podcast about watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 117, Christopher Harris and co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:

• How Apple’s TV app announcement will impact soccer viewing,
• What the future looks like for Univision channels on DISH and Sling TV,
• DAZN makes some major changes this week,
• MLS TV ratings nosedive once again,
• And we have a bunch of letters from you, the listeners, in our mailbag section.

Listen to the show via the player above or via this link.

Send in your questions, comments and feedback via e-mail, via Twitter (@worldsoccertalk) or Facebook. We’ll read them out on-air in the next episode.

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  1. JP

    April 1, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Christopher, I just got around to the mailbag section and appreciate your reply. You say the constant excuses for MLS ratings aren’t justified, but I still think there are a myriad of legitimate reasons for the low ratings that you’re not considering.

    Here I go apologizing for MLS again and not even a big fan, but here goes.

    Soccer in this country is still probably the 5th most popular if we’re being generous (NFL, NBA, MLB, college football, and college basketball are all likely ahead and can debate whether hockey is more or less popular). Given that, when MLS is up against other sports it is likely to lose the battle for fans attention. Since MLS matches are usually at times other American sports are scheduled, it rarely gets the opportunity to be the only game in town. Spring there is the NCAA tournament, NBA and NHL playoffs. Fall/winter is NCAA football and NFL. The summer it’s only up against MLB and this is probably where the ratings are the best, but would suspect even events like Wimbledon or the US Open tennis tournament might come out on top of MLS when fans are given the choice.

    Contrast this with the European leagues. They get the benefit of usually being the only sport to watch on a weekend morning and also early afternoon when college football ends (December) and NFL (January). You would know better than me…do EPL ratings for the 12:30PM match improve in December/January vs September through November?

    When critiquing MLS ratings, just think we need to keep in mind where soccer falls in the sports landscape in America and what it’s competing against. Even though I love watching the European leagues, I’m confident I wouldn’t watch nearly as much if matches ran up against local NBA or NHL games. This is almost never an issue because of the 5-6 hour (east coast) time difference. Does run up against local NFL games and usually the NFL wins out (though able to monitor easily “thanks” to all the commercials). However, this is an issue MLS deals with for almost the entire season except July and August.

    • Jack S.

      April 1, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      Makes you wonder if MLS’ popularity would improve if they shifted their schedule and had their playoffs during July/August instead of Oct/Nov? Wouldn’t work so well during World Cup years, but 3 outta 4 ain’t bad.

  2. Sam

    March 28, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    With regard to your discussion on MLS ratings:
    I’m a new MLS fan in the SJ market as of last year. I do not have any cable TV service and therefore only watch the games on TV which are on big Fox. I have espn+ which I got for MLS. I’ll watch champions league games, at the bar sometimes and I’ll stream Bilbao at home, but I don’t feel that there is any real competition for my eyes on the weekend. That’s just my personal experience but I wonder how common it is. It would be interesting to see if the TV rating drops are at all offset by year over year growth in streaming.

    Anyways.. I enjoy the show, keep it up..

    • Edwin

      March 29, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Hey Sam the thing is as you will find out in your MLS fandom. MLS ratings are cyclical. Every they start off slow some years better than others then the TV ratings pick up late spring thru the summer and tail off around week 3 of the NFL season. We always get tons of articles from WST about this (their site they can talk about what they want)
      BUT…. MLS ratings panic has become a yearly ritual, the funny thing is MLS cable rating always seem to end up with a yearly increase. There have been consecutive streak of increases since 2012 with the average MLS cable rating going from 164k at the end of the 2012 season to 276k at the end of last season.

  3. JP

    March 28, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    In regards to the Apple TV app, won’t be long before we’ve come full circle and streaming consolidation will make it just like cable where there will be mandatory starter bundles loaded with things we don’t want.

    What we truly want and still don’t have is real a la carte where everything is on the table available through one service/device and we create our own bundle.

    Right now the streaming bundles come close, but none fulfills everything (and all still come with some channels most don’t want).
    Vue – No beIN
    Sling – no NESN (regional sports channel in my market)
    Fubo – No ABC or ESPN
    YouTube – No beIN or NFL Network/Redzone

    That is just for sports content, sure another list could be made for other entertainment options.

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