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College football’s loss could be soccer’s gain: World Soccer Talk Podcast

In the NEW episode, number 187, Christopher Harris and co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:

• Why college football’s loss could be soccer’s gain,
• How the Premier League is caught in the middle of a tech vs. media giant war,
• Bleacher Report is back, back again, for soccer rights,
• We debate if MLS should try to appeal to soccer fans or American sports fans,
• Who needs Messi more to boost their TV ratings,
• Plus letters from you, the listeners, in our mailbag section.

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

Launched in 2006, the World Soccer Talk Podcast is the longest running podcast on the planet. Every week, we share the latest news about watching soccer on television and streaming, in addition to discussing what we like and dislike, and featuring your questions and feedback in our Listener Mailbag segment.

HEAR MORE: Listen to our archive featuring hundreds of soccer interviews

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. Ripped Ron

    August 31, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    For me, I always split my weekend soccer viewing between EPL in the morning and MLS at night during college football season unless my alma mater played in prime time. I recently completely stopped watching MLS and will almost certainly watch on demand Serie A, Bundesliga, or Scottish league games in place of MLS this fall which i’m very much looking forward to.

  2. Kim M

    August 31, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Well, it’s definitely not going to be MLS that makes a splash with their tanking tv ratings and poor quality of play (which gets worse every single year as the talent pool becomes more diluted due to over expansion). It’s also not helping that they are openly supporting violent terrorist groups like antifa that are currently burning cities and killing and assaulting people. You’re not going to pull casual viewers supporting that nonsense. Liga Mx and the EPL are the big dogs in town when it comes to American soccer fans while MLS is a silly plastic league with no history, goofy team names, cringe supporters, and a sloppy on field product.

    • Mo

      August 31, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      Oh lol so much nonsense in your post don’t no where to begin. Especially the big dogs talk. If we are talking big dog there is only one “True big dog that’s “Liga MX” s far as actual numbers EPL averages a little more than 100k MLS. Take that condescending EuroSnob talk to Saint Elsewhere.

  3. Matteo Cavinni

    August 31, 2020 at 9:33 am

    It doesn’t take watching Fox News to notice the extreme amount of violence BLM/antifa is inflicting on major cities across the Country currently. And, when a sports league such as MLS splashes antifa symbolism and BLM (the marxist organization- not the massage) symbolism constantly throughout the games that is going to be a major turn off to a lot of people. Luckily, for soccer fans there are dozens of other leagues just as easy to follow worldwide that are of superior quality and not obsessed with shoving these violent organizations down peoples throats. MLS ratings have been horrific this year. If I remember correctly the LA classico on FOX a few weeks back had 350,000 ish viewers? That is embarrassing.

    • Robert

      August 31, 2020 at 10:00 am

      Which leagues are you talking about, the ones with the racist or homophobic chants. The MLS has the courage to take a stand. Not like some the European leagues. Watching Fox/fake news you miss the armed fascist who are starting to incite, deadly violence.

    • Yespage

      August 31, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      Umm, yes it does, because the widespread violence doesn’t actually exist. There is violence and there is damage, but it is far from widespread. It isn’t even remotely like the Rodney King Riot or Watts. So yeah, you need to watch Fox News or OAN to get the feel that is like the Rodney King riot.

      And why in the world is this even being brought up?! This is a Footy news site. That covers the EPL, among others, who supported #BLM.

      MLS ratings aren’t high, but it isn’t because of politics.

  4. Chris Guardiano

    August 30, 2020 at 6:19 am

    I would like to talk about Fox and their soccer coverage because it was mentioned for a bit during the podcast. Fox in my view going forward will only be focused on one thing when it comes to soccer and that is the World Cup which they have the rights to until 2026. That for them is one of their biggest properties they currently have along with the NFL, College Football and to a certain extent MLB. The reason why they have lost all of the leagues that were mentioned in the podcast and about to lose MLS in my view is because they (when I mean they, I mean the executives in charge at Fox Sports not the on camera talent) don’t really care about producing a high quality broadcast and attracting new fans to the sport or keeping existing fans. They simply throw matches on TV without a regard to how people will look at their coverage. For example with MLS before the pandemic, Fox had only planned to show 3 games on network TV and the rest on Fs1. Compare that with ESPN who planned to put 10 matches on ABC. This alone shows me how uncommitted they are to the league. It is sad to see what has become of Fox’s soccer coverage, having grown up watching the Premier League and Champions League on my local FSN station and watching Fox Soccer Channel religiously throughout my childhood. ESPN, NBC, CBS and Univision are all far better sources for getting soccer content and unless Fox puts a more dedicated effort into their World Cup coverage for the upcoming tournaments I would expect them to lose the rights after 2026 unless FIFA wants to continue to receive the billions of dollars they are getting from Fox.

  5. JP

    August 28, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Hi, there’s possibly many reasons for MLS’s declining ratings, but Kartik’s theory fans are tuning out because they don’t agree with the restart strategy (no bubble, maybe fans in the crowd) because of their Covid concerns probably isn’t high on the list.

    Without getting too political, could also say fans may have been turned off by the high focus on social injustice issues saw during the MLS is Back tournament and decided not to watch any longer. Sports used to be non political for the most part, and this recent trend of having it pushed in our face during games really does turn away a large segment of viewers.

    My NBA team has a legitimate chance of winning the championship, but I have watched almost none of it since the restart. Missing a playoff games would have been unheard of even a year ago.

    Everyone knows what’s going on in the world, we don’t need real world events shoved down our throats when simply trying to be entertained for a couple hours watching the sports we’ve grown to love. The intrusion of politics takes away from that enjoyment. If we want to have our minds on world events 24/7 we can watch cable news.

    Sports are trivial in the grand scheme of things, sports take our minds off our troubles for a short time. The escapism is ruined when the focus on other things becomes too much.

    Same with movies. The actors can be political all they want on their personal time (and they do!), but we tolerate that because they aren’t doing this in the middle of their movies (if the movie doesn’t already have a political message).

    Luckily soccer around the world has avoided this for the most part, save for the EPL for their 1st matches after the restart.

    • Robert

      August 28, 2020 at 10:07 am

      The above is generally correct. Watching sport is escapism but sometimes current events cannot be ignored. The players want accountability, many of them or people they know probability have been threatened.
      For too long nothing has changed, so they feel the need to take a stand. We should support their stand.

      • disco george

        August 28, 2020 at 11:25 am

        This. Since the people and entities who should be dealing with racial injustice in this country aren’t, it’s been left to athletes to do something.

        If anything, the ‘stick to sports’ crowd are just proving the players’ point that most fans view them as objects placed there for their entertainment and not humans. The more people complain about having to actually listen to them, the louder the players are going to speak out.

        • Donald Duck

          August 28, 2020 at 11:53 am

          No most fans agree with the Phrase Black Lives Matter. However i live near Chicago and trust me Black Lives do not matter and every night/weekend proves it
          The pharse should be (WE HATE COPS).
          All i ask is that people wait for the facts to come out. Remember hands up dont shoot ended up being a complete fabrication but most people still believe it.

        • JP

          August 28, 2020 at 12:20 pm

          See, that’s part of the problem. People who don’t want to be inundated with political statements during a game are chastised as for not agreeing with the sentiment and a ‘shut up and play’ mindset.

          I’m all for the players voicing their opinions and taking action, and largely agree with what they want to accomplish.

          They have multitude of other platforms and already do use them. Social media, post game remarks, etc.

          Just don’t need BLM emblazoned on the court or field for the duration of a game, political messages on jersey’s and similar things like this.

          Then you write this,
          “If anything, the ‘stick to sports’ crowd are just proving the players’ point that most fans view them as objects placed there for their entertainment and not humans.”

          They are very talented humans who entertain us by being extremely good at the sport they play. No we don’t see them as ‘objects’. Just as musicians are very talented and entertain us with their music, for the most part we don’t want the concert to be a political rally for the causes they support, we go for the enjoyment of the music just like we watch for the enjoyment of the sport.

          • disco george

            August 28, 2020 at 12:36 pm

            And your response is part of the problem too. Many people don’t view their human rights as a “political” issue, at least not in the way that “political” gets used in the vernacular.

            But it’s working. They’re clearly disrupting the status quo if people are all heated about the fact that they put a message on their jerseys.

    • Yespage

      August 28, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      Not to get too political… let me drudge up some politics. It seems that way too many people are upset about kneeling or a label or a sticker. They are pretending they see nothing else on the court or field than pandering to politics… when a sport is actually being played.

      • nosferatu

        August 28, 2020 at 7:18 pm

        My thinking exactly. The impact these things have on a fan’s viewing experience is so minimal and inconsequential that to say it impacts that is such a gross overstatement that it’s barely even couched in reality.

        More than anything, I feel like there’s a percentage of the viewing public that got so swept up in watching Fox News nightly that they’ve become basically obsessed and single-minded now and can’t break away from that to watch possibly liberal athletes play games. They have to stick to Fox News and just stay mired in their anger and fear-mongering mentality at all times now.

        I find it incredibly saddening and disheartening. Sports used to be something that could bring people of all backgrounds together and trust me, it’s not because of some sticker or five second kneeling salute that’s causing the divide.

  6. Nathan

    August 27, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    There was 10 2014 World Cup matches on ABC, plus the 2019 MLS Cup Final was on ABC. So it hasn’t been 10 years like you’re saying.

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