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First impressions of CBS’ UEFA coverage

In the NEW episode, number 183, Christopher Harris and co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:

• Our first impressions of CBS’ UEFA coverage
• The innovations we love from the MLS Is Back tournament
• Nicolas Anelka comes to Netflix
• Brazilian league returns to the United States
• 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. Noah C

    August 11, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Hey guys,

    I’ve been listening to the podcast for a couple years now. The work that you and WorldSoccerTalk produce as a whole is uniquely helpful to the soccer community, so thank you for that. I have been meaning to ask this question for a long time on the basics of your work: how are TV viewership numbers collected? If I am watching the MLS tournament final on ESPN via the ESPN app on my Playstation by logging into a TV provider, is that being counted? Do you think we will ever be able to see the viewership numbers of games/shows that are exclusively on something like ESPN+? The only experience I have on this subject is from the Family Guy episode when Peter steals all the Nielsen boxes, so you can imagine how confused I am about it all.

    Thanks again and take care.

  2. Brendan

    August 11, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    I watched the Europa league game Man.U v Copenhagen on CBS all access on demand as I couldn’t watch it live .They only showed the game and post match show .What happened to the pre-game show it was to be 45 minutes long as it started at 2;:15pm but it is not available to watch why is this .I thought we were getting all the content .That anchor Jules Breach on the Europa League show is very professional and knows her job unlike that bimbo Kate Abdo who looked out of sorts with her stupid wit that has nothing to do with football I know Jules from BT Sport she should anchor the Champions League coverage

  3. Travis

    August 11, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    Does anyone have a correct definitive answer to this:

    What was the first season that winners of the Europa League qualify directly for the Group Stages and are seeded (based on the current format, the Champions League Winners, Europa League Winners, and winners of the top six leagues are seeded, meaning they are the first drawn in their Group to be drawn, comprising Groups A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H).

    Do you have a source? Thank you.

    • Jasinho

      August 13, 2020 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Travis, please forgive the delayed response.

      To answer your question, the group stage seeding for EL title holders began in the 2018-19 season after the access list was modified to accommodate the top four from the four highest performing leagues in European competition; Currently it is La Liga, Bundesliga, The Premier League, and Serie A. While that may have sounded a bit excessive, that was done to appease the larger clubs from breaking off from UEFA and their respective domestic leagues into a Europe superleague.

      That was the change from 2014-15, when the EL title holders had access to at least the CL playoff round, which is the round that immediately precedes the group stage. At that time, if the UCL winner from the previous season qualifies via domestic league position, then the EL winners would get in the group stage but not necessarily seeded. The thing was, the UCL winner / domestic league qualification provision was met every year since implementation. Thus turning the EL champion into a group stage seeding the following season.

      • Jasinho

        August 13, 2020 at 12:23 pm

        Oh, and about the source. Here you go.

  4. Travis

    August 11, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Chris what’s the name of the host of the Europa League on CBS All Access? She’s just as good or better than Kate Abdo. Thank you.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 11, 2020 at 3:09 pm

      Jules Breach. She has done some work for Premier League Productions in the past. I agree. She’s great.

      • Travis

        August 11, 2020 at 3:12 pm

        Thank you Chris.

        (you should know that I mistyped your name FChris just now 🙂 )

        Love us some European soccer 🙂

  5. Donald Duck

    August 9, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    As a Middle America Farmtown Country Boy of said town of 900 in middle Illinois, I have become a fan of alot of overseas sports. After my 2nd Deployment that being Afghanistan I learned about Cricket from the locals. Once back home I realized that not only is American sports slow but they have a commercial break every moment possible.
    I grew up a St Louis Cardinals and Blues fan but have not turned on a MLB or NHL game much less the NBA or MLS this season.
    As for soccer I like USL and The Europa and Champions League on top of any ESPN+ available matches.

    I have found that I hate American politics and even in the podcast its a known thing that (some) of you are liberal being you mention CNN and MSNBC thus you assume everyone believes that BLM is about black lives and not about the organization. Im sorry but I live a few short hours from Chicago and trust me Black Lives do NOT matter and every weekend proves my point with the number of children not to mention adults that are murdered.

    When i tell people that i watch soccer they assume I am a far left political person thus any conversation is never about the sport but about whatever the (star) of the NWSL has said about politics.

    Woke sports and middle America do not mix and guess what sports fans in general are not woke. Just look at the PGA ratings or the NASCAR ratings (before Bubba Watson issues).

    People want sports without politics.

    • JP

      August 9, 2020 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you for your service!
      Cannot agree with you more about sports and politics not mixing. We watch sports to escape, not be lectured.
      You should give the NHL a chance, their virtue signaling has been minimal.
      As someone who lives in a region where you’d expect I’m far left of center on the political spectrum (hint, your Blues hoisted the Cup in our building!), I have to often bite my tongue when others discuss politics to avoid needless and in the end pointless aggravation.

    • disco george

      August 9, 2020 at 10:42 pm

      Except for the Olympics, despite the IOC’s best attempts to eradicate anything besides sponsorship messages, gets big ratings and has pretty much always been political.

      It just depends on whether or not ‘your’ politics are the ones being called into question. I’m sure ‘middle America’ would have loved Vera Caslavska’s demonstration on the medal podium in Mexico City because it was an anti-Soviet message.

      • Donald Duck

        August 10, 2020 at 8:11 am

        I can only speek for myself here. I dont care id you are far right or far left leave your politics at home. But since WST seems to migrate more and more into politics I might have to find a new pod cast to listen to.
        As to following NHL the only reason I do not follow my Local MLB and NHL teams is more of the 50 plus dollars a month a live service costs more than anything else. So until FSMW becomes a stand alone or the Blackout Restrictions are lifted by MLB and NHL i wont be watching.
        Politics is now just Trump hate more than anything that has substance to it like Gun violence, Workers rights, UBI or Climate change. So yes I didn’t vote for our current president but I am very very tired of the NEWS being TMZ and not the NEWS hell atleast TMZ has videos and not just anonymous sources like the NEWS has.

        • Christopher Harris

          August 10, 2020 at 8:15 am

          Donald, I make a conscious effort to leave politics out of the podcast. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid. But I just wanted to share that with you and the fellow listeners.

          • Donald Duck

            August 10, 2020 at 8:39 am

            Yes I know you state that you have more “important” stuff to watch when your co host brings up switching to CNN for America’s Doctor.
            I also understand that with any podcast there might be a political talk of some sort. And personally if I were you id dive into the racial issues in soccer not politics. I mean just look at Zaha from Crystal Palace and the hate he gets, and he is just one of many.
            I do enjoy that you allow some of the back and forth on here by not deleting things people dont agree on.
            With that being said im done with my partial political talk or whatever you want to call it.
            Here is to hopefully a great end to Eoropa and Champions League.

            Any news on the qualifying rounds on if CBS is actually trying to get them?

            Along that thought do you know about the Tv Rights for the women’s Champions League moving forward.

            • Christopher Harris

              August 10, 2020 at 10:28 am

              No news about the Women’s Champions League or qualifying rounds except that CBS is interested in trying to acquire both.

        • disco george

          August 10, 2020 at 12:13 pm

          To a certain extent, I agree with you. Escapism is a great thing!

          On the other hand, how do you divorce certain elements of politics from sports? The players are humans living 24/7/365 with these issues — as you referenced with the Zaha incident — they don’t have the luxury of turning them off and just playing the game.

          • Donald Duck

            August 10, 2020 at 2:21 pm

            When you have an American like Lebron James making anti trump and anti cop statements while saying he wont speak out against and silence the Houston coach when Free Hong Kong was brought up.
            The problem with WOKE sports is there is zero spots for a different opinion.

            1 piece of Proof being apples to apples the Players especially the Boston Bruins Goalie not going to see Obama being verbally abused by every Sports and Political commentator but now you have to not visit trump. Thus sports stars are political hacks.

            MJ said it best Republicans buy sneakers too. Thus he rarely talks politics but when he does I listen.

            • disco george

              August 10, 2020 at 5:45 pm

              Why do you keep referring to “woke” sports? Are you trying to use an outdated word from 2008 as some sort of slur?

              That’s as unproductive as the incidents you’re complaining about.

  6. Rob

    August 8, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    I downloaded the CBS Sports app on Roku, and it has HQ, CBSSN and the matches on CBS All Access right on the homepage which makes navigation and ability to switch back-and-forth seamless.

  7. Donald Duck

    August 8, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Who has the rights to the early stages like Champions League Qualifications Preliminary Round?
    Yes I know no one has heard of Tre Fiori and Linfield (saying that in jest) but i do like watching the lesser teams as they tend to give me more of a (good feeling) being as I watch with zero rooting interests compared to the big matches where emotions get in the way of of a great match.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 8, 2020 at 10:17 am

      CBS Sports are in talks to get the rights, but they’re understandably reluctant to pay an exorbitant amount of money for rights that have games with very little interest. CBS, still, are the favorites to get them.

      • me

        August 11, 2020 at 11:28 am

        What rights are they? Qualifiers aren’t sold collectively and form no part of the existing deal. A lot of the qualifiers are either exclusive for the home club to exploit on their own channel/website or they’re not sold for broadcast to keep attendances as high as possible.

        UEFA don’t have any involvement in anything before the Group Stage so I’m unsure what rights CBS are the favourites to get?

        • Christopher Harris

          August 11, 2020 at 11:35 am

          The rights packages include Women’s UEFA Champions League and – separately – select games from the Europa League & Champions League qualifying. In previous summers, select games have been televised on B/R Live, beIN SPORTS and other channels.

          • me

            August 12, 2020 at 11:05 am

            I’m pretty sure that’s incorrect. The Women’s UCL is sold separately from the core men’s competitions. The only difference now is that the rights for the Women’s tournament have been centralised instead of the previous format of being sold by each club, with only the final sold by UEFA.

            Qualifying for the men’s tournament isn’t included as part of the deal either – the centralised UEFA rights only apply from the Group Stage. It’s still down to individual clubs/agency deals for qualifiers, hence why different broadcasters show them. It’s the same in the UK – qualifiers are shown on a range of channels and rarely on BT Sport – this is because they’re sold separately.

  8. jason

    August 7, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Off the top Kartik leaves out a lot of detail. Cases does not translate to hospitalizations and deaths. Florida is one the way down big time now. Herd immunity is being achieved. Lockdowns and mask mandates are all for political reasons.

    • Chronos

      August 8, 2020 at 12:32 am

      Please don’t spread misinformation. The virus doesn’t care about politics.

  9. Chris Guardiano

    August 7, 2020 at 2:43 am

    I have enjoyed CBS’s coverage of the Europa League so far. It is far better than what Turner provided at a much lower cost. I already have All Access via my Amazon Prime Video account which means I am not paying for a separate subscription. There were no issues with the stream in terms of quality. The other thing I want to praise CBS for doing is not giving into the temptation to bring a star commentator from the other sports they cover (Jim Nantz in this case) to call the Champions League in search of bigger ratings. We have seen in the past especially when Fox had Gus Johnson call the Champions League how badly that can turn out. I can’t wait to see how they will do with the Champions League tomorrow and Saturday. The only issue that I have with CBS is the fact that they decided to put both the Europa & Champions League Finals on CBS Sports Network (hopefully just this year) instead of over the air CBS especially with the Champions League Final. Unlike NBCSN, ESPN or FS1, CBS Sports Network is still considered by many cable and satellite companies to be a “premium” channel and therefore don’t offer it in the basic package. This will likely lead to fewer people watching this year’s final than if the final was on over the air CBS or will lead them to watch it on Univsion instead which is putting the final on its over the air channel. CBS could broadcast this year’s Champions League Final on the over the air channel given the fact that the PGA Tour event that weekend is being covered by NBC. Hopefully CBS reconsiders this decision for this year’s final and future finals. Also the Europa League final in the future should also be on over the air CBS because the only things CBS broadcasts midweek in the middle of the day on the over the air channel are the soap opera “Young and the Restless” and talk shows. It would really raise the profile of the Europa League in this country to have the final broadcast on network TV because it would show people that the Europa League can stand out on its own as a unique competition instead of simply being considered as second best to the Champions League. Other than that a solid start for CBS in this new venture.

    • Donald Duck

      August 7, 2020 at 10:13 am

      As much as I dont care about the soaps. Yeah our soccer will never preempt those soaps. Im sorry but the only way we see any matches on OTA is when ATSC3.0 is fully available and thus soccer will be on a sub channel of CBS’s.
      On top of the Soaps there is also Local News that is more important to most day time watchers.

      Just buy CBS all access and enjoy “ALL” the matches and not just the 1 that is on the TV.

    • Gonzalo

      August 7, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      I have to correct you. The Northern Trust golf tournament which runs from August 20 through the 23rd will air on CBS. No chance CBS pre-empts the last round of the golf tournament on Sunday for an event (UCL Final) which may not even grab half of the viewers that the golf tournament will get. As much as CBS may want to raise the profile of both UEFA competitions, they still have to make programming decisions which make business sense.

  10. Azer

    August 6, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    You guys talked about CBS Sports HQ having a pre-game & post-game show. Why didn’t they have the games than? How stupid is that? You also didn’t talk about all the games being free of charge on TUDNXTRA via log in. I wonder why? Yes, it’s in a different language, but so what? I don’t speak Spanish but I have respect for it and it’s sports network. I can’t say the same thing for CBS. Why does Univision offer games ”free of charge” but CBS does not? It’s really not free, you pay for the CBS Sports Network just like you pay for TUDN on your cable or satellite. Univision can start charging the millions of Spanish speakers in the USA but they choose not to. I applaud them.

  11. HeyOhhhhh

    August 6, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    In related news, I received the following email today from Apple on my B/R Live Soccer Annual Pass:

    Bleacher Report has advised us that the subscription Soccer Annual Pass has been discontinued. As a result, your subscription purchase has not been fulfilled.

    We have issued a refund in the amount of $41.94. Please allow up to 30 days for these funds to be applied to your original payment method.


    App Store Support Team

  12. JP

    August 6, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Another great podcast, can’t believe it’s been two years I’ve been listening religiously!
    The mailbag comment about WC98 with Henry piquing his interest and then progressing to Barca and becoming hooked as a soccer fan speaks to why MLS still struggles for ratings. It may seem like there’s a giant pool of soccer fans if you combine all the Euro leagues, Liga MX, WC tournaments and so on, while some of these groups overlap it’s mostly fragmented. Various reasons why someone will watch one of these but not necessarily MLS.
    Liga MX viewership I suspect is made up of recent immigrants from Mexico who have emotional ties to the league. These fans are not going to jump to MLS, maybe in a generation or two it will translate to more fans. But also possible in a generation or two those potential fans will be watching more traditional American sports instead.
    European League viewership is driven by the mentality those leagues are the best the world has to offer. Fans may disagree whether EPL or La Liga is better, but regardless, the fans watching think their league is the best, has the best talent, etc. These fans won’t necessarily watch MLS because they think MLS is second tier. MLS will need to attract the world’s best talent — and that means before they reach retirement age — to have these viewers watch it in large numbers.
    World Cup, Euros, Copa America. The summer tournaments bring in viewers from both die hard soccer fans and the casual sports viewer. The casual sports viewer for the most part isn’t going to flock to MLS once the tournament ends. It’s similar to the Olympics. Every 4 years we get captivated with figure skating, swimming, curling, and other various events. Once the Olympics are over these sports are forgotten until the next cycle begins. It’s watched because it’s an “event” and some national pride, same goes for a lot of people and the World Cup.
    So what is my point? MLS won’t increase viewership by a large amount until it’s viewed as comparable to the European leagues in talent. USMNT winning a WC won’t do it in my opinion, same reason USWNT winning doesn’t translate to huge increases in viewership, these are seen as one off events and not linked in the casual fans mind to domestic (or foreign) clubs.

    • Zach

      August 6, 2020 at 6:53 pm

      Agreed. As a Manchester United fan, I have never been tied to MLS in any way shape for form. Having grown up in Toronto, I have only recently somewhat gravitated to TFC due to their success on the pitch. Players like Giovinco and Pozuelo who raise the standard of play by the very least. But apart from that, I am not a fan of the league. I would not watch an MLS game on TV if it does not involve TFC. Meanwhile I would still watch a champions league game, a premier league game because I am convinced that I am watching the game being played at the highest standard. Until the MLS improves I just can not seeing myself being a long term fan of the league.

    • John G.

      August 7, 2020 at 12:14 am

      There is no foreseeable chance of MLS coming close to any top first divisions in Europe. The most likely scenario to make it happen would be a successful prosecution of MLS for its price-fixing that holds down player salaries and keeps top international talent away as violations of Federal anti-trust law.

    • disco george

      August 7, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      Really great points. As a fan of an Olympic sport that doesn’t get much traction between those four (or five, thanks, COVID!) years, I see a lot of similarities between that viewership and soccer viewership, too.

      We (and ESPECIALLY the four-year-fans who rock up to an MLS game expecting Messi and Ronaldo-level talent) also have to keep in mind that MLS is only 25 years old, and the European leagues have had a century (in some cases) of tradition and success behind them. Trying to establish and build a well-respected league while the global game is increasingly driven by unfathomable amounts of money isn’t, like, easy.

  13. Alex Horton

    August 6, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Hey guys,
    Enjoyed the podcast this week. Do you know any more about the Campeonato Brasileiro on Fanatiz? I’ve looked it up on their website and social media and haven’t seen anything about it yet. This would be an awesome option to watch Brazilian football as I’m a huge Palmeiras fan. Thanks!

    • Pretorius

      August 7, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      It’s up now, $7.99 a month.

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