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Impact of a potential MLS lockout on TV: World Soccer Talk Podcast

In the NEW episode, number 209, Christopher Harris and co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:

• The impact of a potential MLS lockout on TV
• CBS & ESPN bid for U.S. rights to Serie A
• Americans are heading to Europe in droves
• News about ESPN+ adding a new soccer documentary
• 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. Eddie

    February 9, 2021 at 11:23 am

    ESPN said about getting more soccer rights.
    A lot of global soccer. I would put EPL in the category of premium. I’m certain we’ll take a look at it like we would anything like that.
    Whether it’s La Liga or Bundesliga or Serie A in Italy, we would take a look at It. Said ESPN executives

  2. Turfit

    February 9, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Interesting article from Cord Cutting News, according to article, ESPN+ will increase price and sell off rights, will this include soccer rights???

    • Christopher Harris

      February 9, 2021 at 10:45 am

      ESPN is trying to sell off their rights to the X-Games. If anything, ESPN will try to get more soccer rights in the next 12 months.

  3. Edwin

    February 7, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Solid pod, I agree with Chris that MLS missed the boat on signing such a long media rights deal back in 2014, The deal at the time was considered a big deal, but over time for example you’ve seen leagues like Serie A sign a 3 yr $55m yr deal in 2019 and Bundesliga sign a 6yr $30m yr deal with ESPN in 2020, while the MLS deal with ESPN is only 8yr $45m yr. MLS missed the boat lastb. I agree they’d be better of with a shorter deal maybe around 4yrs or so so they can come to the table again around the 2026 World Cup in the US.

  4. jason

    February 7, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    For you ESPN+ subscribers, the best soccer to watch right now is the Australia A-League for the simple fact that they have FANS!! Summer weather apparent while watching it too. The fans seem to really enjoy it. And they have no stupid masks on either. Been watching more A league than I ever have in my life because of that.

  5. Edward

    February 4, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    try listening to local sports media discuss MLS soccer and you will wish for Micah Richards-Jamie Carragher LOL banter
    I tried listening to local Boston talking heads discuss the Revs and I learned nothing at all

  6. Mercator

    February 4, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    These are not cash flow businesses, the return comes from the increasing value of the franchise. There are a limited number of MLS teams, with a near monopoly on top level soccer in the country. The teams don’t have to turn a profit anytime soon as long as franchise values continue to climb. My understanding is the bulk of the money is in SUM anyway, which is a no brainer investment, particularly with a US hosted WC on the horizon. Most of the owners are not hurting for money at all, and the ones who are probably don’t have the funds to run a top level soccer team anyway. It would net beneficial for MLS to get rid of these cheap owners who hold back the entire league.

    I think it was the athletic that broke down the impasse between MLS and MLSPA, and it amounted to something like $600k p/a per team ($120m over 6 or 7 years or something), which is chump change for top tier sports. It’s insane to threaten a lockout over that amount of money. If the owners truly cannot afford to fund their investment through a difficult period, then they should sell to someone who can.

  7. El jefe

    February 4, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure MLS has never turned a profit as a whole even with the decent amount of expansion fee money that has been pouring in to the league over the last decade. And, I doubt any of these owners are in the game for atruictic charity. Eventually, there is going to be a wall in which owners will have had enough and start bailing like they did with the old NASL unless something changes over the next few years. I think it would be insane for the owners to want this season to go forward with little or limited capacity fans in the stands again and the league risk another horrendous financial loss.

  8. Karl

    February 4, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    On the USMNT-T&T ratings, what do you feel should have been expected? I was surprised to see it break 250K (the ceiling for MLS on FS1 regular season broadcasts) since you’re talking about going head-to-head with Club America (taking away nearly all Spanish audience), an unsexy opponent, and an audience almost entirely comprised of English-speaking diehard USMNT fans wanting to see what the Olympic roster might look like.

  9. jason

    February 4, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    Jesse Marsch with Salzburg should go in a raid for MLS players right now.

  10. jason

    February 4, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    After the political garbage MLS pulled in 2020. I would be just fine with a lock out and let them suffer for a year or so. Go Woke. Go Broke. Gets USA players to the euro leagues in bigger numbers. I’d rather many of them be in Belgium or Sweden or Denmark leagues than MLS.

  11. JP

    February 4, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Thanks Christopher! Not a major impact either way, but would miss the option to watch RAI’s coverage of the 9am Sunday window with the cut away to goals from other matches as they happen. This was something even beIN incorporated the last year or so they covered Serie A.

  12. JP

    February 4, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Come on guys, the best match of the weekend should be Juve v Roma on Saturday.
    Question about the Serie A rights. You mentioned it could include 3 matches per week in Italian. Right now RAI shows 3 matches a week. Prior to this contract they aired a match in every window possible but then DAZN grabbed some rights in Italy last round, I believe.
    I thought RAI showing matches here was based on RAI’s rights in Italy and independent of any US contracts. If this deal happens with either ESPN or CBS getting partial Italian language rights, would RAI (that we get here in the US) be precluded from showing them?

    • Christopher Harris

      February 4, 2021 at 9:56 am

      Since this is such a fast moving story and it may change between now and the next podcast episode, I’ll answer it now. As it stands currently (it’s subject to change), RAI Italia would be precluded from showing 3 games a week in Italian-language in the United States (and other markets). But there’s been talk about RAI filing a lawsuit against this decision based on the Italian law that has made it possible in the past.

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