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More scoops about LaLiga/beIN SPORTS TV deal: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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

In the NEW episode, number 136, Christopher Harris and co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:

• LaLiga drops a bombshell by deciding to stay with beIN SPORTS for 4 years,
• NBC goes overboard with their Christian Pulisic lovefest,
• Kay Murray moonlights for a potential new broadcaster,
• We have the scoop on Steve Nash’s future on B/R Football,
• 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. Pretorius

    August 20, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Has anyone noticed that The La Liga TV channel on Sling TV’s World Sports Package has been breaking up lately. The reception was spotty over the weekend and is close to unwatchable now, this over Roku and my ipad.

    • Monte

      August 20, 2019 at 10:20 pm

      The quality was spotty for me on Fubo this past weekend also. I was using Roku too.

      • Carlos

        August 21, 2019 at 1:03 pm

        It was fine on Fanatiz, but my past experiences with sling were positive. Then again, my family hated it because the signal would go out. I guess it depends on various factors. All on Roku as well.

        • Pretorius

          August 21, 2019 at 2:04 pm

          It’s back to normal now on Sling.
          Sling has been great for me too in general.

  2. TheOriginalTom

    August 20, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    I’m late to comment on last week’s Pod I realize- I disagree with those who feel MLS should play a winter schedule. One reason that I feel is overlooked is that a summer schedule shelters the MLS from direct competition and comparison with European club soccer and thus gives it a window in the market place. I like that the MLS cup final is at a time when there are not other finals (the Champions League and the Cup finals) to compare it too, and that the season begins at a different time. It gives it is space in the market place.

    • Rich

      August 21, 2019 at 6:33 am

      Yes, I strongly disagreed with Kartik’s stance on the MLS schedule. MLS doesn’t yet have the gravitas To ask patrons in Minneapolis to brave 20° weather in the middle of January. It has very little to do with not competing against the NFL, but more linked to the volume of fall sports in general plus the milder weather and kids being out of school in the summertime.

  3. NashRambler

    August 19, 2019 at 1:24 pm


    Relevent Sports was briefly mentioned in the podcast. My understanding from what you and others reported was that Relevent Sports had been hired by LaLiga to negotiate the next U.S. television rights deal or at least be heavily involved in consulting/advising LaLiga in the next U.S. TV deal. I have to conclude that LaLiga have completely ignored any advice they were getting from Relevent Sports.

    Unless there is a sub-licensing deal, continuing with BeIN means that for most Americans their only chance to see a live TV broadcast of Messi playing in a competitive match for Barcelona will be on the Saturday/Saturdays when Barcelona makes it to the Champions League Final.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 19, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      Hi John, I’ll answer this one on the next episode of the pod.

      In the meantime, there are plenty of ways for Americans to watch beIN SPORTS. For example, for $4.99/month, you can watch all of the games on beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS en Español, GolTV, TyC Sports and from Superliga Argentina with Fanatiz. Use promo code wstfz2 at checkout.

    • Ritchie

      August 20, 2019 at 4:11 pm

      “We have always believed that LaLiga is one of the preeminent sporting competitions in the world, so we are delighted to super serve our dedicated fanbase having renewed our exclusive broadcast rights agreement with the Spanish league until 2024,” said Antonio Briceño, Deputy Managing Director of beIN SPORTS for the USA and Canada.

      It doesn’t sound like they want to sub license the rights for the USA. I really was hoping they would. I don’t mind paying for another service but I do dislike having everything I watch spread out over 5 apps/bills. I don’t need La Liga enough to invest in another subscription just to have access to it, though I’m sure many others will.

  4. Azer

    August 16, 2019 at 12:34 am

    My TV was turned off on Sunday as I was watching 2 DFB Cup games from Germany on ESPN3. It was much more interesting then the Premier League. VFL Osnabruck almost tied RB Leipzig, Final score 2-3 The second game Wiesbaden vs Koln finished 3-3 AET went to penalties. Final score 5-6 same thing happened on Saturday. I did watch the EPL highlights later but not from NBC Sports. As a Borussia Dortmund supporter for over 30 years and having lived in Germany for 6 years I admire Christian Pulisic a lot. I wish he stayed at BVB.

  5. Nathan

    August 15, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    I am a regular viewer of and Sky programmes, and they definitely cover Pulisic as well interestingly enough. They had Higginbotham in the studio talking about if Pulisic is Hazard’s direct replacement. Not too much talk about Mount

    • DT

      August 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm

      It would be pretty weird if they didn’t talk about the 4th most expensive signing in one of England’s biggest top clubs. Mount was academy player (basically free) vs. Pulisic at £58m at age 20 and labeled as a Hazard – who was one of the best Chelsea players ever – replacement. Also Sky is now owned by an American company, so it’s not some big conspiracy that they might be told to focus on the player. I don’t think anybody has a problem with the kid and hope he succeeds even if they support another team, but the constant talking about him before he has done f**k all is tiresome. .

  6. Nathan

    August 15, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    ESPN FC is on BT Sport ESPN in the UK Btw

  7. Brian

    August 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    This was a very nauseating pod. 1 Not all off Europe follow August/May time line. Plenty start weeks prior and end early or not even follow that template like Norway. Smaller leagues….yes but they don’t all follow it. To think there is a bunch of people not interested in MLS because they don’t follow the Euro template is delirious.

    On the Pulisic coverage…..everyone ( but you two and soccer other soccer purist) wanted to see and hear about this story and its a chance to capture the casual sports/soccer fan. I think you forget these channels of these leagues are the provider for the USA. Did you see what they do in Korea tracking Son of Tottenham? We have had solid players in the EPL, but never the world wide star which is who the country is drooling for. Pulisic is the closet we have had so far. Yes Dempsey had great moments and scored big goals and then ended up in Seattle. Big whoop. We had Geoff freaking Cameron in the EPL? Did I hear that correctly? No one gives a hoot about Geoff freaking Cameron. I think it would be who of you two maybe watch on the none USA provider of this content. To hear the coverage is “alarming” is laughable.

    • DT

      August 15, 2019 at 6:55 pm

      South Korean fans are probably the worst example to use to try to justify the non-stop unnecessary coverage of Pulisic even in games he didn’t start. South Korea, the country known for K-Pop fans posting K-Pop videos under hash tags that have to do with mass shootings or other tragedies. Seems like a really normal country. and population.

    • Azer

      August 16, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Geoff Cameroon actually played in the Premier League whether you like him or not, same with Clint Dempsey, Stuart Holden, Brian McBride and others. Kyle Martino never played in the Premier League or any professional league yet NBC Sports hired him to be an analyst in the studio. How does that work exactly? I don’t see you complaining about him. On this podcast – I was laughing when Chris talked about the NBC crew in the studio and the look on their faces after the game. He said they looked sad as though someone died. Kartik is also correct about ESPN FC which had better analyses about the game than the Peacock network.

    • Anthony

      August 21, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      Dempsey is the best US soccer player of all item.

  8. Edwin

    August 15, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    Probable won’t get mentioned on next PODCAST cause its a dissenting view from you guys but IMHO the reason EPL enjoys the ratings it does has little to do with “proper football” or whatever it has everything to do with NBC getting the rights and taking a chance on EPL and airing 30+ EPL games a year on NBC. NBC did this when frankly EPL was coming off consistently avergaing 220k ratings on ESPN and FOX. EPL which was and is lower than MLS is currently averaging on those networks. EPL became bigger not because it was a proper football league,which it always was it became bigger because it got a consistent OTA timeslot w/30+games a year on NBC which built general awareness Nationally which is still niche compared to NBA/MLB/NFL. Also those EPL ratings didn’t just appear they started off smaller on NBC then got to the 450kish range.

    Its just unfair and short sighted no matter what your opinion is of MLS to try and compare and hold up EPL against MLS. There is no way MLS or any soccer league can grow a National US audience without a consistent OTA TV timeslot. Honestly people deriding MLS for TV ratings while propping up EPL are using revisionist history. You can do a google search and see EPL TV ratings when EPL was on ESPN they were lower than MLS. Expecting MLS to grow a national brand in TV ratings when it only gets 1 National OTA games every 2 or 3 months are being intellectual dishonest and are just overtly bias. EPL was lucky and advantaged being another English speaking league so they will have a permanent hold against other Euro Leagues here that compete and the same early day time slots. But the same path for MLS is there that the EPL had if they can get increased OTA games.

    I wished people like you guys would have a more nuanced discussion about the matter on your podcast but it seems you are only willingly to cater to the anti MLS crowd in your podcast and viewer comments you read. As much as you call out MLS living in a bubble you guys can also tend to live in a echo chamber of no dissenting views are publicized.

    Whether folks will admit it or not is the thing because far too often the critique is confirmation bias driven. I’d bet my house though if in the next

    • Edwin

      August 15, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      I’d bet my house though if in the next TV deal MLS gets more OTA games consistently MLS will too see a EPL rise in popularity and TV ratings for all this talk MLS Cup last year was still the most viewed televised domestic league shown on US TV last year IIRC.

      • Skylar

        August 15, 2019 at 4:17 pm

        I take it you meant league game right?

        • edwin

          August 15, 2019 at 4:23 pm

          My bad yes that’s what I meant.

          • DT

            August 15, 2019 at 6:49 pm

            Edwin used friendly games from Asia that were shown live in the US at 1130pm or 730am EST (many on weekdays) to try this argument during the summer friendlies. Now he is comparing EPL games shown at 730am EST (430 PST) 10am, 1130/1230pm to try the same pro-MLS bias. It’s a deeply flawed argument. I wonder what would get higher ratings? EPL game shown live in the afternoon or evening or an MLS game shown live at 730am when have the country is still asleep…

            • Edwin

              August 15, 2019 at 9:43 pm

              You are showing your newness to soccer or just plain ignorance I’m talking about the Premier Leagues ratings before EPL rights were won by NBC and were shown on ESPN and similar timeslots. The ratings were no better and in fact lower than MLS. Thats not even debatable in fact a quick google search can show you the ratings were in the 220k range. At the time MLS was higher and still are vs EPL at the time. The rise in EPL came down to the sheer fact of what I stated the load of free OTA games. Get out your bubble dude and stop trying to bash MLS and just look at the numbers I’m not making this up as sure as tomorrow is Friday. The thing is some of you have been in to a narrative and thats all you are willing to believe.

              • DT

                August 15, 2019 at 11:08 pm

                Newness, very funny since I grew up over there. Also I’m pretty sure you are that loser Oliver Tse.

                • Edwin

                  August 16, 2019 at 10:52 am

                  Wut! You have no clue on what you are talking about I’m not that guy. Growing up there doesn’t mean that makes you a expert or gives you any type of deeper insight typical of you Euro Centrics. I once visited Europe now I’m a expert in all things soccer in America.

        • Skylar

          August 16, 2019 at 10:54 am

          No problem I figured that’s what you meant.

    • JP

      August 15, 2019 at 6:50 pm

      Very well articulated. The PL ratings increase since moving to NBC has everything to do with easier accessibility (over the air and widely carried cable channel) plus heavy promotion.

      Fox Soccer was a niche channel and ESPN hardly promoted it and has scheduling conflicts so didn’t air many of the better matchups (Fox Soccer usually had them).

      The promotion when moving to NBC and even now is fantastic, have to hand it to them. Even my sports averse sister knew about them getting the PL in the lead up to the 2013/2014 season. Even friends indifferent to soccer have started to watch the PL just because it’s something on Sunday’s after football season and they know when/where the matches are on thanks to their great promotion.

      It has very little to do with how NBC presents the matches itself or their pre/post match coverage. All the talk about them jumping the shark by overly hyping Pulisic is overblown.

      • Edwin

        August 15, 2019 at 10:06 pm

        Exactly! I can tell by your posting history you know your soccer and have been following our US soccer journey the last 20-25 yrs. Too many have just hopped on and to them they act as if EPL just started being shown on TV and now that people see it and how it’s a proper football league compared to MLS that’s why the ratings are better. People make up just whatever feel good story to make themselves feel good and justify their bias when all you have to do is a little research and the simple answer is…… ohhh free to air (OTA GAMES) on NBC. It’s really that simple but too many people grandstanding puffing out their chest trying to score points vs MLS with look at us and our proper league points.

    • Anthony

      August 21, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Sorry but the MLS is pretty sh**ty league and not even worth watching most of the time. It’s like watching EFL league 2 at best.

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