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LaLiga on the rise despite beIN SPORTS distribution woes: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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

In the NEW episode, number 158, Christopher Harris and co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:

• Our thoughts on the Premier League’s new streaming strategy
• FOX Sports goes to the dogs
• LaLiga spring a surprise with their TV ratings
• Bundesliga can’t get out of first gear in the US
• Plus 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. jstrummer

    February 14, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    Would’ve listened to podcast til I read comments comparing Laliga ratings to MLS, positive euro spin turns into negative US spin, yawn, yawn, yawn

    • Eddy

      February 18, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      Yeah its this type of stuff that keeps it from being a truly great podcast and site, They strecthed so hard they broke a arm trying to find a way to still continue the Euro Leagues are more popular than MLS myth. This is what the critics or as the Euro Snob commenters who call us MLS Fanboys eat up. The numbers as a whole don’t support the claim that La Liga has higher ratings than MLS so they then have to find a way to get there so they can twist the truth by creating a somewhat plausible argument that those who want to believe in the argument can believe it despite it being wrong. Its a wild assertion to claim well look at the numbers on beIN they’d be bigger and thus La Liga has higher ratings than MLS. The same stuff was said now about the Bundesliga/Serie A its Euro-Centric wishful thinking, MLS has averaged maybe 10 sub 100k games the past two seasons and those being no less than 70k. Leagues like La Liga produce many games (30-40) that produce 20-30k TV average. It’s BS to claim it’s superior to MLS or trying to throw shade at MLS somehow vs La Liga when La Liga should be trying to find out how MLS does it and become a factor and get on “Big Time “TV in the US like MLS/EPL/Liga MX.

      • Christopher Harris

        February 18, 2020 at 5:17 pm

        Eddy, I’m sorry that the podcast and website isn’t for you. Here’s a social media forum that may be more in your wheelhouse –

        • Eddy

          February 18, 2020 at 7:45 pm

          No sorry Chris I will watch and critique it’s a free world. You get my view or click with the critique.

      • jason

        February 20, 2020 at 8:35 am

        Relax its all good and fun. I admire Kartik’s soccer analysis big time. His political views….well not so much. But I ignore that cause its a soccer and TV analyst show and he is point I think.

        • Eddy

          February 20, 2020 at 11:17 am

          Yeah I enjoy the podcast cause I’m a soccer feen I love the game. I give just as many “great podcast” as I do that’s a terrible take”. I provide my opinion debate my stance but its a soccer show so regardless of the hot take or takes I still listen.

  2. Robert

    February 14, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Why should I care about what La Liga does, it is worse than the EPL in that it is often just about two teams. At least in the EPL some of the fat cats are stuck in their litter boxes.
    This could be a very good year for the MLS with big names from Mexico coming into the league and a stronger connection between the leagues. The coming CCL games will be important if the MLS teams win more games and maybe take the whole deal. The Sounders are going for the cup!

  3. Eddy

    February 13, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    While I disagreed on the “attempted” La Liga vs MLS TV Ratings comparison FUBAR. I enjoyed listening to the podcast. I agree with Karthik and I’ve been saying it the EPL won’t get a huge increase from NBC if anything it will be a small bump from $167m yr to $200m yr if that. I think sometimes Chris can be off as he views the US Sporting Media landscape too much through EPL eyes. I predict if EPL insist on going for the money thru linear TV rights they will have to have a joint bidder like ESPN/Fox Sports or CBS to get much more and even that will be slightly more. The thing that ppl who should know but don’t discuss is that EPL is limited in US TV revenue by the AM time slot. Thosectime slots are in poor TV ad revenue slots. Networks can’t capitalize on the time slots to make enough money to be profitable. That’s why the move was made to have more early afternoon 12-1pm starts so NBC could try to break even on the current EPL TV deal.

  4. Azer

    February 13, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Chris and Kartik – If the Milan Derby was not shown on TV, Why did Mark Donaldson & Matteo Bonetti do commentary? Why not use the world feed with Steve Banyard & Tony Dorigo?
    You guys also commented about the Bundesliga being on FS2, rather than FS1. The answer is obvious, it’s money. NASCAR & College basketball generate more revenue on FS1 then any soccer would. The next rights holder ESPN is going to follow in Fox’s footsteps. College football and the rest will dominate Disney’s airwaves over the Bundesliga. Both Fox & ESPN are giving you 1 word answer (money) Why is this so hard to understand?

  5. Eddy

    February 13, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Chris & Kartik. You guys were really spinning about La Liga numbers being better than MLS. It’s a reach to use the distribution numbers as a excuse. It just reeks of trying to find a way to still say Euro League are more popular in the US. Numbers don’t show this its a lot of could’ve, would’ve, should’ve going on by you guys. Outside of Real and Barca games drawing 300k there are alot of 20-30k games, You guys were praising 100k numbers for La Liga games REALLY! Can’t wait til this upcoming MLS season when MLS finally gets its share of increased OTA games ala EPL when EPL went to NBC.and viewership started to grow. These silly comparisons and hot takes can end.

    2/1 La Liga Real Madrid / Atlético Madrid beIN SPORTS: 42264 / beIN Español: 204461/246,725
    2/1 La Liga Mallorca / Valladolid beIN Español: 64118 64,118
    2/1 La Liga Valencia / Celta Vigo beIN SPORTS: 5593 / beIN Español: 57195 62,788
    2/2 La Liga Sevilla / Alaves beIN SPORTS: 11802 / beIN Español: 39899 51,701
    2/2 La Liga Athletic Bilbao / Getafe beIN SPORTS: 4686 / beIN Español: 32777 37,463

    • Monte Reed

      February 13, 2020 at 7:39 pm

      10/6 MLS Portland Timbers / San Jose Earthquakes ESPN: 226000
      9/29 MLS Minnesota United / Los Angeles FC FS1: 84000
      9/29 MLS New York Red Bulls / DC United FS1: 79000
      9/21 MLS Atlanta United / San Jose Earthquakes Univision: 309000
      9/7 MLS New York City FC / New England Revolution Univision: 223000
      9/22 MLS FC Dallas / New York City FC UniMás: 178000
      9/14 MLS Chicago Fire / FC Dallas Univision: 175000
      9/15 MLS Portland / DC United ESPN: 151000
      9/22 MLS Portland Timbers / Minnesota United ESPN: 127000
      9/15 MLS LA Galaxy / Sporting KC FS1: 72000

      seems comparable to me. considering beIN is in around 22 million households compare to 86 million for ESPN and ESPN2, 83 million for FS1 (2018 numbers)

      • Eddy

        February 13, 2020 at 10:52 pm

        Nah not even close and will once again be shown it’s not close once MLS starts up. If you were to take the complete La Liga average vs MLS the numbers will be far below La Liga average just as the numbers were below MLS before the beIN collapse where beIN lost tens of millions of subscribers. What we have here is just ppl trying to Trump there way around the truth and create their own alternative facts.
        They go “Hmmm close enough beIN probably would be more or higher if it was distributed in more homes. Completely ignoring that theory is BS as numbers are still below MLS when beIN had more subscribes. Lots of convenient excuses to use against MLS that ppl won’t let MLS use.

        I will make a point of pointing out all the Last Liga sub 100k games though. Also WST should do a straight plain and simple league TV rating tracker of available ratings. It will show how much these guys are reaching. Numbers don’t lie.

        • Monte Reed

          February 14, 2020 at 8:43 am

          10/23 MLS Conference Semi-Final New York City FC / Toronto FC FS1: 111000
          10/19 MLS Playoffs Toronto FC / DC United TUDN: 84000
          10/19 MLS Playoffs Real Salt Lake / Portland Timbers ESPNews: 80000
          9/29 MLS Minnesota United / Los Angeles FC FS1: 84000
          9/29 MLS New York Red Bulls / DC United FS1: 79000
          9/15 MLS LA Galaxy / Sporting KC FS1: 72000
          6/28 MLS Colorado Rapids / Los Angeles FC UDN: 75000
          4/28 MLS Minnesota United / DC United FS1: 91000
          4/14 MLS Sporting KC / New York Red Bulls FS1: 90000

          • Monte Reed

            February 14, 2020 at 9:48 am

            The problem is that MLS ratings should not be even close to La Liga ratings. So what is La Liga doing right? and what can MLS do better??
            FCB and Real Madrid are by far the two top teams and are broadcast every time they play. The top teams of MLS are not shown nationally every week, this hurts MLS ratings.
            All La Liga matches are on one of beIN sports channels. MLS has ESPN, FOX, Univision showing national broadcast matches and then you have regional broadcasts and some areas have multiple broadcaster for regional. If you are a fan of a team, you will find the game and watch it, if your team not playing, are you going to find the MLS match of the week on all these different channels? I think this hurts MLS ratings. I know in the past, Univision had Friday night football, this was good, I knew on Friday nights to turn the tv to Univision.
            beIN Sports and/or beIN Espanol broadcast on average 8 matches per week on their main channels. MLS has more teams and only average 3 matches per week (national broadcast). MLS need more exposure, more matches should be broadcast nationally.

            • JP

              February 14, 2020 at 10:45 am

              Additionally, MLS is still mostly has a local following rather than national. If you have a team and like soccer, might keep up with the schedule and follow whether on local TV that week or national. However, almost no one is watching MLS national TV games unless their team is playing.
              Feel like it has to be similar to NHL regular season broadcasts or MLB in that respect. Only the NFL and NBA draw large national ratings for professional sports outside of local markets.
              Does anyone have the data on this?

              • disco george

                February 14, 2020 at 11:08 am

                I’ll watch the national broadcast MLS matches if I’m home (my team is never on them so that’s not even a thing). But it’s not like I’m going to rush home from a hike on a sunny Sunday afternoon, skip dinner with a friend, or cut my workout short or whatever (just like Chris and Kartik talked about last week with respect to their family time) to get home in time to watch Atlanta and the LA teams play for the 87th time on national TV already during the season. Or I’m at the stadium watching an MLS or NWSL game happening live. Soccer is still a growing sport here — until the audience achieves a certain critical mass, so to speak, live matches are always going to cannibalize your TV audience.

            • Eddy

              February 14, 2020 at 11:34 am

              They aren’t doing anything right cause they have lower numbers than MLS. Despite all the numbers you can find we could go back and forth and I’ll find even lower La Liga numbers that’s why we have averages and MLS is well above every Euro League except EPL. Those are facts not gonna argue facts are the facts.

              • Monte Reed

                February 14, 2020 at 12:34 pm

                Are you sure you are not confusing MLS with Liga MX???

                • Eddy

                  February 14, 2020 at 12:52 pm

                  Nope you’re just being your normal MLS sucks self (your right BTW )so you’d love to spin the truth but these are facts opinions be damned. Most watched Leagues in the US this order
                  1. Liga MX 2. EPL 3.MLS

                  4.La Liga/Bundesliga/Serie A

          • Eddy

            February 18, 2020 at 5:14 pm

            Lol you just duplicated some Ratings to make it look like MLS had a bunch of sub 100k games. Now do the weekly run of sub 40k La Liga games.

            • Monte Reed

              February 18, 2020 at 7:39 pm

              Yes, you are correct. MLS is awesome and does not need to be concerned with La Liga. Beside, MLS got Chicharito. La Liga is really going to miss his 9 appearances and one goal this season.

              • Eddy

                February 18, 2020 at 7:48 pm

                It is awesome glad you came to the dark side friend the water is warm.

  6. JP

    February 13, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    I’m not surprised the La Liga ratings are decent despite beIN’s low distribution. Anecdotally, I think most people who subscribe to a particular service that includes beIN do so in large part because of beIN, so are already very dedicated to watching La Liga.

    When I was contemplating cutting the cord a few years ago settled on Vue, but then they dropped beIN before my cable contract was up. When debating switching cable carriers to take advantage of further discounts, chose not to since Comcast didn’t have beIN in HD and couldn’t authenticate to watch online either (at the time was important for Serie A overflow matches).

    Similarly, if someone has Sling and pays extra for the sports pack, likely it’s for beIN etc.

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