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MISSING: Critical USMNT studio analyst: World Soccer Talk Pod

In the NEW episode, number 1392, Christopher Harris is joined by co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer to discuss several topics:

• Why do the US soccer networks have such a hard time finding a critical USMNT analyst
• Our thoughts on ESPN’s coverage of the USA-El Salvador game
• Where does Taylor Twellman go from here
• All the details about Euro 2024 and Euro 2028 are heading
• What we expect from CBS’ coverage of Canada-USA
• News about a new soccer documentary on Netflix
• And we answer your questions in the Listener Mailbag segment.

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. Ra

    February 2, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    My feedback on the pod is to focus on ‘worldsoccertalk’, and not spend much time on USMNT and MLS. I assume there are a lot of resources already for those who like it. But it is a bore, and if I wanted to hear about pathetic location selection and performances, it is already well covered on ESPN FC. Worry about trying to get the upper hand on Honduras? It is sad and a testament to incompetence. Nothing more to say on the subject.
    Regarding comparisons of coverage between CBS, ESPN, and Fox – it is irrelevant- we do not get to choose who will get the rights to any property. So, we will get the coverage from whoever gets the rights to the competitions we are interested in. Period.
    I am more interested in the streaming deals, match recommendations, setup/equipment recommendations, and deals on services.
    BTW, Fanatiz has recently acquired a lot of regionals competitions in Brazil. Do you know for how long is the deal?

  2. greg

    January 30, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    FWIW, the half-time analysis on Paramount+ today has been very in-depth, critical, substantive. Might be a function of having a bit more time since it’s streaming and not on linear TV, but still…they’re not pulling punches or serving up platitudes.

  3. greg

    January 30, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Once I figured out the convoluted scheme to watch summer Olympic events on demand it wasn’t that bad. I’m hoping the Peacock UI is simple enough so that you can easily navigate by sport and day/time to clearly see what’s on when. They have improved Peacock UI in general so somewhat hopeful.

  4. Ra

    January 29, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    @dave @greg That makes more sense. I really dislike Comcast (from back when I did not have another option for internet – their NPS score with me was 1 (out of 10), but Peacock is the app that improved the most in the last 6mo in my opinion. They improved the app (fps on live stream), rewind on ATV, and seem to be more willing to put things there to justify people paying and watching through the app. They don’t make anywhere close to $10 ARPU from other cable providers (they get like $1-2 per NBCSN cable subscriber), so it surprises me their reluctance to add content there.
    But it might be too soon to conclude that, let’s see if they do better in the winter Olympics. Their coverage was so poor and messy that I ended up skipping the summer Olympics altogether. I hope they will do MotoGP as well. EPL is not a big deal to me at this point; have not had enough time even to follow the Bundesliga as close as I’d like.

  5. greg

    January 29, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    @Ra, I think you’re quoting from a source that may have mangled the quote:
    From variety com/2022/streaming/news/peacock-paid-subscribers-9-million-1235164982/

    Note the word “another” in front of 7 million. So looks like 9 million paid, PLUS 7 million bundled and 8 million that aren’t defined; 9 + 7 = 16, plus 8 to get to 24 million. I’m not arsed enough to look up the Q4 shareholder report itself.

    —– Below from the Variety story
    Ahead of the call, Comcast reported in its Q4 letter to shareholders that Peacock hit 24.5 million monthly active accounts (MAAs) in Q4.

    “Within these 24.5 MAAs are over 9 million paid subscribers approaching $10 in paid ARPU, which includes the advertising,” Brian Roberts, Comcast chairman-CEO, said during the investor call. “And that is without much focus on paid subscriber growth. We have another 7 million highly engaged bundle subscribers from Xfinity and other top distributors who use Peacock every single month and currently receive Peacock Premium and no extra cost.” Roberts says Comcast expects those bundled users to convert to paid subscribers.

  6. dave

    January 29, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    @Ra, below is a quote from the Comcast Q4 2021 earnings call transcript. The 9 million paying Peacock subscribers are in addition to the bundled Comcast Peacock accounts. Of interest, the concluding sentence implies monetization plans for the currently bundled segment:
    “In fact, at the end of 2021, we had 24.5 million monthly active accounts in the U.S. or about 75% of the guidance we have provided for 2024. Within these 24.5 million MAAs are over 9 million paid subscribers approaching $10 in paid ARPU, which includes the advertising. And that is without much focus on paid subscriber growth. We have another 7 million highly engaged bundled subscribers from Xfinity and other top distributors, who use Peacock every single month and currently receive Peacock Premium at no extra cost. We expect strong conversion of
    this group to paid subscribers over time”

  7. Ra

    January 29, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    “Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that Peacock’s premium paid tier has 9 million subscribers, while 7 million are subscribed through a bundle with Comcast or another pay TV distributor.”
    Does that mean that they have only 2M paying subscribers that made a conscious effort to subscribe to it?

  8. Michael F

    January 29, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    @greg @Ra All I know is I look forward to the round of 16. Should be fun.

  9. Mercator

    January 29, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    Sad but I think you guys are right, Alexi Lalas is probably the only commentator who will call things straight when the US doesn’t play well and who will constantly remind people beating Honduras by a goal is nothing to get overly excited about. Probably why he has stuck around for so long – given the lack of critical commentary and the poor performance of the US team, Alexi probably appears to be one of the more insightful commentators in the last decade. Unfortunately, the players aren’t good enough to do much better and if you ask how can a country of this size and wealth not produce better players then its an uncomfortable discussion for US Soccer or MLS. MLS and US Soccer act like they are doing everything right and have some plan but really they are just making a ton of money off the game and the US didn’t even qualify for the 2018 world cup.

    I think MLS will get more than $150 million. It’s basically an auction process and when every streaming company plans to spend X billion on content, leagues will get more than their viewership would seem to justify (La Liga and EPL are overvalued based on the viewers they bring, MLS will be as well). I would rather sell a mediocre product in a good market than a great product in a bad market, and MLS is selling in a great market.

  10. Ra

    January 29, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    @Michael F. This trio will win the UCL only on Fifa 22, if gaming is your thing. Both Messi and Neymar depend on other players to do their part of defending. The team is just too imbalanced.

  11. greg

    January 29, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    @Michael – PSG play Real Madrid in the next UCL round, and there’s no guarantee Neymar is back by mid-Feb, or at least match-fit. Messi’s recovery from COVID has been difficult.

    TBH, I’d be very comfortable as an RM fan…Ancelotti is pragmatic enough to frustrate PSG with a good organized set-up, I like the Modric-Kroos combo more than PSG’s midfield and with Vinicius’ speed and Benzema’s finishing that should be enough to win out over two legs. Also, Courtois has been phenomenal this season…more reliable than PSG’s keepers.

    The wildcard is of course Mbappe – I wouldn’t put it past him to win the tie by himself, wanting to show RM how much they need him and how how much they’ll have to pay him.

    For me the UCL winner comes from one of Real, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Inter & Bayern. All depends on this round & then the quarterfinal draw of course.

  12. Michael F

    January 29, 2022 at 10:34 am

    @Ra. Coming in late on this conversation, but I will say this (and in no way am I a Neymar fan or PSG fan)… but the verdict is still out on whether MNM trio has resulted in nothing. If PSG wins the Champions League, it will have resulted in something. Again, I am not rooting for that to happen, but that’s just a statement of fact. If they win it, the union of this trio would have been something. To make the statement you did at the end of your last post is premature.

  13. Ra

    January 28, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    @greg I love to see him play when he doesn’t want to win the game by dribbling the entire opposite half. I enjoy to see flicks, but he is obnoxious and Tite would do the team a great favor by not playing him when he is out of form. And the MNM trio, that resulted in nothing.

  14. greg

    January 28, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Here’s a good take on the Neymar doc…well I assume as I haven’t watched it…

    theathletic [] com/3093546/2022/01/27/reviewing-neymars-netflix-series-15-minutes-of-a-good-documentary-shame-the-rest-is-a-bit-like-watching-alan-partridge/

    tl/dr is there’s a lot going in with his relationship with his dad.

    Here’s a good take on Neymar as a player…the perception of him being a whiny jerk, why that might be, why it’s maybe mistaken.

    theathletic [] com/2518636/2021/04/14/seriously-what-is-it-that-makes-you-hate-neymar/

    He’s an odd duck…he does sometimes seem whiny & lazy & overacts when fouled, but man, when he wants to turn it on he can be a game changer from the midfield line forward. Will he press much? No. But he can dribble to space and make some amazing passes.

  15. dave

    January 28, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Enjoyable discussion as usual. I am a fan of the Monday-Thursday pacing you describe. I find both formats valuable.
    Disappointing but not surprising to hear of your Twitter and YT experiences; those are not fora conducive to nuance these days. I think you both do an excellent job discussing ideas and issues rather than picking your “team” and advocating for it no matter what.
    I agree coverage of the USMNT would benefit from more critical thinking (not criticism for its own sake, which is just as off-putting). USMNT are getting the needed results in sharp contrast to last cycle. I hope even the biggest cheerleaders could acknowledge the meaningful flaws in this cycle’s USMNT performances, which may serve as a worrying omen.

  16. Ra

    January 28, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    I will give the documentary the benefit of the doubt. Neymar? No. He is a jerk; a spoiled brat.

  17. Edwin

    January 28, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    Please excuse the above typos and spacing. Christ just reread that lol. I was quickly typing this on my phone while waiting to pick up my pizza order. Should’ve waited til I got home on my laptop haha. Anyways good pod and I think that Variety article Chris mentioned wasn’t as well sourced the author left out a lot of key things that mattered. Also the biggest, he said $150myr in his opinion seems odd MLS would only get $150m yr when La Liga gets that for 380 gms media contract with ESPN. Last check MLS has well over 500 regular season inventory not counting playoffs and a 80+ gm Leagues Cup. So there is even more of a contrarian argument to the article that MLS hits or exceeds their base $300m yr number just like EPL exceeded their original base number of $375m yr they were looking for which was double the amount of the old NBC deal.

  18. Edwin

    January 28, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    I know where Kartik is coming from I have witnessed this nastiness on twitter with a segment of USMNT Twitter there is a nast unfair Anti MLS element its very juvenille and toxic. There is no excuse for these people. If you are even a mild fan of MLS or are capable of praising and being critical such as Kartik some of the stuff they say is asinine. I know Kartik was telling the truth and not just making stuff up when he said “if you disagree with anything they say they’ll accuse you of working for MLS”
    I’ll say this to Kartik as we follow each other alot of these folks aren’t far separated from some of the folks he follows. Alot of these people are close followers of accounts and engage closely with the Hell Town Beers and Kessels of the world. Me and Helltown(Larry) and Chris while we didn’t use to agree all the time would use to have a very adult conversations on things and view points mostly disagree but find common respectful ground. Things haven’t gotten so toxic the past few months with some of the more toxic elements getting emboldened in numbers that those usual conversations I’d have with those folks got so bad with people like alias accounts randomblackrain/TheSoccerHeretic and a few others got into the kind of Twitter spat Kartik has experience with these type of similar aggressive overly personal accounts when you disagree with them that essentially we eventually mutually blocked each other as I’ll stand my ground and if I have time will give it back, Was ashame in the since that I had been having respectful conversation for yrs with guys like Kessel and HellTown even though we disagreed on alot its a sign of maturity. But the vile anti-MLS P/R is the only way burn it all down crowd has much like politics has created bubbles of information where folks only want to here what they want. That’s USMNT has a MLS quota/ MLS is bad does no good/MLS fans are stupid sheep.

    Its a bad trend and I have found myself while still wanting the USMNT to win every single game feeling less engaged because its tough been apart of a US fan base with such juvenile idiotic hateful fans. The ironic twist these folks will go on and on about how bad MLS has is for development and totally ignore more than half our teams core and alot of our standout players developed in MLS academies or have recently left MLS successfully the last 2-3 yrs while they grew into vital cogs for our national team. Hate really blinds you it silly and just a game but some folks make it personal.

  19. Michael

    January 28, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    @kartik. Why you care about Twitter “influencers” that get 400 likes? At first I thought you were being sarcastic…but now I realize that you are serious. There are people that get 400,000 or 4 million likes. Those are a big deal. . Someone getting 400 likes is the equivalent of the crowd you get standing in the woods by yourself and yelling at the top of your lungs. They are basically nonexistent. Just tell those losers to kick rocks. Js.

  20. Cpcva

    January 28, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    There’s no crowds in Qatar. Equivalent to living on the sun.

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