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The art of soccer commentary: World Soccer Talk Podcast

In the NEW episode, number 1425, Christopher Harris is joined by guest John Roder. They discuss:

His insight into commentating on soccer. We discuss the art of commentary as well as other topics including Gareth Bale heading to MLS, USL TV ratings, FOX Sports hiring a new commentator for World Cup 2022, as well as news about beIN SPORTS renewing a soccer rights deal. And, of course, feedback from you, the listeners.

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

    July 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Jan Aage just announced he will start a Bundesliga weekly podcast. Looking forward to it!

    “Pleased to announce that I will run a weekly English Bundesliga- Podcast for the upcoming season with @MarkusFjortoft

    Looking forward to follow my two favourite leagues, the Premier League and the Bundesliga.

    Will keep it interactive throughout the season+great guests”

  2. Anthony

    July 2, 2022 at 9:16 am

    We are just five weeks away from the start of the premier league season. Any idea what is going on with NBC’s studio and booth teams? Aren’t they all out of contract (except for Drury I guess)?

    • Christopher Harris

      July 2, 2022 at 3:52 pm

      Nothing official, but according to my sources, Arlo White getting removed and replaced by Peter Drury will be the only change.

  3. Ra

    July 1, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    Also, it was hilarious that the Turkey deal was mentioned en passant without mentioning the figures involved. I bet that 5 years from now, it will be worth 500ish, maybe twice as mych by year 10. I am still struggling to understand the positivity with MLS’ Apple deal.
    And I agree with the USL point. Both leagues are struggling to grow, and they depend more on ESPN than ESPN depends on them.

    • Edwin

      July 1, 2022 at 7:06 pm

      The Turkey deal actuallyay decreased from $500m yr to $370m yr was a $2.5b 5 yr deal. Now a 2yr 370m yr deal. Market is down on Turkish Super League it appears.

      I think you’ll see some once strong leagues lose rights fees as leagues like MLS get bigger over the coming years. Think the same happens for leagues l8ke Ligue 1 and Serie A

      • Ra

        July 1, 2022 at 7:20 pm

        The issue there is political, and piracy. I haven’t seen any indication that interest is down there.

        • Edwin

          July 1, 2022 at 7:40 pm

          Hmm could be right but if political and piracy issues are that much they had trouble getting a deal where the last broadcaster terminated the deal early and they go from $500m yr to just under $370m yr they need to figure it out fast within the next 2 yrs of this deal.

          That’s a hefty rights fee reduction and these are for global rights.

          • dave

            July 1, 2022 at 8:45 pm

            @Edwin, it is the same broadcaster (beIN and a Turkish subsidiary). beIN estimate there are two pirates for every paying customer and received a rebate such that old rights were $370 million net. The renewal is rumored to be about the same
            Turkish Lig went to auction and had basically zero interest other than from beIN. Next best offer was under $150 million per year, which Turkish Lig were going to accept out of spite. Cooler heads prevailed but it is a soap opera. I suspect you may be right that Turkish Lig will face headwinds in 2 years

  4. Ra

    July 1, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    @Chris I read on Twitter that Vix+ will launch July 21, and will cost $6.99/mo. Did you hear anything? More importantly, any news on Libertadores rights for the US?

    • dave

      July 1, 2022 at 8:27 pm

      @Ra, it is now on the ViX site that ViX+ will be $6.99 USD per month in the US, launching July 21. Price will be $119 MXN in Mexico (~$6 USD) and ~$5 USD in many Latin American countries. Slightly higher than I would have guessed, but I will sign up. The service is delivering a lot of value for me. Will be interesting to see what goes to ViX+ vs. ViX

      • Ra

        July 1, 2022 at 9:20 pm

        Really like the competition. I don’t mind the Spanish commentary, but I will consider them only if they provide full dvr controls. And mmmulticast is a plus. Right now, I still think that Paramount provides a better value. I get my UCL, Europa, Conference, Brasileirao, and I still get Smithsonian amd Steve Colbert.

  5. dave

    July 1, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    I enjoyed and learned a lot from your discussion with John. It is fun to get insight from a practitioner. Of particular interest were John’s comments on announcing styles such as “baseline 8 of 10”, “funereal”, “nonstop statistics”, “professionalism”, etc.
    * Bale to LAFC seems important. Big name, arguably still in his prime when healthy, to big club in big city. World Cup in November likely helped make this mutually beneficial
    * Turkish Lig selling global rights for (reportedly) ~$350 million per year suggests Apple got a steal of a deal with MLS. Even more so if beIN is on the hook for production
    * I agree with @Ethan that 150k on ESPN is not impressive. MLS national ratings are generally mediocre, and USL ratings seem lower than MLS all else equal. Is your argument that USL may be good “per dollar” rights? Potential for USL to grow? I enjoyed both USL on ESPN games, but the data suggest I am an outlier on that

  6. Leo

    July 1, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    With due respect, this website should learn a word or two about the profesionalism the invited talked about in the podcast when the public is broad. Or maybe change the name from WorldSoccerTalk to EnglishSoccerTalk. It’s not difficult. It’s just being professional, and save the fanboyism for friends’ conversation.

    • Ra

      July 1, 2022 at 2:48 pm

      I agree with your criticism. I would also extend it to many of the broadcasters here. I recall hearing the narrator on the UCL final talking of Liverpool as if they were “our team”. I remember thinking why on hell would he think anyone should be a Liverpool supporter.
      It is also blatantly obvious that they are very partial when commenting referee decisions. When an English player stabs a knife on an intl match, they will go “but if he is not completely dead, it shouldn’t be a foul”. But when they fall, it should always be a foul, as supposedly they would never fake it.

  7. JP

    July 1, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    Since there were no matches of the week suggested, here goes!

    Palmeiras/Athletico Paranaense on Saturday at 8pm

    Other matches of note, Fluminense/Corinthians 3:30 Saturday afternoon and Toronto/Seattle 7:30 Saturday night if Lorenzo Insigne is making his MLS debut.

    • Ra

      July 1, 2022 at 6:48 pm

      I agree. Those are definitely on my list as well. I will also try Santos-Flamengo and Sao Paulo-Atletico. Will the Insigne game be on linear TV? I don’t see a reason to pay for ESPN+ before Aug 5. I have only Paramount and SlingWorld for now.

      • JP

        July 1, 2022 at 7:50 pm

        Don’t see any national TV for the Toronto match, only ESPN+. Reading the tea leaves (trailer for an Insigne special to air July 7th in Canada), maybe his debut will be next weekend instead vs San Jose.

        I do the yearly plan, mostly use for 10 months, August through May, but discount makes it the same price as 10 months and no risk of price increases during the term. And always some random thing I might want to watch, like the odd MLS game we’re discussing here or Wimbledon, La Liga promotion matches, etc.

        • Ra

          July 1, 2022 at 9:15 pm

          I usually do ESPN+ on a monthly basis because of the kids. I usually get the disney combo 4mo per year.
          What I enjoyed this week is the Sao Paulo-Catolica game. It couldn’t get more Conmembol than that. The highlights show only a fraction of the red cards shown to the team. Even the PT got one.
          https //

  8. Ethan

    July 1, 2022 at 10:40 am

    Excuse my typos, I’m typing on my cell on the metro. I love the pod long time listener, but sometimes it’s evident the takes are full of bias and when you guys jump the shark I gotta call you guys on it to keep you honest.

  9. Ethan

    July 1, 2022 at 10:34 am

    It’s a joke that you guys are placating USL fans with this USL ratings ate close to MLS. They are not repeating it trying to make fetch happen doesn’t make it so.

    What you guys Chris are doing is disingenuous. You’re cherry picking stats to make your case. First example folks repeating this falsehood have done using ESPN vs ESPN2 numbers. Those are 2 very different things. It’s disingenuous when there were head to heads available on ESPN so why is this lie getting repeated and pushed.

    Truth is those USL numbers are ok not great just ok but let’s be honest. Here are the numbers from 2 weekends of USL on ESPN vs MLS. Both windows of USL and MLS were simulcast windows on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Total number of people who were interested in watching both leagues in simulcast lincluded.

    Week 1
    USL on ESPN/ESPND- 197k

    MLS on ESPN2/ESPND-199k
    MLS on ESPN/ESPND- 413k

    Week 2
    USL on ESPN/ESPND- 142k

    MLS on ESPN/ESPND- 211k

    Looking at these numbers these takes are outright dishonest. Attempting to use FS1 numbers that are always lower than ESPN for any sport is dishonest, fails to recognize the USL number if it was on FS1 would be lower and Chria you wouldn’t make these attempts if USL was on FS1 pulling a lower number than MLS. Commonsense would find you and you’d say we’ll of course it’s FS1 come on here.

    Lastly why would ESPN as you suggested be concerned with what FS1 pulled for MLS over what MLS pulls on ESPN vs USL on ESPN. MLS 211k even with a comically low Chase Hand Tag lead in of 88k viewers STILL pulled more than USL with Sports Center 395k Lead in 4-5x higher than the lead in MLS got.

    Let’s look at USL Championship game had 84k viewers vs MLS Cup normal 1-2mil viewers.
    Your suggestion that ESPN is lol could be contemplating or using some leverage is fairy take dreamland.

    Honest constructive criticism critique.
    Quit trying to manufacture narratives and be a honest broker. MLS had a higher floor and MUCH higher ceiling. Tits embarrassing the spin bring attempted here.

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