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Soccer networks on TV ranked from best to worst

In the NEW episode, number 207, Christopher Harris and co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:

• We rank the best soccer networks on US TV from best to worst
• Paramount+ gets a launch date for Champions League fans
• Our thoughts on Sirius XM FC’s soccer coverage
• Step by step instructions on how to get ESPN’s Multicast working
• 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.

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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. disco george

    January 25, 2021 at 11:26 am

    WRT the streaming vs TV debate, it just highlights what a weird place soccer currently occupies on TV. Soccer isn’t popular enough to dislodge any of the other big sports out of their TV slots, but siloing it onto soccer-focused channels hasn’t really been sustainable long-term, either.. We’re stuck with this weird thing where we ‘get’ to pay for 87 streaming services and simultaneously supposed to be grateful whenever soccer is on TV.

  2. Turfit

    January 23, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    Here I go again agreeing with JP…….
    When taking streaming out of the picture, how is ESPN and CBS ranked so high?? Does ESPN even have a bumper program that is soccer related on any of their main TV channels? I know they have ESPN FC but that is streaming. Plus, how many matches ESPN average per week, one Serie A match and maybe one or two MLS if it is in their short season? So an average of 2 matches per week within all of their many tv channels?? Looking in my FuboTV feed, this weekend (Jan 23-24) there is 6 La Liga matches being shown on beIN sports main channel (even more matches on their connect and extra channels) and 5 LigaMX matches on TUDN and only one match on ESPN. ESPN may do a great job broadcasting a match but they are few and far between.
    CBS was a breath of fresh air when they took over Champions League during the 19-20 season and deserve high praise. But so far during the 20-21 season, the only match they have shown is their wrap-around show that is terrible, myself and many others on this site have complained about it. I watch TUDN’s wrap-around show instead even though I do not speak Spanish.
    Now, if we add streaming to the mix, it would be hard to disagree with your rankings (I still think CBS should be lower and beIN should be higher……)

  3. Don

    January 22, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    Tom yeah I saw that today. It is a huge deal all over. Here I am just sitting back saying I knew this weeks/months ago because of WST.

    It will definitely be interesting to see where sports in general will head. Now that all sports are back I have to wonder how many will just call it quits after living without it for 6 plus months.

  4. Tom3

    January 22, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    What you talked about a few weeks ago is coming true. NBCSN is shutting down by the end of the summer.

  5. Chris

    January 22, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Found the logic behind the rankings a bit bizarre to be honest. The criticism of NBC which both rankers agreed upon was that NBC hadn’t sought more rights beyond the EPL. They then proceeded to rank higher ESPN which has reduced the amount of soccer rights it shows on ESPN TV and CBS which shows very little on TV. Only one English language network (NBC) has a dedicated weekly soccer slot and only one cable channel (NBCSN) provides comprehensive coverage of a European league. Combined with the high production values of their coverage and the exposure they give soccer, NBC’s ranking was (by the logic articulated for the rankings) bizarre.

  6. Hans

    January 21, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Listened to the comment made about piped in crowd noise and while it may be here to stay I do not like it at all because they can’t synch the crowd reaction to what is happening on the field especially if there is a miss of a shot on goal a few seconds after the miss you here the fake uuhhh. I prefer the life sound from the players and the coaches which I enjoyed very much in Seria A hearing Gatusso firing on his players is preferred to fake crowd noise.

  7. JP

    January 21, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Obviously there is subjectivity in any rankings, but don’t see when using the “only TV” and taking streaming out of the equation how CBS can rank so high.
    As of right now they show no full matches of UCL, that should change with the knock out rounds, but based on what we’ve seen so far it’s all conjecture to rank them #2.
    I also disagree with ESPN, but I admittedly don’t watch much of the properties they show over the air like MLS and USMNT/USWNT non world cup matches so will just agree to disagree. However, did tune in briefly to the Spanish Super Cup final during a lull in the Juve/Inter match and was immediately turned off when hearing Alejandro on the call. Have said it before, he is a human sleeping pill as a commentator.
    I’d put NBC and beIN behind TUDN for the top three.
    Even with beIN’s talent drain they still show the most soccer and promote them well. I do miss their programming like The Locker Room and the nightly Express Xtra, but for the matches itself it’s not different than their peak a few years ago in terms of production.
    Would never have imagined I’d get into South American soccer, but have quickly grown to love the Copa Libertadores since they took it over. Have become more knowledgeable about many of the clubs and get to see some young talent prior to their move to Europe. Before beIN televised this competition had minimal awareness of it and no interest. Credit to beIN for making it such a priority, don’t think any of the other networks aside from TUDN would have done the same, but no English commentary so wouldn’t be the same.

  8. Cunha

    January 21, 2021 at 5:14 am

    I just watch Fanatiz for Gol tv and Liga Portugal . I already got CBS all Acess, and ESPN+ because of the MLS teams.

  9. Chris Guardiano

    January 21, 2021 at 2:13 am

    When it comes to GolTV, the only other con besides the poor English commentary that Kartik pointed out is the fact that it isn’t on cable systems anymore. 10-12 years ago I remember watching GolTV for their Bundesliga and La Liga coverage all the time. Nowdays, I have to watch GolTV via Fubo in order to watch the Portuguese league and it is $10 extra per month. However thanks to them, at least the Portuguese league still gets coverage in this country which is a plus for me as a Sporting Lisbon supporter.
    As for Univision, I really appreciate the fact that they and Fubo have the TUDN Extra channels in allowing me to watch Liga MX in English. I have really enjoyed the commentators on there which is a lot better than Fox’s Liga MX coverage on FS1.
    Lastly with CBS, the only con that I have them with their Champions League coverage is the lack of matches on TV even though I have All Access and can watch the Champions League. If they covered the Champions League the same way they cover March Madness and the NFL, the ratings would be much better. I sincerely hope that CBS puts a few Champions League knockout round games on network TV and especially the final.
    Great Job with the podcast Chris & Kartik

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