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Why English voices still play a big part in US soccer coverage: World Soccer Talk Podcast

In the NEW episode, number 214, Christopher Harris and co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:

• Why are there so few good American soccer analysts on TV?
• Our thoughts about so many English voices still playing such a big part in soccer coverage in America
• Latest developments with Serie A TV deal
• First impressions of Paramount+ and Der Klassiker coverage on ABC
• What ESPN’s NHL deal means for the soccer streaming wars
• 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.

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. Fechin Attuah

    March 23, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    You guys are right CBS got the rights to serie a

  2. Bill

    March 22, 2021 at 4:49 am

    I had to pass this along!! The WWE wrestling company sold their rights to NBC and i think shutting down their streaming service. The WWE network is now on Peacock. They had a live show on last night so thought I’d look at the comments on it and surprise! Alot of WWE fans were complaining about not being able to rewind or start from the beginning. The WWE responded that they had “issues” with the streaming!. Guess they didnt know about live events shown on Peacock!!

  3. Turfit

    March 21, 2021 at 10:47 am

    @JP, it works on Roku also. Hit down button twice. Nice feature, reminds me of sling tv function. Switching between Serie A match and West Indies Cricket!!!

  4. Rick

    March 20, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    It wasn’t long ago that we could watch almost any league we wanted with a basic cable subscription. Now you turn on ESPN and instead of showing Bundesliga or Serie A, cornhole or strongman will be on. I don’t see how requiring fans to pay extra to watch what used to be included is somehow a good thing.

  5. Michael F

    March 20, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Revisiting this topic from this podcast that suggests NBC is going to lose the NHL: That is not according to most recent report from the Athletic. The article states that NBC is still a favorite to land the B Package of the NHL, now that ESPN has landed the A Package.
    Of course this is of interest, since the Comcast executive stated they have to make hard decisions on what they retain for sports packages. How does this impact a potential EPL deal? I wonder which sports league NBC is prioritizing— the NHL or the EPL? It ‘could’ be they will be faced with losing one while retaining the other, due to the increasing contract costs to retain both.

  6. Adam Baker Fritts

    March 19, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    FA Cup rights in US were sold with Serie A last time…is that the case again?

    • Christopher Harris

      March 20, 2021 at 8:12 am

      They’re being sold separately this time. Serie A is doing their deals direct with the broadcasters this time around.

  7. JP

    March 17, 2021 at 10:45 am

    FYI, noticed just now when putting on Torino/Sassuolo on ESPN+ a new feature for the app (at least on a Fire stick).

    There’s now a ‘more live’ function with the DVR controls so don’t have to exit what you’re watching to search for another match to go to if you want. Very convenient.

  8. Roberto

    March 15, 2021 at 8:57 am

    Going back to one of the first English football commentators on TV for me, it was Toby Charles who hosted, “Soccer Made in Germany” starting in about 1976. I cannot remember who did the NASL Seattle Sounders games. Their rebirth in the MSL was about Arlo White’s first exposure to U.S. audiences. I had left Seattle by then but heard him on full game replays. Maybe that is why he remains one of my favorites. He may have been a better play-by-play commentator back then.

  9. Jesus

    March 12, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    One huge advantage of having commentators and analysts from the same country as the leagues they cover is that they have a better historical perspective of the teams. That is why NBCSN is so good because most of their studio people know the Premier League well and know the teams well and often use their knowledge of a team’s past to good use.

  10. Turfit

    March 12, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    I agree with Phil Schoen, and would add George Metellus to the list that is also at beIN Sports. I don’t like her but beIN also has a Canadian Kaylyn Kyle.

  11. Jasinho

    March 12, 2021 at 7:59 am

    Thank you for expanding on my point regarding whomever wins the next Premier League contract should next pursue the FA Cup and the EFL Championship for supplemental English football coverage. That would give a real opportunity for the fans of relegated PL clubs to still follow their club stateside. We all know about the FA Cup final signifying the close of the season at Wembley, but arguably the Championship playoff finals is a great lead-in to the next season as well with respect to the match intensity between the clubs obtaining the last promotion place to the Premiership.

    To respond to the commentator debate, I’m real surprised Phil Schoen was not mentioned. Despite being American, he has put in an enormous amount of work and research behind the scenes to ensure he is just as effective of a footy broadcaster as one would expect from someone across the pond whose focus and specialty on footy is 24/7.

    But the lack of effective American broadcasters not always their fault since the focus on American sports come and go depending on the time of year. In England and other footballing nations, the dedication is almost year round, that is why I listen to TalkSport on my freetime.

  12. Chris Guardiano

    March 12, 2021 at 1:04 am

    @MR what I mean is a couple of networks having a deal that is league wide like in MLS in which ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision all broadcast matches, not just a network that shows the matches of a certain club or clubs.

  13. MR

    March 11, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    @Chris Guardino, regarding LigaMX, maybe the clubs having their own TV/streaming deals was a couple of years ago? As it currently stands, rights in the US are held by Univision (14 teams), Fox Sports (Monterrey, Santos, Xolos) and Telemundo (Chivas).

  14. Eddie

    March 11, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Fechin Attuah said about the FIFA world cup tv deal after 2026? Will NBC or ESPN or CBS bid on the FIFA world cup on tv.

  15. JP

    March 11, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    @Bill, maybe poor choice of words to say “locked in”. Mean that with the NHL deal and all the out of market games formerly on, the 75 exclusive regular season games, etc, that I’ll definitely be re-subscribing anyway, so better to have Serie A remain. Two birds with one stone.
    Tried CBS All Access for UCL last summer and hated the interface, no DVR functions and so on. Very poor once accustomed to ESPN+

  16. Bill

    March 11, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    If you are “locked into ESPN +” and Serie A moves to Paramount… so what! dont renew the ESPN+. No money out of your pocket, ESPN is already paid for. Dont renew it and enjoy what Paramount will bring to the Serie A league.

    Everyone seems to just whine about having to move from one stream to another lol. What a great place we are at these days. SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH world soccer to enjoy in our mancaves and living rooms!!

    Great podcast today!!!!

  17. Ritchie

    March 11, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    This was a great listen, as always.

    The podcast makes the assumption that NBC won’t cover the NHL. That hasn’t actually been decided as there are still 3 Stanley Cup Finals and other packages available to a national outlet.

  18. Hans

    March 11, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Sports events are a factor now for the networks to get subscribers to their streaming services. So I am OK with having several services to get my sports fix. What I don’t like is, that you have to go to different platforms like linear TV plus a streaming app. Biggest offender Comcast cable channel plus Peacock, best distribution not necessarily the broadcast content Paramount+ as they did with the Klassiker on ABC plus the streaming platform not like Comcast do their EPL broadcasts butchered up to aggravate those that want streaming.
    Hopefully the EPL rights will land somewhere else and if their loss of Peacock income plus drop in cable package subscribers is an indication there is hope that they will loose it.

  19. JP

    March 11, 2021 at 8:38 am

    *Not necessary to also have all the movies/tv programs to get our sports like Paramount and Peacock make you wade through.

  20. JP

    March 11, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Ugh, my heart sank when you guys mentioned Paramount is likely to get Serie A. I’m already locked into ESPN+ now with the NHL news and a continued partnership with Serie A would be perfect. Don’t want to need multiple apps to follow the leagues I care about most. Don’t care about any of the other entertainment these services offer, which also makes ESPN+ so great in comparison. Necessary to also have all the movies/tv programs to get our sports like Paramount and Peacock make you wade through.
    I sincerely hope your sources are wrong in this case. Usually you guys are spot on when relaying these types of rumors, but maybe just once you’ll come out with egg on your face? Please!?

  21. Chris Guardiano

    March 11, 2021 at 4:22 am

    Hi guys great podcast once again. When it comes to Rece Davis hosting the Euros on ESPN this summer, I think that is an excellent choice because he is the “jack of all trades” at ESPN and has done well with each sport he has covered for them over the years. I also totally agree with Kartik about the lack of opportunities for American commentators being a major hurdle in their development and the example of Cobi Jones is a good one because when he isn’t doing games for Fox, he is the main co-commentator for men’s college soccer on the Pac-12 Network. However the Pac-12 season only runs from September-late October meaning that the rest of the year he is doing other things unless Fox decides to use him. I find him very informative on commentary and its a shame he isn’t used more by Fox.
    Lastly I have a question for either of you about Liga MX: Do you see in the future Liga MX having a similar TV/streaming deal that the Premier League or MLS have in which one or two networks have the rights to all the games instead of the current model in which each club has their own TV/streaming deal?

  22. Fechin Attuah

    March 11, 2021 at 2:58 am

    Once the World Cup rights is up in 2026? Will the World Cup by any chance be moved to streaming and if so who will get it?

  23. Fechin Attuah

    March 11, 2021 at 2:57 am

    I think peacock needs to change their name to universal plus for brand recognition since everyone knows what universal is. They need to simulcast premier league games on peacock and USA network while having two games every weekend one on main NBC Saturday and Sunday exclusively on the weekends. To have that balance of consumers having to pay for cable and a streaming service. But they can still have the 175 exclusive matches on peacock. While the 205 matches has to be simulcast on NBC,USA and peacock. Because if they don’t retain the rights on the premier league then I’ll most likely unsubscribe from peacock. I wish peacock has more sports they have a lot of motorsports (IMSA,NASCAR,INDYCAR) they all should simulcast with NBC,USA and peacock.
    Now that I heard this podcast I think serie a will go to paramount plus now
    MLS is definitely going to paramount plus
    La liga will go to espn plus depending if Messi stays in Barcelona.
    Ligue 1 can go to discovery plus, espn plus or DAZN since I don’t think they will stay with BEIN sports
    Hbo max could add sports but I’m not sure but they definitely won’t have soccer.
    I think NHL did play a part in this deal since I believe espn plus numbers are better than peacock. But I do think NBC could still retain the rights because I love their hockey coverage. Because Fox keeps pushing games on cable. If fox gets the nhl rights then nascar will be at the back burner. Indy car deal is up I believe the end of the season because if they leave nbc or split the rights with someone because I think INDYCAR and IMSA would look good on peacock since last time INDYCAR was on USA network it was bad, this is a channel that it’s not widely known. I assume nascar will do the same thing again getting two broadcast rights and I doubt fox will renew nascar.

  24. Fechin Attuah

    March 11, 2021 at 2:27 am

    What is the European Super League didnt fifa say players will be banned in fifa tournaments? Also if teams join this league will the big teams leave the premier league, serie a, la liga, ligue 1?

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