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Why the Premier League popularity appears unstoppable

In the NEW episode, number 1414, Christopher Harris is joined by co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer to discuss several topics:

• Why the Premier League appears to be unstoppable
• Whether Peacock TV will acquire any more soccer rights
• Storylines for each of the 20 clubs in the Premier League
• Our thoughts on this week’s US Open Cup games on ESPN+
• What the differences are in playing levels between MLS and USL
• The local broadcast issues that MLS have to deal with
• Our recommended games to watch this weekend
• And your questions in the Listener Mailbag segment.

Plus 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.

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  1. Yespage

    April 28, 2022 at 11:39 am

    Lets not forget inertia as well. The EPL had the earliest exposure in the US through Fox Sports World. And the local commentating is English as well.

    • Christopher Harris

      April 28, 2022 at 11:57 am

      Bundesliga had the earliest exposure for European soccer in the US through PBS. The original NASL had exposure too on ABC and other networks in the 70s and 80s. EPL had exposure, too, yes, but it wasn’t the earliest.

  2. John T

    April 26, 2022 at 11:35 pm

    What had to be a historic first, ABC, NBC and CBS aired soccer at the same time. Bundesliga, Premier League and NWSL.
    Your thoughts?

  3. Michael F

    April 22, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    Great podcast. Yes, the Premier League is arguably the most talented and competitive domestic soccer league in the world, thus the reason for its popularity.

    And I will take this opportunity to remind certain ones as to how wrong they were back in early January when they made comment posts with such conviction on this very site that the title race was long over with. 🙂

  4. Mercator

    April 22, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    I agree with Kartik, the club channels are often dull because there is no real criticism! Clubs are just not in the position to truly criticize themselves or their players, so you end up with dull or very biased presentation that makes you feel like you are watching propaganda and not football. But they can be great if you follow the youth level teams.

    I think you already see the club channel model taking over in the EFL. During the pandemic you could get every game not on Sky on iFollow. This is no doubt why the lower leagues want to get rid of the blackout window – so they can show their 3pm games on ifollow. Aside from the Sky broadcasts, this would make most EFL league games available to stream from the club with the club keeping most of the money. This is basically like the US model, with national broadcasts available on Sky, but most games available for a separate fee on a team owned or regional sports channel that pays the team directly for the rights.

    It also probably is why PL clubs would be hesitant on lifting the blackout. Who would benefit from those extra matches being available? If I were Arsenal, I would want iFollow expanded to the PL 3pm matches, so I keep most of the revenue from those games. If I were Wolves, I probably want those extra matches sold to a broadcaster on a league basis, and wouldn’t want to commit to lifting the blackout until some broadcaster agreed to pay enough for the rights. A club like Arsenal already has all the infrastructure in place, they stream and charge for their pre-season and summer tournament games. Part of me thinks this is why the super league never mentioned a broadcaster, Arsenal for example could show all those games themselves for a fee, and I’m sure the other super league clubs could as well. The 3pm games not being broadcast on TV are probably the only meaningful competitive matches these clubs can get their hands on directly without setting up some new fake league or tournament, so I don’t think the big clubs would easily agree to just sell them off to a broadcaster like the rest of the rights if the blackout is ended. At the same time for smaller clubs, if 3pm matches could go to clubs directly via ifollow or similar, it would basically be a renegotiation of a way part of the rights fees are split (and if the big clubs make enough money on the 3pm games they will no doubt push for more games directly in the next rights deal), so I wouldn’t want to lift the blackout until that is off the table.

    Pure speculation though and I hate the blackout window, absolutely insulting for English fans everyone else on earth can view these games but them. I could see the PL doing this internationally though as well, simply not selling more than 1 3pm game internationally, with the rest streamed directly by the clubs. Next thing you know you need cable, peacock and Arsenal TV just to watch the PL games (and ESPN+ and Paramount for FA Cup and Europa). The fan gets further extorted which indicates to me this is exactly the direction things will move in the future.

  5. Adolfo

    April 22, 2022 at 11:20 am

    My comments on the dominance of the EPL in the United States I feel it comes down to some very important factors NBC/Universal really only has the EPL and NFL as sports properties and the NFL is shared with other broadcasters, where as the EPL is theirs entirely in the United States, second factor is I never saw a big audience for La Liga or the Bundesliga its always 2-3 teams in contention and the unlike the EPL no cares about the regulation battle in either leagues. Lastly the third and most important factor to why other leagues do not resonate with audiences in the United States is NFL and College Football, every league even the EPL will always be 2nd to both sports and be it ESPN, FOX or if one day NBC/Universal win either the Sunday afternoon AFC,NFC Package the EPL will also be second in that sports portfolio.

    • locofooty

      April 22, 2022 at 1:22 pm


      1. NBC’s only soccer property, OTA offerings on both NBC/Telemundo.
      2. Culturally closer to the US than other leagues.
      3. $$$$. The EPL spends more than other leagues.

  6. Roberto

    April 22, 2022 at 8:35 am

    The Lamar Hunt Open cup has long been a favorite of mine, thanks for your comments in the pod-cast. Lamar Hunt help save the MLS in its formative years. The old NASL did not take part. They were afraid of upsets.
    This year it is back and there have been some fun upsets. Some MLS teams do not take it seriously and deserve the embarrassment of defeat. I am half way between Charlotte and Greenville, SC. The big team almost got beat by a team two divisions lower. It was good for Greenville who are planning a new 8,000 seat stadium.
    In the coming rounds there may be more upsets. In the past USL teams have made the last rounds. For me this Cup is more important then the contrived League’s Cup.

    • jason

      April 22, 2022 at 1:40 pm

      Good point Roberto, I am like Kartik on the Open Cup. My interest only goes as far as to when the last non-MLS team competes in the competition.

  7. jason

    April 21, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    I have really enjoyed watching the Norwegian league on Eleven Sports.

  8. dave

    April 21, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Great content as usual.
    * I am really enjoying US Open Cup, to the point I skipped some Liga MX action to focus on small stadiums and teams. Bummed that this may be its last year available to stream. I know MLS do not field A teams for these games, but lower leagues are close to MLS in quality in games I watched. Refs, announcers, and keepers are much better than I expected.
    * I did not understand the $1 per month discussion. EPL bring in ~$15 billion USD in TV revenue per year, or ~$2 per year per human. Much of the world lives on a few dollars per day and are likely not an addressable market for paid streaming. Much of the world does not follow league soccer. On average, people that pay to follow league soccer contribute far more than $12 per person per year. What is the business case?

  9. JP

    April 21, 2022 at 4:37 pm

    For matches to watch this weekend, don’t sleep on the first round of the Belgian league championship playoffs on Sunday. It was these matches that got me into the Belgian league heavily last year.

    Your discussion about potential team channels vs the league as a whole sounds very much like the current situation for most American sports.

    RSN’s are the stand in for team channels…but since many are actually team owned (Red Sox own NESN, Yankees own YES, Dolan family who owns the Knicks and Rangers also owns MSG), it’s the same thing. Right now fans of any local baseball, basketball, or hockey team need access to a specific RSN in order to watch the majority of regular season games. This will cost close to $200 a month or more when you include the usual cable/internet/phone bundle. It does make you less aware of the league/players as a whole unless you also subscribe to the out of market package (, NBA League Pass, etc) or are heavily into gambling/fantasy and follow the league that way as well.

    This is another reason why NFL is king, local games free OTA and enough broadcasts of marquee games also free so have a feel of the entire league. Although, once I quit fantasy football, my knowledge of other teams players has plummeted as there is no reason to care about the running back depth chart for Jacksonville anymore!!

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