It’s World Soccer Talk Reader Mailbag time again. This week, we’re talking FA Cup and Championship on ESPN+, soccer on HBO Max, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup on FOX.
Don’t forget to add any questions you might have about soccer and/or streaming in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to answer those next week!
Bill: All 16 matches of the FA Cup [fourth round] were shown by ESPN+ and thats great, but only one of the four Championship matches is on ESPN+. As we all know, on a normal week of 14-15 Championship matches only 3 or 4 are shown on ESPN+. I get that the FA Cup is winner-move-on and the David -Goliath battles plus ESPN gets EPL teams but if they can show so many FA Cup matches, why cant they show more Championship matches?
World Soccer Talk: It’s a great question, and it’s one we get from time to time. First, let me say that ESPN+ streams all of the Championship games the English Football League (EFL) makes available to them. The reason why the EFL doesn’t provide all games is because almost of the clubs in the Football League have their own streaming services on a platform called iFollow.
For many of the clubs, charging fans to watch games via iFollow is an important way to generate more money.
With the Premier League, the league goes to market and offers all of the games to broadcasters. In contrast, the EFL offers broadcasters a limited package that doesn’t include every game.
Dave: In your recent podcast, you discuss feedback from a commenter seeking a single-team option for Apple/MLS Season Pass. I am curious if anything like this is in consideration for HBO Max (soccer-only plan). Related, while I am very pleased with Peacock so far, I want to sample HBO Max’s USSF coverage for my own curiosity. Is there a month where I might get better value out of $10-$15? Mid-late February for SheBelieves Cup?
World Soccer Talk: So HBO Max, as we know it, won’t be around for long. Warner Bros recently merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros-Discovery. And if that merger wasn’t enough, the new company aims to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ together into a combined app. The new app is supposed to be called Max with an anticipated launch in Q2 2023.
Reports are that Max may include a separate sports tier.
So while HBO Max doesn’t have a free trial, and SheBelieves Cup is going to be played in February, Warner Bros-Discovery Sports haven’t yet announced their broadcast schedule.
My recommendation would be to wait another week until we find out from Warner Bros-Discovery Sports what their coverage plans are. And if most of the games are going to be on HBO Max, then February would be an ideal month to take a test drive.
Besides, HBO Max has a ton of great series including the hit series The Last Of Us as well as my personal favorite, the British version of Ghosts.
Cpcva: It’s a bit early but how will FOX broadcast the Women’s World Cup this summer? Will it be on just FS1 and FS2? I have serious doubts it’ll be on big FOX considering the obscene time differences involved.
World Soccer Talk: The first two Group Stage games that the US Women’s National Team plays will be live on the FOX network. Those benefit from 9PM ET kickoff times. The third game the USWNT plays is at 3AM ET, so it’s more likely that one will be on FS1.
Unfortunately, the majority of kickoff times for the Women’s World Cup have games in the middle of the night.
Here’s a more detailed article that discusses what times the Women’s World Cup games are.
That’s all for this week. Don’t forget to ask your questions in the comments below, and we’ll answer in the Reader Mailbag next Tuesday.
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