CBS Sports’ decision to launch the Golazo Network, a 24/7 soccer streaming channel, is a smart move. Day one is in the can, but what were our Golazo Network first impressions after the first day, including their two new shows?
The CBS Sports Golazo Network concept is brilliant. No other sports broadcaster in the United States is continuously streaming as much soccer content on weekdays as Golazo Network. The reruns on beIN SPORTS and GolTV don’t count. So Golazo Network, with its mixture of free live games as well as documentaries and daily weekday shows, is doing something that neither ESPN, FOX nor NBC are doing.
While some of the programs are reruns, that’s fine. Golazo Network ends up being a hassle-free destination for soccer fans to have the stream constantly on in the background while are at work or home.
Box 2 Box getting boxed in
I will give CBS Sports props for making a late decision to launch Box 2 Box, their afternoon daily news-driven soccer show. Day one of the broadcast featured host Poppy Miller and analyst Aaron West, as well as a guest appearance via video link by Jimmy Conrad.
Unfortunately, the show feels like an afterthought. Not in the analysis that Miller and West offer, which was on point, but in the way it’s not been given the same attention or promotion as Morning Footy. Firstly, Tuesday’s pre-match coverage of the UEFA Champions League on Paramount+ had a segment with Kate Abdo, Thierry Henry, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards discussing Morning Footy with the morning show crew. Box 2 Box wasn’t even mentioned.
Secondly, the Morning Footy talent is a five-person crew. Box 2 Box has one host and just one analyst. Ian Joy and West take their turns throughout the week.
Box 2 Box, which arguably has talent that is overall as good or better than Morning Footy, feels like it’s too similar to the pre-match programming CBS Sports HQ has shown in the past before Champions League coverage. Box 2 Box doesn’t feature any of the production touches that Morning Footy has either.
The shame of it is that Box 2 Box has a much better time slot for viewers. Morning Footy isn’t inclusive. It’s a live show for the East Coast that airs from 7-9AM ET. On the other hand, Box 2 Box‘s 1-2PM ET time slot is far more convenient for viewers across all timezones in the United States.
Golazo Network first impressions
Morning Footy started out with a bang on Tuesday morning with a discussion about Wrexham AFC and how the club is taking America by storm. Host Susannah Collins set the segment up perfectly. Analysts Nico Cantor, Alexis Guerreros and Charlie Davies debated why Wrexham has been one of the feel-good stories of the year, as well as why MLS is unable to garner the same interest levels.
One of my initial concerns about Morning Footywas how the show was going to juggle the many different factions of soccer fans who watch completely different leagues. Day one is too soon to tell because it’ll be interesting to see what the producers focus on during slow news days. However, the first day was encouraging. There was a healthy mixture of soccer talk about Europe, MLS, NWSL, USWNT and Serie A.
Guerreros and Davies are not experts on world soccer, but combined with Collins, Cantor and Jenny Chiu, the five of them have excellent chemistry on set, which is pleasing to watch. There are also enough fun but forgettable segments of predictions and stunts to make the time go by quickly.
No doubt, Nico Cantor is the star of the show. He’s able to discuss any of the topics raised, relying on his considerable knowledge of world soccer. At the same time, he’s engaging on camera, and exudes a lot of positive energy.
Outside of Morning Footy and Box 2 Box, the opening day of coverage on the Golazo Network included a tactical cam for the UEFA Champions League semi-final, as well as reruns of recent games and other programming.
Overall, it’s a positive start for the Golazo Network. Other than whether the talent mix is the right fit, my only other concern is longevity. Can Morning Footy and Box 2 Box keep the shows as fresh and exciting in three months from now? Will viewers continue watching on a daily basis or several times a week? It’s a marathon, but the initial signs are promising.
Golazo Network is available via Paramount+, CBS Sports App, CBS Sports website and Pluto TV.
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