Reader Mailbag: Answers to your soccer streaming questions
It’s World Soccer Talk Reader Mailbag time again. This week we’re talking about the FA Cup and Championship on ESPN+, football on HBO Max and the FIFA Women’s World Cup on FOX.
Don’t forget to add your football and/or streaming questions in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to answer them next week!
Bill: All 16 FA Cup games [fourth round] were broadcast by ESPN+ and that’s great, but only one of the four championship games is on ESPN+. As we all know, out of a normal week of 14-15 league games, only 3 or 4 are shown on ESPN+. I understand the FA Cup is winning and David-Goliath battles plus ESPN get EPL teams, but if they can show so many FA Cup games why can’t they show more league games?
World Soccer Talk: That’s a great question, and it’s one we get from time to time. First of all let me say that ESPN+ shows all the league games that the English Football League (EFL) makes available to them. The reason why the EFL does not offer all matches is that almost all Football League clubs have their own streaming services on a platform called iFollow.
For many clubs, asking fans to watch games via iFollow is an important way to generate more money.
With the Premier League, the league enters the market and offers all matches to broadcasters. In contrast, the EFL offers broadcasters a limited package which does not include all matches.
Dave: In your recent podcast, you discuss comments from a commentator looking for a single-team option for Apple/MLS Season Pass. I’m curious if something like this is in consideration for HBO Max (football plan only). Along those same lines, while I’m very happy with Peacock so far, I want to sample HBO Max’s USSF coverage for my own curiosity. Is there a month I could get $10-$15 better value? Mid-late February for the 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+ into one combined app. The new app is supposed to be called Max with an expected launch in the second quarter of 2023.
Reports indicate that Max may include a distinct athletic level.
So while HBO Max doesn’t have a free trial and SheBelieves Cup will be played in February, Warner Bros-Discovery Sports has yet to announce its 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 a great month to take it for a test drive.
Also, HBO Max has a ton of great series, including the hit series The Last Of Us as well as my favorite, the UK version of Ghosts.
Cpcva: It’s a bit early but how will FOX broadcast the Women’s World Cup this summer? Will it only be on FS1 and FS2? I have serious doubts it will be on the big FOX given the obscene time lags involved.
World Soccer Talk: The first two group stage matches for the United States Women’s National Team will be broadcast live on the FOX network. These benefit from kickoff times at 9 p.m. ET. The third game played by the USWNT is at 3 a.m., so it’s more likely that there will be one on FS1.
Unfortunately, the majority of Women’s World Cup kick-off times have matches in the middle of the night.
Here is a more detailed article that discusses the Women’s World Cup match schedules.
It’s all for this week. Don’t forget to ask your questions in the comments below, and we’ll answer them in the Reader Mailbag next Tuesday.