Soccer Goes Radio

The big soccer business announcement of the day came from an unusual medium, the world of radio.  Mainstream sports talk radio has long ignored soccer in many markets, while the internet has giving rise to many quality podcasts focusing on the beautiful game.  Today SirriusXM revealed that starting on Monday, the satellite radio provider will offer a 24 hour, 365 soccer channel, with talk shows, matches and more.

I have long commented on the lack of forum for soccer fans to banter about their favorite sport. Now, for those with access to satellite radio, that forum exists.  In speaking to the New York Times, Scott Greenstein, the SiriusXM president and chief content officer said “People like talking to true experts, and the call-ins are integral to getting into the lifestyle and flavor of sports, especially soccer,” Greenstein said. “Any time you want to talk soccer, this is it. Imagine calling the FAN”  — all sports radio WFAN in New York — “and wanting to talk Red Bulls. That’s just not happening. Now those people have a channel.”

In addition to talk, the station will carry radio broadcasts of the EPL, MLS Matches and broadcasts of MLS Extra Time.  I have always been skeptical of the appeal of actual soccer matches on the radio.  Soccer is a great sport in stadium and it translates reasonably well to television.  However, soccer is extremely difficult to broadcast without the visual backdrop of the match.

Nevertheless, the advent of this new network is a great thing for fans of the game.  Having an outlet to debate, discuss and relive matches is exciting for fans of the game.

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2 Responses

  1. Excited for the additional soccer coverage on XM with the Harkes-Meola show, MLS extra time and MLS matches along with the European games!

  2. Because I think it’s relevant to what you wrote here, Ben, I’m pasting the comment I originally submitted to the (linked-to) NY Times article here as well…

    **********

    Yes, the fact that SiriusXM is formally creating a 24/7 soccer channel is a big step forward.

    However, much of the programming that they mention as being a part of this channel (i.e., Football Show, Men in Blazers, TalkSport talk shows, Premier League matches via TalkSport, UEFA Champions League matches via Fox, etc.) had already(!) been airing on SiriusXM (Sirius 92/XM 207). What’s new in the press release (found in the Newsroom area of http://www.siriusxm.com) is that it now also includes Fox Soccer News each night, MLS playoffs (speculating: maybe using audio from ESPN telecasts?) and FA Cup matches (also from Fox).

    So, all in all the programming is very much the same as what’s been airing without fanfare for quite some time.

    I (and, I’m sure, others as well) hope that the channel lives up to its promise as a true 24/7 outlet for soccer coverage above and beyond what’s been mentioned here (how about MLS during the regular season, and how about U.S. National Team matches including World Cup qualifiers…and, even better, how about, as others have said, matches beyond TalkSport’s EPL coverage that don’t use television audio?) but we should all (yes, myself included) be very much aware of what’s already been airing on SiriusXM before loudly celebrating this channel’s creation as being “all-new” when it’s not quite at that level. It’s definitely a good thing, but could, and should, be much better still…

    Sincerely,
    Bram Weiser

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