Diehard soccer fans have likely become familiar with England’s Sky Sports News channel over the years when it has been simulcast online here. Fox Sports used to do so when its parent company owned Sky; NBC Sports does it these days for European soccer’s transfer deadline because Comcast owns Sky now.
But there’s never really been an outlet where soccer fans can park their TVs or computer screens all day and get coverage without having to wait for ESPN’s “SportsCenter” or other programs to get through all the other sports news going on.
One of the biggest soccer fans at CBS decided to do something about that. Pete Radovich, the lead producer of the network’s soccer coverage — including the UEFA men’s Champions League, the NWSL, Italy’s Serie A, and more — is spearheading the launch of the “CBS Sports Golazo Network,” a 24/7 soccer streaming channel that CBS will launch on April 11.
The channel will be available for free on CBS Sports’ website and apps, CBS’ Paramount+ streaming platform, and Pluto TV.
“As a fan of the sport in this country, you really have pregame [shows], postgames and games,” Radovich told The Inquirer. “There’s nowhere in the morning, or randomly at night, if you put your TV on and you’re looking for some kind of — whether it’s just background noise, or you’re looking for information if news breaks. … There’s nowhere to go to have a discussion about that in the moment.”
The signature program will be a live studio show weekday mornings from 7-9 a.m. called “Morning Footy.” Its panelists are well-known to American soccer fans: MLS video host Susannah Collins, Champions League reporters Nico Cantor (who also hosts the popular whiparound show) and Jenny Chiu, former Union and U.S. national team player Charlie Davies, and Alexis Guerreros of the “Cooligans” comedy duo. The show will originate from CBS’ studios in Stamford, Conn., where the network’s Serie A coverage is based.
The platform will also give CBS a dedicated space for extended studio coverage on men’s Champions League game days and to enhance its NWSL coverage.
Most importantly, when there is news, it will be a news outlet.
“If something breaks during the day, work hours up until the evening, we’ll cut in — if we’re in the middle of, let’s say, a magazine program or a podcast on tape or a re-air of the game,” Radovich said. “From a news operation standpoint, we’re going to start out with baby steps, but eventually this is going to be what you would expect it to be: a 24-hour operating network that covers a sport soup to nuts.”
The rest of the air time will be filled mostly with re-airs of games from CBS’ various soccer properties. Along with the aforementioned three, the network has rights to the UEFA men’s Europa League and Conference League; England’s women’s Super League; Concacaf national team competitions including the men’s Nations League (except U.S. group stage games) and women’s championship; and men’s club action from Argentina, Brazil, Scotland, and Asia’s Champions League.
There will also be some number of live games. That’s good news for fans who don’t want to pay to subscribe to Paramount+, or pay for the TV subscription required to watch CBS Sports Network. It’s not known yet which leagues will be showcased, but NWSL fans will certainly be wondering.
Radovich praised CBS’s NWSL podcast and video show, “Attacking Third,” co-hosted by Philadelphia-based Lisa Roman (who’s also a Union radio game analyst) and Chicago-based Sandra Herrera.
“‘Attacking Third’ having a presence is inevitable on on something like this,” he said. “It’s really cut through, and we have a Women’s World Cup this year. The timing of this for us, in terms of coverage from the top European leagues, MLS, NWSL, all of that is great, but then to have the Women’s World Cup on top of that right when we’re launching is fantastic.”
In fact, CBS does not have women’s World Cup rights; Fox and Telemundo do. But Radovich has never been shy about having CBS’ soccer coverage talk about the entire sport, including leagues and tournaments the network doesn’t have rights for.
“The launch of the CBS Sports Golazo Network demonstrates the continued evolution of our industry-leading soccer coverage as we build on the incredible momentum we have created the past three years,” CBS Sports chair Sean McManus said in a statement.
While that’s obviously a cheerleading remark, there’s a notable truth in it: the “three years” part. CBS is still pretty new to being a big-time soccer broadcaster. For decades, the network has been known for its coverage of classically American sports: the NFL, golf, college football and basketball, and back in the day U.S. Open Tennis. Now CBS is a major player in the world’s game, and this new project is another example.