History of European Soccer Broadcasts in the U.S.?

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by PhiloBarca, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. PhiloBarca

    PhiloBarca Member

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    Does anybody know of a resource that would have the history/timeline of the broadcasting of European club soccer in the U.S.? Basically, I'm looking for which channels had the rights to which leagues and/or club competitions, and what kind of coverage those channels provided when they had the rights?


  2. PhiloBarca

    PhiloBarca Member

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    Sightly more specific followup questions would be: Were any Serie A games or the European Cup / CL games carried on TV in the US in the 1990s?
  3. GiuseppeSignori

    GiuseppeSignori Member

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    ESPN broadcast the Champions League from 1995-2009, usually putting the games on ESPN2. The first final I remember seeing was the Ajax-Juventus final in '96, which I guess would be the first one if their coverage began with the 95-96 season.

    As for Serie A, I recall seeing a Serie A highlight show on the local cable sports network in Chicago (at the time SportsChannel Chicago -- which begat Fox Sports Net Chicago which begat ComCast SportsNet Chicago) back in '95-96 - seemingly produced in England. But I also recall watching the RAI broadcasts of Serie A games and the "90 Minuto" highlights program in Italian on an independent over-the-air channel in New York (Channel 25), as well as on cable in Chicago (can't remember which channel) on Sunday mornings at least as far back as 97-98. And I'm pretty sure they are still being shown in New York.

    Hope that helps.
  4. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    PBS had the late great "Soccer made in Germany" for a bit over a decade (mid-70's-1987, IIRC) with Toby Charles (some excerpts can be found on YouTube).

    Toby also provided the coverage under the same brand name of the Euro'80 and '84 and WC'82.

    Also on PBS, Mario Machado announced the English First Division matches back in the late 70's-early 80's.

    When that was canceled, he tried to do the old Argentine (then, the reigning World Champions) league but to no avail.

    All of those matches were edited down to about 52 minutes worth to fill in the 1hr time slot.

    Univision, then with Tony Tirado on the mic, covered the Mexican league mostly but also did an occasional Champions Cup final (I remember coming home in the spring of 1985 and waiting for the Liverpool-Juventus match without being to understand what was going on in the stands in Heysel since I spoke no Spanish at the time whatsoever).

    Univisio/Tirado also did the entire 1986 WC (and, from what I understand, the 1982 WC as well) live in Spanish. Tony did drop a few English words now and again. I believe he was either in Miami then or in San Antonio, observing matches in the studio.

    Then Univision hired Norberto Longo/Andres Cantor combo and they did Euro'88 (though, I am not sure if they did all matches but I do recall the USSR-Netherlands final) and WC'90. They were usually in a Miami studio, again working off a TV.

    TBS/TNT had the WC'90 and they did it live with Bob Neal and Mick Luckhurst, I believe, and with commercial interruptions during matches.
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  5. DCUdiplomat96

    DCUdiplomat96 Member

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    I remeber the WC 1990 TNT broadcast actually there is a Youtube video of the US team at thier training Headquaters in Italy before they atrted the world cup. I vividly remeber 1986 being highlighted on Public tv in DC. tape delayed ofcourse. as for english language american TV. the earliest was the 1990 league Cup Final (tape Delayed between arsenal and sheff wednesday)... that was On Prime Network(now FSN)
  6. InterFan76

    InterFan76 Member

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    In the 80s to mid 90s RAI on Channel 31 in NYC would have one Serie A match on sunday mornings followed by 90 minuto highlights. Then on weekdays they would show The Old UEFA Champions cup,UEFA Cup and Cup-Winners-Cup matches involving Italian clubs. I remember seeing Maradonna and Napoli winning the UEFA Cup in 89. Also seeing Atalanta's historic run in the Cup-Winners-Cup vs Sporting Clube de Portugal in 87-88 while in Serie B. I used to love coming home from school and seeing Italian football on TV. It was a great time the era of Maradonna at Napoli.
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  7. colins1993

    colins1993 Member

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    If you want to go WAY back the 1966 WC final was on NBC, slightly tape delayed with no commentary, just natural stadium sound.

    Shown on PPV in theatres/auditoriums throughout the US were the 1970 WC, the 1972 European Nations Cup, the 1974 WC and the 1978 WC.
  8. DAK77

    DAK77 Member+

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    Around '93 I remember AC Milan having a preseason game on ESPN where they had 3 teams playing short games. If I remember correctly it was AC Milan, Flamengo and Zaragoza.
  9. InterFan76

    InterFan76 Member

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    Interesting did not know this. I thought the first WC shown was the 82 final on Wide World of Sports on ABC.
  10. billf

    billf Member+

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    I used to get up early on Sunday mornings and watch a Serie A match in Italian from around 1990-1993. There was a public TV channel in Philly that picked up the RAI feed a similar channel in NYC was showing. They also showed a preview/highlights show late on Friday nights.

    ESPN started to pick up champions league games around 1992-93 and they also showed a Bundesliga highlights show sporadically. After the World Cup in 1994, they started to show the CL more regularly and picked up the Dutch League. I also recall them showing the Monday night PL match on a delay Monday evenings on ESPN2 in 1997-98 or so.
  11. billf

    billf Member+

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    That's what I wacthed, it was great!
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  12. golazo_usa

    golazo_usa Member

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    Wow! That's was how I got hooked on Serie A action too in the late 80's. Living in the DC area, we would get those RAI broadcasts from that NYC channel via local over air channel here (56). As you mention, there were games on Sunday mornings, followed by 90' Minuto, then La Domenica Sportiva, and a bunch of other variety shows mixed with soccer personalities and hot chicks as presenters.

    After Dish got into the DBS business in 92, they carried RAI Int'l 24/7, and I was able to get my fix
    of Italian calcio there.

    I wonder if RAI knew all this time there were a bunch of non-Italians watching their programs. :)
  13. guignol

    guignol Moderator Staff Member

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    i remember watching both these on PBS in the 70's, and it seems to me there was also a Seria A highlight show on PBS around the same time.

    the matches were obviously not live but in those pre-internet days you didn't need to worry about knowing the result already. even if you went to a specialized newstand to buy european newspapers they would also be days old...

    the old ways were good ways.
  14. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    In the late'80's, I had no cable when living in LA and could only get the OTA broadcasts - the Mexican League on Univision, rare international football and more Mexican League on Telemundo and ... the highlights came on clear (mostly Santa Ana wind) days, when one could get a Tijuana signal with a rooftop antenna. The "real" Mexican TV (Ch. 12?) broadcast Hugo Sanchez's Real Madrid matches then. In 1996, they also broadcast the entire Euro'96. I still remember a great signal at the beginning on the Germany-Czech Republic final and then mostly TV "snow" going into the overtime but it came in sort of OK right when Oliver Bierhoff scored the Golden Goal winner.

    Also, prior to the 1994 (or maybe 1998?) WC, Telemundo aired the "World Cups Greatest Matches" special, some (USSR-Portugal 3rd place from 1966 with Yashin and Eusebio) still in black and white.
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  15. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Including...

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  16. guignol

    guignol Moderator Staff Member

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    just too awesome. so glad i stayed to the very end to see a presentation of KQED san francisco.

    god the 70's were cool.
  17. axxess mundi

    axxess mundi Member

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    I remember SIN, before it was univision, hosted by the great Tony Tirado. SIN would show an international potpourri of games of different leagues. I remember his era more than the replacements Cantor and Longo. I didn't care for that duo especially Longo with his monotone voice. Cantor would belt some Spanglish once in a while.
    I recall PBS Germany games on 13
    RAI on Sundays on 21 & 25
    WXTV 47 had something before the Telemundo era.
    Then there were restaurant bars with satellite dishes bigger than Ford escort who would get euro games.

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