Borussia Dortmund continue to experience life without Erling Haaland as they struggled to do much of anything offensively in a drab 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt. Thankfully, Reyna unleashed an absolute missile in the 56th minute to save Dortmund from an incredibly upsetting an infuriating loss to Frankfurt.
But while Lucien Favre may have been happy with a draw, I and presumably most Dortmund supporters are not. For a team that fancies themselves title contenders, that’s some real loser-talk coming from the manager. Thankfully, Zorc offered a much more realistic take that we need to play better for a full 90 minutes.
Anyway, onto my question…
How would we grade ESPN’s Bundesliga coverage?
If you’re like me and live in America, odds are you tried to watch Saturday’s match. And odds are good that, for the first 60ish minutes of that match, you were unable to watch the match on ESPN+ due to weather interfering with the broadcast. What is this, DirecTV? Come on, ESPN, you’re better than this… I imagine. Aside from Reyna’s equalizer and a few , we really weren’t missing much, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise that weather messed with the broadcast.
Up until this Saturday’s hiccup, I’ve been pretty pleased with ESPN’s handling of the Bundesliga. They’ve been posting highlights to the main ESPN Twitter account, the picture quality and sound quality have been perfect on TV and mobile viewings, and we don’t have to listen to Alexi Lalas anymore. I’d say that last point counts for double because f—k that red-headed blowhard.
To me, while they’ve still been better than FOX Sports, there are still some areas that I think they can improve in. I would like to see more Bundesliga coverage from the main ESPN channels, not just shoving them behind a paywall. You’re limiting new ratings and new followers, and potentially new advertisers, if you’re limiting access to the product. I’ve spoken with a number of people at work who are somewhat interested in soccer and they ask me about how I can watch these young American players, and the second I say it’s behind a paywall like ESPN+ or NBC’s Peacock, they lose interest almost immediately. Put a match like Dortmund-Bayern or Bayern-Leipzig on the main ESPN channel before college football games begin and you’ll probably snag a few new fans for the league along the way. I understand why they’re putting these matches behind their streaming apps, but it’s still incredibly frustrating.
I would also like to see more shows revolving around their Bundesliga coverage, with experts and analysts talking about some of the finer points of the league and its clubs, but that might turn into literally every other show on ESPN, so maybe avoid that. If they could somehow showcase some more behind-the-scenes stuff in practices like what they do in the NFL or other American leagues, I think that would do very well.
In all, I would give ESPN a ‘B’ for their first-year coverage of the Bundesliga. It’s better than FOX Sports, but still room for improvement.
Let me know in the comments what questions you’ve got, or even your answers, following the draw against Eintracht Frankfurt.