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Why everyone wants to be on CBS Sports Golazo

Paramount+'s Champions League show is changing sports communication on TV

Why everyone wants to be on CBS Sports Golazo  Paramount+'s Champions League show is changing sports communication on TV

At the end of the game at the Etihad Stadium, after annihilating reigning champions Real Madrid, Jack Grealish approaches the CBS pitchside table without yet realizing that he will be playing in his first Champion League final. Awaiting him are Jamie Carragher, who tries to interview him by adjusting his microphone, Micah Richards, who calls him James, and Thierry Henry, who arrives at the end only to have him moved from his seat. Something similar had also happened the day before when during the warm-up of the return semi-final Leão and Theo Hernandez went to greet the hosts while they were life. This is the magic of CBS Sports Golazo, the Paramount+ program dedicated to the Champions League that has quickly become a favorite with both players and viewers.

Through the interventions of host Kate Abdo, Thierry Henry, Jamie Carragher, Micah Richards and Peter Schmeichel, the best of European football becomes a real spectacle even on the sidelines. 

Del Piero who jokes with Micah Richards in the studio about past challenges between Manchester City and Juventus, Henry who confesses to Maldini that he has always been afraid of him and Lukaku who, after the semi-final return match, stops to talk to the microphones, taking part in all the gags as if he were the guest on a show and not in a simple post-match interview. But also Patrice Evra, who bursts into the broadcast despite having to work for a competing broadcaster. CBS Sports Golazo is a red carpet or a salon that you want to be a part of at all costs, a show that is closer to a late night, because of the constant alternation of jokes and funny language that seems to be designed for a much wider audience and not just television. Clips of Kate Abdo's jokes, Henry's laughter and Micah Richard's unsuccessful attempts to speak Italian have become (or been born) memes, in which even footballers want to participate.

CBS has held the UEFA rights for the United States since 2019, and this season saw the launch of the CBS Sports Golazo Network, an online platform that broadcasts content dedicated to football 24/7, with the Champions League remaining the most fascinating competition even for Americans, who in recent years have become increasingly fascinated by European football. A football tradition, that of the Americans, and a journalistic idea of sport less tied to the superstructures present in Europe, have led to content that from the outset has involved the players and the public, without overshadowing the commentary, analysis and information. The guests in the studio play a fundamental role, great players and authoritative voices, capable of creating conversations that are never banal or predictable, who ridicule themselves as a means of pure entertainment. 

Del Piero joking in the studio with Micah Richards about the past match between Manchester City and Juventus, Henry admitted to Maldini that he had always been afraid of him, and Lukaku stopped to talk to the microphones after the semi-final return match, taking part in all the gags as if he were the host of a broadcast and not in a simple post-match interview. This change of point of view has also led the players to interact differently with CBS journalists, during the warm-up of the semi-final return match Leão and Theo Hernandez went to greet the hosts positioned on the sidelines, after yesterday's match Guardiola's players went to banter with Richards, as did Patrice Evra, as if it were a red carpet or a salon they wanted to attend at all costs, on a par with Jimmy Fallon's or Oprah Finfrey's.

American TV is more accustomed to handling the sports product not only as the sports story but also for everything that may be collateral. ESPN, for example, these days brought to its network the Pat McAfee Show, a program by the former NFL player turned YouTuber and commentator very popular in the USA, so much so that it convinced one of the main American broadcasters to include his program in its schedule. In Europe, something similar was seen with the very entertaining and interesting studio of Sky Sports England, where the guests and the style of the program - in which Jamie Carragher always 'clashes' with Gary Neville - are very reminiscent of the style of CBS Sports Golazo.

Managers and federations have taken to the problem of the loss of spectators in football and how to involve the younger generation. The example of the Paramount+ broadcast seems to give the answer that journalism, at least on TV, needs to integrate languages related to the world of social media, Twitch live streams and more generally a freer Tone of Voice, involving athletes, coaches and managers in a different way. There are attempts by footballers and former footballers to create YouTube channels and live streaming. In Italy, the best-known and most mistreated Bobo TV, appreciable or not for the tone and quality of its content, has in its own way inserted itself into an entertainment vacuum, in particular for those popular national discourses on football and its target audience, treated more earthily than in TV studios, increasingly linked to technical analyses and statistics. Bobo TV, and in an even better form Golazo Show, follow the same pattern and exploit the same potential of new communication languages. Is Adani, Vieri, Ventola and Cassano's program therefore a show with the potential of CBS's, with less budget and without the support of a large platform like Paramount+? It may be, but in the meantime, the numbers and the support of sponsors show that that approach has an audience that is increasingly loyal to the content.

It is not difficult to find cuts of CBS Sports Golazo Show posted on TikTok and Instagram if you have educated your algorithm to search for football content in these Champions League days. The truth is that except for a few interesting columns, there was no program dedicated to European football - set as a table of pundits, with the same talent and stage presence as the one hosted by Kate Abdo. Exactly as with podcasts, the show does not end with the live broadcast or the platform on which it is published, but continues into the following days, while from TikTok, Golazo takes the pace and focus of the creator/journalist's personality. It is right to question the fact that Gen Z is less and less interested in football and its storytelling, sports communication must at the same time ask itself how to reach a generation that has a new idea of entertainment, faster and more instinctive, that has a different and more direct relationship with their idols and the icons of the past.