Connect with us


Golazo Network’s Risky Play To Be America’s 1st All-Soccer Network

Golazo Network is CBS Sports’ second FAST channel after CBS Sports HQ.
The post Golazo Network’s Risky Play To Be America’s 1st All-Soccer Network…



Until a few decades ago, there was little room in the United States for the world’s game.

America already had “football” — and because American exceptionalism convinced generations that soccer didn’t belong in the national sports culture, those who loved the sport anyway were left to enjoy it from the shadows.

“You were almost embarrassed or ashamed to say you played the sport,” former USMNT player and current CBS Sports soccer analyst Charlie Davies told Front Office Sports.

That all changed in 1994, when the United States hosted the FIFA World Cup for the first time.

“That was literally the moment where soccer became a sport that people were interested in,” says Davies. “People could watch, people started to learn how to play. You’re just seeing the generations from that moment want more — and with that, the quality has gotten better.”

But as soccer’s popularity grew in the States, did it have enough cultural relevance to warrant its own dedicated network?

“NFL fans have NFL Network, NBA fans have NBA TV, MLB fans have MLB Network, NHL fans have NHL Network,” says Golazo Network coordinating producer Mike Nastri. “There was nothing that was committed to showing soccer 24/7.”

The Buildup

Prior to 2020, CBS Sports’ soccer coverage was sparse, to say the least.

From 1968 to 1976, the network broadcasted a handful of North American Soccer League games — most famously showcasing soccer legend Pelé to a U.S. audience. Then it was only a smattering of one-off, high-profile matches until 2019, when it acquired the U.S. rights to UEFA club competitions, including the high-profile Champions League. It extended those rights for six years and $1.5 billion last August.

CBS Sports senior creative director Pete Radovich Jr. set out on a mission to build the network’s soccer coverage — which began earlier than expected when previous rights holder Turner Sports backed out of its contract due to the pandemic in 2020.

“We knew from our data that this audience segment was growing fast, that it skewed young, and that it skewed to streaming preference largely because it was young,” CBS Sports’ EVP of digital Jeff Gerttula says. “We’ve seen it grow year after year, and as we’ve thrown more content at the audience, we’ve seen there’s almost an insatiable appetite for [it].”

From there, it was all about building a brand. Enough reluctance has remained over the sport’s national profile that executives at CBS Sports agonized over naming its blossoming soccer branch.

“It came out of our internal debates as to whether to use the word ‘soccer’ or the word ‘football’ in our branding,” says Gerttula. “Let’s find another word that captures the passion of the sport and everyone can agree on.”

That word was “Golazo” — the term shouted by those who have just witnessed a breathtaking, sensational soccer goal.

With Champions League and Europa League matches on CBS airwaves, the company decided to experiment with an “NFL RedZone”-style TV show that they aptly named “The Golazo Show.” The whiparound program hosted by Nico Cantor covers all of the action going on during packed UCL and UEL matchdays, ensuring that viewers see every goal from every game.

The cast of Golazo Network’s Morning Footy. Credit: CBS Sports

Perfectly Timed Risk

Paramount’s next step was its most ambitious — and riskiest.

After finding success with its first free, ad-supported television (FAST) channel CBS Sports HQ, the company decided to make its second America’s first-ever dedicated soccer channel — Golazo Network.

While the network’s execs specifically tell FOS that Golazo Network didn’t directly develop from the show, the name itself has become most central to its soccer identity.

“It’s built around that brand, which we think is energetic and fun for everyone and represents the best in the sport, which is the goal that really excites you,” Gerttula says.

Soccer has come a long way from that ‘94 World Cup moment — and it’s set to take another leap forward when North America hosts the world’s biggest soccer tournament again in 2026.

It’s why CBS Sports believed that this was the right time to launch Golazo Network in earnest.

“We’re in this sweet spot right now because we’re coming off a World Cup, and then we’ve got the 2026 World Cup, where all eyeballs are going to be on this global sport,” says “Morning Footy” co-host Susannah Collins. “So we’re kind of hitting it right at the perfect moment because interest is high.”

“The need for more content is there, and it just takes a big network to say, ‘We’re going to do it,’” says Davies. “It makes it that much more special to be the ones at the forefront.”

Like many successful sports media channels, Golazo Network is anchored by a morning show — in this case, “Morning Footy,” hosted by Collins, Davies, Cantor, Alexis Guerreros, and Jenny Chiu.

“It’s the show that I have always wished existed,” says Collins. “Now we get to be a part of it and host it and bring it to the masses. It’s just incredibly gratifying.”

“We want this to be the destination for soccer fans to come to and be able to hear about anything going on, whether it’s a property on Paramount+ or the EPL or MLS,” Nastri says.

That one-stop-shop mentality allows the show to cover nearly every league in the world. The Champions League, the top-flight European leagues, and MLS clearly lead the way, but if something big happens in Asia or South America, the “Morning Footy” team wants to cover it.

And the show’s desire for mass appeal doesn’t just extend to its coverage of different leagues around the world — it also wants to bring in fans of all kinds, from the hardcore to the casual.

“I think that soccer can be a pretty intimidating sport if you are a new soccer fan or you’re just getting into it,” says Collins. “It can be a little unwelcoming, and I think that it’s really important that we make it accessible.”

Inter Milan players celebrate during a game.
Inter Milan is vying with Manchester City for a Champions League title. Credit: CBS Sports Golazo

Around The World

Morning Footy occupies six hours of each weekday — meaning Golazo Network has 138 hours of content to fill each week outside its flagship show to truly be a round-the-clock destination for soccer.

Luckily, the near-constant flow of soccer matches around the globe provides plenty of opportunities to fill airtime, both through live matches and original content.

While the UCL may be the biggest property to which Paramount holds rights, it’s acquired as many others as it can. This past week alone, Golazo Network showed live coverage of Italy’s Serie A, Brazil’s Serie A, the Scottish Premiership, as well as the U.S. Open Cup and NWSL in the United States.

Through its first five weeks (April 11-May 14), Golazo Network showed nearly 100 live matches across over a dozen competitions.

When it’s not showing games, Golazo Network turns to its other studio show, “Box 2 Box,” for a more news-driven approach to covering the soccer world. It also shows original documentary films and series that often serve as test runs before they’re promoted to Paramount+.

And it’s not just the audience craving the content — those making it want it, too.

“I think we view this — the network as a whole and specifically ‘Morning Footy’ — for all of us being passionate soccer fans, as the opportunity of a lifetime,” says Nastri. “It’s something that we have truly been looking for our whole lives.”

“I think it’s so important for the growth of the sport for [U.S.] fans to be able to know what’s going on around the world.”

For more on how sports impacts business and culture, subscribe to the Front Office Sports Today podcast.

The post Golazo Network’s Risky Play To Be America’s 1st All-Soccer Network appeared first on Front Office Sports.

Read More

Continue Reading


Illegal Immigrants Leave US Hospitals With Billions In Unpaid Bills

Illegal Immigrants Leave US Hospitals With Billions In Unpaid Bills

By Autumn Spredemann of The Epoch Times

Tens of thousands of illegal…



Illegal Immigrants Leave US Hospitals With Billions In Unpaid Bills

By Autumn Spredemann of The Epoch Times

Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are flooding into U.S. hospitals for treatment and leaving billions in uncompensated health care costs in their wake.

The House Committee on Homeland Security recently released a report illustrating that from the estimated $451 billion in annual costs stemming from the U.S. border crisis, a significant portion is going to health care for illegal immigrants.

With the majority of the illegal immigrant population lacking any kind of medical insurance, hospitals and government welfare programs such as Medicaid are feeling the weight of these unanticipated costs.

Apprehensions of illegal immigrants at the U.S. border have jumped 48 percent since the record in fiscal year 2021 and nearly tripled since fiscal year 2019, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

Last year broke a new record high for illegal border crossings, surpassing more than 3.2 million apprehensions.

And with that sea of humanity comes the need for health care and, in most cases, the inability to pay for it.

In January, CEO of Denver Health Donna Lynne told reporters that 8,000 illegal immigrants made roughly 20,000 visits to the city’s health system in 2023.

The total bill for uncompensated care costs last year to the system totaled $140 million, said Dane Roper, public information officer for Denver Health. More than $10 million of it was attributed to “care for new immigrants,” he told The Epoch Times.

Though the amount of debt assigned to illegal immigrants is a fraction of the total, uncompensated care costs in the Denver Health system have risen dramatically over the past few years.

The total uncompensated costs in 2020 came to $60 million, Mr. Roper said. In 2022, the number doubled, hitting $120 million.

He also said their city hospitals are treating issues such as “respiratory illnesses, GI [gastro-intenstinal] illnesses, dental disease, and some common chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes.”

“The perspective we’ve been trying to emphasize all along is that providing healthcare services for an influx of new immigrants who are unable to pay for their care is adding additional strain to an already significant uncompensated care burden,” Mr. Roper said.

He added this is why a local, state, and federal response to the needs of the new illegal immigrant population is “so important.”

Colorado is far from the only state struggling with a trail of unpaid hospital bills.

EMS medics with the Houston Fire Department transport a Mexican woman the hospital in Houston on Aug. 12, 2020. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Dr. Robert Trenschel, CEO of the Yuma Regional Medical Center situated on the Arizona–Mexico border, said on average, illegal immigrants cost up to three times more in human resources to resolve their cases and provide a safe discharge.

“Some [illegal] migrants come with minor ailments, but many of them come in with significant disease,” Dr. Trenschel said during a congressional hearing last year.

“We’ve had migrant patients on dialysis, cardiac catheterization, and in need of heart surgery. Many are very sick.”

He said many illegal immigrants who enter the country and need medical assistance end up staying in the ICU ward for 60 days or more.

A large portion of the patients are pregnant women who’ve had little to no prenatal treatment. This has resulted in an increase in babies being born that require neonatal care for 30 days or longer.

Dr. Trenschel told The Epoch Times last year that illegal immigrants were overrunning healthcare services in his town, leaving the hospital with $26 million in unpaid medical bills in just 12 months.

ER Duty to Care

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986 requires that public hospitals participating in Medicare “must medically screen all persons seeking emergency care … regardless of payment method or insurance status.”

The numbers are difficult to gauge as the policy position of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is that it “will not require hospital staff to ask patients directly about their citizenship or immigration status.”

In southern California, again close to the border with Mexico, some hospitals are struggling with an influx of illegal immigrants.

American patients are enduring longer wait times for doctor appointments due to a nursing shortage in the state, two health care professionals told The Epoch Times in January.

A health care worker at a hospital in Southern California, who asked not to be named for fear of losing her job, told The Epoch Times that “the entire health care system is just being bombarded” by a steady stream of illegal immigrants.

“Our healthcare system is so overwhelmed, and then add on top of that tuberculosis, COVID-19, and other diseases from all over the world,” she said.

A Salvadorian man is aided by medical workers after cutting his leg while trying to jump on a truck in Matias Romero, Mexico, on Nov. 2, 2018. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A newly-enacted law in California provides free healthcare for all illegal immigrants residing in the state. The law could cost taxpayers between $3 billion and $6 billion per year, according to recent estimates by state and federal lawmakers.

In New York, where the illegal immigration crisis has manifested most notably beyond the southern border, city and state officials have long been accommodating of illegal immigrants’ healthcare costs.

Since June 2014, when then-mayor Bill de Blasio set up The Task Force on Immigrant Health Care Access, New York City has worked to expand avenues for illegal immigrants to get free health care.

“New York City has a moral duty to ensure that all its residents have meaningful access to needed health care, regardless of their immigration status or ability to pay,” Mr. de Blasio stated in a 2015 report.

The report notes that in 2013, nearly 64 percent of illegal immigrants were uninsured. Since then, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have settled in the city.

“The uninsured rate for undocumented immigrants is more than three times that of other noncitizens in New York City (20 percent) and more than six times greater than the uninsured rate for the rest of the city (10 percent),” the report states.

The report states that because healthcare providers don’t ask patients about documentation status, the task force lacks “data specific to undocumented patients.”

Some health care providers say a big part of the issue is that without a clear path to insurance or payment for non-emergency services, illegal immigrants are going to the hospital due to a lack of options.

“It’s insane, and it has been for years at this point,” Dana, a Texas emergency room nurse who asked to have her full name omitted, told The Epoch Times.

Working for a major hospital system in the greater Houston area, Dana has seen “a zillion” migrants pass through under her watch with “no end in sight.” She said many who are illegal immigrants arrive with treatable illnesses that require simple antibiotics. “Not a lot of GPs [general practitioners] will see you if you can’t pay and don’t have insurance.”

She said the “undocumented crowd” tends to arrive with a lot of the same conditions. Many find their way to Houston not long after crossing the southern border. Some of the common health issues Dana encounters include dehydration, unhealed fractures, respiratory illnesses, stomach ailments, and pregnancy-related concerns.

“This isn’t a new problem, it’s just worse now,” Dana said.

Emergency room nurses and EMTs tend to patients in hallways at the Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital in Houston on Aug. 18, 2021. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Medicaid Factor

One of the main government healthcare resources illegal immigrants use is Medicaid.

All those who don’t qualify for regular Medicaid are eligible for Emergency Medicaid, regardless of immigration status. By doing this, the program helps pay for the cost of uncompensated care bills at qualifying hospitals.

However, some loopholes allow access to the regular Medicaid benefits. “Qualified noncitizens” who haven’t been granted legal status within five years still qualify if they’re listed as a refugee, an asylum seeker, or a Cuban or Haitian national.

Yet the lion’s share of Medicaid usage by illegal immigrants still comes through state-level benefits and emergency medical treatment.

A Congressional report highlighted data from the CMS, which showed total Medicaid costs for “emergency services for undocumented aliens” in fiscal year 2021 surpassed $7 billion, and totaled more than $5 billion in fiscal 2022.

Both years represent a significant spike from the $3 billion in fiscal 2020.

An employee working with Medicaid who asked to be referred to only as Jennifer out of concern for her job, told The Epoch Times that at a state level, it’s easy for an illegal immigrant to access the program benefits.

Jennifer said that when exceptions are sent from states to CMS for approval, “denial is actually super rare. It’s usually always approved.”

She also said it comes as no surprise that many of the states with the highest amount of Medicaid spending are sanctuary states, which tend to have policies and laws that shield illegal immigrants from federal immigration authorities.

Moreover, Jennifer said there are ways for states to get around CMS guidelines. “It’s not easy, but it can and has been done.”

The first generation of illegal immigrants who arrive to the United States tend to be healthy enough to pass any pre-screenings, but Jennifer has observed that the subsequent generations tend to be sicker and require more access to care. If a family is illegally present, they tend to use Emergency Medicaid or nothing at all.

The Epoch Times asked Medicaid Services to provide the most recent data for the total uncompensated care that hospitals have reported. The agency didn’t respond.

Continue reading over at The Epoch Times

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/15/2024 - 09:45

Read More

Continue Reading


Fuel poverty in England is probably 2.5 times higher than government statistics show

The top 40% most energy efficient homes aren’t counted as being in fuel poverty, no matter what their bills or income are.




Julian Hochgesang|Unsplash

The cap set on how much UK energy suppliers can charge for domestic gas and electricity is set to fall by 15% from April 1 2024. Despite this, prices remain shockingly high. The average household energy bill in 2023 was £2,592 a year, dwarfing the pre-pandemic average of £1,308 in 2019.

The term “fuel poverty” refers to a household’s ability to afford the energy required to maintain adequate warmth and the use of other essential appliances. Quite how it is measured varies from country to country. In England, the government uses what is known as the low income low energy efficiency (Lilee) indicator.

Since energy costs started rising sharply in 2021, UK households’ spending powers have plummeted. It would be reasonable to assume that these increasingly hostile economic conditions have caused fuel poverty rates to rise.

However, according to the Lilee fuel poverty metric, in England there have only been modest changes in fuel poverty incidence year on year. In fact, government statistics show a slight decrease in the nationwide rate, from 13.2% in 2020 to 13.0% in 2023.

Our recent study suggests that these figures are incorrect. We estimate the rate of fuel poverty in England to be around 2.5 times higher than what the government’s statistics show, because the criteria underpinning the Lilee estimation process leaves out a large number of financially vulnerable households which, in reality, are unable to afford and maintain adequate warmth.

Blocks of flats in London.
Household fuel poverty in England is calculated on the basis of the energy efficiency of the home. Igor Sporynin|Unsplash

Energy security

In 2022, we undertook an in-depth analysis of Lilee fuel poverty in Greater London. First, we combined fuel poverty, housing and employment data to provide an estimate of vulnerable homes which are omitted from Lilee statistics.

We also surveyed 2,886 residents of Greater London about their experiences of fuel poverty during the winter of 2022. We wanted to gauge energy security, which refers to a type of self-reported fuel poverty. Both parts of the study aimed to demonstrate the potential flaws of the Lilee definition.

Introduced in 2019, the Lilee metric considers a household to be “fuel poor” if it meets two criteria. First, after accounting for energy expenses, its income must fall below the poverty line (which is 60% of median income).

Second, the property must have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of D–G (the lowest four ratings). The government’s apparent logic for the Lilee metric is to quicken the net-zero transition of the housing sector.

In Sustainable Warmth, the policy paper that defined the Lilee approach, the government says that EPC A–C-rated homes “will not significantly benefit from energy-efficiency measures”. Hence, the focus on fuel poverty in D–G-rated properties.

Generally speaking, EPC A–C-rated homes (those with the highest three ratings) are considered energy efficient, while D–G-rated homes are deemed inefficient. The problem with how Lilee fuel poverty is measured is that the process assumes that EPC A–C-rated homes are too “energy efficient” to be considered fuel poor: the main focus of the fuel poverty assessment is a characteristic of the property, not the occupant’s financial situation.

In other words, by this metric, anyone living in an energy-efficient home cannot be considered to be in fuel poverty, no matter their financial situation. There is an obvious flaw here.

Around 40% of homes in England have an EPC rating of A–C. According to the Lilee definition, none of these homes can or ever will be classed as fuel poor. Even though energy prices are going through the roof, a single-parent household with dependent children whose only income is universal credit (or some other form of benefits) will still not be considered to be living in fuel poverty if their home is rated A-C.

The lack of protection afforded to these households against an extremely volatile energy market is highly concerning.

In our study, we estimate that 4.4% of London’s homes are rated A-C and also financially vulnerable. That is around 171,091 households, which are currently omitted by the Lilee metric but remain highly likely to be unable to afford adequate energy.

In most other European nations, what is known as the 10% indicator is used to gauge fuel poverty. This metric, which was also used in England from the 1990s until the mid 2010s, considers a home to be fuel poor if more than 10% of income is spent on energy. Here, the main focus of the fuel poverty assessment is the occupant’s financial situation, not the property.

Were such alternative fuel poverty metrics to be employed, a significant portion of those 171,091 households in London would almost certainly qualify as fuel poor.

This is confirmed by the findings of our survey. Our data shows that 28.2% of the 2,886 people who responded were “energy insecure”. This includes being unable to afford energy, making involuntary spending trade-offs between food and energy, and falling behind on energy payments.

Worryingly, we found that the rate of energy insecurity in the survey sample is around 2.5 times higher than the official rate of fuel poverty in London (11.5%), as assessed according to the Lilee metric.

It is likely that this figure can be extrapolated for the rest of England. If anything, energy insecurity may be even higher in other regions, given that Londoners tend to have higher-than-average household income.

The UK government is wrongly omitting hundreds of thousands of English households from fuel poverty statistics. Without a more accurate measure, vulnerable households will continue to be overlooked and not get the assistance they desperately need to stay warm.

Torran Semple receives funding from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant EP/S023305/1.

John Harvey does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Read More

Continue Reading


Looking Back At COVID’s Authoritarian Regimes

After having moved from Canada to the United States, partly to be wealthier and partly to be freer (those two are connected, by the way), I was shocked,…



After having moved from Canada to the United States, partly to be wealthier and partly to be freer (those two are connected, by the way), I was shocked, in March 2020, when President Trump and most US governors imposed heavy restrictions on people’s freedom. The purpose, said Trump and his COVID-19 advisers, was to “flatten the curve”: shut down people’s mobility for two weeks so that hospitals could catch up with the expected demand from COVID patients. In her book Silent Invasion, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, admitted that she was scrambling during those two weeks to come up with a reason to extend the lockdowns for much longer. As she put it, “I didn’t have the numbers in front of me yet to make the case for extending it longer, but I had two weeks to get them.” In short, she chose the goal and then tried to find the data to justify the goal. This, by the way, was from someone who, along with her task force colleague Dr. Anthony Fauci, kept talking about the importance of the scientific method. By the end of April 2020, the term “flatten the curve” had all but disappeared from public discussion.

Now that we are four years past that awful time, it makes sense to look back and see whether those heavy restrictions on the lives of people of all ages made sense. I’ll save you the suspense. They didn’t. The damage to the economy was huge. Remember that “the economy” is not a term used to describe a big machine; it’s a shorthand for the trillions of interactions among hundreds of millions of people. The lockdowns and the subsequent federal spending ballooned the budget deficit and consequent federal debt. The effect on children’s learning, not just in school but outside of school, was huge. These effects will be with us for a long time. It’s not as if there wasn’t another way to go. The people who came up with the idea of lockdowns did so on the basis of abstract models that had not been tested. They ignored a model of human behavior, which I’ll call Hayekian, that is tested every day.

These are the opening two paragraphs of my latest Defining Ideas article, “Looking Back at COVID’s Authoritarian Regimes,” Defining Ideas, March 14, 2024.

Another excerpt:

That wasn’t the only uncertainty. My daughter Karen lived in San Francisco and made her living teaching Pilates. San Francisco mayor London Breed shut down all the gyms, and so there went my daughter’s business. (The good news was that she quickly got online and shifted many of her clients to virtual Pilates. But that’s another story.) We tried to see her every six weeks or so, whether that meant our driving up to San Fran or her driving down to Monterey. But were we allowed to drive to see her? In that first month and a half, we simply didn’t know.

Read the whole thing, which is longer than usual.


Read More

Continue Reading