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Jamie Carragher reveals interesting story behind his move to CBS Sports

Published: Updated: 10:00, 3 Jun 2024
CBS Sports creative director doubted US fans would understand his accent

Jamie Carragher, a Liverpool legend and renowned soccer pundit, has been instrumental in the success of CBS's UEFA Champions League Today. Despite initial concerns about his accent and style of commentary being understood by the American audience, Carragher has proven to be an essential part of the show's chemistry.

When CBS Sports' senior creative director Peter Radovich first considered bringing on Jamie Carragher for their UEFA Champions League coverage, he was concerned about whether or not the US audience would understand him. Despite these concerns and a lack of unanimous decision among decision-makers at CBS, they decided to take a chance on him.

Jamie Carragher, CBS Sports pundit, said:

“He was worried whether or not the audience would understand me. Radovich had a full-proof plan to discover whether Carragher’s scouse accent was decipherable to the American ear. Would you believe these three executives played a video of me to all their wives and it was basically down to them to decide if they could understand me.”

The success story of show

The gamble paid off handsomely for both parties. The show's coverage of Europe's premier soccer competition has received critical acclaim largely due to the playful camaraderie between host Kate Abdo and pundits Thierry Henry, Micah Richards, and Jamie Carragher. Their banter-filled analysis sessions have become as popular as game highlights themselves.

One memorable moment from the 2022-23 campaign that stands out is when Richards turned to Carragher off-camera during an interview with Milan defender Fikayo Tomori to confirm how to pronounce his name. Both ended up mispronouncing it throughout the interview which led to much hilarity on set.

Carragher believes such light-hearted moments wouldn't be tolerated in England where coverage tends towards more serious analysis especially during Premier League matches.

Jamie Carragher added:

“There’s no way people would accept what we do on CBS on Sky. They would think we were showing a lack of respect or that we didn’t know our stuff. That would have been taken a completely different way. If anyone is seen laughing or joking about a result or performance or interview it’s jumped on. [UCL Today] is a different show because people are watching it without that tribalism. I think everyone is watching it in a good mood waiting to be entertained.”

Comparing English coverage with American coverage

In England, Sky Sports Monday Night Football allows for some humor but primarily focuses on meticulous game analysis. After 11 years at Sky Sports, both Carragher and MNF continue receiving plaudits for their top-notch football analysis.

However, working with CBS introduced him to a different approach where producers constantly seek ways to inject humor into the show. Carragher attributes this difference to American culture and admits that he enjoys this new style of coverage.

Carragher's contract with Danish Sports Channel TV3 Sport had just ended when CBS Sports approached him in the summer of 2020 to join their Champions League coverage. The opportunity was particularly appealing as it allowed him to work from a studio in London, rather than having to travel across Europe for live game coverage. Jamie Carragher's addition has been a significant factor in the success of CBS’s UEFA Champions League Today. His unique blend of insightful analysis and playful banter has resonated well with American audiences, proving that sometimes taking a chance can lead to unexpected rewards.

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