James Sharman has been covering soccer in Canada for 25 years. He started with The Score television network in 1997, stayed there after it became Sportsnet 360 in 2012, spent time as a Toronto FC radio analyst with Sportsnet The Fan 590, and more recently worked with OneSoccer and now as a sports media company founded in 2021. Parleh Football Content Manager. Now he is set to host a daily football TV series.
Sharman’s new series is called Room 4-4-2, and it is an extension of a series that had been broadcast on the Parleh website. (A graphic from a past episode can be seen at the top, with Sharman second from the left.) Now, it will stream linearly on Anthem Sports and Entertainment’s Game+ network. Formerly FNTSY Sports Network, this network is available through many Canadian multi-channel video programming distributors, as well as select US MVPDS. The show will air there at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, with on-demand viewing available at Room442.com (part of the Parleh website). Here’s more about it from a release:
Hosted by the longtime voice of soccer in Canada, James Sharman, the 4-4-2 room highlights the biggest news from the global soccer scene, as Sharman joins seasoned experts Albert Vartanian, Sara Poraria and to Toronto FC and MLS insider Michael Singh to discuss and dissect the best stories from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Champions League, FIFA World Cup FIFA and Canadian football. Additionally, the team provides news and analysis on some of the best games in the sport to help punters make the smartest bets on The Beautiful Game.
“Canadians’ interest in soccer is at an all-time high,” said Sharman, a leading voice for soccer in Canadian sports media for 25 years and chief soccer content officer for Parleh. “There’s a huge appetite for football coverage in this country at the moment, whether we’re talking about Saturday’s Premier League fixture schedule, the Champions League title chase or Canada’s return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in over three decades when they face off in Qatar next month.
“Now is the perfect time for the 4-4-2 Room to bring football news, commentary and discussion for fans and bettors to Anthem viewers.”
… “For the past few years, Canadian soccer fans have been underserved by mainstream sports network news programming,” said Mark Silver, Founder and CEO of Parleh Media Group. “Anthem has a proven track record of being open to investing in audience building for high-growth potential sports content. This makes it the perfect linear partner for Parleh’s first foray into TV programming.
Silver’s comment about Canadian soccer fans being underserved by mainstream sports network news programming is interesting. This discussion dates back decades and has led to a number of specialist offerings focused specifically on football. Soccer was a big priority for The Score when it was still Canada’s third-largest sports television network (behind TSN and Sportsnet), and some of the other Canadian entities that have placed a heavy emphasis on soccer over the years have included Fox Sports World and Setanta Sports.
Currently, OneSoccer (which owns the rights to the Canadian Premier League, Canadian Championship and CONCACAF), DAZN (which owns the rights to the UEFA Champions League and certain other rights in Canada) and FuboTV (which owns Premier League rights) are important elements of Canadian soccer. market. Sportsnet and TSN air matches, but not much football specific content outside of that. So there is definitely room for more news programming, especially daily and especially on linear television. And with Canada’s men’s national team heading to the next FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1986, many Canadian media outlets are stepping up their soccer programming. So now seems like the perfect time for Game+ to add this show.