James Sharman has been covering soccer in Canada for 25 years. He started with The Score’s TV network in 1997, stayed on there after it became Sportsnet 360 in 2012, spent time as Toronto FC’s radio analyst with Sportsnet The Fan 590, and has more recently worked with OneSoccer and now as 2021-founded sports media company Parleh’s head of soccer content. Now, he’s set to host a daily soccer TV series.
Sharman‘s new series is called Room 4-4-2, and it’s an expansion of a series that had been airing on Parleh’s website. (A graphic from a past episode is seen at top, with Sharman second from left.) Now, it will air linearly on Anthem Sports and Entertainment‘s Game+ network. Formerly FNTSY Sports Network, that network is available through many Canadian multichannel video programming distributors, and some U.S. MVPDS as well. The show will air there at 5:30 p.m. Eastern daily, with on-demand viewing available at Room442.com (part of Parleh’s website). Here’s more on that from a release:
Hosted by the longtime voice of soccer in Canada, James Sharman, Room 4-4-2 puts the spotlight on the biggest news from the global soccer scene, as Sharman joins seasoned experts Albert Vartanian, Sara Poraria, and Toronto FC and MLS insider Michael Singh to discuss and dissect the top stories from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Champions League, FIFA World Cup, and Canadian soccer. Additionally, the crew provides insight and analysis on some of the sport’s best matchups to help bettors make the smartest wagers on The Beautiful Game.
“Interest in soccer by Canadians is at its highest level of engagement ever,” said Sharman, a leading soccer voice in Canadian sports media for 25 years and Parleh’s Head of Soccer Content. “There’s a huge appetite for soccer coverage in this country right now, whether we’re talking about the Saturday schedule of Premier League matches, the march to the Champions League title, or Canada returning to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in more than three decades when they compete in Qatar next month.
“The timing is perfect for Room 4-4-2 to deliver footy news, commentary and debate for fans and bettors to Anthem’s viewers.”
…“In recent years, Canadian soccer fans have been underserved by the news programming from the mainstream sports networks,” said Mark Silver, Founder and CEO of Parleh Media Group. “Anthem has a proven track record of being open to investing in creating audiences for sports content with high growth potential. That makes them the perfect linear partner for Parleh’s first foray into television programming.”
Silver’s comment about Canadian soccer fans being underserved by news programming from mainstream sports networks is an interesting one. That’s been a discussion going back decades, and has led to a number of specialty offerings focusing specifically on soccer. Soccer was a big emphasis for The Score while they were still the third Canadian sports TV network (behind TSN and Sportsnet), and a few of the other Canadian entities that heavily emphasized soccer over the years have included Fox Sports World and Setanta Sports.
Currently, OneSoccer (which has Canadian Premier League, Canadian Championship, and CONCACAF rights), DAZN (which has UEFA Champions League rights and some other rights in Canada), and FuboTV (which has Premier League rights) are big parts of the Canadian soccer market. Sportsnet and TSN air matches, but not a lot of soccer-specific content outside of that. So there’s certainly room for more news programming, especially daily and especially on linear TV. And with the Canadian men’s national team heading to the upcoming FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1986, many Canadian outlets are amping up their soccer programming. So it seems like a great time for Game+ to add this show.