Inside Fox Soccer Channel’s Recent Developments


Premiership Countdown: 11 Days to Go.

Now that Setanta Sports has sublicensed many of the rights to the Premiership matches from Fox Soccer Channel, what impact will this have on Fox Soccer Channel and what does it say about their coverage of the English Premier League and football in general on FSC?

Here are my thoughts on the matter:


  1. Improved schedule. Fox Soccer Channel will now have 7 hours of continuous coverage on Saturday’s from 10am until 5pm ET. They’ll be showing the 10am and Noon matches live, followed by the 2:15pm ET tape-delayed match, and then their “Super Saturday +” show from 4:30-5pm ET.
  2. Live match on Sundays. Last season, Sunday was anti-climatic when watching the Premiership on FSC because the match was shown tape-delayed at 1pm ET. Now the live matches on Sundays at 11am ET will definitely add to the excitement, allowing us to watch live battles between sides such as Man United v Arsenal (Sept 17), Spurs v Chelsea (November 5), and Arsenal v Liverpool (November 12).


  1. Fewer high profile matches. While the 7:30am ET kick-off was inconvenient for many Premiership fans, especially those on the West Coast, the majority of the matches scheduled at this time tend to be more high profile. For example, FSC will miss out this season by not being able to show the following 7:45am ET matches: Everton v Liverpool (Sept 9), Liverpool v Spurs (Sept 23), Arsenal v Spurs (December 2) and Man United v Man City (December 9).
  2. Competition. While I realize that Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta are working together to bring us more Premiership matches than ever before, the two channels will collide during the 10am ET timeslot on Saturdays when both FSC and Setanta will show their respective matches. The key here is that Setanta has first choice and will decide which match they’ll want to show, while FSC will then broadcast a different one.
  3. Brand loyalty. Up until this point, Fox Soccer Channel has owned Premiership football in America. There was no other choice. But while there has been criticism made against the way Fox Soccer Channel broadcasts its matches, the vast majority of people are massive fans of the channel. With Setanta Sports, Fox is now more likely to lose part of the brand loyalty it has. New viewers to Setanta may feel the channel does a better job at presenting the EPL and, with the huge amount of European football on Setanta, FSC may look like a pale comparison.

At the end of the day, both networks will work together and the Premiership football fan will reap the benefits. Deep down, though, it makes me wonder whether this was the right move for Fox?

Fox has been slowly moving their target demographic away from the expatriates and more toward the American male. When Fox Sports World changed its name in favor of Fox Soccer Channel, sports like rugby were dropped. Now, Fox has made the conscious decision to drop some of its rights to Premiership matches, and drop France’s Lique 1 and German Bundesliga in favor of adding Major League Soccer matches to its programming.

According to Multichannel News, “terms of the deal were not disclosed, but published reports estimated that it ranges somewhere north of $4 million annually over the life of the contract.”

The question is: Did Fox Soccer Channel get rid of Lique 1 and sublicensed Premiership TV rights in order to afford to pay Major League Soccer to air those matches?

17 thoughts on “Inside Fox Soccer Channel’s Recent Developments”

  1. you make some great points and really im quite upset to see all the changes. perhaps through setanta and fsc we can now get more live matches than before, but unless the iptv works out setanta may not be an option for some. i think the bigger point is that before fsc would air the ppv matches later in the week. This allowed a more casual fan to decide not to buy the ppv game and simply wait until wed or thurs to see it. I doubt setanta will allow fsc to air those matches later in the week anymore. This does not look good for fsc, since they no longer are the place to come for the epl (and more).

  2. Personally, I don’t like this development. Getting DirecTV is simply not an option for me at this time. I would have liked to have seen Setanta get carried on more platforms before this development. I’m concerned that the EPL will lose some of its followers and potential followers because many people who would have otherwise watched on their cable systems will not make the switch to DirecTV. I could be wrong, and I’m one of those who might eventually switch to DirecTV purely because of Setanta.

  3. I absolutely agree with Gaffer’s analysis,and the comments so far. Adding MLS and dropping Bundesliga and French League 1? It is good for popularizing the level of soccer in America, but there is no comparison between the levels of play between MLS and the top European leagues. I will mis the 10 am Bundesliga game(still-10 am live EPL-not a bad switch…).
    Dropping the 7:45 am game is the worst decision EVER. I won’t be able to get a satellite for another year, and the Irish pub next door will not open that early. And getting “second choice” on the 10:00 am game-also a disaster.
    Bottom line: Fox Soccer Channel made the worst decision in its short history so far. I will have only FSC for another year, but after that, I will get Setanta and Gol TV at home which means that FSC will be the least watched soccer channel in the country.
    As of right now, Gol TV carries Italy, Spain, UEFA Cup;
    Setanta carries best of EPL games, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Champions League, UEFA Cup(split with GOL TV), France(I think), and even Greece(the Olimpiakos-Panathinaikos games are usually great to watch).
    FSC? the “second string” EPL games, MLS, the worst Italian games(seriously-watching Treviso and Lecce last season was an easy way to convince somebody to commit suicide or to hate football forever), a friendly of England now and then, and that’s about it. (don’t forget Dream Team:-)
    I E-mailed Setanta the other day about future availability of the channel. They responded that the channel is not available on any cable network “for now”(whatever that means). They urged me to talk to the pub owner to open the bar for 7:45 am games…haha…
    And GOL TV is available only on one major satellite network, I think.
    Bottom line: if you have a satellite, the US is probably the best place to watch football in the world. 3 football-specific channels, plus ESPN Deportes for Champions League, and FSC en Espanol for fans of South America/Mexocan football.

  4. I also dont like this development. For cable subscribers its going to make watching choice football alot harder. The lack of top class games is going to hurt them in the long run by switching viewers to DirectTV. Getting ride of bundesliga and league 1 for MLS was a terrible choice. As much as I love to support football in the US, it does not make for exciting high quality games. IT seems DirectTV will be the way to go along with Setanta and GolTV. Why even get FSC for MLS and 2nd choice EPL games when so much else is offered in the others?

  5. Unlike the others, I’m ecstatic. As a DirecTV subscriber, I ordered Setanta within 24 hours of the official announcement. In two weeks I’ll have 6 live Premiership matches to choose from. Last weekend I watched 3 live Championship matches. I’m in football heaven.

    I’m an English football fan so I don’t really care about the availability of Bundesliga, La Liga, or Serie A matches. Frankly, I’d prefer to have access to League 1 and 2 matches. My only complaint is that the Football League hasn’t scattered the matches throughout the week so I can have non-stop football but I asking for that would just be tempting fate.

  6. I am also ecstatic. 7 hours of live Prem coverage. Live Sunday games. Here ont he West Coast, the 10 AM EST game is a godsend.

    I will check out Sentanta’s IPTV since I have digital cable….and if that works out…with archived mathes…talk about Prem bliss.

    I want to watch the prem anyway…not the Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, etc….given me the EPL.

    Thanks FSC and thanks Sentanta.

    At least we dont have to watch these matches on ESPN 2….ugh!

  7. This is a terrible development for any soccer fan unable or unwilling to switch to DirecTV. It is certainly not a suprising decision when seen in conjunction with Murdoch’s move to purchase control of DirecTV. This arrangement exploits the burgeoning interest in soccer in the U.S. and can be seen as a direct attempt to lure viewers to DirecTV.

    It would be good to know what the chances are of Setanta being made available on cable services like Comcast. Furthermore, I have tried Setanta’s Broadband service, and the experience is nothing like TV, especially given the introduction of DVR’s to allow for replays/pause/etc. It is also unclear how many, if any, EPL games will air on Setanta Broadband.

    FSC probably accounted for 75% of the TV I watched in the last year (6-7 games per week). This feels like a betrayal.

  8. Yes! I recently switched to DirecTV for the HD Tivo DVR so I could record the world cup in HD… I already had Setanta for the Coca Cola Championship games alone… This just saves me the $299 per year for the PPV season package that wasn’t worth it anyway! I think the bigger question here is: will Setanta offer EPL games (and the Coca Cola Championship as well) in HDTV this season, or anytime soon? The Sky Sports teasers claim to be available in HD (presumably in the UK)… If anyone who watched the World Cup on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 knows(granted, with the sound off)IT LOOKED AMAZING… Now, if we can just combine HD quality & UK coverage, BAM!!!!

  9. My other question posed to Setanta: We know you have the 1st & 3rd pick of the 10am ET game & FSC has 2nd & 4th pick… FSC will show the 2nd pick live & the 4th pick at 3pm ET delayed… Setanta, you are showing the 1st pick live at 10am ET, but what about the 3rd pick? It looks from the opening (Aug 19-20) weekend schedule, that you are leaving the 3rd pick out completely… Why aren’t you showing that ( Everton v Watford, WestHam v Charlton, or Portsmouth v Blackburn) match? Presumably one of those three matchups appealed to you so that FSC’s 4th pick became Reading v Middlesbrough… I want 8 out of 10 matches (9 out of 10 when there is a monday match)broadcast per typical week!

  10. As an avid FSC viewer, I am a little bit angry. I loved watching the early EPL game, rarely missing one,and liked at least having the option of watching the French and German games, although, to be honest, I rarely did. Like a lot of people I will probably wait a year to see if my digital cable picks up Setanta before going the DirectTV route. Looking at this sensibly, I think everyone should be happy, because ultimately this means increased visibility for football in the U.S., and–even on FSC–a massive increase in live EPL games, which is what I want more than anything. The EPL will always be the league most people want to watch, and FSC still has more games than anyone else. The old PPV games were so outlandishly priced (19.99 for one game!) that I can’t say I will miss that option. I actually think that, long-term, FSC has done a great service for football in America and we may see the day where most cable companies offer 3 great football channels. In the short-term, they have likely ticked off many customers. But those customers will still be watching once the season starts, and even those fans with Setanta will still be tuning in to FSC on a regular basis. With all the games played world-wide, we definitely need more than one channel. I just hope the cable companies wake up and make the others available.

  11. I think FSC will change it’s name to MLS TV. I would put Setanta and GOLTV ahead of them for soccer coverage now.

  12. My question has been answered! Setanta is showing the WestHam v Charlton match tape delayed at 2:30 pm ET on Saturday Aug 19… This means 8 out of the 10 matches will be televised in the USA (all either live, or same day coverage)! Not a bad deal folks…

  13. For me, I am not as upset as many other people. While I like to watch games via the tele, I purchased Sirius Radio a few years ago and have not been upset I did. They normally broadcast the 7:30 game, one of the 10 am game, every once in a while the 12 pm kickoff and the Sunday games. Last year I believe they broadcasted all mid week games.

    I’m just a sports freak period. I have the premiumtv online subscription, Chelsea FC Online subscription, and look forward to seeing more games live on FSC this year. If I could only afford that Setanta subscription if the one online TV deal goes through.

  14. I think it is important to understand that FSC and DirecTV are both owned by Rupert Murdoch.
    With Setanta having minimal or no presence on the larger cable operators in the US, you have to believe that part of this move is motivated to get more (deeply passionate) people to go out and sign-up for DirecTV, leaving their cable operators in the dust.
    I am a DirecTV subscriber. I had thought about paying extra for Setanta in the past, but I did not. Not until I learned about the EPL deal. Not only do Setanta get EPL games, they get *first choice* of games. So if you love Liverpool, ManUnited or Arsenal, this is a must have. If you love Spurs, you have more problems than you know!

  15. The MLS is a joke. I’ve seen better kids soccer games in the UK than MLS games.

    As a Liverpool fan living on the West Coast, its goodbye to watching live games. There is no way in hell that I am getting up at 4 a.m. to watch – even if I had satellite which I don’t nor ever will.

    This is the worst live schedule that I have seen in the whole time that I’ve lived out here. I hope FSC go broke – bastards!

  16. I’m mad as hell! As a dedicated Bayern fan, I regularly watch Bundesliga and EPL football. FSC and MLS can eat shit and die!

  17. FSC is a joke of a channel now. As a Chelsea fan I was pleased to see their online TV scheduling to show Chelsea v Blackburn this afternoon, and Spurs v Arsenal this morn, but instead I get rubbish Hammers v Boro. All they show all day is their absurd fox soccer report, with useless pundits, which normally I could turn a blind eye to, except they replay that show up to 8 times a day. The MLS is awful, and terrible games like that will not excite a countries interest in the beautiful game. I will not get DirecTV, because Rupert should not be rewarded for dropping the best football in the world over the drizzle it’ll be showing now… and please don’t lie about your listings FSC… that’s just childish!

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