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Are TV Habits of Fox Soccer Channel Viewers Changing?

When you think about it, this season’s Premiership is the most televised football league in the U.S. since TV was invented.

But this season is intriguing for TV soccer junkies like myself because we’re able to watch English Premier League matches on both Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports. The question is, though, how has the choice of these two channels affected your TV soccer viewing habits?

For me, this season is the first I’ve had Setanta Sports. Previously, I watched Fox Soccer Channel on a near daily basis. Now, though, this has changed considerably.

While I used to watch FSC for a few hours a night, I find myself only watching it on weekends. Sure, I tape the sports news program, Through The Night from SkySports, each evening (and try to watch it later via DVR). And when I have time, I try to watch the excellent Fox Sports World Report. But for the most part, I’m watching Premiership matches on Fox on Saturday, Sunday and, when available, Monday.

In contrast, I find myself watching Setanta almost daily now. In the past two weeks, with the League Cup, plus English teams involved in the UEFA Cup and Champions League, I’m watching Setanta every Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday. Sure, the experience of watching Setanta is new to me (although I realize it’s not new to many of you), so it’s more appealing in some ways, but what quality soccer content is offered on weekdays by Fox?

During the first few weeks of Fox Football Fone-In, I found myself watching the show and being impressed by the production quality and soccer topics being discussed. However, after the third week and thereafter, I’ve found the show to be so repetitive when you compare it to World Soccer Daily. The topics seemed recycled and many of the viewpoints offered have been heard previously on the radio show.

When it comes down to it, you have to wonder how Setanta has had an effect on the number of viewers Fox Soccer Channel has during weekdays.

How has your viewing habits changed (or not) since the Premiership season started in August? Click the ‘comments’ link below and share your insight.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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19 Responses to Are TV Habits of Fox Soccer Channel Viewers Changing?

  1. Jarrett says:

    I started seeing a change in my habits last season when I got Setanta. I really got into the ultra-competitive nature of the Coca-Cola Championship. Plus, Setanta has great specials in between shows, good pre-game and halftime features, etc.

    With the EPL on Setanta, I’ve done the same thing you’ve done, gone from being an FSC junkie, to a Setanta junkie. I really feel bad for GolTV. They have some excellent programming as well but I can hardly find time to give them the attention they deserve.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have only FSC and go to the neighborhood bar to check the big games on Setanta when I have time. Hopefully, i will be able to watch all 3 soccer channels come next year. But the bottom line is that besides 4 EPL games on weekends, FSC has little to offer. I still watch the FFF(don’t listen to the radio show), and I still like it. Then-FSW Report is a must, and Sky Sports News, Dream Team, and that’s about it.
    FSC has to gone from being the only soccer channel in America 3 years ago to being the 3rd best(out of 3).

  3. JC says:

    I’d love to be able to watch Setanta, but my cable company still doesn’t offer it (and I’m not able to get DirectTV nor is my DSL connection reliable enough (nor my wallet fat enough) to get it over the internet).

    Despite being stuck with only FSC, I find myself watching it less this year than last. There are simply less games, especially now that the PPV option is gone.

    So while most of you probably feel like this is the best EPL season in terms of tv coverage, I feel like it’s the worst in recent memory. Time Warner Cable is doing their best to make me less of a fan.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My FSC viewing habits haven’t changed too much on weekdays, as I mainly watch Sky Sports News and Foxsportsworld Report. On weekends now there isn’t as much too watch as most times I watch the games on Setanta unless my team is on FSC (which isn’t very often).

  5. Anonymous says:

    FSC: from the only soccer channel a few years back has become the worst one. Shame on them! And maybe they will start showing the EPL games LIVE, not with a 5 minute delay!

  6. deeplennon says:

    FSC needs to stop adding their in-house production to the feed. Watching a premiership match on Setanta is so much better with live pre-game, half, and post-game footage from the site of the match. You get a much better feel for the atmosphere of the match and much better analysis. Not to mention the low quality of Fox’s production. Consistently wrong line-up displays, Ugly graphics, and horrible pronunciations. Highberry anyone?

  7. riocharlie says:

    FSC is fallin off the radar. The first problem is that they sold the rights of the first choice epl matches to setanta. Not only do setanta show more matches they have the higher quality matches.

    2nd, just how many livorno v empoli matches from italy can u really watch? GOL, thank god showed the milan derby and what a match that was.

    3rd, Fox’s in house production of MLS matches the quality on the pitch. From the replays to the broadcasters, they are brutal.

    4th, UNCG V Winthrop womens soccer? Pass the heroin please

  8. riocharlie says:

    Gaffer,

    BTW, I love your blog and I wish you a great journey through the UK and many pleasant experiences at the matches. I look forward to following your journal as you make your way through.

    Go Gunners!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can anybody cut and paste these opinions and send them to FSC? I already wrote them twice about starting the LIVE games w/ a 5 minute delay.
    That, combined w/ 3rd rate Italian games, women’s college soccer, and pretty much nothing else has made FSC a joke.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m really disappointed that FSC stopped carrying French, German, and–a year back–Brazillian soccer. During the week I would always watch the German and French weekly highlight shows. FSC’s soccer content is so dilluted that I only watch Premiership games on the weekend. Setanta’s coverage is so thorough and diverse in comparison that I haven’t regretted the $15 a month it costs.

  11. eplnfl says:

    I only have FSC, but do have Setanta broadband and see from the Gaffer on match days what Setanta can do. The only real plus for FSC has been the live broadcast on Saturday and Sunday. I’m an earlier riser, so I miss the FSC early match that Setanta now has. The nightly Fox Report is excellent, especially Bobby McMahon. However,the Sky Sports production qualities are the wonderful

  12. fsquid says:

    I’m digging GolTV right now. I find their commentators to be a breath of fresh air compared to what I’ve been watching.

  13. tyler says:

    I watch Setanta almost exclusively now, unless FSC has a more compelling match on the weekend.

    I will watch the news stuff on FSC.

    I like GOLTV and I think they do a better production job than FSC, but I don’t usually plan my day around it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe this. The Everton-Villa game had only 3 and a half minute delay from the live broadcast!!!! It usually is 4 to 5 minute delay on FSC. They are getting better. Maybe, Arsenal-Liverpool’s delay on FSC will drop down to under 2 minutes…
    God, FSC is awful. Get a hint, amateurs!

  15. Anonymous says:

    i agree but i want to comment on something. sure, these college matches dont compare to the big games of the EPL, but did anyone watch the creighton bradley match for the MVC tourney last night? a fairly exciting (for college soccer) first half and it was 0-0 for much of the game. Then Bradley went up 1-0 with probably 30-35 mins left. Creighton had some good chances but never got the ball in the net. Then the ball went out of bounds deep in Bradelys part of the field with 20 seconds left… now this was exciting. Unlike the prem, the clock really does rule the play..and the seconds were ticking away like the final seconds of a basketball game. Anyway, they finally got the ball in with about 12 seconds…the ball bounced around, the keeper came out to try and knock it away. he missed and it fell to a creighton player with 4 seconds on the clock. with noone in the goal he has a free shot to redirect the ball in the net. it went into overtime and creighton ended up scoring (sudden death) to take the championship and go to the NCAA tourny. Sure, its not a big match…but its american college soccer, with passion and skill, and it REALLY meant something. i was suprisingly entertained and really happy that it was actually on tv. the local connect will always make FSC one of the channels i watch

  16. Anonymous says:

    1 game of men’s college soccer is admirable and that’s not the problem w/ FSC. They just don’t offer much these days. Their production of the EPL games is a disaster. Maybe Setanta will get all the games next year and put FSC out of their misery. Beginning LIVE games w/ 5 minutes delay and having a retard from the LA studios cut into the commentary is pathetic.
    And no Spanish, German, Italian(3-rd rate games only), or French sootball. No UEFA Cup or Champions League, and they get the crappiest Euro’08 qualifiers. That says it all.

  17. Anonymous says:

    For my part, I have to say I’m totally unimpressed with the Fox Sports World Report. I think those guys are doing a good deed and trying hard, but the I find the level of analysis severely lacking. The only one who really knows his stuff is (non exactly surprisingly) the Scottish guy.

    On the other hand Sky doesn’t add a whole lot, even from an English perspective. They deal with issues at a surface level, as if they’re simply pulling headlines from Guardian and putting them to video.

    So where is the American supposed to go for learned commentary on football???

  18. TrisMegistus says:

    I don’t know about these comments slagging off FSC. I may not the best guy to write anything in defense of FSC. For one thing, it’s my first season as a subscriber so I can’t compare it to the past. Number two: I don’t have Sentanta.

    I agree somehat with people who’ve been having a go at FSW. The anchor’s are more football enthusiasts than experts and Jeremy guy is in such hurry to describe the action that he almost always finishes describing the goals before they’re shown. Amateur stuff.

    But, having said that, and being a European who’s lived in the UK, it doesn’t really matter where you are; crap commentators are everywhere. Not Marcelo Balboa crap, mind, but still crap). And FSW does have McMahon who is very good. Also, the back and forth banter between all of them can be quite funny (they don’t take themselves seriously at all, which is a huge plus).

    So when you are having a go at the Canadians or the guys in LA, just remember, the grass isn’t much greener on the other side. Commentators and analysts (sports and news) of quality are hard to find.

    Personally I’m perfectly happy with the FSC coverage. I like my English footie, but I don’t want or need my life to be consumed by it. I’d probably watch more games on FSC if they had my team (the Blades) every week or had the quality of ManU or Arsenal more frequently. But I’ve also got a life and I don’t need TV to be better than it is.

    Finally, I find the original source of this criticism (the owner of this blog) to be a bit dubious, since every other week or so, he’ll write an editorial about the wonders of Sentanta who are the chief (only?) sponsor of the site and then link to their site. It’s one thing to be beholden to a sponsor, but I t cheapens the value of this site for the reader when he has go at the competition in this manner.

    There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, but the way this blog in general and this thread in particular is having a go at FSC isn’t constructive and isn’t going to lead to anything good. For one, while Sentanta has a competitor, they will strive to make their programming better and keep it affordable. If FSC folds, you can bet they’ll become more expensive and their service will get worse.

  19. The Gaffer says:

    I have to reply to the following comments made about me:

    “Finally, I find the original source of this criticism (the owner of this blog) to be a bit dubious, since every other week or so, he’ll write an editorial about the wonders of Sentanta who are the chief (only?) sponsor of the site and then link to their site. It’s one thing to be beholden to a sponsor, but I t cheapens the value of this site for the reader when he has go at the competition in this manner.

    There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, but the way this blog in general and this thread in particular is having a go at FSC isn’t constructive and isn’t going to lead to anything good. For one, while Sentanta has a competitor, they will strive to make their programming better and keep it affordable. If FSC folds, you can bet they’ll become more expensive and their service will get worse.”

    Setanta is not a sponsor/advertiser of this site. As explained previously, I have an affiliate marketing relationship with ITVN only.

    I, by no means, am intent on bashing Fox at any given opportunity. Instead, I offer fair criticism, and I’ve been knowm to criticize Setanta on this blog when they make mistakes.

    For a positive FSC blog posting, read this posting about two fantastic matches that are coming soon to Fox.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

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