FA Cup: An Unusual Weekend for US TV Viewers
When was the last time you remember having a weekend where all of the live soccer action was on Fox Soccer Channel, while Setanta didn’t have any?I love the F.A. Cup just as much as anyone, but it does add a wrinkle to the TV watching experience in America. While this past Saturday and Monday, we experienced 13 live or slightly delayed Premiership matches, this weekend we’ll get to see just two live FA Cup matches (Nottingham Forest v Charlton, Sat., 10am ET, and Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur, Sun., 11am ET).The third match, Tamworth v Norwich, which is arguably the most intriguing tie of the weekend — will be shown tape delayed. The match kicks off at 7:30am ET, but won’t be shown until Noon ET on Saturday (the match, fyi, will be broadcast live for viewers in the UK on BBC 1).For the football purists who eat up live soccer on TV, this is a disgrace.Also, the two biggest FA Cup matches of the weekend are only available on Pay-Per-View (or down at your local pub). Those are Liverpool versus Arsenal and Manchester United against Aston Villa.I can presume that this trend will happen in later rounds of the FA Cup too where Fox will decide to make the biggest matches available on PPV only.In contrast, Setanta Sports is showing the semi-finals of the League Cup on Tuesday and Wednesday on their regular network. Both matches will be shown live and not on PPV.I’m curious. How many of you would be willing to pay to watch the two biggest FA Cup matches this weekend (Liverpool v Arsenal and Man United against Aston Villa)? Or will you try to experience the match in other ways (internet radio or other means), or will you just miss out on those two matches altogether and watch the highlights?Setanta’s tactic, this weekend, is to offer replays of several classic matches including Liverpool against AC Milan in the Champions League final, and Barcelona versus Arsenal from last year’s “Big Cup.”So what are soccer fans to do about this weekend? Personally I recommend that we experience the FA Cup “the old-fashioned way” (i.e. enjoying it live as it’s meant to be, which means watching the Forest v Charlton match at 10am ET on Fox, and listening to the audio on Talksport to hear the reports as the goals go in around the grounds, while keeping another eye on the live ticker to see reports of all of the major incidents).Other ties of interest that will be played at the same time as the Forest v Charlton match at 10am ET on Saturday include:Chelsea v MacclesfieldBirmingham v NewcastleDoncaster v Bolton (in Doncaster’s brand-new stadium)Hull v MiddlesbroughLeicester v FulhamReading v BurnleySheffield United v SwanseaTorquay v SouthamptonWatford v StockportWest Ham v BrightonAnd many others.Out of these matches, what upsets do you think will happen? Reply below by clicking the ‘Comments’ link.Feel free to join the EPL Talk fans from around the world in the EPL Talk Chat room this Saturday starting at 10am ET.