Now that I’m home recovering, I’m living in a bizarre world of not knowing what any of the scores were from this past weekend’s opening season. Reason being is that I don’t want to spoil the pleasure of knowing the score as I watch each of the matches that taped via DVR. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to watch the matches that played on Setanta because I own an ITVN player and, of course, on-demand or DVR are not available with that IPTV solution.
The first program on my list to watch was Fox Soccer Channel’s new “Fox Soccer Match Day,” the channel’s new Saturday morning show starring Christian Miles and Andy Houlihan.
Soccer fans in the United States have been quick to criticize Fox Soccer Channel’s original programming in the past. Sure, I agree that much improvement is needed but I must admit that I was thoroughly impressed with the debut episode of “Fox Soccer Match Day.”
The graphics, titles and presentation of the programming are top rate. The studio set was impressive and the claret and blue backdrop reminded me of Aston Villa (sorry Hammers fans). Hosts Christian Miles and Andy Houlihan meanwhile had an excellent rapport and on-screen presence between the two of them and delivered the news, analysis and previews in a professional manner instead of hyping it up too much which has often been my complaint of fellow Fox Soccer Channel media personalities.
One of the most impressive aspects of the show, for me, was the way they integrated the show into the Premier League action. Beginning at 9:30am ET, the show had an opportunity to present the latest EPL news (John Terry being out injured for a month, etc) and then previewing the weekend’s action before coming back and talking about the Major League Soccer match of the day that Fox would be showing.
But the way that the “Fox Soccer Match Day” then led right into the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City, and the way that the half-time and post-match analysis went back directly to the “Fox Soccer Match Day” program and set was fantastic. It really felt like Fox Soccer Channel was an extension of the Premier League action rather than in the past where a voiceover would annoyingly cut into the TWI commentators immediately after the match concluded, etc.
My only two criticisms for the debut show was that they were late in handing over the commentary to the TWI commentators for the West Ham match, which resulted in us hearing from the English commentators several seconds after the match kicked off. And Christian Miles uttered the following statement at the end of the Hammers match before they went to break: “You’re watching the Barclays Premier League and it’s only on Fox Soccer Channel.” I’m sure Setanta Sports wouldn’t have been too pleased with that statement.
For soccer fans who only have Fox Soccer Channel or who watch Premier League matches on DVR (and are able to tape both Setanta and FSC), “Fox Soccer Match Day” is a must-watch TV program.