Sign up for the free World Soccer Talk daily email newsletter for TV schedules, news and more »

WED, 2:45PM ET
WED, 2:45PM ET

How Should Fox Soccer Channel Commentate International Matches?

fox soccer channel1 How Should Fox Soccer Channel Commentate International Matches?What would you do if you were in charge of Fox Soccer Channel’s TV coverage? The dilemma is that you’re trying to establish your own brand and to build an audience with your own personnel, but soccer fans — as you’ll probably agree — are difficult people to please. We always want perfection.

A perfect example is this past Saturday’s England against Kazakhstan World Cup Qualifier that was shown live on Fox Soccer Channel. Hosts Nick Webster and Warren Barton did a fine job in the beginning of the show with expert analysis and discussion. But when the game started, soccer fans were startled to hear that Webster and Barton continued their discussion into the game and didn’t hand over the commentary, as is customary, to the international feed — which would have been Clive Tyldesley and Gary Stevens.

While Webster is a decent analyst, he is no soccer commentator. So instead of commentating the game, it feeled like Webster and Barton were simply talking over the game and providing their analysis. Webster’s style improved later when he began commentating on the game itself, but I always had the feeling that I was missing out on something — that one of the commentators from the international feed would have been able to impart some wisdom that Webster would have missed.

The dilemma for Fox is that GolTV does the same thing but with better results. Few people seem to complain when Ray Hudson and Phil Schoen commentate on the World Cup qualifiers that GolTV broadcast. It’s quite rare that GolTV will broadcast the commentators from the international feed.

So what would you do if you were Fox and you wanted to feature your commentators? Would you have someone like Max Bretos or Christian Miles do the main commentary instead, and have Webster and Barton provide the studio analysis only? Or would you suggest something different? Let us know by clicking the comments link below and sharing your thoughts.

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 →