FOX Scores with Champions League Coverage


Today marked the debut of the UEFA Champions League, the world’s premier club event on the FOX networks.

FOX’s pre game coverage was outstanding with Max Bretos, Bobby McMahon and Warren Barton enhancing the previous coverage we were accustomed to from ESPN in the United States.

The pre-game show provides build up, analysis and information for the matchups and actually proved to be more educational and worth my time than any ESPN Press Pass broadcast built around that network’s UEFA CL coverage.

But more importantly, is the access to games. For those of us who subscribe to DIRECTV, I was pleasantly surprised to find all five active games on live: one on Setanta, one FSN, one on FSE, one on FSC and one on DIRECTV Channel 453.

Fox has worked not only to increase access to the product via initiatives with DIRECTV and cable operators, but has also reached out to journalists and bloggers in a way ESPN never did to promote its coverage. Many of our readers saw the video of my colleague the Gaffer on EPL Talk with his FOX promotional package.

I was fortunate to receive the same package from FOX promoting its coverage.

Now back to the games………………

19 thoughts on “FOX Scores with Champions League Coverage”

  1. I like that I am able to get all the games, even though they are tape delayed its easy for me to DVR and watch them the next day. This will be beneficial for fans that support less popular teams. With ESPN ever only showing the 2 games, it was always the “big name” teams. While I look forward to watching the bigger teams play it will be nice to catch my teams games too (VfB Stuttgart).

    The only problem with FSC having the rights is that new people won’t be introduced to the game by “stumbling” onto a game while flipping through their channels.

    1. Agree, gmonsoon43. I will say that having a game on FSN should have some of that “stumbling” factor (considering its nationwide reach), though probably less than games on ESPN2.

  2. on the down side, I am hearing about audio issues in both US and Canada.

    How long did it take for the British announcers to show up on the telecast?

    1. Celtic v. Arsenal took 20 min. or so, though they were “fortunate” enough to have a FSC guy pick up the slack in the meantime. Jeremy St. Louis tweeted that he didn’t have audio in CA for most of the 1st half.

  3. The Sporting-Fiorentina match is not available live on DirecTV because Setanta chose not to deploy Setanta Sports Xtra. That match won’t air until 4:45pm ET on Setanta Sports USA.

    The DirecTV Mix channels I get on channels 461 and 461-1 are lame, with video access to only the two DirecTV bonus matches (Timisoara-Stuttgart and Copenhagen-APOEL).

    1. Yes.

      Next week (August 25-26), ch. 465 is supposed to mirror Setanta Sports USA during UEFA CL matches.

      Ch. 465-1 probably will NOT be turned on next week because Setanta Sports does NOT offer HD.

      On August 18, DirecTV did not turn on Ch. 465 because Setanta Sports USA is NOT offering UEFA CL matches live.

  4. It would be nice if FSC did this for MLS, which after all is OUR league instead of promoting the eurosnob agenda. Far more people are interested in their local MLS teams, which they can watch live rather than euro teams that they’ll never see in person, other than in friendlies.

    1. It’ll be interesting to see what the TV ratings are for these Champions League games so we can get a better idea of how they compare to MLS TV ratings on Fox. As we know, FSC’s TV ratings for MLS have been dreadful.

      Ratings are the name of the game for Fox and their advertisers. There’s nothing wrong with promoting the local game, but Fox and its advertisers care more about eyeballs and revenue than promoting the local game.

      The Gaffer

    2. LD,

      I think it’d be more accurate to say that far more people are interested in watching the game at the highest levels, regardless of the country of origin. Far more people are NOT interested in their local MLS teams, if they were I doubt Fox would have shelled out $$$ for Champions League rights. The Gaffer is 100% correct – FOX wants ratings and this is the best way, they believe, to get them.

  5. UEFA CL in the day, CONCACAF CL at night. Both lead up to the 2010 CWC.

    Club football fans have their plates full

  6. K-

    You are usually spot on, but FSC sucks. Bretos instead of Derek Rae? Warren Barton? John Herz?

    I want my ESPN back.

    Thankfully, ESPN has some EPL this year and La Liga also. Oh and La Liga is more watchable than EPL sadly because GOL TV > FSC.

    1. You would prefer to watch only one live and one delayed game per match day (espn) versus being able to watch every game live and or delayed same day? Doesn’t make any sense. The next 3 years will be great, thank you Fox and Directv?!

      1. Agree 100% – There will be some technical glitches along the way, but with int’l feed commentary and video feed from every game, there is no comparison – especially if you have Direct TV.

        Great day for Fox – and soccer fans across America.

  7. Missed the games due to work but have the DVR to check out. We all hope the FSC production qualities are good. It is good to hear that the pre-game show was a good product. My thought is that FSC can give the viewer a better insight since it stays with the story more. ESPN had the CL as a filler and never devoted the other resources necessary to allow a fan to real follow the story line. For FSC the CL is there story and not a side show. ESPN in my opinion got lucky in the the last few years the product sold itself and ESPN benefited by default. Is the FSC recap show only that late tonight due to the Concacaf CL coverage or is that it’s regular time. 10:00pm Eastern would seem to be the best time for it.

  8. I thought FSN/FSC did a great job with the coverage. Warren Barton and Bobby McMahon offer instant credibility and Max Bretos does a good job as the host (thank god they didn’t get Nick Webster or Christian Miles).

    The thing that sucked about the FSN coverage was they only had the pregame show but not the halftime or postgame. John Herz did a great job, but would have been nice to hear Bobby and Warren’s take on the A game. I thought they’d do something like the FOX NFL halftime show since all the games go to halftime around the same time.

    Also, it may have not been noticed but a lot of people but the audio issues in the first half (for American audiences at least) was not the only technical difficulty they had. For most, if not all, of the first half the game was not broadcast in HD.

  9. UEFA produces and distributes the game telecasts to broadcasters worldwide. Audio problems were via UEFA’s problem to fix on the production end – FSC and I am sure other broadcasters carrying the telecast were let to cover however they could. I have DirecTV and was annoyed the Timisoara-Stuttgart and Copenhagen-APOEL were available in HD but not the match on FSC. Yes I know FSC isn’t available yet – but the game is produced in HD by UEFA – FSC just has to take the feed and make it available to DirecTV for the bonus coverage. They did this for the Timisoara-Stuttgart that aired on standard def FOX Sports en Espanol. I was able to watch the HD feed from UEFA on one of the bonus channels in HD.

  10. I loved the access to more games (I don’t get Setanta), and I once again loved to get a game in HD with Celtic-Arsenal, but I didn’t find the pregame show to be all that helpful. McMahon was excellent as usual, but I think Warren Barton only has four catchphrases, and I hurl in my mouth every time Max Bretos talks.

    I’m not saying I love Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth. I’m just saying that Max has been vilified for years. Why is he all of a sudden great?

    The audio problem better not be a recurring issue.

    All in all, it was fine. Actually, it was the same as I’m used to, but in HD. So it’s a mild improvement. But let’s see if Fox can provide better over the long run.

    1. “I’m not saying I love Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth. I’m just saying that Max has been vilified for years. Why is he all of a sudden great?”

      Max Bretos has been “vilified” by no one but a small minority of Euro-snot viewers. So he’s not “all of a sudden great.” He’s always been good, and has been generally recognized as such.

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