Fox, not FX nor Fox Soccer Channel, will show the live broadcast of the 2009-2010 Champions League Final this May according to a report in the industry publication Sports Business Journal.
What exactly happened to force the change was not explained, but the change is a massive boost for soccer fans in the United States as it means this will be the first time that the Fox Network has shown a soccer game.
When Fox Soccer Channel announced it had acquired the rights to the Champions League last year, the news that the final would be shown on FX was quite a coup especially when you consider that the number of subscribers to FX is 95 million compared to approximately 35 million for Fox Soccer Channel. Fox meanwhile is in 115 million households.
But having the game showed on Fox instead of FX is a massive boost to bring soccer to the mainstream. It’s very rare that soccer games are shown on free-to-air television stations, so the opportunity for the Champions League Final to generate massive TV ratings (in soccer terms) is huge especially if the final features two popular teams.
The broadcast of the Champions League Final will begin on Saturday, May 22 at 2:30pm ET with the kick-off scheduled for 2:45pm ET. A Saturday afternoon kickoff time is perfect for huge ratings on Fox. And just a few weeks later after the Champions League Final, free-to-air station ABC will feature England against the United States also on a Saturday afternoon at a similar time.
“Outside of Europe we also want to allow the greatest number of people possible the chance to follow the showpiece final of the best club football competition in the world,” said Michel Platini in a press release issued by Fox. “I am delighted that thanks to FOX Sports this will now be possible, as for the first time ever, the UEFA Champions League Final will be live on a nationwide broadcast channel right across the USA.”
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