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Fox to Televise Champions League Final, Not FX

Fox logo Fox to Televise Champions League Final, Not FX

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.”

What’s your reaction to Fox showing the game instead of FX and Fox Soccer Channel? Click the comments link below and let us know.

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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 →

57 Responses to Fox to Televise Champions League Final, Not FX

  1. Team Speed says:

    I read the article as saying FOX – the over the air network station everyone gets – would be airing the game.

    • Team Speed says:

      nevermind my above post, must have read the original blog post wrong; thought it was saying FSC was broadcasting the final

      • The Gaffer says:

        Team Speed, no worries. I did the same thing and had to rub my eyes in disbelief that Fox, not FSC nor FX, would be showing the final. Incredible news for soccer in the United States.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

  2. Joseph says:

    You had to have known they would switch to FOX. CL Final is definitely big enough for a Saturday afternoon. Great news for soccer. I wonder if this is the first time FOX has shown a soccer game.

  3. Ivan says:

    Wow, that is fantastic news! American viewers will have unprecedented access to Europe’s biggest football game of the year. And this year, the final is on a Saturday, I believe.

  4. Adam S. says:

    Hopefully the quality won’t be as bad as their BCS bowl game productions.

    • DCUDiplomat96 says:

      @ ADam I dont what you talking about FOX had one of the Better productions, actually the BCS them music is a classic right up there with the original NFL on Fox theme. Fox has always been innovative.. and pushed the limit when it came to things.. so I dont know what planet you in.

  5. JLC21 says:

    Am I the only one who’s already worried about how they’ll broadcast the game? I’m scared that they’ll use some terrible non-soccer American commentators, dumb down the whole production and just butcher the whole thing.

    Anyone who follows college football knows that that’s exactly what Fox does to the BCS games.

  6. yespage says:

    Well, Champions Final in HD, guaranteed. That’ll be nice.

  7. AtlantaPompey says:

    Great news. Party at the Gaffer’s house!

    Fox does a terrible job of broadcasting sports, in my opinion. I can’t stand their baseball coverage, and I love baseball. I can’t stand their stupid dancing robot in their NFL coverage. Hopefully they will simply use a European feed. Otherwise, I will use my stereo setting that puts the announcers exclusively in the center channel, unplug that speaker, and simply hear the crowd noise out of the other four speakers.

    • Brett says:

      I like that idea of pulling the plug on the center speaker to kill the commentators when they’re no good. Wish I had thought of that long ago.

      Does SkySports have the Champions League Final in the UK?

      • Jeff H says:

        In the UK, Sky Sports and ITV both air the Champions League final.

        • Brett says:

          Thanks, wasn’t sure if Sky had it too or just ITV. Maybe Fox will use Sky’s broadcast like ESPN uses its broadcast for the Monday night EPL matches.

          I really hope it’s not just be the international UEFA broadcast or FSC commentators.

  8. worldcup3dfan says:

    just mute the commentary and watch the hd coverage….can’t complain…excellent news! thanks gaffer

  9. BergkampWndrlnd says:

    This is pretty awesome. not going to lie, pretty happy about this, even if the announcers are bad.

    Unrelated–so I called RCN this morning to try to add Setanta for the rest of the month (to watch the Arsenal-L’pool match today) and they told me that Setanta is not allowing any new customers to be added. Seems kind of weird–wouldn’t any business want to add money to their pockets, even if theyre going out of business at the end of the month? Anyone else have this problem?

  10. Civrock says:

    Here’s for hoping that they use the international feed or the british one from their british News Corp-owned sister Sky Sports, that should be decent game commentary.

    It’s definitely good news for the beautiful game in the US that one of the most important games of the year is shown on a channel that is available to pretty much everybody with a TV in this country, regardless of plan or package.

    I’m not worried about the quality of the game broadcast itself, that’s what really matters after all, but I do hope that they have some good people to do the pre-game, halftime and after-game show. Maybe they’ll even show them coming out of the tunnel etc to create a wonderful atmosphere for people that don’t usually watch soccer, to get people interesting in a sport that is much more interesting and exciting than the usual US favorites. In my opinion anyway. :)

  11. RedMD says:

    Well, they just made the switch to sky commentary for the big matches on FSC as of the last matchday, so why should they switch it now? Although, maybe it’s in Joe Buck’s contract to get his hands on this championship match to broadcast? More seriously, Gaffer, no onsite pregame by the FSC analysts, since obviously they refuse to use Sky’s well-put-together studio show for each matchday?

  12. Nnanna says:

    This is great news!! Not sure why people on here are always complaining about the commentary.. The truth is that if [native born] Americans are to enjoy Soccer, they have to consume it their own way, not necessarily in the same way people from other countries are used to.

    I usually have no problems whatsoever with Fox commentary during the NFL season.

  13. GK says:

    I think an even bigger worry than the announcers is the camera work.

    Sure, it will be HD but if you contrast how ESPN/ABC do MLS vs the ESPN feeds of Champions League matches, the US produced MLS broadcasts ZOOM in so much that it is hardly worth watching because there is no context to the possessions, counterattacks, etc. You can’t see where a pass is going, or players are heading, until the ball is already there. To me it takes the beauty out of watching a team that can pass like these Champions league teams will. Hope they keep things zoomed out, except for the one-on-one and replay zoom-ins.

    Also hope they sound engineer it better than NFL games. Flipping between NFL games on Fox or CBS, the crowd sounds terrible on fox, like the microphone is in a tub. I don’t like being so critical, but I just hope Fox can live up to the task, and think they should just feed in the English broadcast if they cannot.

  14. Nick says:

    For the love of God…PLEASE do NOT let Joe Buck do commentary for this massive clash. I would rather watch a crap quality UK stream on my 13″ macbook than listen to that goon butcher his way through the match.

  15. Josh G says:

    I don’t know how I feel about this. On one end its great for the game. On the other end, why am i paying $16.99 mo for sentata? is it going to become FSPlus? I also dont know how the commentary will be and if they will have commercials in the middle of the match.

  16. sucka99 says:

    I think this is great news … for FSC – full advertising of the channel and all the soccer and an exhibition of the beautiful footy available in the European Super Bowl. I don’t mind if they FOX-it up a bit. I think it’s silly to think they’d take Sky pregame or maybe even Sky commentators who promote Sky products on air or do interviews with Sky microphones. It’s one thing if it’s Fox Australia. So I’m guessing unless Sky produces a generic commentary feed, Fox will use the UEFA commentators bracketed by Bobby McMahon and Warren Barton and the new Max Bretos (Mark Rogandino?)

    The only thing I worry about is the local Fox affiliates who may choose not to air it because they don’t want them dern Yoo-Row-Peens on their movin’ pikchur box.

  17. Josh G says:

    Also, SKY is Fox so maybe they will just have UK feed and everything will be great. YAY

  18. brn442 says:

    Great news about Fox but the main reason this was all possible is that the “geniuses” at UEFA decided a few months ago that it made common sense to have the final on the weekend, which is not only good for European based supporters (kids staying up later, traveling fans etc) but (maybe unintentionally) good for fans in other time zones around the world that are usually at work, school, or asleep to catch the match – well done UEFA, well done Fox.

  19. MNUfan1991 says:

    Sweet! Thank you Rupert Murdoch. The more people seeing CL the better it is for all footie fans here.
    It may even entice more top teams to tour North America.
    I truly appreciate what FSC did to EPL coverage in the US and will gladly fork out more $$$ for FSC+… when Time Warner Cable puts it on their lineup.

  20. Kevin says:

    I’m calling it right now…

    Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will be calling the game.

    Ha.

    • Jeruleus says:

      I might actually kill myself if that happens. A world in which that happens isn’t a world in which I want to live.

      Give me anyone but Joe Buck, or give me death.

    • sucka99 says:

      yes – and Tony Siragusa will be roaming the sidelines at the Bernabeu doing asides about pasteles. Then they’ll jump the concord to make it back to call the baseball game at 8.

      that’s exactly what’ll happen.

  21. man99utd says:

    This is great news. What a brilliant lead in to the WC on ESPN/ABC. Football may be about to go mainstream, finally. FSC & ESPN have more footy now. I haven’t been this chuffed since my oldest son was born. Now I hope FSI uses some of the dosh ESPN gave them to sweenten the FSC HD deal for national cable providers.

  22. Jeruleus says:

    Like lots of people, I’m really, really, really worried they’re going to screw this up. I don’t want to see any of their dumb robot graphics that they use for NFL games. I don’t want any stupid commentators. I hate watching football on mute. I like to hear the whistle, the players, and especially the crowd. I still get misty eyed whenever Schalke04 score at home and the crowd breaks into song. EIN LEBEEEN LAAAAAAAAAAAANG!!!!

  23. Ken says:

    Worst News Ever.

    FOX is not a channel – it is a network of hundreds of local idiots.

    I predict that a majority of the FOX affiliates will pre-empt the match for:
    - freeway police car chase
    - local high school sports match
    - press conference of sports star retiring or changing teams
    - rerun of poker matches
    - paid programming

    • Brett says:

      ABC is a “network of hundreds of local idiots” too and they showed the Euro 2008 final without it being preempted by local affiliates with other shows.

      • John says:

        Unless you happened to live in Phoenix, where abc15 had an outtage for antenna maintenance and showed nothing. They did broadcast the game around midnight though.
        They performed a similar stunt during one of the abc games during the 2006 World Cup.

    • Matt says:

      Care to put some money on that?

  24. R.benjamin says:

    ABC must be loving this. what better advertising for the WC than this. A Spanish team v an England team would be ideal.

    I’m guessing studio time borrowed from FSC.. gametime a direct feed. I can live with that.

    The US is taking a step up this year.. More players in Europe, more games on ESPN, this, HD finally on FSC and plus.. and Red Bull arena and any new DPs. Equals more kids wearing jerseys to school equals better US players in 10 years.

  25. Cy says:

    I was wondering about Fox and its traditional Saturday afternoon baseball coverage. It turns out May 22 is one of its two primetime dates. I think that this move to Fox has been in the Works for a while, they just needed to work with MLB to get the schedules worked out before they announced it.

  26. domsil says:

    I just checked with my wife at home and my dish network channel 149 now appears as a seperate HD channel. I am dvring the United – Villa game to confirm. I am located in the chicagoland area.

  27. Mike says:

    I 100% agree with GK, camerawork in American sports productions is way too zoomed in and it drives me crazy. Hockey also suffers from this problem and it drives me nuts. I hope Fox just takes the Sky feed and that nobody has to suffer from pre-emptions in their market, which unfortunately I bet will be a real possibility, the NHL on NBC was pre-empted in many markets a couple of weeks ago for a 700 Club telethon.

  28. Jose Hernandez says:

    Guys, this is a freebie. Please, no need to complain. Be happy.

    Now think about this. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid or Chealse vs. Real Madrid.

    OVer the Air Free tv

  29. StephenLucey says:

    I am sick of people on here bashing sports coverage on American television.

    I am a huge fan of both association and American football, and FOX, since it acquired rights to the NFC in the early 90′s, has been a leader in progressing the quality of sports on TV. (Shoot me, but I’ve always been a fan of the Foxbot).

    America in general has done tremendous things in this arena, and the origins of innovation are not always from where you’d expect. The aerial cam used in American football, which is suspended on cables above the field and controlled remotely, was an innovation created by the XFL (look it up, thank me later). All the major networks have their own variation of a high frame capturing camera, allowing for super-slow motion replays which truly enhance appreciation of a sporting event.

    Regrettably, commercial breaks dominate many aspects of American sports, in ways fans of futbol simply cannot comprehend. I struggle to comprehend them, and I’m conditioned to accept them. In the age of the DVR, however, this is not really a concern of mine any longer.

    Is it conceivable that FOX would cut away in the 20th minute for a commercial? Absolutely. I doubt it, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past them.

    Here is the part of my comment where I might crucify myself to fans of the beautiful game. I hope the game isn’t crap. I got some friends together to see Italy v. Spain at Euro 2008, and the final score, after 120 minutes, was 0-0. There is no defence (ahem) for such tepid nonsense from two supposed powerhouses.

    The most important component of this experiment is the quality of football on display. If the game only serves to reinforce the low scoring, defence first ethos of utilitarian football, than the broadcast could end up doing more harm than good to the health of the sport in the United States.

    • sucka99 says:

      agreed about Fox production of NFL football (can’t speak for baseball cuz I don’t watch but I do remember one radio caller comparing world series close ups of Andrew Pettitte to a David Lynch movie :)

      do not agree about the commercials. There’s ZERO chance of commercials. UEFA’s contracts stipulate exactly how this thing can be covered right down to the commercials that can appear). This will be the FSC crew throwing to the UEFA commentators (possibly the Sky commentators if they don’t broadcast it like they’re on Sky).

  30. What can I say? This is HUGE! Even though my club (Fulham) will never sniff a Champions League Final, its always one of the highlights of my year. To be able to say I watched it on FOX is mind blowing. I can remember when watching soccer was hard to come by in this country and now we are a bit spoiled with all the choices we have. I love it.

    I have friends who are “casual” soccer fans. They don’t go out of their way to watch it, but if its on ESPN…they’ll watch it. I know they will tune in if its on Fox. Some of these same friends never watched rugby until ABC aired a USA Sevens hour long highlight show (it drew 1.8 million…big for rugby in this country) and now they love the sport. More soccer on free network TV can only equal additional growth. Its all good.

  31. And WRONG…there will be no commercial breaks other than halftime. You’ll get the same treatment ABC gives World Cup games. Calm the hell down.

  32. AJ says:

    I was a little confused when FX was announced as the place for the final because I think I’ve watched FX for about an hour in the last 10 years. Isn’t FX slogan something about being of this world? Unless they’re talking about the price of some of the players in the final then that mgiht have made sense.

    Some said they use Sky feeds for the Monday Night EPL games. I don’t think so. They use the ESPNUK feed.

    Although why do I get the sick feeling we’re going to have an ESPN/MLS situation where FOX has a baseball game at noon that runs past 2:30 PM. Hide the children if it does because war will ensue.

    • sucka99 says:

      ESPN took the World Feed (from TWI, not Sky) for the one Monday Night EPL game immediately after it was announced that Martin Tyler would be calling the World Cup for ESPN. Martin Tyler calls games for the world feed when he’s not working for Sky (usually Mondays).

      Every other occasion for the Monday Night EPL they’ve taken the ESPN UK feed with Jon Champion.

  33. Jeff says:

    I’m so glad about this. I never understood why they were going to show in on FX in the first place. It should have been Fox from the very beginning.

    • sucka99 says:

      I doubt they could have at the time of the announcement of winning the Champions League rights. The needed to get the schedule for this season before the MLB game could be moved to primetime

  34. Dano says:

    This is amazing news. Come on Arsenal!

  35. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Ok Guys Hold Up wait a Minute! Yes Its Nice the the Big Fox is Gonna Broadcast the game, but some of these Comments I read on here is like a eurosnob wet dream here.. lets be realistic, I mean this would be experiment at best. Its still a wait and see type of thing here, remeber this is not a Major American sport here so FOX will have to do some major marketing and tv propping , if they really expect to achieve some good results…. Also, i beleive this move is Kind of Political in a way because Fox sports is more in Direct competition against “the Four Letter” Network, so maybe its kinda Good… Also I think Soccer will probably get more respect in the sports radio scence as well FSR and SNR(SportingNews) and ESPN radio have a huge impact in sports media, if the Interest of Cowherd (USMNT) or JT the Brick(05 Liverpool Champions League Run) then Im sure in the long run soccer most especially International Club Soccer will do pretty well. as For MLS thats another question… But Im still not convienced that any of the networks are working hard to broadening the game, or making it more appealing for the more casual American Sports fan.. catering to the lesser eurosnobs?? maybe?, I think so.

  36. tlas says:

    I’m sorry that I have to do this but I have to do a Max Bretos here and go Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssss!

    Gosh, I now feel dirty. ;)

  37. jilld says:

    All good guys – except for the on – air talent question. Somebody mentioned it – they need class guys like Tyler or Champion to give this major event what it needs. And how about bringing in Paul Dempsey — he’s done it both for Sky and for Setanta. That’s shame on us — he should be in the States

  38. Tony says:

    2010 Champions League Final: Olympiacos vs CSKA Moscow, live on FOX!

    • EPL Junkie says:

      That would be worst case scenario for everyone involved. I’d rather have FOX suffer with a Pittsburgh Pirates – KC Royals WS game, than this matchup.

  39. 2010 Club World Cup says:

    Hopefully, they also air the 2010 Club World Cup Final on FOX as well.

    This will be the 1st football match to be broadcast on free, over-the-air English-language TV since 2008. And 1st ever on FOX.

    Also, this may be the 1st time in history that Saturday night, regular season baseball is broadcast on OTA TV, coast-to-coast. Many changes are occurring in sports television.

  40. Dkoul says:

    Thanks a million FOX! Soccer is alive and well in the USA!

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