Why All The Fuss About Fox Soccer Plus?

Alright, it’s been a couple of days since Fox Soccer Plus/FS+/FSP launched on only a few cable/satellite providers. Here are my observations and opinions after actually viewing some of the programming on the channel and reading/hearing an overload of viewer opinion. As always, I’d love to hear yours!

FSP vs. Setanta: I have been a Setanta subscriber for three years. I loved it because it allowed me the access to any team, any game, on any week (EPL, that is). It also allowed me to watch Serie A, The Championship, FA Cup, Carling Cup, SPL, Rugby, Russian Premier League, and all sorts of other things that I would not normally tune in to. Largly, FSP has picked up the rights to much of Setanta’s most popular and mainstream programming, but not all of it, as many viewers have objected to. In my opinion, FSP is offering a decent range of programming that is still a positive step in terms of international sports coverage in America. Seriously, we really can’t complain too much about good, consistent coverage of multiple leagues which continues on FSP. Perfect? Maybe not. But it’s not too bad either.

Commercials: Some of us are a bit too worked up about the commercials showing up on FSP. Setanta was largely commercial-free due to its international and subscription nature. For example, with the Setanta Ireland feed used on the weekends during matches, they would show endless Setanta promos during the commercial break since it makes no sense to show Irish commercials on American TV. In addition, that horrible Setanta theme song coupled with a ball or a pair of boots came across about 457 times per hour. Now, compare that with actual American commercials on FSP. It seems there is a lot of pushback to this since people are paying $15 per month for FSP and I’m just not sure what the big deal is. Either you were getting some crappy filler graphics with Setanta or you now get a commercial with FSP—which is worse? Regardless of your answer, the subscription you are paying is for the content, not what happens in between. If the content is not worth it to you, then don’t subscribe. But don’t bash FSP for a few commercials.

HD: The single biggest issue, for me anyway, with FSP is whether or not it will eventually show up in HD. If it does, I really can’t see how anyone could complain about the channel. Each satellite/cable provider has its own response to the HD question and all I can say is I better get it before next season.

Match Selection: I’ll tell you what will piss me off is if Fox puts all the major matches on FSP. Something tells me they’re smarter than that but nothing would surprise me. Even though this wouldn’t affect me since I subscribe to FSP, I still think it’s wrong. For people who just want to see some decent matches without paying $15 per month, it’s just not right.

Give It Some Time: One of the things that baffles me is how people can write off FSP less than 48 hours after it began broadcasting. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion but can we please let FSP iron things out? Setanta didn’t just start being great immediately upon its inception and FSP will develop over time as well; you can be sure of it because people, including me, will stop subscribing if it doesn’t!

Just my thoughts! What are yours?

84 thoughts on “Why All The Fuss About Fox Soccer Plus?”

  1. its still a bargain when compared to what we had to pay prior to setanta
    that was if i remember correctly about $300 for two premier league games
    each weekend (epl package)that didnt include any fa cup and was only good
    aug thru may,i spend 15 bucks on two lunches.i just cant afford to miss
    manchester united games,watching football is my religion.i cant live without
    and wont live without it

  2. Not sure I like the fact that two of the FA Cup games are not being shown live this weekend…we are down to the quarterfinals! Tottenham-Fulham and Villa-Reading won’t be shown until 6pm on delay and I don’t their is a conflict with at least one of the games.

    1. Completely agree with the ridiculousness of this. Fulham v. Tottenham is being shown on all the Setantas, which would lead one to believe that it would be shown on Fox Soccer Plus, but no, Fiorentina v. Juventus is…awful…beyond that, FSC is showing Man United v. Wolverhampton, and even though Wolved might actually play a full squad this time, it’s still not as good a match as Fulham v. Tottenham. They dropped the ball on this one.

  3. Fletch,

    I think the issue people have with the commercials is that FSP is the only Fox property that is a premium subscription channel. If they’re going to show commercials, then why are we paying for subscriptions? If FSP was just a regular channel on your sports package, then people could watch every game for their Premier League team, or every big game from the Premier League, for nothing other than the subscription to the sports tier of their cable or satellite plan. I think that the increased interest that would generate consistently from week to week would allow FSP to bring in enough commercial revenue to sustain that channel.

    1. As for placing FS+ on a sports tier, that’s just not going to happen. Soccer is still a niche in the US. And until I see two NFL networks (Redzone qualifies I guess), two NBA-TVs, two MLB Networks, two Speed channels, two NHL networks, two Golf networks… it ain’t gonna happen! All these other sports only have extra premium channels.

      1. Gol TV already is the second soccer channel. Sports tiers already have Fox College Sports Atlantic, Central, and Pacific along with CBS College Sports so that’s four extra football channels for the fall, four extra basketball channels in the winter, and they show a bunch of baseball in the spring.

        I think this country is ready for another soccer channel since the networks are discovering that even though we may not really want to see the MLS, there’s a lot of appetite for world class soccer and a lot more people want to see even Wigan vs Stoke than watch the Kansas City Wizards play the Columbus Crew in a minor league baseball park.

        1. You’re not going to convince providers that a third (thanks for reminding me about Gol TV) soccer channel should be on the sports tier…. unless that channel wants to charge a ridiculously cheap and unsustainable carriage fee, say $.005-.01 per subscriber-month. A large fee premium is the only way to convince providers demand is there.

    2. what people need to understand was that what we had before DID NOT WORK FINANCIALLY. and this is the result. the only other option is illegal streaming, legal ($$) streaming, or moving to a different country.

  4. Exactly Joe, we’ve gone from 17 years ago, crossing our fingers that the ONE badly edited, week-old PL match we got to see at 2 in the morning wouldn’t be pre-empted by a cheerleading competition, to being asked to pay $20+ to see a top of the table match four years ag, to expecting that its our birthright to have every match – available – live – at the same time – in HD – with a free pint of lager. Oh my, look how things have progressed.

    1. For those of you who think brn442 is exaggerating, he’s not! I remember taping tons of Premier League highlights in the early 90s only to find some weird program on instead such as cheerleading or college basketball.

      We’ve definitely come a long way!

      The Gaffer

      1. Gaffer, ha ha, you’re taking a risk having your citizenship revoked by calling college basketball “weird” but I suspect many of the posters never had the pleasure of trying to set a premium “4 head” VCR, getting those paranoid thoughts at work or in your sleep that you didn’t (a) put the right date/time/ am/pm (b) the right channel (c) actually (remembered to) put the tape in (d) hoping that the misses, kids, other family member, or the” VCR goblins” didn’t somehow mess with it, and after successfully jumping all those hurdles, only to end up that sinking feeling as you fast forward against all hope, through that freshly taped episode of “Bayou Bass Fishing.” someone at the cable company decided you needed to see instead.

        1. Thanks, brn442…I didn’t have anything else to think about this morning.

          (e) just came to mind…..the “power glitch”….when you woke up or came home to find the little bugger blinking “12:00” at you…


          1. Right on Overball, I actually had to make sure my VCR was “off” in order for it to record. There were countless times I came home only to see in dismay that the “vcr goblins” left it on.

      2. When I came to the USA from England in 1982, I didn’t find out the footy scores until Monday (when Sunday’s UK papers arrived at my local store).
        I also got some crackly, garbled info on BBC World Service.
        Spurs (my team if you couldn’t guess from my user-name) were in the process of winning the FA Cup that year and they showed the early round games at 2:00 am! I didn’t have a VCR at that time so had to set the alarm … and wouldn’t you know it but often they had some mickey-mouse college game (sorry to upset Americans, but what is it with college sport over here … it’s bigger than pro sports!).
        In the 90’s they began showing EPL games for about $250.00 a season (that’s probably nearly double in today’s money). Then they charged about $100 for all the FA Cup games and extra for the semis and final.
        The pre-1990 World Cups were not even on commercial English TV (except the later rounds). The 1990 world cup was on TNT with commercials during the game and I had to watch on Univision to gain sanity.
        In the noughties, FSW and then FSC and Setanta came along and I thought I’d gone to soccer heaven.
        So, all this complaining about $15 a month and HD is doing my head in!

        1. usspur – ha ha, I had to wait until I got the week old issues of “match”, “shoot”, and “90 minutes” from the newsagents in Times Square to get the scores, the shortwave radios that went in and out of consciousness on Saturday, and yes – the shocking commentary on Italia 90′. I too had to throw my hands up and switch to unvision – I have those tapes somewhere.

  5. How many subsciners did Setanta have? It appears that FSP will be on no new providers anytime soon. At $15 a month how are they going to prop it up without commercials. Setanta was limited and expensive thus it went broke. Good luck Fox, you’re going to need it

    1. it is a world cup year… will spike interest in football and increase FSP beyond nominal.

      I will not sign up for FSP unless they get all the good games AND go HD — otherwise I will stay with FSC + Veetle/Justin.tv/ustream/etc..

  6. Re the comments about Fox possibly scheduling “all the best games” for FS+ vs FSC, remember that the EPL (really working with Sky and the police forces in England) is the one who decides who plays in the “featured matches” which are the “teatime” games Sunday (11 am on the US east coast) and Saturday (12:30 EST), and who gets the “early kickoffs” at 7:45 Saturdays (shown here on ESPN2) and 8:30 Sundays. Assuming Fox retains the format of 11 am Sundays at 12:30 on Saturdays on FSC, then those will still be many of the best matches. ESPN2 is finally getting some good matches in the early Saturday kickoff. So it’s really just if FS+ gets the early Sunday kickoffs, and then who gets “first choice” for the 10am matches on Saturday. I presume, looking at what is happening this weekend, that first choice went to FS+ with Arsenal, and that FSC gets left with the “6-pointer” @ Upton Park. This is the *exact* format we had with FSC/Setanta, where Setanta had first choice when ESPN2 had an early game, and if ESPN2 didn’t have an early game, then ESPN2 gets first choice at 10am, Setanta (now FS+) 2nd, and FSC 3rd.

    It will only be if FS+ somehow starts getting Sunday at 11 am matches that we should start screaming. I don’t think that will happen this year as presumably advertisers have bought into that 11 am package on FSC which has many many more eyeballs than FS+.

    For next year, who knows? But I doubt they will change the format much.

    Gaffer, any luck in getting questions answered by the fox soccer people?

    I am still surprised their fs.tv web site has no grid schedule whatsoever, so it’s hunting and pecking competition by competition to find out what’s on!

    1. David, no word yet, but I need to follow up with him. As soon as I have more details, I’ll create a new post on EPL Talk with all of the details.

      The Gaffer

      1. Thanks. I just twittered you also re possibly updating your awesome “TV Listings” page to include the fs.tv matches, if possible. Thanks!

  7. I’m thinking the way to go is with FSC.tv instead of FSC+ until HD become available.

    At least I’m convincing myself of that since I don’t even have access to FSC+ through my provider yet.

  8. I am still upset with what they did with Fox Sports World. They stripped all of their rugby/oval ball, make us go over to pay $15 for Setanta. Now they get ahold of Setanta, strip that channel of some Rugby, and Gaelic. And charge the same $15? it’s their fault people had to pay $15 in the first place!

    And what are they going to offer come summer? no soccer leagues they have are going on, nor Rugby. just archived matches?

    1. So true, football is my life but I do miss the Cricket, Formula 1, and Rugby highlights the old fox sports world had. Sometimes, you can see FSR is grasping for content when they start showing highlights from the Brazilian League on a slow news day.

    2. their fault?? no it’s your fault for watching and driving up the ratings which in turn drove up the rights fees such that they had to drop properties to stay in business. blame yourself.

      1. how is it my fault? Nielsen nave never came knocking at my door!

        Maybe I should say ” they’re the reason” instead of “their fault? “

    3. I git switched without knowledge to Fox Soccer minus and come to find out that they are not going to carry any Six Nations matches. I dropped it. I’m not enough of a football fan to pay $15 a month when I can go to mny local.

  9. I think that if/when the cable companies do pick up Fox Soccer Plus, then it will become a sports tier channel. The similar programming to FSC, plus all the commercials seems to indicate that. For now the satellite providers are charging $15 a month since they can get away with it. I don’t see much changing until the fall though since there won’t be much content over the summer (ESPN/ABC has the World Cup rights). The 1-2 MLS games per week are going to be shown on FSC, not sure what else there is for FS+ — Premium Sports probably kept any international summer rugby rights that Setanta had (test matches and three nations).

  10. I will miss SENTANTA big time.I think without doubt the top station right now is FSC,they have the best games.Obviously it is far to early to reach a verdict on FSC+ but im sure in time especially next season they will improve.
    Without doubt the worst is ESPN,sure their in HD !!but are u kidding me……… Robbie Mustoe,Shaka Hislop and the biggest schmuck to ever analyse football Tommy Smyth,does anybody not turn off at halftime?.
    Please the powers to be at ESPN bring in some proper commentators for not only the world cup but for next season.

    1. Schmuck is putting it lightly, Tommy Smyth is bad for your health!
      Does anyone know what football qualifications he has?

    2. ESPN is far better that FSC in terms of presentation..
      bald headed nick webster is a joke.. that guy looks and talks like a hooligan.. oh my bad he is from england. :)

  11. Commercials plus a $15 sub fee, not a bad business model. I do believe that fox has more leverage on getting their premium channel on more distributors than Setanta. Plus they are the true owners of their content. And the channel will be in HD, which will be able to show great games in true 720p. Now, will it work, I am not sure, but Rupert Murdoch will find a way for it to work.

    I am speculating, that sometime in the near future, Goltv will also go under, and La Liga rights will be divided between FSC, FSC+ and ESPN. If this were to happen, than Murdoch would have sole possession of International Football in the US.

  12. most of you obviously dont remember when we only got an hour of soccer on the box a week. And it was soccer made in Germany with Toby Charles.
    I love FSC and will love FSP+ (if I ever can get it, come on uverse)
    give me footy and I wont complain.

  13. did anyone else have fox soccer plus go off the air on directv? it was working fine last night, and this morning it says i have not purchased this channel…i purchased the channel on monday afternoon, and i wanted to see the england game and now it won’t work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Have to agree that I hated the Setanta bouncing balls and bright yellow imagining. It was all too much. American’s just weren’t used to it. Ok, call us strange.

    As to the best games going away to ESPN we may take a look at ESPN’s history with the NFL to find a clue. ESPN has never paid out for the best of the NFL schedule. It’s NFL offerings have always been a second level game. The other networks have paid to get better NFL match-ups. So, my guess will be that ESPN will be fine with what’s scheduled by the league for them and let others pay the higher price for Man U v. Chelsea. In the meantime ESPN will promote it’s games as they are as the big event.

  15. I have no complaints. Watching rugby this weekend will be a “Plus” as well. Even FoxSoccer.tv is slightly better now. I plan on watching Fulham vs Spurs Live on Saturday rather than delayed on FSC. Sure, I’d rather not pay $5 to watch it, but when you consider I can watch the other soccer & rugby being offered for a 24 hour period, its sorta worth it. It just wouldn’t be worth a long term subscription for me at this point.

    1. NICE! Thanks for letting me know Ovalball. Should be a huge game to decide whether Forest or the Swans can try to get the second automatic qualification spot.

      Anyone else notice that ESPN360 no longer has Championship games on their schedule?

      The Gaffer

  16. In my opinion, Setanta US was far superior in its presentation of footie to FSC and GOLTV. FSC usually drops you into a match a second or two before kick-off. Personally, I like seeing the players come out of the tunnel and the other pre-match rituals. Also, I’ve yet to see an American commentator who can hold a candle to even the worst British commentator.

    Additionally, I object to the fact that I have to buy a sports tier and a premium channel. Not only that DirecTV switched me from Setanta to Fox Soccer Plus without even asking. Cheeky b-st-rds.

    Yes, we all remember how hard it was to get matches/results in the “good ol’ days” but that’s no excuse for gouging those of us who make their healthy bottom line possible.

    1. This is a great point. I bet there is a significant number of people who still aren’t aware that they are paying for a different channel!

  17. The idea of paying for fs+ channel is to see something
    you can’t see on fsc. Having the same shows, i.e. Sky
    Sports News, etc on both channels does not
    justify me paying extra $. I’m showing you the money,
    now give me unique content!!!…like Setanta!

  18. I agree with you on the paucity of content on FS+. However, as long as folks show the Murdochites the $, they’ll take it and run. Lots of people need to do what I did — cancel and let your provider know why you did it.

    I’ve already gotten a letter from Dish asking why I don’t want fs+ — they’ll get an earful.

  19. When I first heard of Setanta Sports was available, I had my reservation since I’ve heard about the closing of Setanta UK half a year before that, so as Setanta USA closed down a couple days ago, I was relieved that I didn’t pay extra. Now, hopefully when Fox Soccer Plus is available on Comcast, I don’t have to wait that long.

  20. …. As I was typing, anyone else notice this morning on FSP with the Premier League archives, it had the HD logo up?? Do you thank that is becuase it is a re-run from FSC?

  21. Really no need for you to be complaining about FS Plus. I wish I had it. I am with Comcast and had Setanta and that has been pulled, so I only get FSC and so badly want FS Plus but it looks like that won’t happen…..

  22. For those who can’t/never will get FS+, take a look at foxsoccer.tv. The web page and line-up are literally changing by the hour. There are now so many offerings under “Soccer” that you need to click a side arrow to see the full schedule. Rugby now includes Heineken Cup as well as Guinness Premiership and Magner’s League.

    I expect this all to change by fall when ESPN2 will be picking up more matches, but right now it’s kid-in-a-candy shop time.

    It will be interesting to see how Fox juggles the FSC, FS+, FoxSoccer.tv line-up come next season.

    1. Yup – I’m right there with ovalball. FS.tv is the way to go.

      As of now, I really think HD would be the only thing to pull me away to the actual channel. Same content (as far as I can tell) as FSC+

      1. It seems to be improving every minute. Credit where its due; as things stand it is very attractive and great value for money. I’m looking forward to seeing if they have answers to the questions that were put up on the foxsoccer.tv thread which related mainly to the rights for ESPN’s games (which of course are doubling next year) and southern hemisphere rugby. If they picked up, even on tape delay, the ESPN soccer games and the tri nations I would be one very happy long-term subscriber

    1. I’m just hoping FS.tv doesn’t implode at 3:00 for the England/Egypt match. I wonder how many have signed up in the last few days. Is Fox prepared?

      Let’s see…they’ve got Gaz, me and……?

  23. Well, here we go. FS.tv says it has England/Egypt live, but there is no “Watch” button. Anyone watching on FS.tv?

  24. I can’t believe the amount of time you spend on this topic. Makes me wonder if you’re getting a kickback from Fox or something.

    1. James, no kickbacks. Just an obvious thirst for information as many of us want to experience soccer online, and the threads here help get the message out to everyone.

      The Gaffer

      1. Also info has been very slow from the Fox people; I for one am grateful to the EPLtalk team for helping us figure out how to continue to get our sport….

    2. James…it could be because this is EPLTalk and Fox controls all the EPL matches in the U.S. Just a thought.

  25. 2 more comments (I have not yet subscribed, but probably will):

    1) The England-Egypt games now shows as Availability: 630 pm EST. So that implies that games will not be embargoed til midnight for live FS+ matches simulcast on fs.tv. (But we don’t get our dream of esnp360.com style watch games in progress from the beginning.) So I can go home tonight, subscribe and watch. NO SPOILERS PLEASE.

    2) The navigation seems awful. Is it only me or every time you refresh does it go back to Rugby/Upcoming.

    Could someone who has subscribed comment on picture quality ENG-EGY as well as whether you can pause. Also for anyone who’s watched on-demand, can you pause, fast forward, rewind? If so, how long does it take when you forward a few minutes for the random access? (Compare to setanta-i & espn360)


    1. I watched part of the England Match on fsoccer.tv The navigation is a little more Byzantine than setanta – i. For some reason, the default tab is the rugby one. I had to download the rayv app to play at “high quality” The video was a bit choppy and the feed was practically raw (I guess I do miss the setanta theme music after all.)

  26. Just watched both the England U21 vs Greece U21 match and the England vs Egypt match on Foxsoccer.tv and my initail impressions are that it isn’t as good as Setanta-i. I found the quality to be poorer than Setanta-i (Setanta used Silverlight software which is maybe why it was better – just my guess). The picture was choppy at times. It was in the 16:9 format so that was good. I couldn’t find anything that allows for pausing, rewinding, etc. If Foxsoccer.tv can improve on their product they could have a winner on their hands. Their scheduling is definitely better than what was available on Setanta-i. Too bad the quality isn’t up to par. Still for $39.95 (Setanta-i customers get a $5 discount) I’m at least glad I won’t be missing matches that ere scheduled at Setanta for the remainder of the season.

  27. The quality of the picture on foxsoccer.tv is definitely inferior to Setanta-i. I found the picture choppy at times. I know that Setanta-i used Silverlight software which improved picture quality so maybe foxsoccer.tv will upgrade to a better software. You cannot pause, rewind, etc. The format is 16:9 which is good.

  28. While I am truly grateful about how far we’ve come in terms of football coverage, I think it is a major ripoff to charge $15 for one channel. I know that many of us, out of principle, refuse to pay that fee.

    If Fox were to charge $5 per month instead of $15, I have little doubt that they’d have at least five times as many customers and would thus make more money. For $5 a month, I’m in. More than that for one channel? No thanks.

  29. As a BIG “footie” and Spurs fan – travel twice a year to the Lane, subscribe to the Guardian, BBC, and much more – I refuse to pay $15/mo for a channel full of commercials, and basically the same programming as FSC. And its not in HD.
    Fellow Gaffers – you’re kidding me right- you’re actually paying 15 quid for this garbage? And don’t give me this rubbish about its only a couple pints at the pub. The fewer people subscribe to this rip off, the more they will be forced to give it to us for free, or move it on to ESPN. STOP THE INSANITY!

  30. By the way,
    For the attention of all Comcast subscribers in Northern California, Comcast advised me today, that they were almost done with the updates they needed to make to their systems and that they anticipated adding Fox soccer plus in late march

  31. Can anyone with FS+ confirm the Super 14 match listed in the online guide Foxsoccer.com actually aired in the wee hours this morning? I’m with Uverse so do not have access to the channel, but would like to know if the Super 14 is actually being shown. Thx

    1. It did air. I did a manual recording with my DVR based on faith in the FS+ programming guide and when I checked this morning, the Chiefs vs. Reds match was there in all it’s glory.

    2. Yes, I saw it as well. Watched the 1st half live. I guess that means FSC+ online schedule is more accurate than their printable schedule, which is good news because the online schedule shows plenty of Super 14 coming up.

      Looks like all the carriers were fed the incorrect info from the printable schedule. I have Dish and their program guide showed something else in the time slot when Super 14 was being shown.

      Fox has really stumbled on this one. Super 14 fans have been left wondering if FSC+ was going to carry it or not. Super 14 is not listed on the main FSC+ website which shows all the leagues and competitions they carry. Their online schedule shows Super 14, but in many places it shows matches being on for only 1/2 an hour. Their printable schedules leave off Super 14 altogether.

      I’m sure they’ll get all that straightened out, so for now I’m just glad to see that Super 14 is on FSC+.

      1. I get the feeling this entire channel rollout was a chinese fire drill. It also seems like maybe Setanta are still running it somehow the way the halftimes seem the same with the Premier League Productions bits and pieces

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