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?