Fox Soccer Channel v ESPN – Which is Better?

To say Americans rely on quality television stations and reliable broadcasts for our fix of the Premier League and other avenues of the beautiful game is a vast understatement. No, “rely” is simply too small a word to describe the lifeline, the oxygen, the blood and the water that is cable, satellite, or Internet broadcasting of soccer matches.

When it’s all you have, one can soon see why such a hefty number of articles hit this and other sites on a regular basis. I continue to find it odd that I don’t consider myself a couch potato, yet I watched some 15-20 hours of football on TV this past weekend. After countless hours stooped in a state of transfixed vegetation, one can develop quite the analytical eye when it comes to how our football is served.

Because of their colossal importance, I’d like to conduct a compare and contrast, point-based analysis on the two main stations available to soccer fans in the States – ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel. Having full access to both channels for quite some time, you tend to develop certain likes and dislikes of the channels. With EPL Talk as my platform, I’ll attempt to figure out which channel I like better and why.

1. Number of Premier League Games Shown – During the Premier League season, American viewers will most likely get no more than 2 games per week on ESPN2. The Saturday early match and a Monday evening match, if applicable. FSC and FSC+ carry almost every other match of the weekend. If you’re looking for shear number of matches, FSC wins in a landslide. 1 Point to FSC

2. Production Value – It’s hard to compare this variable as the ESPN family of networks has much deeper pockets than the Fox family has allotted to FSC. In all honesty, FSC simply can’t compete with the production value the likes of ESPN. ESPN wins in this category with their graphics, credits, promotional pieces, and overall expertise in the field. We must also keep in mind that FSC has only been in existence since 2005. 1 Point to ESPN

3. Competitions Available – Depending on the month you watch each channel could sway your vote on this one. Allow me to explain. Both channels offer the Barclays Premier League, while they cement their coverage with other competitions and leagues around the world. In addition to the EPL, ESPN offers Spain’s La Liga, decent coverage of the USMNT and of course this summer, the World Cup. As stated, FSC shows more Premier League matches and has the all important US rights to the UEFA Champions League. Also on offer at FSC is MLS, the Championship, Women’s Professional Soccer, Serie A, and quality programs such as The Contenders, The Greatest, UEFA Champions League Magazine and the Fox Soccer Report. FSC even airs an hour of Sky Sports News. Still though, I refuse to shot myself in the foot with this one by deciding a winner when two incredibly important competitions, the World Cup and the Champions League, are shown on different stations but will never air in the same months. Verdict – Draw, 0 points awarded.

4. Streaming Internet sites – More specifically, vs ESPN3 (formerly ESPN360). For full product review of each site, visit story here. has had it’s fair share of problems in the recent past. If they can work out the kinks, the site itself has plenty of great matches and enough diverse leagues on offer each week to make it a leader in the field of legal Internet streaming football sites. ESPN3 has been around the block for a bit longer and never seems to have any streaming, loading or buffering problems. ESPN3’s one downfall is their availability of football competitions and leagues. As many good ones as they do offer (Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A), they don’t currently offer the Premier League or the Champions League. As much as I do in fact like ESPN3, a very, very slight advantage goes to 1 Point to FSC.

5. HD v HD – Slowly becoming the single most important variable in the soccer snob’s list of likes and dislikes. This is an easy one. All matches on ESPN are in full HD (except when the odd replay airs on ESPN Classic), where FSC is only available in HD on Dish Network in the States. Until DirecTV and other cable providers pick up the feed, ESPN will have the market cornered. For those who have only ever seen the beautiful game in standard definition, trust me, HD makes all the difference in the world. 1 Point to ESPN.

6. Tickers – Let my grave stone when I’m dead and gone say something along the lines of, ‘he loved his wife and family, he loved football, he died never having seen Radiohead live, and he hated tickers’. For me, the single most annoying aspect of watching any sport I can think of. Such it is though that ESPN deem it appropriate to let you know about the Ben Roethlisberger assault scandal or that the Tigers are leading the Indians 2-1 in the 5th inning while you’re trying to watch football. This debate is sure to rage on into the wee hours of the night, but with football, where you need to see the whole pitch at all times, tickers have no rightful place on TV. Save the updates for halftime or full time, or not at all. Doesn’t everyone have a phone that can check news and scores anyway? FSC is no longer able to claim innocence in the ticker debate. They seem to run their tickers less frequently, but whoever writes the thing should take a class in creative writing, the thing is simply bloody terrible. I’ve even heard ridiculous stories of the ticker running later in the day when FSC replays Premier League matches only for the ticker to give away the score of the very game being replayed. Sorry folks, tickers have no rightful place in football. VerdictDraw, 0 Points awarded.

7. Commentators/Analysts– In America, both sites use the same format consisting of a team of pre and post match analysts and pundits. On Saturday’s, ESPN uses an interesting combination of Robbie Mustoe, Adrian Healey and now Alexi Lalas. Mustoe and Healey are quality while I’m unsure of what Lalas adds to the knowledge of the aforementioned two. He seems to say the most obvious words or will often have a bemused but excited look on his face as he blandly describes how “great” everything is. FSC employs the always happy, always smiling and always perky Christain Miles who epitomizes a corporate suit. Along with Miles is the well spoken and knowledgeable Warren Barton and typically Keith Costigan for the later match. All this said, both American stations broadcast the English commentary feed of the matches which is 9 times out of 10 pretty fantastic. Especially when we get the likes of Martin Tyler and Jon Champion. Since the match commentary itself is the same, I’m going to go with the strength of ESPN’s Adrian Healey and Robbie Mustoe and give the slight edge to ESPN. 1 Point to ESPN.

In the smallest of margins, ESPN barely edges out FSC, 3-2. The result would definitely ring true for those that are more interested in quality rather than quantity. Still, I love FSC and admire what they’ve done for football in this country. HD and other improvements are sure to come soon. They are a great station who continually force themselves to change for the better and to the satisfaction of the American soccer fan.

Let’s face it footie fans, if we could somehow combine the incredible HD and production value of ESPN with the ’round the clock’ selection, programming and passion for football of FSC and FSC+, minus the dreaded ticker, soccer perfection would await our every waking second.

Until that day arrives, we’ll be forced to deal with two pretty darn good stations to keep us going. After we rush home from school or work to switch on the DVR, and at the end of the day, it’s still about the rush of excitement we get from watching 11 v 11 chase a little round ball around a slab of grass. I guess as long as you enjoy your football, it really doesn’t matter where you get it from.

Vote in the poll below and leave a comment on what you like or dislike about either station.

72 thoughts on “Fox Soccer Channel v ESPN – Which is Better?”

  1. Calling Christian Miles a “coporate suit” is an insult to the phrase “corporate suit.” I’ve known many, many “corporate suits” and almost all of them are far smarter and better at their respective jobs than Christian Miles is at his.

      1. I thought the article was pretty worthless, thats all. The main reason I read this site is for its coverage of the American football media. This article is the opposite of what I find compelling and interesting.

        Maybe you can break down my post with some other cheap journalistic cliche. How about you grade my performance as a poster, or give me a thumbs up/down, or even ask me hypothetical questions and then answer them yourself.

        1. I think you’re taking the overall idea of the article a little too seriously. As I respect your right to an opinion, albeit a presumed angry one, the article itself was nothing more than a look at the positives and negatives of the top 2 stations that provide Americans football.

          It was just a bit of fun in the end that would hopefully spark discussion and debate concerning TV coverage in the states. Which we all know is quite important due to the fact we can’t attend matches on a weekly basis.

          Also keep in mind that although you thought the article was pretty worthless, because I presume you already knew everything I covered, there may be readers of this site that are new to the sport and may view some of the points in the article as a way to learn more about the game.

          Thanks for the feedback – I’ll try harder next time

          1. Fair enough. I just thought the structure of the article was ‘cheap’, and thats a pet peeve of mine.

            If I was new to the sport, then I can see the content potentially being worthwhile. No need to try harder to please me, I’m pretty worthless myself. Carry on!

        2. YourMom,

          If the main reason you read this site is for coverage of American football media, then you are missing the point of the site. This is a blog about the EPL and any article relating to it is welcome and should be commented on by readers such as you. It’s fine if you disagree or don’t find every article interesting, but being rude is just plain distasteful, in my opinion. Judging from the comment thread this topic has generated in just a few hours, I’d say there are more than a few people who are interested in this topic and actually have something constructive to contribute to the discussion. I certainly don’t always find every single EPL Talk article “compelling and interesting” but I certainly keep rude comments to myself!

          1. Actually, no, I’m not missing the point of the site. What I’ve done is correctly identify a strength of the site, a type of content I can’t find anywhere else. It is generally high quality, and in this case, it wasn’t. I was then asked to explain my opinion, and I did so. Perhaps it was rude (thats what the Intra-webs are all about though, isn’t it?), but it was designed to highlight the type of cheap cliche the author had employed.

            Next time, I’d be happy for you to keep your comments to yourself. As you can see from our back and forth, Jesse appears to be a big boy and can speak for himself.

          2. Dear YourMom,

            Write an article yourself.

            Make sure it’s about the American football media and that everyone and anyone that looks at it find it compelling and interesting. Also, make sure the structure isn’t “cheap” (whatever the hell that means).

    1. Don’t flatter yourself, YourMom. You can’t read that fast I’m sure.

      Stop being a snob and at least provide somewhat constructive criticism for an article as opposed to trying to be witty and come off as a jerk.

  2. ESPN by a mile. If the US demand for soccer substantially grows over the years ESPN will slowly pick away more and more tv rights from Fox. In ten years FSC may still be around, but they won’t have the EPL, Serie A, or Champions League. ESPN will buy up all the premium content and maybe sublicense some of it to Fox.

  3. Until my cable company offers FSC in HD, ESPN gets the edge from me. You forgot to mention that ESPN broadcast the 2008 European Championship, with most of the games in HD.

  4. Hands down, the best is the one showing the match I want to watch. Couldn’t give a crap about anything else but seeing my team. Whoever gives me the option is my favourite. This week.


  5. When mentioning “Production Value” it’s worth mentioning the sound quality. ESPN does a much better job of delivering pitch and arena sounds than Fox does. Knowing some of the chants, and being able to lipread some of the players’ four-lettered comments, I can understand why any sports network would want to muffle the the field mics. ESPN does that and still produces better sounds of the game.

  6. Waaaaah. There’s a ticker. Waaaaaaah.

    “Football” is not some mythically special sport that needs to trump everything else. God forbid your sensitivities are assaulted by information on other sports. heavens to Betsy!

    Grow a pair. Not everyone lives inside a little “I’m a ‘football’ fan” bubble. Some of us like to use all of our brains and enjoy other sports as well.

    1. Couldn’t disagree more.

      First off, there’s no need to place the word football in quotes. In my opinion though, football is special enough that I want it to trump everything else.

      It may come town to personal preference, but I have no need to know about any other sport when I’m watching football. Sorry, my attention span is not that small wherein I get bored after 15 minutes and need to know other bits of useless information, especially when it comes from ESPN and other sports.

      And why do I need to “grow a pair”? Because I like football more than other sports I’m not using all of my brain? Simply a mindless comment.

      And for the record, I do like other sports other than football.

    2. Provided that ESPN is not flashing the score of the game they are currently replaying on the ticker (which has been known to happen in the past) I have no problem with it.

      It’s probably been close to 10 years since ESPN made the decision that they were going to use a ticker to keep fans of all sports updated 24/7. I’ve long since adjusted and I don’t find it much of a distraction. It’s not like they are showing favoritism by only using it during soccer games.

      True, many people do time shift and I think we’ve all been burned by the ticker a few times, but I think the burden is on the fan to avoid the score in those situations.

    1. I give ESPN a HUGE edge because of HD. The experience of watching Spurs v. Arsenal in midweek on ESPN2HD vs. watching Spurs v. Chelsea on Saturday on FSC blur-o-vision was like night and day. On Wednesday, the glorious HD picture filling the screen and the sights and sounds of the pitch and crowd all looked and felt more like being at a soccer match than watching a similar huge game w/ great atmosphere on Saturday v. Chelsea on FSC. It just felt different and better on ESPN2HD. I don’t think that was all due to it being a rivalry match either.

  7. ESPN will have twice as many games next season. Some of which may place them in direct competition with FSC. If that is the case and FSC doesn’t sort out the HD situation they’re done and dusted. I’ll watch Man Utd on whatever network airs them of course, but if the fixtures are equal in value FSC will lose everytime. They may have most of the rights yet they lack the considerable muscle of ESPN.

  8. It would have been ESPN by a mile, except that I just saw the awful Max Bretos on ESPN the other day. He is the bain of my existence and comparable to Joe Buck in my opinion. FSC has the most pompous commentators. Warren Barton is GOD awful, and might as well wear a Liverpool shirt instead of a suit while on TV. I frequently watch games on mute while listening to my teams commentary courtesy of their site. I can’t wait for the WC where I’ll get HD footie and none of the bumbling idiots of FSC.

  9. I compare Champions League coverage when I think of the two. ESPN: free online, always in HD, sometimes a second/third channels showing other matches. FSC: $$$$ online, LOL HD, the second game on a network you have to find via google, cause figure skating is listed instead of the match.

    Can someone please give Champions League back to ESPN

    Also I agree on the wah ticker. In the world of instant gratification and casual sports fans, the ticker is the best way to get the updates. A small niche community of super football fans shouldn’t ruin it for the majority casual fans.

    1. “A small niche community of super football fans shouldn’t ruin it for the majority casual fans”

      You’re talking about the ticker as if it in itself is a sport! Ruin the ticker? Seriously?

      1. I am talking about saying the ticker is evil and should be eliminated.

        The ticker is a massive amount of information provided in a matter of 2 minutes every half hour. The casual fan watching the match above say his Atlanta Braves and wants to know the Braves score without changing the channel. Boom, there it is. He wants to know who won the west coasts games last night because he was getting up at 7:30 to watch the match, it will appear underneath the match for only a minute.

        1. I guess it’s a US thing – there are no similar permanent tickers in the UK coverage (unless ESPN UK have introduced them!) during games of any sport. And very little in the way of any other on-screen clutter too. These days I’m used to looking up scores on my phone if I really want to know before watching the highlights.

  10. I don’t think it is even that close. I think the poll above shows that as well. I want to watch the team I support but out of every other match of the weekend ESPN wins hands down. The HD is a big part of that but the production values are so much better on ESPN. It should be embarrassing that FSC HD hasn’t gotten on more providers though I doubt it will compare to the HD quality of ESPN.

  11. I’m just happy to have so much access to football on the tv! I can watch more over here than when I am home visiting the family. No one will pay for sky sports.
    I think Adrian Healy is great, Mustoe and Barton are a match for any of the pundits back home (think Chris Kamara!!!) I have always hated Lalas. He did nothing but bad mouth Beckham throughout the 06 WC but was there opened arms when he went to the Galaxy.

    The only positive I can add about tickers (truely annoying) is that it has shown me the evolution of football in America when you can sit down and watch Baseball Tonight and Serie A and La Liga scores scroll across the bottom of the screen. But you are right who needs them – tickers were useful pre smart phones and internet.

  12. ESPN does provide better quality, but I go with FSC because of the number of games. Honestly, since my team (Liverpool) has begun to fade from contention neither channel has shown many games (although I did get to watch the West Ham match yesterday). But since I despise Italian League, a lot of FSC’s programming is irrelevant to me. Then again, since it’s baseball season, a lot of ESPN’s programming is irrelevant (and highly annoying) to me as well.

    But I remember when ESPN didn’t show much soccer at all and FSC was there to fill the void. Plus, when they were Fox Sports World, they used to show cricket and darts.

  13. I think the question should be…if you could only choose one, which would you rather have: the two FSC channels or ESPN? And at this point, with ESPN only showing one and AT MOST two games per week until the last few weeks of the season, I would easily choose the one that shows me 7-8 of the 10 games per weekend.

  14. ESPN Beats FSC all over just for the fact that ESPN is in every house hold in the USA. No worries…when you buy cable you will get all the ESPN Networks. If ESPN starts to take football more serious which its starting to look that way with the more matches for next season and the world cup and the highlights of amazing plays on sportscenter’s top 10 plays and on Sports Nation…ESPN is not making fun of football anymore like it used to. ESPN could kill FSC…IF it wants to…thats what it comes down to. Even the amount of money ESPN has they could take over FSC if the owner would want a big fat check and live great for the rest of his life.

    1. I agree with everything you said except the part of ESPN not making fun of soccer anymore. Yes, obviously they have done a much better job at not making fun of soccer, and showing highlights. But shows like Around the Horn and PTI, and especially Jim Rome make a mockery. When they include soccer in a show the panelists indirectly make fun of it with their lack of respect. They don’t know much about the subject which I understand, but they laugh it off like it doesn’t matter because it is soccer and totally mock the whole topic. Even the sportscenter anchors completely butcher the highlights as if they don’t even have enough respect for the game to do some research like I’m sure they do with every other sport. It’s their job and they can’t even make sure they sound decent when talking about soccer. I don’t expect them to talk about the game like Tommy Smith, but they could show some respect.

      1. Couldn’t agree more and one of the reasons I am not so sure of ESPN’s support for soccer beyond the World Cup.

    2. Umm. Just to be clear. The entire Fox empire is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, along with many other worldwide media outlets. He could buy and sell ESPN (not the other way around)……and is already living a pretty great life.

  15. i definitely like watching games on espn more, but its all about the number of games imo. fsc >>>espn, so i’d rather have them if i had to choose.

  16. FSC stills feels like “80s porn channel” to me for some reason — it’s mostly the production value I guess, but it just seems like cheap sets, bad lighting, and creepy guys saying “football” in an American accent. (I’m American by the way and it still sounds weird to me!).

    Not to mention the horrific Fox Football Fone-In…I’d rather watch Ellen or Opera these days. FFF went from an interesting and controversial show (admittedly EPL-centric), to a complete joke — perfect example of what happens when you let “executives” get involved in a show. Is there any quota they haven’t filled yet?!

    ESPN still rules in America, except for the number of games available. With FSC HD and FSP HD still not available to most people, ESPN fills the HD void quite nicely.

    1. I think your “80s porn channel” analogy nails it. While FSC has matches that you can’t get anywhere else, it’s almost embarrasing to watch. In a perfect world, ESPN would have a couple “niche” channels to show football, especially EPL and Champion’s League.

  17. Two issues with this article…

    1. is superior to by a mile. I’ve been ripped off twice by never rips me off…cause its FREE.

    2.Rugby puts FSC over the top as far as programming offered.

  18. All told I will admit that I watch FSC much more than ESPN. This is mostly due to the fact that the Saturday games on ESPN are played at 5:45 am (Mountain time). Lalas is a tool and forever will be, the haircut did not make him anymore intelligent, but the other commentators give them the edge on FSC. ESPN3 is a terrific site and I have never had a problem with it. Production values are certainly in favor of ESPN. Also FSC has a nasty habit of missing the second half kick off so I can catch the 12th running of a hair club commercial. IF ESPN continue to push forward and spend money on football they will win the battle hands down.

    1. Martin,

      Did you notice that GolTv will be in HD next month per the link you provided. No fanfare, no hoopla, just got it done. FOX, are you paying attention???

      1. Yeah, GolTVHD just came out of the blue there, huh? It’s not even offered in HD yet. I think it’s supposed to launch sometime this summer.

        I just hope that this list is preliminary, and that there’s still a chance that FSC launches before August. Why DirecTV wasn’t working harder to get FSCHD on this initial list of channels though, I don’t know.

  19. If you were to break down the 2 separate offerings (online and TV), It would be a tossup on the TV side (FSC’s number of games vs. ESPN’s production), and a nod to considering Time Warner cable, the 2nd largest cable provider, refuses to pay ESPN for ESPN3 leaving me unable to access any content on ESPN3.

  20. no question ESPN…for me at least. For the past 36 hours untill 9am this morning FSC was showing the same feed as FSWest which was hockey and highlights shows. Plus i still don’t have the option of FSCHD. While espn2hd’s last game and next game are Manchester Utd games, & as a red devil this suits me well.

  21. There is no competition, ESPN is head and miles above stupid FSC, they are a joke, their programming, their staffs, everybody there are not worth to be associated with football. FSR got these girls who do not even know how to pronounce player names, they claim the match is in ‘glorious HD’ but who is actually watching it in HD? Their satellite feed is so slow you already know whats going to happen before seeing it. They go straight into the match, you dont see players warming up or shaking hands or anything and oh yea the first 15 mins were brought to you by Geico

  22. The only reason I don’t hate Fox Soccer with every fiber of my being is because they show soccer games. They have pretty much ruined the champions league for me. I have class and work during the day, so last year with ESPN I just watched the replay whenever I wanted on ESPN 360 for free. Now that FSC has bought the rights, they show 1 or 2 of the games on replay at 4 or 7…and most of the time I’m not home by then! The “Internet streaming” part of this article is a joke. The reason ESPN 360 is pretty much useless now is because of FSC! ESPN 360 offered any CL game on replay or live FOR FREE. is a joke. I laugh at Fox Soccer’s pathetic pre game, post game, commercials..pretty much everything they do. Fox soccer buying the rights to the CL has severely retrained the growth of soccer in america.

  23. FSC over ESPN by a mile… ESPN fails for the simple reason that Tommy Smyth is the worst commentator in the world, I want to stab myself in the ears every time that I hear him calling a game. I can’t believe you gave the nod to ESPN in terms of analysts/commentators. Kudos to them getting Tyler to do the World Cup, although no doubt we’ll have to hear Smyth’s inane blabbering in the pre- and post-game analysis.

  24. Guys, I’m unsure if Tommy Smyth is even doing any ESPN matches in the States anymore. Hasn’t he moved to ESPN radio?

    Maybe the Gaffer will let us know,…

    1. Tommy was the co-commentator for the Valencia v Real Madrid game that was on TV this past weekend. He’s also makes the occasional appearances on the Premier League match on Saturdays on ESPN2. But for the World Cup, he’ll be commentating the games for ESPN Radio.

      The Gaffer

  25. How about FSC gets their damn shit together.

    Seems live every Champions League match, the audio and video are never synced up.

    Video is way ahead of the audio right now.(HD Feed)


  26. From a perspective focused on match availability I prefer FSC’s sheer amount of games. From a production perspective, just as the article states, ESPN easily wins my vote. If the two channels could merge the best qualities of each, it would result in the best possible situation for the American soccer fan. That is a fairly easy conclusion to come to though, as I am sure almost everyone else feels the same.

    My other gripe is that I enjoy watching the Serie A broadcasts on FSC, but I cant have the volume on because the commentator drives me up the wall.

  27. i don’t really care about production value. here’s what i care about:

    1) seeing my games all in one place (not 5 separate channels)
    2) seeing repeats of games already played (espn you suck)
    3) british rather than american or spanish commentators
    4) people who actually care about football (espn you suck)

  28. Number 1 should be thrown out, as ESPN came late into the game. Of course FSC shows more EPL matches, because they bought more rights. Assess this the next time they’re up for sale. FSC is full of s*&# “analysis” and production. It’s not true HD (although the falsely advertise it as such), having little adds pop up during the matches are annoying, and their coverage of the champions league is frustrating! ESPN HANDS DOWN!

  29. I’m certainly biased by being a poor college student who only has access to ESPN through the provided cable, but I have no problem with the ESPN ticker because I want to know how the other games and sports are going. The ticker keeps me updated on matches I won’t get to see, but want to the results of. I can see how it might ruin the suspense of matches you’ll get to watch later, but the complaint that it takes up too much room on screen (blocking out parts of the pitch) I think is rather silly. Its (ESPN’s) ticker is a tiny fraction of the screen and usually the feed is compressed into the space above it, so you’re seeing the same amount of the pitch you would without it, only a fraction smaller. Again, completely personal opinions, so to each his own.

  30. Everyone who’s frustrated with FSC,

    Let’s send them a message and cancel our subscriptions at seasons end (we’ll all be watching the WC on ESPN/ABC anyways), then re-subscribe for round one of the Premier League. Send them a msg and save some money.

    1. Did anybody actually intend to keep FSC after the final game of the season? You’d be an idiot, honestly… Not really a boycott.

  31. ESPN by a mile, FSC is a joke, they need to stop spending on rights to games and spend on bribing directv to air their HD stream

  32. FSC wins this competition for the simple reason that FSC is a “soccer channel”. Aside from the World Cup (which they do a great job with), ESPN will pre-empt a soccer game if Tiger Woods is caught cheating (again). Lacrosse, women’s softball, lumberjack competitions all take precendence over a La Liga match that could possbly be televised on any given weekend. And people prefer this over a channel dedicated to “our” sport? I’ll buy the argument that the lack of HD distribution for FSC is a serious issue at the moment but I have a feeling that will be resolved just prior to the 2010-2011 seasons start up again.
    For major tournaments, its ESPN but for league play, there is no substitiute for a channel that is dedicated to a specific sport. My vote goes to FSC.

  33. I’m always shocked by how bad the studio analysis is on both networks. I learned more in 30 seconds of Dempsey and Dolan’s Setanta coverage than I have in years of FSC (and now ESPN) analysis.

    Perhaps good studio coverage is just too hard to find overseas. I once caught a bit of a Sky broadcast of an NFL game, and their studio analysis of American football was similarly terrible.

  34. My TimeWarner FoxSportsNet carriage of the CL match today was atrocious. “Unavailable” for long periods of time. Probably TW’s fault. At any rate, I got fed up and went to Perfect picture for the entire match. No runs, no drips, no errors.

    You never know.

    FSC for shear quantity and availability. HD is not life or death for me.

  35. Let’s say it’s a draw. FSC has volume that makes up for ESPN’s quality advantage. The ESPN game seems a bit isolated in the vast empire of sports on The World Wide leader whereas FSC makes it clear the EPL is it’s bread and butter.

    One thing that is should be mentioned here is that the ESPN Monday game which is the feed from ESPN UK gives the viewer something that we do not get anywhere else, quality production values from a domestic product which we seldom get. I recall some FA Cup broadcasts where direct feeds from SKY.

    So, each has it’s advantages and we are lucky to have them both.

  36. I’ll take ESPN’s feed anytime. Although I spend more time watching the Fox matches, due to ESPN’s 4:45 a.m. kick-off here in LA, the Fox broadcasts are strictly lower league in production values. Having said that, the Fox Soccer Plus feeds are wonderfully devoid of the rubbish FSC, just like the old Setanta feeds. FS+ doesn’t cut away when the lineups are announced, and the lack of any locally produced intros are just fine with me.
    Hopefully, next season will bring more ESPN2 matches at 7:00 a.m. (PDT).

  37. I’d say it’s a bit of a toss-up because on the one hand to be considered a big-time sport in the USA you have to be on ESPN(that’s why the NHL is struggling) but on the flip side you need a specialty channel for the hardcore fans just like the big 4 sports(as well as tennis,golf and autoracing) have. Personally I lean towards FSC – bad production and all because I still get the impression that ESPN is only interested in cherry picking the marquee soccer events

  38. FSC is my choice over ESPN. You have to understand something. ESPN prides themselves on being “The Worldwide Leader in Sports”. Truth be told, they are hands down. North America, South America, Asia, Australia and now most recently Europe, ESPN has grown by leaps & bounds in now their 32nd Year in existence. With that said, they cover a wide variety of sports. Soccer is not as big in North America, and I’m not saying anything that most of you already know. If anything, the EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, are simply glamour plays for ESPN here in America. However, and there are probably many who don’t know this, Soccer has been a huge part of programming for ESPN in South America, Asia, & Australia for years. Go to websites like or, and you will see what I am talking about. But here, it will never be more than something that ESPN can boast about to reiterate why they are the “Worldwide Leader in Sports”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to bad mouth ESPN. I like ESPN for the most part, and ESPN3 formally ESPN360 is the bomb. That is the primary outlet for Soccer covered by ESPN in this country, minus the EPL, because the ESPN family of networks covered on Cable & Satellite will always have something better to show that will attract a wider audience and higher ratings. FSC is a Soccer network. This is their bread & butter, with some Grape Jam on top. They are going to give more T.L.C. to the game that ESPN ever will, whether or not that T.L.C. from those who present & produce the programming rubs you the wrong way or bores you ad nauseum.

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