Blackburn v Arsenal Match Blacked-Out In United States

Sports - February 11, 2008

Soccer fans living in the United States who want to watch Blackburn Rovers against Arsenal today (Noon ET) will be disappointed to learn that the game is not available and is, for lack of better words, blacked-out. It’s not being shown on ESPN2 (as originally planned) or Fox Soccer Channel nor Fox Soccer Plus or even, so die-hard Arsenal or Rovers fans only have one way to watch it and that’s illegally.

This is the first time in the entire season that Arsenal fans living in the United States will be unable to see their team live on television or the Internet. It’s either a sad reflection that US broadcasters feel Arsenal’s season is effectually already over, or that ESPN2 was unable to air the game on its channel because “ESPN First Take” is on instead.

Nevertheless, it’s a shame that many soccer fans have only two options. Either skip the game or try viewing it online, illegally.

In other soccer TV news for US readers, if you don’t have DirecTV, you better brown nose your friends who do or plan a trip to your local pub to see the Europa League Final on May 12 between Fulham and Atletico Madrid. That’s because the game will only be available on DirecTV channel 461 on Wednesday, May 12 at 2:45pm ET. In related news, Fulham will be wearing its third strip for the final.

59 thoughts on “Blackburn v Arsenal Match Blacked-Out In United States”

  1. First time all season? Imagine how us folk actually in England feel. If we can’t go to the game there is slim chance we can watch it – you get spoilt over there in the US!

  2. According to the website “Live Soccer TV”, the game has been added to ESPN2. I checked ESPN’s website and it is NOT listed there. I guess we just have to wait and see.

    1. I noticed that as well Rod, and the live soccer tv website DID NOT have that listed yesterday (I remember checking!!), so I’m wondering if it isn’t just a last minute addition and the guides are not updated yet….fingers crossed!!

  3. ESPN is blowing it out to show the World Cup but can’t shelve a repeat of First Take for a 2 hour live Prem game that ESPN-UK is producing? Where’s the vaunted “commitment to soccer?” Birmingham and Burnley’s seasons have been long over but they found time to show that shit on Saturday morning.

    Again – this is why I don’t want ESPN covering the leagues. Tournaments? fine. Leave the leagues (including the Champions League) – to the soccer specific channels that can and will show ALL the games – live or on tape delay.

    1. dumbest thing I’ve heard.

      The Champions League on Fox has been atrocious this year.

      ESPN will not and should not drop a show, that has already made commitments to its sponsor(ad revenue) to show a meaningless game, that hasnt been schedule for.

      If ESPN were to ever gain the rights to a league, their track record shows that they do a quality job.

      At least they would know sync up their audio and video.

        1. When has ESPN Blacked Out a game?

          As far as I know, FOX owns the rights to the PL games, FOX is the one deciding to black out the games.

          And FOX is the one picking games

      1. Meaningless? Finishing 3rd instead of fourth isnt meaningless….Now they have to get a result against Fulham to ensure fourth….Meaningless is Hull v Wigan but it was shown…..

  4. Yes. I searched high and low for it but no channels have the game currently. It’s amazing they show Birmingham vs Burnley as sucka99 said and will not show an Arsenal match.

    I guess we know how I’ll be watching it then.

  5. It’s strange to me as ESPN has many channels available. Why they can’t push the match to ESPN Classic or ESPN-U if they simply can’t pre-empt ESPN2 is completely beyond me.

    It would also be great for ESPN & Fox to work out the on-line rights for next season so that *every* match is also available on-line. Either allow ESPN to show the matches they have leased for broadcast for as well, or allow to show the espn match live or at least delayed. That was another hole this season.

    Are we spoiled in the US? Of course. But there is no “live gate” to protect here so every match *should* be televised. Every match shown raises revenue for the EPL and its agents, so of course all 10 matches should be televised every weekend. All the US sports have figured that out; get every match to everyone who wants to see it and is willing to pay for it! Very disappointing, and even stupid, if, even though meaningless, today’s match is not available.

  6. This is just bad news. Not even showing it on is even more shocking. This is the reason why the Premier League needs to make sure that it sells the US rights to PL matches to the right entities. It shouldn’t be just about money but also about access to the soccer fans. You cannot increase interest in the PL if the matches aren’t going to be shown.

  7. Gaffer, you have mentioned a few times before that fox soccer officials monitor/read this site. I am calling out to one of them. Even anonymously, could you please post what the rules have been and why has not been able to simulcast FSC matches (only FS+ matches and those shown on tape delay), and why no online rights have been available for *all* of the ESPN2 matches? And what might happen for next year?

    Notwithstanding our desire for more, how things have worked out have generally been excellent. I get FS+ on my cable and in widescreen Hi-Def, when my cable operator never offered Setanta. needs work as a site, but the offerings have been greatly expanded from setanta for live EPL matches. The sale of some rights to ESPN has generally worked out great, with ESPN having far better picture quality than anything we have ever seen in the US for EPL matches. So there was a lot of progress made in 2009-10. The US is going to get pumped up for soccer as the World Cup will bring even more attention to the sport. So why not include this hard core audience in helping you continue to improve the offerings for 2010-11?


    1. any reason given? contractual? can’t be bothered? Don’t want to pre-empt reruns on 2/Classic? Hit soccer quota for the week with Ronaldo, MLS and Brummies? ESPN UK seems to think they WILL simulcast across the pond.

        1. Probably because ESPN would rather play stupid episodes of PTI, Jim Rome is Burning, SportsNation, and first take rather than soccer games. I’d assume because its cheaper to record these shows than buy rights for certain games. This is why I didn’t want them to have the league or UEFA cups, I knew they would drop games and instead of playing games they should. They did this crap with Champs league in previous years if im not mistaken.

  8. hey gaffer,
    do you think they’ll end up throwing it on fsc, fs plus, or even at the last minute? this is really annoying


  9. ESPN

    Gunner fans give these numbers a call, enough calls might change their minds.

    Im still lost on how you put a REPEAT of a show you had for the last 2 hours on the same channel over a live sporting event.

    1. My quarrel is with the actual rights holder, Fox. Fox owns a full-time channel with no other programs scheduled (FS+). Fox owns an online site, This is simple. Fox paid the EPL for all the rights. If they choose not to sub-lease rights to Setanta or Disney, fine. FOX, show us the matches you have paid for!

  10. Following up on the Europa Final, if you don’t have DirecTV but you do have Gol TV, you can catch the final a day later, Thursday, May 13th at 8:00 pm EDT.

  11. I want to know if the repeat of First Take gets a higher rating than Arsenal-Blackburn? If so, then there is your reason. Higher ratings equal higher revenue. It’s a business decision, not some ‘anti-soccer’ bias.

    Everyone is invited to my house to watch the Europa League Final. BYOB.

  12. How on earth did GolTV get the rights to the Europa League all season without securing the ability to broadcast the final live? Or do they have that right and are just dumb enough not to show it when it happens?

    1. GolTV and DirecTV have been sharing the rights to the Europa League all season long so they’ve been splitting the games. But DirecTV has the exclusive rights to the final.

      The Gaffer

  13. The BIGGER news is the Europa League Final, not a meaningless Goonie game.

    Are they any legal options to watch the Final online?

    1. the Europa League TV coverage was known from back in the Fall, so we knew what to expect and plan ahead. And even seem to be getting a bonus airing on GolTV a day later.

      but the “meaningless Goonie game” was scheduled to be broadcast, then magically erased by the worldwide leader in BS

  14. Guys, I really think we have very little quarrel with Disney/ESPN. They have shown an amazing array of matches, the 2:45 Monday night matches, the 7:45 Saturday morning matches, and they have done it with quality commentators and extraordinary production quality. They added quite a few games; i.e. Wednesday’s rescheduled “match-of-the-season” at 2:45! They have added extraordinary commentators for this year’s world cup, like Martin Tyler, and will be showing all matches in HD.

    No, my quarrel for today’s game is with Fox. Fox owns the rights to *all* EPL matches in the US, for both online and broadcast, as well as highlights shows. They chose to sub-lease some of those rights to Setanta and some of those rights to Disney/ESPN. If Setanta couldn’t come through and pay fox for those rights, Fox acted correctly in taking back the games, and (I feel) did a terrific job for us getting a new channel going (FS+) and getting the matches available on-line. So if ESPN is unable to show today’s Arsenal match, WHY IS FOX NOT SHOWING IT? ON BOTH FS+ AND *FOX OWNS THE RIGHTS*. THEY HAVE A FULL-TIME CHANNEL AVAILABLE, and won’t be pre-empting anything, like infomercials on FSC.

    Gaffer, can you get some feedback from the actual rights holder as to why they will not show this match? Thanks.

    1. David, I asked Fox the question about what happens to the rights of the online games that ESPN typically shows, but they declined to answer the question. I agree with you that you would think they would find a way to put it online or on TV. But it may have been one of the last minute things where the companies were unable to come to a decision until the last minute.

      The Gaffer

  15. Speaking of TV Schedules,

    Any Hint of when they will be released for this final weekend.

    What I would hope for is FSC shows either/or between Chelsea/Wigan, and Man United/Stoke, and ESPN shows the other.

      1. The Sunday match possibilities may be a reason ESPN dropped the Arsenal game today. After the Tottenham – Man City match Wednesday, I don’t know if ESPN will have reached its quota of matches shown on sub-license. A meaningless Arsenal match may have dropped so on Sunday ESPN could show either the Man U or Chelsea match that would be the title determiner. FSC and FS+ have only blocked out 1 timeframe each for showing the final days fixtures of EPL, so they are going to want to pick which matches matter. The Man U and Chelsea matches certainly will, and if either Man City wins or draws, then the Tottenham and Man City final matches matter as well.

        Doesn’t excuse Fox from not picking the Arsenal match, especially when they have nothing else scheduled.

        1. Would have made more sense to drop a meaningless Birmingham-Burnley match. This Blackburn-Arsenal game was moved to monday and scheduled on ESPN2 weeks ago.

    1. They should definitely wait til Thursday, as there will be 2-4 games of importance Sunday, with only 3 live channels. My guess is we will see Chelsea on ESPN2 and Man Utd on FSC. Then probably West Ham v Man City on FS+ with Burnley-Spurs tape delayed and shown at 1 pm. The above presumes that ESPN gets first choice. If Spurs win Wednesday night, of course, then only Chelsea & Man Utd matches matter.

  16. I’m sure ESPN go higher ratings for Birm Sat when everyone is used to seeing a game than Monday at noon on a regular work-day

  17. Looking back now, after the game, I guess the oracles at ESPN wanted to spare Arsenal fans in the US the misery of watching that lousy performance.

  18. If Fox sub-licensed certain games (and all Monday afternoon in the US-evening in the UK games were sub-licensed) to ESPN and ESPN has paid, then FOX would be breaking the contract to show any of those games. Perfectly understandable why it could not be on FS+ or FSC.

    Put the blame on ESPN for this one. They paid for it and they chose not to show it. ESPN has always shown an interest in staying in the market for soccer, but has never showed any interest in dominating that market. They just want to keep their foot in the door in case it does become valuable one day.

    1. Pretty awful on ESPN’s part if they refused to show the game or release the rights. My bet is on Occam’s razor; late snafu and Fox just couldn’t get it going in time…

  19. – just a thought here but maybe ESPN dropped the blackburn/arsenal match in order to pick up the spurs/city showdown wednesday….

    – i know its a not a very pleasing deal for all you gooners, and it leaves many of you frustrated but for the neutral out there i think its a fair trade off… very much looking forward to that match for 4th possibly 3rd after yesterday (sorry gooners)

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