ESPN Reach Agreement with Fox Over EPL TV Rights in U.S.

The prolonged negotiations between Fox Sports International and ESPN over the sublicensing of Premier League TV rights for United States television appear to be over, at least for the opening weekend of the 2010-11 EPL season. ESPN presenter Max Bretos has announced that ESPN will show the Premier League games this weekend between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City (Saturday, 7:30am ET) and Manchester United versus Newcastle United (Monday, 2:45pm ET).

“[I am] thrilled I will be anchoring the ESPN studio coverage of the opening weekend of the EPL,” said Bretos on Twitter. “Check me out Saturday morning and Monday afternoon.”

The news regarding Fox and ESPN coming to an agreement over TV rights for the 2010-11 Premier League season will come as welcome relief to soccer fans in the United States. Whether the agreement is a temporary solution or a permanent one, we’ll have to wait and see. The prolonged negotiations between both companies threatened to disrupt the opening weekend of the EPL season. However, with just days to go before the opening match kicks off, it appears an agreement has been reached. As of press time, EPL Talk has a message in to ESPN to request a statement regarding the news, as well as to learn more details about the deal.

In addition to the opening game of the 2010-11 Premier League season featuring Spurs against Man City being on ESPN2, the game will be broadcast online on

A statement from Fox Sports International late on Tuesday said that they were “working to finalize details of a sub-license for distribution of additional matches.”

Also on Tuesday, Fox Soccer Channel announced that they’ll be broadcasting up to 304 matches during the 2010-11 Premier League season across Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus and For the first time ever, all Premier League matches on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus will be available in high-definition.

View the most updated schedule for Premier League games shown on US television.

Soccer fans will be glad to hear that more good news was announced Tuesday:

DirecTV Confirms Launch of Fox Soccer Channel HD

More good news for followers of the Premier League in the United States was announced Tuesday when DirecTV confirmed a story that was first reported by EPL Talk on July 27. The news is that DirecTV will launch Fox Soccer Channel HD on Wednesday, August 11. It’ll mean that DirecTV will be broadcasting several soccer networks in HD including Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus and GolTV.

DirecTV to Show Every Game of the 2010-11 Champions League Season

Also DirecTV announced Tuesday that they will be showing every single game of the 2010-11 Champions League from the playoff round on August 17 to the final game in May. The games will be shown across Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Sports Networks, Fox Deportes and DirecTV’s own channels.

UEFA Europa League coverage with broadcasting partner GolTV will start with the group stage on Sept. 16 and continue through DIRECTV’s exclusive 153-match coverage through to the final on May 18, 2011.

Fans will be able to watch up to eight games from UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League simultaneously on DIRECTV’s exclusive Soccer Mix Channel, in both HD and standard-definition.

Exclusive La Liga Coverage On DirecTV

In addition to the Premier League and Champions League coverage, DirecTV announced that it will broadcast at least 114 exclusive La Liga matches during the upcoming season which begins August 28. A minimum of three La Liga games will be shown each round only on DirecTV in addition to those La Liga matches broadcast by GolTV and ESPN.

101 thoughts on “ESPN Reach Agreement with Fox Over EPL TV Rights in U.S.”

  1. what a day!footy footy footy hd hd hd
    absolutely brilliant it would have been so so painful to watch united in sd
    when glorious hd was available thanks fox and direct and espn
    i’m 1 happy fella

  2. We’ll likely find out if this is accurate when the details from this deal emerge, but during the US-Brazil match tonight, JP Dellacamera announced the Spurs-Man City match would be on ESPN2 AND He did say it on two separate instances, in the first and second half. Hoping it’s true, but will remain skeptical until listed on the ESPN3 site.

    1. A 4 ton limb fell on my house yesterday afternoon. Extensive damage, but IT MISSED MY DIRECT TV DISH! Today’s HD news almost makes everything perfect. I can live with $1,000 deductible and weeks of hassle, but not without HD foot ball for one more day.

  3. Fox Latin America announced that ESPN Latin America will have the rights of 5 premiere league games a week for the 2010-11 season.

    I think that ESPNDeportes will have some games also.

  4. With DirecTV, do I have to have the most expensive package in order to get FSCHD? (Just wondering- they’re website is currently down, but when I was looking into this a couple of months ago, that seemed to be the case)

    1. To get FSC HD (and GolTV HD for that matter) you need the Sports Pack or the Premier package (which includes the Sports Pack). HD Access is required to receive HD programming in general, of course.

    2. You don’t need their most expensive package. If all you really desire is the best soccer package, you could get their Choice package ($59/mo), and then add on the Sports Pack ($12/mo, includes FSCHD and GolTVHD) and Fox Soccer Plus ($15/mo).

    3. They always have deals on their service, so don’t take the $ values to heart…

      I have the Choice extra (or plus is it?), HD, DVR, Sports Pack and insurance and it’s 70 bucks a month for me.

  5. “It’ll mean that DirecTV will be broadcasting several soccer networks in HD including Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus and GolTV”

    “DirecTV to Show Every Game of the 2010-11 Champions League Season”

    “Exclusive La Liga Coverage On DirecTV”


  6. Does that mean it’s likely since FSC & FS+ are airing 304 games that ESPN 2 will air the other 76 games of the 380 that are played each season or will there be some games that don’t air at all here in North America?

    1. Kobashi, there probably will be some games that don’t air at all in the United States. There are usually a few, but it looks like the vast majority will be shown. We’ll find out more when ESPN announces how many games they’ll show.

      The Gaffer

      1. Pretty sure that’s correct. I’ve been pestering Jamie Trecker on Twitter trying to impress upon them that, at least for the early season, it would be great if they could broadcast every game either live or tape delay (besides that which ESPN has licensed away). At this point, it appears the only Round 1 game that will have zero distribution in the US is Wigan/Blackpool, not the end of the world, but I’m sure some would be interested in seeing Blackpool’s inaugural effort.

        1. I for one was looking forward to watching the Blackpool v. Wigan on TV. I’m hopeful that it’ll be shown as a repeat later in the week.

  7. good news for those of us with FiOS, on the Twitter feed I was told that FSC HD is coming. They wouldn’t give dates beyond the Community Shield would not be in HD. Hopefully I tune into 584 on Saturday and see West Ham v Villa in HD.

    1. The FiOS Twitter guy for months has been teasing “it’s coming” without giving any more detail other than “but it won’t be today or next week”.

      Last week he even tweeted that their policy is not to divulge when channels are added until the day they go live. I mean, how ridiculous is that? What are these, state secrets or something?

      FiOS seems more concerned with their widget applications and other apps like using a smart phone as a remote these days than adding HD content.

      1. That’s really sad. I love FiOS internet but the TV part seems like a giant experiment. They are thing about interactive tv like it was 1987. If I want facebook, I’ll log onto my laptop.

        I keep checking 584 cause you never know when they flip the switch.

  8. Certainly great news. Does this mean a regular Monday afternoon ESPN game? That would mean a lot in terms of ESPN devoting production resources to pre/post game shows and weekly recap shows. It appears that ESPN3 is in the mix here but is it for on demand service too and not just a live broadcast?

    Any idea yet of yearly cost? Nothing on their website this morning.

    Thanks Chris for staying on top of the story since your breaking coverage of the ESPN agreement last year.

    1. If you go to and check their listings, you can see that ESPN2HD’s 2:30-5 PM time slot for both 8/16 and 8/23 are slotted with EPL placeholders. They were this way since yesterday morning. Was waiting all day for something official to be announced somewhere, guessing there will be some fanfare today.

  9. Gaffer,

    would you mind clarifying the comment “For the first time ever, all Premier League matches on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus will be available in high-definition”?

    Does that mean that Sky in the UK (who films each match) will now start recording each match, including the 3 pm Saturday UK time matches in HD? Historically, they have only recorded the live-on-UK-TV matches (early & tea-time kickoffs) in HD. But are they now recording in HD for later playback or for the international audiences? That would be welcome news indeed.

    Or are you referring to the upstreamed widescreen SD (like what FS+ showed last week in the Leeds v Derby championship match), which is still better than HD but is neither 720p nor 1080i?


    1. As far as I know, all Premier League games shown live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus will be in HD. The same should apply to ESPN2. Let me know if you that doesn’t answer your question. Thanks David.

      The Gaffer

      1. I received confirmation from DirecTV’s twitter feed that FS+ will be in HD for live matches only. So any of the delayed airings and repeats are going to be in standard.

        I think the bottom line is that they are listening, and I’m hoping that they are able to bring the full FS+ lineup to HD soon.

  10. One other subtlety I’ve picked up from DirecTV’s twitter account…there seems to be some stipulation that DirecTV will only show LIVE matches in HD. I plan to ask if this means first run tape-delayed broadcasts will not be available in HD.

    I don’t know the reasoning for this. Wonder if it could be financially driven.

    1. Let me qualify this…they will only show live matches on Fox Soccer Plus in HD. FSC is now broadcast 24/7 in HD based on the content they provide.

  11. FSC is broadcasting in HD as of today. I checked the program guide this morning and it now lists it as FSCHD. Of course they were showing infomercials but it looks like the Gaffer was right. I also saw on Twitter from Direct TV that FSC Plus would be in HD by the end of the month.

    1. Very confused by this comment. We had Fox Soccer Plus in HD almost from its inception last season. So, for example, on Time Warner Cable in NYC I watched all the Sunday 8:30 matches on FS+ HD. There is a difference between the station sending out a HD signal vs. cable & satellite carriers’ ability to transmit that HD signal to their customers.


      1. DirecTV has been slow on bringing the hi-def feeds of these networks to their lineup. As I said in another comment, one thing that troubles me is that they say “live matches in HD.” Currently have a question into their twitter account as to whether there is a plan to take the entire FS+ channel HD, or if they’re relegating themselves to only the live matches.

      2. Sorry, I mean to say FSC HD is now live on Direct TV! Some of us have been waiting quite a while for this to happen.I miss typed due to excitement.

  12. This leaves to come out with whatever they are coming out with. I don’t know whether they have completely redesigned their site, but they aren’t listing any matches in any football leagues under “up coming” so that makes me think they’ve got a new look coming, or they are way behind schedule.

    Of course, they’d need to see what matches went to ESPN before they just list them all on Here’s hoping it lives up to its potential.

    1. Unfortunately, that will never happen.
      Fox Soccer Plus took over for Setanta… which was a stand alone subscription. This means Fox Soccer Plus should be a stand alone subscription as well.

      1. It is not stand alone on Time Warner Cable (at least here in New York City). It is part of the sport tier which is $3.95/month.

        1. Let’s hope that down the road they raise the price of the Sports Pack on DirecTV to $14.99 and spread the cost of FS+ across the breadth of that offering.

        2. Also not stand alone on TWC here in eastern NC. I get FSC without additional charge on the Digital Tier. FS+ has been added the same way. I am good to go.

          I know this is sacrilegious, but HD just doesn’t matter that much to me. Coverage first….which I now have. :-)

  13. I made the jump to Time Warner Cable almost 10 days ago as they had a triple play deal that was just too good to pass up. The upside is that they already had available FSC HD, GolTV HD and FSC Plus HD. The downside is that I’m going to miss having all those Champion League and Europa League games that DirecTV aired for free. Also, DirecTV’s HD PQ is noticeably better than TWC’s, but for the sake of my finances, right now, I had to go with the better deal that TWC had on offer. Overall, value trumps everything.

    1. You get GolTV in HD on Time Warner Cable? I’ve got TWC in Kansas City, and I only have GolTV in SD, channel #215. There’s no channel #1215, and that’s generally how the HD channel numbers work. Am I missing it somewhere else, or is it possible that some TWC areas have it while others don’t? I have both FSC and FSC+ in HD.

  14. Saturday August 22 fixture on FS+ at 10:00 is Stoke vs. Spurs and corresponding fixture on Saturday August 29 is Chelsea vs. Stoke, as per Fox Soccer’s online schedule.

  15. ESPN also sub-licensed La Liga games from Gol TV last season. Most of the games they showed were on ESPN Deportes, but they showed a few on ESPN/ESPN2. Does anyone know if that will be happening again this season?

  16. I am confused….can anyone clarify what Gaffer said in his article that Fox announced FSC in HD but then mentions FSCPlus in HD as well. Someone else said FSCPlus in HD later this month. Does anyone know anything for sure about FSCPlus in HD? Are they both going live today?


    1. Efrain, according to DirecTV’s press release, Fox Soccer Plus is now available in HD. If a DirecTV customer can confirm this for us, that would be helpful. Thanks.

      The Gaffer

      1. At this point, if I understand correctly, DirecTV will show live matches in HD. I’m wondering if this is a quick fix to help quiet fans like me who were clamoring for FS+HD. I’m inquiring at the moment, my hope is that the plan is to have the entire FS+ network in HD by the end of August. When I learn more, I’ll inform.

        1. Currently their agreement only covers live matches (that are available in HD, I assume) which is why FS Plus HD was only added as part-time. This probably only covers soccer, not rugby, and the channel will only light up when there’s live HD content coming up.

          Don’t get your hopes up to get a full-time FS Plus HD anytime soon, not until they change their agreement for that terrible (in my opinion) a-la-carte deal in general and come up with something else to increase its viewers respectively subscribers (like adding it to the Sports Pack).

  17. FS+ is definitely in SD this morning for me, although the DirecTV Twitter did mention the England friendly should be in HD today.

    1. I looked at 6 AM this morning, and FS+ had two separate channels, one SD and one HD. The HD channel had nothing on it at the moment, and no info populated into the guide. May change as the day goes on though…

      1. Exactly, you need to add 621-1 to your program guide to see FS+HD. As noted, the guide is blank. This poses a dilemma, as I already have the Spain-Mexico match being recorded on one tuner. Do I go with the SD 621 station for the other tuner (and pray its in HD), or the 621-1 HD feed (and pray it has anything at all?)

  18. Thanks Gaffer… Looks like I may sign up for it again if it is in fact in HD. I canceled it last season as spending $15 for SD just wasn’t worth it.

  19. Does anyone have any questions for DirecTV? I have an opportunity to interview them but I wanted to know first whether there were any burning questions that you have.

    The Gaffer

    1. My question for DirecTV is why is FS+ a standalone channel and not part of the $13 sports pack?
      As noted above, TWC have it on a $4 sports pack.

      1. I’d like to know if they’d ever consider adding ESPN Deportes on a stand alone basis. It’s ridiculous to make English speaking folk buy an expensive package of Spanish language programming that they can’t understand. But ESPN Deportes shows tons of games not otherwise available on the English language channels. What’s the point?

        1. What Chicagocuse said about ESPNDeportes. Will they consider putting on as add alone where we do not have to purchase the entire Spanish Package.

          And clarification on the confusion over FSPlus in HD. The consensus here seems to be that they will air Live games in HD only and not taped or replays. That doesn’t make sense. Since Premier games are filmed in HD why wouldn’t a taped delay game be shown in HD? If in fact this is the case.


    2. I tried to get an answer to this question over Twitter, but no specifics given:

      – Is there a timetable to bring the entire Fox Soccer Plus HD network online, especially since Fox Soccer Plus is a premium service?

    3. DirecTV’s release stated it would have the “extra” La Liga matches again this season, on channels 456-459. I was wondering if those would be in HD this season. Last year they were in SD.

    4. Even if they dont move FS+ to the sports pack, could they at least make a separate soccer pack with GOL, FSC and FS+, I dont need 30 Fox Sports that cant legally show any games live anyways.

  20. I think I may start crying with joy. My Direct TV was already scheduled for installation today. This really makes it so much more meaningful.

  21. Are Europa League games going to be carried again on Direct TV? Have not found any confirmation on that. Also, tell them to stop listing Championship matches on their guide as “Cricket” matches. The guides for FS+ has been totally out of whack the last couple of weeks. And one more grumble, though it’s aimed at Fox, but maybe Direct TV can exert some pressure…when I’m playing $15 a month extra for a channel, I don’t want to see that channel interrupt programming from with scrolling at the bottom of the screen promoting Fox Soccer website and channel. Including those pitiful headlines scrolled over for 5 cycles before disappearing…all the while distorting the picture of the game in progress.

  22. Let’s review this, why are people happy?! It same stuff from ESPN as last year! Only, they’ve made it worse by throwing the fat, untalented Mexican into the studio shows. I guess I’ll just have to change the channel during the studio shows.

    1. Jean-Christian, feel free to write it up and send it to me in an e-mail if you’d like to have it published on EPL Talk. I’m at thegaffer[at]epltalk[dot]com

      The Gaffer

    1. No
      Uverse has only Fox SD and they’ve only just recently gotten that.
      At AT%T’s rate look for Fox Soccer HD by the next World Cup.

  23. Hi Gaffer,

    Any word on football tv licensing in Canada about Epl, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1, Eredvise, Europa Leage, Champions League, club competitions etc? Any info much appreciated.

    Setanta Sports Canada (HD)
    Sportnet One


    1. Call the Comcast CEO. No one here likely knows when Comcast is getting FS+. As for FS+ in HD full-time on DirecTV, I wouldn’t hold your breath. DirecTV has the space for it to be a full-time channel and decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

      I believe FOX sends just one HD feed to DirecTV for Fox Soccer and FS+, who then has to downrez the signal to SD.

      You can tell it’s the same feed, since Fox Soccer graphics as 4:3 safe.

    2., last few months of last season, showed just about every EPL game that wasn’t either on ESPN2 or FSC. They usually showed the match that’d be on FS+ and almost all the remaining matches. They also showed Serie A, decent number of Championship League matches and plenty of Rugby.

      The catch was that the service was susceptible to bugs, people couldn’t log in for anticipated matchups, video quality wasn’t great, sometimes the video lagged the audio, I seem to remember one match up lacking audio for a while!

      As bad as all that, the amount of matchups available made it worth suffering through the growing pains of

      And in usual form, they are waiting to the last second to debut whatever is debuting for this season.

  24. i wish i can get directv but the problem is that im leaving in an apartment and the only cable available its comcast if not i would move Now and yespage thankyou for help and i hope that as soon as fox soccer tv its available i will get it for sure

  25. FS+ is in HD on DirecTV for the England match. When you scroll ahead on 621-1 it says upcoming: Blackburn v Everton at 9:30 on 8/14. I’m also to hear that the Europa League coverage is back, and the expansion of the Champions League coverage. The HD feeds that DirecTV used for Europa League were top quality. I hope the Champions League feeds are of the same top quality.

    Thank you DirecTV!

  26. We had DirecTV installed a few weeks ago and are lovin’ it! We have the Sports Package and I am still on the fence about getting FSC+. $15/mo. seems pretty steep for one channnel and I too would like to pay a little more and have FSC+ in the package. Soccer was one reason we switched, but I was also fed up with Comcast. So far, DirecTV rocks!

  27. Whoa… did someone say they are getting FSC in HD on Time Warner Cable?!?!?!?!! Because here in LA, we don’t… why would they offer it in some places, but not others? Color me skeptical.

    We did just get Fox Soccer Plus added though, which is pure win. And yes, it’s part of the regular sports tier package, no additonal fee. I cancelled my account as I assumed I wouldn’t really need it now. Was that a bad move?

    1. I have Time Warner Cable in Kansas City, and both FSC and FSC+ are in HD here. However, another poster earlier in this thread, Jose, said he has TWC and has GolTV in HD, and I only have that in SD as far as I can tell. So maybe HD varies by region for TWC.

      1. i have TWC, Durham ,NC. we have FSC+(SD) as part of sports tier.
        No HD for FSC & FSC +.. we don’t get Goltv in SD or HD. last week when i talked to a rep, she said FSC HD will be added soon. nothing about FSC + HD.

        this really sucks.. i am on 2 year contract(ends in 6 months) for tv,phone,internet for $129.99 a month + $4.50 for sports tier..

    2. There is nothing “Nationwide” about what Time Warner offers. Once master agreements are in place, local regional managers get to make their own decisions about adding special channels. TWC line-ups vary all over the country.

      “dlink09” in Durham, NC and I, here in Beaufort, NC, don’t even have the same line-ups. I have FSC and FS+ on my regular Digital Tier. I do not pay for a Sports Pack. It’s just the way TWC does business.

  28. This whole morning has been filled with great news and surprises concerning DTV & Footy news, It’s like a grown man’s Christmas. Tears of joy are streaming down my face as i type. Haha. Being able to watch almost every footy match in HD this season will inspire me to finally change the filter on my A/C unit in my apartment. I’ll be loungin’ in my ice cold soccer dungeon this summer, thanks to Directv!

  29. I apologize in advance if my info has already been posted earlier, but I am so damn excited that I want to share with everyone in NYC that has Time Warner. I was scrolling through last night to see if anything has been added to our lineup since I read this story and low and behold I now have FSC HD (485), FSC+ HD (470) and Gol TVHD!! Prior to this, we only had FSC and Gol TV in SD and FSC+ in HD. Of course ESPN has been in HD since the beginning. I was like a kid in the candy store when I found this. Also, the HD quality was excellent! This is going to be a great season of viewing!

  30. If anyone doesn’t know who Max Bretos is, prepared to be extremely annoyed.

    He is awful. What is ESPN thinking? They were doing all the right things, and then this…….

    Thank god there’s a mute button.

    1. Sam,

      You mean to say that you don’t like his goal celebration yell “YEEEEAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOWWWWWEEESSSSS!!!!”? All kidding aside, he is the worst footie announcer you can choose, I loathe him. Poor, poor choice.


  31. Just checked out . They have launched the new interface. They have a free preview through August 27th. That in itself will be an excellent way for each of us to try out their service and weigh the benefits over FS+.

    Two weeks of free content will be great!

  32. I’ve got the sports pack and fsc+ on directv. 619 is broadcasting villa v w ham in HD. 621 is Everton v Blackburn in Sd, but 621-1 is giving me the 721 Error of Channel not purchased. Already called customer service and they read me some canned answer about it only working while a live game was broadcasting. If that was the case , it should be the directv logo w music , not the 721 error.

    Anyone else that pays for fsc+ seeing the channel not purchased error?

    1. Have the same issue as Brian here on directtv. Taped the Everton game on 621-1 and got the channel not purchased message.

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