Between Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus, ESPN2 and the recently re-launched FoxSoccer.tv, those of us in the States now get to watch more Premier League soccer games than ever before. In fact, every single Premier League game is available live in one form or another. But whenever there are changes, there are always questions. That’s why we spoke with Fox Sports International this week to find out all of the latest details regarding their recent beta launch of FoxSoccer.tv.
Here’s our interview with Bhavesh Patel, Vice President of Interactive Media at Fox Sports Interational, who is responsible for FoxSoccer.tv:
Q: What has been the reaction so far from subscribers to FoxSoccer.tv?
A: Very good. We’ve doubled our previous subscriber numbers in less than 2 weeks since launch. Users are being constructive on new features they’d like to see on the site and we are working on rolling these out soon.
Q: What was the reason for the change of the streaming provider from RayV to Perform, and how would you describe the difference in picture quality?
A: Perform produces the official site of the Premier League and 14 of its clubs, as well as handles logging and cutting of digital highlights clips for all matches for the league. Picture quality is significantly improved, going up to 2.4Mbps on Akamai’s adaptive bitrate streaming network and the video player no longer requires a special plug-in (other than Flash). They also bring in a considerable amount of online marketing power, across their EPL club site network – as well as experience by marketing over 100 online subscription services on behalf of soccer clubs.
Q: During the free trial, some users experienced technical difficulties with getting the FoxSoccer.tv platform to work, specifically during the first half of Premier League games on August 21. What assurances can you give the readers that these technical issues won’t happen again?
A: During our selection process Perform proved to have a very strong platform, with some strong references both in Europe and US. They stream over 15,000 events per year, so they have an extensive track record. What happened on Saturday was unforeseen, but I’ve been given all the assurances this is something that happens in extremely rare instances and should therefore not present itself again.
We’ve also apologized and communicated this to our current subscribers, assuring them all measures have been taken.
Q: We’ve received positive feedback from EPL Talk readers who have contacted Perform’s customer service group with questions. For FoxSoccer.tv who have customer-related questions, what are the contact options available?
A: The easiest and fastest route is to send us an email to [email protected]
Q: For fans wishing to watch games on replay, FoxSoccer.tv currently only offers a 45 minute highlight package instead of 90 minutes. When will the 90 minute versions be available to subscribers?
A: Currently all games except Barclays Premier League are available in full length. It is our intention to have all matches available in full length moving forward. We wanted to see what the reaction would be to a condensed game. We are working on a solution that will deliver full matches on demand shortly after the final whistle and fans should expect to see these improvements very soon.
Q: Will Championship games ever be available on demand? Currently, it’s live only.
A: We make Championship games available and both Live and and on demand basis. The first match was this past weekend – Middlesbrough v Sheffield United on August 21st.
Q: When will FoxSoccer.tv broadcasts be accessible via iPhone and iPad?
A: The companion iPhone app will be available in the App Store in the coming weeks, followed by iPad later this Fall.
Q: Are there any plans in the future to add new functionality to FoxSoccer.tv such as live chat, etc?
A: In the coming months we will include social network integration with Facebook and Twitter, pop out player, and picture in picture.
Q: Any plans to offer Fox Soccer Channel programming on FoxSoccer.tv such as Soccer Talk Live and Fox Soccer Tonight?
A: Foxsoccer.com is the destination for all our studio programming from Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus.
Q: What other improvements can we expect to see from FoxSoccer.tv in the near future?
A: The iPhone and iPad apps are coming very soon. We also strive to provide the best customer experience possible. We have taken on board the feedback that we have received from fans to date and users should expect to see the following improvements to the site in the next few weeks:
1. DVR Controls (Pause, Rewind and Catch-up on Live matches) is being trialled across several matches this coming weekend
2. Full matches available on demand faster for all soccer and rugby properties
3. Improved match schedule information to ensure that fans can find the content that they are interested in
Q: Will a daily pass be available in the future?
A: There are no plans at the moment. Fans have been able to test drive the product for two weeks through August 27th for free.
Q: Any plans to show MLS and Lique Un games on FoxSoccer.tv? If not, what leagues other than the Premier League can fans expect to see on the FoxSoccer.tv platform?
A: Ligue 1 will be starting this weekend, including the following matches:
1. FC Lorient v Olympique Lyonnais
2. SM Caen v Stade Brestois 29
3. AS Monaco v AJ Auxerre
4. Girondins de Bordeaux v Olympique de Marseille
– The list is long and our acquisitions group has been quite busy adding content this summer, for the latest schedule visit foxsoccer.tv: UEFA Champions League, Serie A, FA Cup, npower Championship, plus some of the top rugby competitions from Europe and the Southern Hemisphere.
Q: Why do you think soccer fans in the United States should continue their FoxSoccer.tv subscription past August 27?
A: We live in a three screen world/environment, where due to the commitments we have, there are unique vehicles that allow us to remain very close to the game we love at its highest level. Foxsoccer.TV is an enabler and is packed with live content you can’t find anywhere else at a great value.
Editor’s note: For the complete schedule of Premier League games shown in the United States on television and online, view EPL Talk’s Premier League TV schedule which is updated throughout the entire season.