After the World Cup, I was so jazzed about the beautiful game. I couldn’t wait for the Premier League season to commence. I had checked out all the options available to a DirecTV subscriber, as well as the possibility of foxsoccer.tv since we do have broadband. Foxsoccer.tv were rather sluggish in putting information about their package for the 2010-11 season, so I went out and picked up the DirecTV Sports Pack (to get Fox Soccer Channel) as well as Fox Soccer Plus.
When DirecTV began to rumble with the news that they would add HD feeds of FSC and FS+ , I thought my decision towards paying for FS+ was going to pay off.
Then, reality wasn’t quite as perfect as the press release. For DirecTV subscribers, FS+ HD is only available during live broadcasts. Approximately 3-4 matches per week are live and in 720 HD, by my estimation. That’s after paying a premium to access this channel. I sent emails and tweets their way, and there has been no indication that this policy will change.
The other part of Fox Soccer Plus that has disenchanted me is that it seems they continue to focus more on rugby union than soccer. My suspicion is that rights to rugby matches are much more cost-friendly than tape-delayed Premier League. There are always 1-3 EPL matches that receive no airing anywhere on broadcast television.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s assume Fox Soccer Plus decides to air every Premier League match for a round each week. On DirecTV, the delayed matches would all be in SD.
Why should I pay a premium for a channel that a) doesn’t broadcast full-time in HD, and b) doesn’t broadcast a third to a half of the games available to them because of their commitment to rugby union? Sometimes I wonder if they should change their name to Fox Rugby Union Plus.
So my dilemma is over at the moment. From foxsoccer.tv’s trial period, I thought their product was legitimate. Had I not already subscribed to FS+, I would have committed back in August to foxsoccer.tv. I have changed my mind, and now have subscribed to foxsoccer.tv. There are a number of reasons, some of which I’ve already stated. Another reason that the switch makes sense for me is that it allows me to watch matches on-demand, without clogging up the DVR (and hogging the main television for hours on end each night). While I don’t believe any of the streamed games are in true 720p, at this point it’s not that important since the same is true for games on FS+. In addition, when I do finally figure out which EPL team will receive my full support, I am assured of seeing their game live.
If anyone from DirecTV reads this blog, my message to them is this: if you’re charging a PREMIUM FEE for a channel, that channel should be broadcasting in the highest definition available. And for the Fox Soccer/FS+ people, I think a broader offering of association football would go a long way to bringing me back on board. Again, this is a premium service, I would think that the money raised by the monthly fee could afford you the chance to air a wider variety of soccer matches than the same replay of a Premier League match most people watched live.
The bottom line: if I were single without kids, DirecTV’s lineup would be acceptable, under the premise that in a few months the full FS+ HD lineup would be offered. As a married guy with a wife and kids who haven’t caught the soccer bug yet, I think the breadth of coverage received from foxsoccer.tv overshadows the FS+ lineup, and it is now my choice for watching recorded matches.