What's Next For FoxSoccer.tv?

foxsoccertv screenshot What's Next For FoxSoccer.tv?

Now that the relaunched FoxSoccer.tv worked so flawlessly for its biggest match yet, this past Sunday’s Manchester United against Liverpool encounter, I have to wonder what is the future for this platform.

Many readers have already exclaimed how they’ve dumped Fox Soccer Plus in favor of FoxSoccer.tv because of its more complete coverage of the Premier League as well as the ease of use. But why not take it one step further? What if all of Fox Soccer Channel’s Premier League games were also on FoxSoccer.tv?

Take a moment to let that thought sit in. With the anticipation that Fox will soon release an iPhone app for FoxSoccer.tv, the FoxSoccer.tv will truly be portable for many soccer fans in the United States. As our viewing habits are shifting, more of us are watching not only our games, but also our movies, video clips, TV programs and more online. Sure, few things beat the comfort of sitting in your own living room on your favorite chair or couch, but you can always plug your computer into your TV to watch the games there too.

If FoxSoccer.tv had all of the Premier League games from Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Soccer Channel as well as the other games, as it does now, I would imagine that some of us would seriously consider dumping both Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus and keeping FoxSoccer.tv as our main provider of soccer entertainment. FoxSoccer.tv already shows other leagues too such as the Champions League, Championship and Ligue Un.

Right now, though, the economics wouldn’t make Fox even consider cannibalizing its flagship network to aid its online efforts. The perfect marriage right now for the channel is different revenue streams. Companies advertising on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus. Customers subscribing to content on FoxSoccer.tv. And leagues paying the network to show its games (such as USL). But at some point in the future, that will change especially when the online side of the business can show how much money it can generate by going directly to the consumer. Never mind the fact that Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Soccer Channel in HD is not available for many cable providers. Going online makes distribution issues a thing of the past.

What do you think? How soon into the future (how many years) do you think it’ll take before we can watch all of Fox’s Premier League games online via FoxSoccer.tv, no matter whether they’re shown on Fox Soccer Channel or Fox Soccer Plus? Make your prediction in the comments section below.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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54 Responses to What's Next For FoxSoccer.tv?

  1. maw4bc says:

    what was the deal with the arsenal-spurs match today? it was only video, no commentary, score line, etc.

    • Joel says:

      I’m watching the match right now, and I’ve been thinking the same thing. Anyone watch it on FS+? Was it the same?

      • Cantona says:

        FS+ had full audio commentary.. same feed it normally takes it from.. (not the sky sports feed)…. sometimes it is worth having FS+ on Directv

        Cantona—

        • JayM says:

          Someone on the Big Soccer forum was complaining about the lack of commentary during the match on foxsoccer.tv and contacted customer service and they responded to him that “We do not provide audio commentary for all games”.

          Has been like that for some of the Champions League matches as well.

          • Earl Reed says:

            No, they have had audio commentary for Champions League games. I’m thinking it may be a problem with their agreement with The Football League.

          • VillaPark says:

            Wondered what the response to this would be, but in all honesty, I loved the game without audio commentary. I just figured it was a Carling Cup thing…but it was great for that London clash and I wish I had the option to do that more often.

          • The Gaffer says:

            Watching the game and listening to the crowd noise instead of the commentary was a bit of a surreal experience for me. I’ve been to hundreds of games in my life, so I’m used to watching games in person. But I’ve watched so many matches on TV in the last decade that when I do attend a real match in person, I often feel that I’m missing out when I can’t see a replay or hear what the commentator said.

            Listening to the crowd noise for today’s Carling Cup match at White Hart Lane made me feel as if I was there. And it also made me realize what a difference it is to watch a game in person versus watching it on TV.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • John R. says:

            I agree wholeheartedly. Ive only been to one match live, but i was struck at how much no commentary reminded me of that experience. It also helped that it was a derby because the crowd singing was even more intense.

          • John R. says:

            I gotta agree with VillaPark. I really found it interesting to watch with no commentary. It really brought out the crowd noise, which i always find fascinating. Plus, it seemed like I was watching a documentary about the game, just without a narrator. I dont know how to explain it, but i just thought it was nice. I still prefer having commentators, but i have no problem whatsoever with some games having none and I get to immerse myself in the true sounds of the game.

          • Q says:

            Also thought it was interesting with no sound, but would have liked a game clock… it’d be kinda cool if they offered matches with the option of no commentary though.

  2. Sir Guy says:

    Sir Thomas More had the same idea in 1516…..Utopia.

    It never did arrive. ;-)

  3. Pat says:

    I can’t praise foxsoccer.tv highly enough. I made the plunge Sunday morning to watch the Man U – Liverpool match and was stunned by the quality of the picture. I don’t know the technical specs of it, but the picture on my laptop definitely rivals the HD feed on FSC, if not better. Adding the DVR-like service also knocks it up a notch.

    The biggest way they can improve now is to just acquire more broadcast rights to more leagues. I am glad I can watch some of the Championship and Ligue Un, but they need to get some La Liga and Bundesliga in the future to make the next step up as a premium internet broadcaster. I am sure this is not an easy thing to put together and may take years, but they could completely change how soccer is viewed if they were able to acquire more leagues and offer a broader viewing experience than seen before.

    • Q says:

      Also signed up on Sunday morning for the match and I agree completely with everything Pat said, plus I can watch it at work! hehehe…

  4. Chris says:

    Hmmm no Id rather have my tv and lay on my bed or couch and watch games rather than sit up and at my computer. that can be very tiring if you do it all day long.

    I dont even have Fox Soccer Plus or Fox Soccer Channel so it would be nice if i watch some games on my tv every once in awhile. And im not going to plug up my computer to my tv. Something tells me that its not going to look as good as it does as it normally would on tv.

    • Earl Reed says:

      I’ve gotta say that your fears aren’t founded. Here’s would be my guidance:
      - If you have 3.0 MBps DSL or better, you will have very few problems. Yes, there’ll be an occasional problem if your computer is running background DLs for updates or someone else in the house is being a bandwidth hog, but otherwise I’ve found the stability to be as good as ESPN3.

      - Your computer…if you have a computer with HD capability an HDMI output, you’re going to be golden. Even if it’s a little older but still has a video out (S-video, probably even RCA video jacks for that matter), you’ll get as good as the SD version of FSC or FS+…which you don’t even have right now.

      I think it’s all based on your outlook on the situation. For $15 a month, you get every EPL game outside of those shown on ESPN (and the ones on FSC are shown on a midnight delay on demand on FS.TV). You get every Champions League game. And you get a dose of Championship, Ligue 1, and Serie A. And if you go monthly, you cancel it with only $15 shelled out. What’s really to lose?

      • Alex says:

        Agree with ER… easy to hook up laptop with via mini HDMI connector and cable to HDTV. Hookup the audio and ready to go. The game is not as crisp as 1080 but better than SD.

      • John R. says:

        ER is right. My computer (macbook pro) does not have an HDMI out, but I was able to buy a USB – HDMI converter. I received it on Monday, but yesterday’s tottenham v. arsenal game was my first chance to really test it out. It was magnificent. Sound was amazing and the HD was very very good. It is MUCH better than the quality of FSC in SD. Seriously, try it out for one weekend, and if you arent a fan, return the cable/converter. I have a feeling you wont be returning anything though.

  5. Earl Reed says:

    OK, here’s my theory. The Championship games are also sans commentary. My guess is that foxsoccer.tv’s broadcast relationship with the Football League only extends to the raw video and ambient audio feeds; no frills (such as a score widget at the top of the screen or commentary). Perhaps this is their way of helping out Fox Soccer Plus. It’s rather annoying if you step away from the computer for any length of time because you have no idea whether you missed a goal. You also have a very rough idea of the time left, and no clue about the amount of stoppage time added.

  6. Earl Reed says:

    As far as my recommendations for improvement:
    - For the price they’re charging, I’d think audio commentary is needed, even for the Championship and Carling Cup matches.
    - I’d like to see a user preferences section, where you can manually select to eliminate rugby or soccer matches depending upon your desire.
    - I’d also like to see them categorize the available broadcasts to help us find what we’re looking for.
    - Obviously the addition of other leagues would be a plus, but there’s always the problem of licensing to other networks, as well as finding sufficient quality to make coverage worth the while. Personally, I think access to more games in their current league offerings would be nice, even Championship.

  7. jbm says:

    I want to see an AirPlay option in the iPhone/iPod touch app that’ll let it play on Apple TVs, giving you a real alternative to expensive cable plans.

  8. If FSI could get PayPal as an payment tool for the product, and just simply sort the rugby from the football (I know in an ideal world, things would be sorted by competition, but I’ll take the small baby step there first), I could easily live with the uVerse 200 and foxsoccer.tv.

  9. VillaPark says:

    One addition I will add to how great this is (just got it on Saturday) is the fact that I could watch the first half of today’s game from work, drive home during halftime, then watch the second half when I got home on the same computer. Equally excited to do the same thing on Wednesday. That was one of the tipping points for me…the fact that I could watch almost EVERY game while at work or while on vacation.

  10. Alex says:

    IMHO, the video quality is better for sure, but the schedule is a mess. Clean it up at least as decent as last year’s service. Also, let me know when a game will be available for replay; again like last year’s service. Also, need to post the available games at least 2 weeks out.

    I don’t have cable, so this and ESPN3 together is great… though I hope this service improves its user experience.

  11. jmf says:

    I love the games with just crowd noise – I’d like to see it as an option more often.

    To get back to the Gaffer’s original question, I think the future for FoxSoccer.tv is probably a tiered level of service. Right now for $15 a month they offer an amazing amount of sport (especially if you watch rugby) but they are holding back a few games e.g. the Sunday 11am slot. I would imagine they could setup several packages e.g. time delay only, mix of selected live and time delay and a full package of all live games available plus time delay, and then charge appropriately.

  12. Civrock says:

    What would be a fantastic addition is if they included a foxsoccer.tv subscription when subscribing to FS Plus on a carrier that offers it separately, as a premium, for the same price as the online package ($14.99/month).
    That would give the channel itself so much more value, it’d likely convince many doubters. If the online package included all games Fox Soccer has rights to… oh boy, even more value for the price.

    I’ve been considering getting foxsoccer.tv but it just doesn’t seem worth it to me as I don’t watch rugby and there’s not really enough games on there for someone that has access to FSC HD, GolTV HD and ESPN3.com. If they bundled it, as suggested above, and added more FS content, it might change my opinion, especially once they add iPhone support.

    Being a DTV customer, dropping the Sports Pack wouldn’t be a good idea as it includes GolTV HD, besides FSC HD, and being German, I love watching Bundesliga and of course La Liga.

  13. Yespage says:

    Many can’t just give up FSC, as it is part of some package. So inclusion of FSC games live doesn’t make it automatically easy to get rid of the need for FSC.

    I too agree with the need for a bit of a better schedule system.

    I up’d my bandwidth to 10 Mbps from 1.5 Mbps and the improvement of the video quality was very notable. It is almost like watching better than 480p.

    Other than their hiccup in week 2, FS.tv has been going very smoothly. Watching games without commentary is nice, though a bit problematic with Rugby as I’m not familiar enough with the teams to be able to understand all of the action.

    Overall FS.tv is no where near what it was last season, which is a very nice surprise.

  14. BenM says:

    I too am a recent subscriber, after chasing horrible dead feeds for 30 minutes this past Sunday and too disabled from a crushing hangover to go down to the pub. I was very pleased with the stream, so much so that it had me taking another serious look at a second laptop for our house; sadly, every netbook I’ve tried to run it on in store have been horribly choppy, so when/if this iPad version comes along, I may be all over that. But isn’t all the talk of iPad/iPhone apps just a pipe dream? The current streams are Flash based, right? They would have to convert them to another format to get them on either device, right?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Definitely not a pipe dream. I know Fox is working hard on an iPhone app (and an iPad app later). Judging by how smooth the Veetle experiment was this summer and how great the game was on the iPhone, it’s definitely do-able but will require some work from Fox/Perform. Looking forward to seeing it released soon too.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  15. Alberto says:

    yes it will be great to have all matches from EPL, La Liga, Serie A on Foxsoccer.tv.
    i think the best is for them to make an apps for ROKU, Apple TV, iphone…etc………. just an APPs for the internet TV. this will make it life easy for soccer fans

  16. John R. says:

    Any indication on when the iPhone app is going to come out? didnt they at first say it was going to be in august, and then pushed it back to september? Now its just “soon.” I guess its really not that important, but im just curious.

  17. Drew says:

    I wish I could say I have been to a premier league match, but I haven’t had the chance. The crowd noise was cool, but I wish there had been an option for commentary. I didn’t have the time to watch the whole match, so I was clueless what the score was and ended up having to look up the score to catch the goals.

    I think foxsoccer.tv is significantly better than it was when it first launched, but for me, the lack of DVR functionality is just about a deal-killer. I live in NYC and just switched from Time Warner to FiOS so I now would have to pay $15/month for FS+ and cannot even get FS+ or FSC in HD. With those crappy options, I decided to do the monthly foxsoccer.tv subscription. But it really sucks that if I want to see the Bolton vs. Man Utd game on Sunday I either have to wake up at 7:00am and be near my computer or wait until they allow me to view the replay.

  18. A Little Birdie says:

    12 months @ $4.99/month. That’s what DirecTV gave me when I called to remove FS+.

  19. I think you’re spot on here, Gaffer. I had a monthly subscription to both FSC on cable (cost extra) and foxsoccer.tv last season. However, I didn’t renew either and instead have relied on streams and/or downloads of matches. However, if Fox were to include the FSC matches on foxsoccer.tv, I would renew my subscription in a heartbeat.

    There were a few kinks in the service last season after its launch, but in all it worked much better than I expected. If, as you say, the service is working even better now, it would seem to be Fox’s best interest to make foxsoccer.tv a one-stop, all-inclusive football package by adding their regular broadcast matches.

  20. csb059 says:

    Soccer without graphics/commentary may be plausible occasionally if Fox/Perform specifically noted which matches would be broadcast this way. But rugby without graphics and commentary is impossible to watch and it has nothing to do familiarity with the players or sport. There’s just too much scoring to keep track of without the graphics and too much information from the commentators and referees (they are miked) that is missed. Fox/Perform owe it to their customers to place notices on each and every match/competition that doesn’t include graphics and/or commentary. Anything else is substandard. I venture a guess that if the EPL matches had no commentary or graphics, everyone posting would be in an uproar.

  21. King Eric says:

    On a side note regarding TV, why aren’t the Carling Cup matches on FS Plus available in HD, when all of the other games are? Quite frustrating…

  22. jason says:

    cable tv is on its way out, the debate will be different even a year or two from now. i get my tv all from the internet, and i dont even subscribe to foxsoccer.tv. I get plenty of good soccer from espn3 and footytube I think. I dont have time for anything else so I am content with what is free. If you are a Serie A fan, espn3 has 5 games every round from them.

  23. Charles says:

    After all this foxsoccer.tv love I hate to ask, but can anyone view the Scunthorpe Utd v Manchester Utd that started at 2:45?

    It’s 3:15 and all I’m getting is a “This event will begin shortly” screen…

  24. ChicagoBrian says:

    Wasn’t working for me at all first half carling for either man u or Chelsea, but emailed help and got this. Working now but still…
    Thank you for contacting us,
     
    We have been experiencing some technical errors with tonight’s streaming.
     
    The issue has now been resolved, please select the new player that has appeared in the ‘watch live’ section.
     
    We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused.
     
    Kind Regards
    Web Support

  25. Roger says:

    I can’t understand not having commentary audio with some of the feeds, but the lack of score/time graphics has gotten really frustrating lately with FSC.tv like with Championship games, Champions League, some Rugby, and now with Carling Cup.

    Especially now with Chelsea stream not starting on time, I had no idea Chelsea were up a goal already when I finally fixed the issue and I was able to watch the game. I sent emails regarding lack of graphics on the streams but never gotten any response from them.

    For replays it’s even worse, because you can’t go and see the live score updates and know what’s up.

    For the amount of money being spent, I think we deserves at least that.

    • csb059 says:

      Amen! The breadth of the content is great and the quality of the stream is usually extremely good, but everything else is low-rent. The fact that they’ve bought product without graphics and/or audio is borderline retarded and disingenious of Fox/Perform. How can Fox/Perform advertise that they have these matches/competitions when they don’t have the entire feed? There needs to be a disclaimer on each affected match and an FAQ posted.

  26. Roger says:

    I can’t understand not having commentary audio with some of the feeds, but the lack of score/time graphics has gotten really frustrating lately with FSC.tv like with Championship games, Champions League, some Rugby, and now with Carling Cup.

    Especially now with Chelsea stream not starting on time, I had no idea Chelsea were up a goal already when I finally fixed the issue and I was able to watch the game. I sent emails regarding lack of graphics on the streams but never gotten any response from them.

    For replays it’s even worse, because you can’t go and see the live score updates and know what’s up.

    For the amount of money being spent, I think we at least deserve that.

    • VillaPark says:

      I want to side with Fox here and say that the technical issues may have been a result of outside sources and not them directly. I’m only half sure on this, but I’m always glad to see ANY League Cup games, let alone one yesterday and two today.

  27. Joel says:

    Gaffer, do you know why the Carling Cup games from today aren’t available for replay yet? Seeing as I was at work and DVR isn’t yet an option for foxsoccer.tv, I was counting on being able to watch the replays. It worked for Tottenham v. Arsenal yesterday, but doesn’t seem to be working today. I emailed tech-support with no luck so far.

    • VillaPark says:

      There were some technical difficulties with the games, especially in the first half, so I could see there being a delay in getting the replays posted. Usually this round of the Carling Cup is a bit harder to broadcast, hence the no audio yesterday and the minor issues today.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Not sure why there’s a delay, but maybe it has something to do with the technical difficulties they had earlier today.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • jmf says:

        Overall I’m really enjoying the Foxsoccer.tv website, but I do think they could improved the communications. The layout of the site continues to be very ‘busy’, the inability to break-up games by league/sport is inconvenient and the lack of definitive times for replays is a little frustrating (UEFA.com has a hard and fast midnight CET rule for beginning to role out replays – something similar would be appreciated). But these are all easily addressed, peripheral issues – the streams are great quality and I’m happy to enjoy it as is and wait for gradual improvements – for example, sinced the launch they’ve added some DVR controls, full 90 minute replays and now I see 2 minute high-lights are available as well

  28. Chris R says:

    I love this service — when it works. Today, I try watching games, get a great picture for a minute or two, then get the pinwheel that shows its loading, but the picture disappears. If I hit pause then play, usually comes back, but eventually have to reclick the link to the game. Very frustrating. I’m running a very new Mac, no other apps running, no one else in the house browsing. Did this yesterday but seemed to stop just as the Liverpool/Sunderland match was on (which is the one I wanted to watch anyway). Today, haven’t been able to watch anything because it gets too annoying.

    Of course, as soon as I read that there’s an iphone app in the works, my patience increased :) .

    Anyone else having issues today?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Chris, it’s working OK for me. I’m running an older MacBook and watching Wolves v Aston Villa. Is your ISP throttling your bandwidth, perhaps?

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Chris R says:

        That’s the match I was trying to watch, but no luck….same on the rugby match that’s available.

        Ran a test on speedtest.net, and I’m where I should be in terms of my download speed. Actually better than where I’d been for previous weekends when I’ve been able to watch matches. Any other suggestions to check bandwidth?

        Many thanks!

        • jmf says:

          I’m running Windows 7 and today I had no problems watching the 45 minute highlights of the Man U/Bolton and Arsenal/West Brom games.

  29. Alex says:

    I am a bit confused about their replay service. How often do they purge their games? Last night I was watching Paris St Germain – Nice and left it in the middle. This morning I wanted to finish it and it is no more there.

    Also, I do not see any Ligue 1 games scheduled for their next two weeks, anyone knows if they are stopping Ligue 1 or is their schedule incomplete?

    Cheers,
    Alex

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