Beginning today, Fox Soccer Channel has made significant changes to its primetime viewing schedule to focus more on the Premier League and Champions League while pushing other shows such as Soccer Talk Live to late-night viewing times.
The new schedule features a three-hour block of Premier League programming from 7-10pm ET each weekday evening. Then on Friday nights at 8pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel will feature a “Game Of The Week” from England.
Fox Soccer Channel kicks-off its enhanced weeknight programming Mondays at 7 p.m. ET with the Barclays Premier League Review Show and continues with two-hour match telecasts each evening as well as archival and magazine programs from the world’s most-watched sports league. Tuesdays-Fridays at 11 p.m. also feature classic matches from the UEFA Champions League, while Fox Soccer Report remains in its usual time slots of 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET. Fox Soccer Channel’s schedule will vary on UEFA Champions League and CONCACAF Champions League matchdays from August-May, as well as during the MLS and college soccer seasons.
To accomodate the changes, Soccer Talk Live will move from Monday at 7pm ET to 11pm ET. The show will repeated for viewers on the west coast at 11pm PT.
You can read a lot into the programming changes. The way I take it is that Fox is trying to capitalize on the strong TV ratings they’ve been seeing from the Premier League. Plus, after spending so much on the rights to show the games, they want to make sure that they benefit from the ratings, even when shown on replay. Soccer fans crave soccer games, so it makes complete sense to establish a consistent nightly viewing three-hour block of time when Fox will hope that viewers will become used to watching games during primetime. And for people new to soccer, the primetime games are the perfect teaser to hook new fans to the Premier League which they can then watch live on any weekend.
For Soccer Talk Live, the story isn’t as rosy. An 11pm ET start-time is going to be tough to attract fans. Fox may presume that the format of the show may work better late at night, and more power to them if they can make it work. But when your original time slot has been replaced by re-runs, it’s not a promising sign. Still, it’s a victory for the Premier League and is another example of how the league is increasing with popularity in the United States.
What do you think of Fox Soccer Channel’s new programming lineup? Share your feedback in the comments section below.