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Is The U.S. The Best Place to Experience the Premier League?

espn3 mosaic Is The U.S. The Best Place to Experience the Premier League?

Right now I’m playing with ESPN3.com’s multi-screen view, where you can have as many as four games viewable in the same browser window at a time in what they call a mosaic. I’m watching replays of Barcelona against Villarreal, Scotland against New Zealand in rugby and Juventus versus Roma. It’s a dream come true for a sports buff and is a far cry from the old days where you were lucky to tune into a dodgy shortwave radio reception or being able to watch highlights of a game for the first time four to five days after the game occurred.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve never had it so good. With a combination of Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN2, Fox Soccer Plus (and/or FoxSoccer.tv), the FoxSoccer iPhone app and countless streams of Premier League-related news and podcasts courtesy of the Internet, we’re now living in a time where we’re getting close to nirvana for soccer fans. Sure, there are some things that need to be improved and made available, but you can now legally get almost everything you could possibly need or want as a supporter of an English club in the Premier League.

Even on the streets in America, Premier League jerseys are far more common than shirts for the teams in the domestic league. In the old days, you’d practically have to send money to your grandmother in England for her to buy a jersey from the club shop and then send it in the post, keeping your fingers it would get to you and wouldn’t be absconded by your local postal service.

Just today, for example, I had the pleasure of watching a scintillating match between Aston Villa and Manchester United. Just when you thought ESPN’s production couldn’t get better, they spring another surprise. Today it was the pre-match interviews with Gerard Houllier and Alex Ferguson, both exclusive interviews for the U.S. viewing audience as the game itself was being televised on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. While ESPN’s pitchside interviewer thankfully refrained from asking Houllier whether he knew if Brad Friedel’s mother was watching the game from her home in the United States, I was awestruck by how incredible the build-up to the kickoff at Villa Park was. I mean seriously, can their production get any better than this?

For the next game at the traditional 3pm kickoff in the United Kingdom, I had a choice between watching Manchester City against Birmingham on Fox Soccer Channel and an incredible five other matches live on FoxSoccer.tv. So I decided to watch as much as I could of all of them. I had the game from Eastlands on my television set, and then flipped through “the channels” on FoxSoccer.tv to watch bits and pieces of the other matches. Manchester City is doing its best job at trying to be more boring than watching paint dry, so while that was on in the background I ended up focusing more of my attention on the games beamed to my computer via FoxSoccer.tv such as West Ham United against Blackpool, Tottenham versus Blackburn, Wolves against Bolton, Wigan versus West Brom and Newcastle against Fulham. The beauty of being able to flip between the different game was wonderful especially seeing the very entertaining draw between West Ham and Blackpool as well as Wolverhampton’s late comeback against Bolton. When you think about it, the games involving Bolton, Wolves and Blackpool of late have been more entertaining than many of the Big Four games. And more power to them.

The mosaic screengrab from ESPN3.com above was from Wednesday’s rare Premier League treat where the broadband channel had Manchester CIty against Manchester United (the less said about that game the better) as well as Aston Villa versus Blackpool, Everton against Bolton and Wolves versus Arsenal. It was a dream come true to be able to watch four games at once and to easily switch between the commentary of any of the four.

Does it get any better than this? Yes, definitely but the room for improvement is becoming less and less. We have almost everything we can possibly need. Yes, Fox Soccer Channel could improve their production but we shouldn’t take their product for granted. They are the ones who are paying millions for the rights to show the Premier League in the United States, which most definitely limits the amount of money they can spend on talent and sets to make their Premier League “product” profitable for them. Without Fox, who sub-licenses some of their games to ESPN, we’d be screwed. Fox Soccer Channel provides us the Premier League drug that we crave. And the more we watch it, the more addicted we become.

Living in America and experiencing the Premier League on our TV sets and Internet, it’s never been any better than it is now. So thank you Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN. We can be a bit harsh on you at times, but at the end of the day we love what you do and appreciate you bringing the beautiful game to us. We’ll let you know when you can improve, but keep up the good work. We’re loving every minute of it.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

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 →

38 Responses to Is The U.S. The Best Place to Experience the Premier League?

  1. Tokyo says:

    Impressive, I’m going to move to Hawaii.

  2. Chris says:

    Hey gaffer. for next week can you find out why there isnt going to be any EPL games on foxsoccer.tv, cant really figure out why they wouldnt be showing them?

    • The Gaffer says:

      It’s the dreaded and painful international break, so the Prem will be taking 10 days off before the next gameweek starts :(

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Up the Chels! says:

        There’s not an international break starting this week, just a single international match day on Wednesday. Games are going as usual on the 20th of November. My boys in blue are away to Birmingham and what i can see says the game is going to be on FS+ and foxsoccer.tv

    • Chris says:

      Yeah, The poster below knows what im talking about. Fulham is playing home on the 21st of Novemeber against Manchester City and they are also not showing the game. While they may show this on tv. there is still no EPL games on foxsoccer.tv

      • The Gaffer says:

        According to the TV guide listings I have directly from Fox, Fulham against Man City will be on at 11am ET on that day on Fox Soccer Channel and shown on demand on FoxSoccer.tv at midnight.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

    • The Gaffer says:

      I double checked the most recent TV guide listing I receive from Fox each week and the EPL games are scheduled for 11/20 and 11/21 as usual. Looks like they haven’t updated their schedule on FoxSoccer.tv as of yet.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  3. che says:

    i dont need 4 matches at one time i need every liverpool matches in hd.

  4. Chris says:

    fox soccer is garbage. i dont think they could pollute my screen more if they tried.

    • RJ says:

      You’re right. I won’t watch soccer on fox. I’ve made do with espn. I’d rather miss games than give $$ to the murdochs.

      • Sir Guy says:

        Ummm, ESPN pays Murdoch for the privilege of showing the games/dates Fox has in excess.

        Let’s not forget that the EPL is on in the U.S. entirely because Fox (Murdoch) paid for the rights. No Fox? No EPL soccer.

  5. Dan says:

    Is it just me or did ESPN3 pull every single replay of the premier league offline?

  6. rej4sl says:

    I can’t support it more – we have FSC on in the background for the noise and atmosphere but until they get the stuff in HD we relay on ESPN for our dose of football or FSN HD for the UEFA Champions League game in HD that week.
    It is agonizing knowing there is a FSC HD channel and we don’t get it. We now get 101 HD channels with Comcast so why no FSC HD gggggrrrr.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Same here. I have Comcast but no FSC in HD and no FS+ which is incredibly annoying, but it’s not Fox’s fault, it’s Comcast.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • EvertonfanKY says:

        Can you not get a dish?

        • The Gaffer says:

          I could, but South Florida is a horrible place for a satellite dish owner, especially from early summer to early Fall with the major thunderstorms that interrupt the signal. Plus I had DirecTV before and was not impressed with their customer service at all.

          Cable is a lot more reliable for residents in South Florida. I just hope that Comcast gets with the game soon.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

  7. kobashi says:

    I know Dubai in the UAE has it pretty good as they get the Premier League Network through TV 5 there and I believe all of the games are available on TV in HD.

    A way for FSC to make more revenue so they can upgrade their production would be by licensing off a Saturday 10am game to ESPN2. Offer a deal where FSC and ESPN2 flip flop each week in who has the first choice of games for each round. FS+ would always have the 3rd choice game and still retain the Sunday Morning early game which is usually a pretty good match up. More times than not there isn’t that huge of a drop off between the 2nd and 3rd choice 10am games. By ESPN2 devoting their whole Saturday morning schedule to the Premier League it will grow the game in a way that FSC can’t do by themselves and will make more new fans that will find FSC & FS+ who will watch the channels to get their soccer fix.

    • Sir Guy says:

      “By ESPN2 devoting their whole Saturday morning schedule to the Premier League…..”

      Ain’t…..never….gonna….happen.

      One reason…..College Football. ESPN runs College GameDay and ESPN2 runs SportsCenter in that 10:00 AM slot, leading up to multiple 12:00 PM kick-offs on the ESPN network. ESPN will never, and I mean never give that time over to soccer.

  8. leeboy says:

    We may get fewer live games but Sky Sports and ESPNs livecoverage plus MOTD and MOTD2 isn’t bad. Many pubs have European TV subs (no 3pm blackout) so Brits are seeing the international feed much more

  9. Ramesh says:

    I have to agree with the post’s original premise. If you are willing to spend, there is not one EPL game you will miss, with the rare exception of the nonsense ESPN3 only broadcast.

    However, if I had my wish, this is what I would love to see. I want an EPL Cable Package. Something exactly like NBA League Pass & MLB Extra Innings. Every game would be available on the package with the FSC broadcast game being blacked out. Same thing for the ESPN2 HD game.

    Ideally, the package would be available for purchase through your local cable provider with option for a higher price to get ALL the games in HD. I am sure they could work out some arrangement for the League Cup, FA Cup, & UEFA Champions League games (involving the 4 EPL sides). I guarantee, if they had such a package, it would make a fortune for the Premier League.

    Further, the EPL could launch the companion broadband service, the mobile service, and appropriate apps available through iTunes, etc. The NBA’s complete service package includes- NBA League Pass, NBA League Pass Broadband, NBA League Pass Mobil, & the appropriate NBA League Pass applications.

    Currently, I have Comcast. I have no FSC HD, and no FSC Plus. This makes Foxsoccer.tv a must. Otherwise, I basically get no games. Further, to echo the sentiments of many I read on this site, the standard definition FSC games are absolute garbage. It is a joke that it is 2010 and broadcast are as horrible as they are. They are just atrocious to watch. Each week if my Manchester United match is not the ESPN2 HD fixture, I hope that it is a Foxsoccer.tv match and not a FSC broadcast. I even prefer viewing the Foxsoccer.tv matches on my iPhone instead of watching on FSC.

  10. Gaz Hunt says:

    Love that you mentioned having to send money to your grandmother so she could send you a club shirt. I actually did that a few times to get Liverpool shirts.

    • The Gaffer says:

      I also had my aunt go to the club shop, which was a big inconvenience because the club shop was probably the last place on earth she wanted to visit and she lived far away.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  11. William says:

    Yes, It is.

    But I think I speak for EPL lovers of the west coast that its not as glorious here because of the big time gap.

    The 4:45 am kick off here is pretty bad, I need to get my sleep :)
    The 7:00 am kick off is not so bad, west coasters should be up by then.
    The 9:30 am kick off is a bit more pleasing, so i usually catch those.

    But it gets so bad on Sunday for me, The 5, and sometimes 6 am kick off is just too early. Like i said i like to get my sleep, so end up missing the games.

    WE got it good here in the states, just not that good in West coast, for obvious time reasons :/

  12. grich says:

    As most are probably aware talksport radio in London broadcasts weekly EPL games and has plenty of EPL coverage I listen streaming over my phone in he car to and from work

  13. Stacy Richardson says:

    First, to “Sir Guy”‘, who said, “ESPN runs College GameDay and ESPN2 runs SportsCenter in that 10:00 AM slot, leading up to multiple 12:00 PM kick-offs on the ESPN network. ESPN will never, and I mean never give that time over to soccer.”

    Actually, ESPN already gives that time over to soccer every Saturday there’s not an early kickoff. Who’s to say they won’t get the rights to a weekly three o’clock kickoff sometime in the future? Care to reconsider your never-never?

    Secondly: pursuant to the item in the story about ESPN2′s superlative production of Villa-ManU: it occurs to me that Ian Darke and his cohorts sounded like they were having the times of their respective lives. And why not? It was a GREAT game! I don’t mind the announcers being a little giddy when they have something to be giddy about.

    That was a tremendous telecast! I look forward next Saturday morning with the great London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham.

    • kobashi says:

      Great point about ESPN 2 having already pre-empted the 10am SportsCenter on ESPN 2 when there is no early kickoff available to air the 10am Eastern kick off. Plus would it be a shock if ESPN moved SportsCenter to ESPN NEWS like they currently do in Prime Time during the week when live Sports are airing?

      • bradjmoore48 says:

        It’s Ratings, people! Ratings!

        Unless one of 5 or 6 clubs (the Big 4 plus Man City and possibly Spurs) are playing in that 10am EST timeslot, the ratings and ad revenue don’t justify pre-empting Sportscenter or College Gameday.
        You also seem to not remember that, even if Fox allowed ESPN an additional 10am slot under sublicense after a 7:45am EST kickoff, Fox would take the Big 4 + 2 matches for themselves and leave ESPN with matchups like Stoke – Wolves or West Ham – Sunderland. Only if ESPN buys the EPL rights for themselves again can they dictate when they want to show EPL matches and which ones to show. I won’t say “never, never” but its highly improbable.

    • Sir Guy says:

      I understand your point and kobashi’s. Mine is simply if it comes to some kind of choice between college football (and its run-up shows) and soccer, college football or basketball for that matter, will always win.

      I am not a big believer in ESPN’s overall commitment to soccer in the U.S. Outside of their live EPL production, which is excellent, ESPN’s coverage of soccer is generally limited to snickering, derisive commentary by idiotic talking heads who wouldn’t know a bicycle kick if it caught them in the face. Ahh, wishful thinking.

      That doesn’t mean I don’t hope for better. I just don’t expect it.

  14. kobashi says:

    bradjmoore48 – I suggested that FSC and ESPN2 flip flop who has the first choice of games at 10am where 1 week FSC would get first choice and the next week ESPN2 would get first choice. We already see that with ESPN and GOL TV who flip flop first choice games for La Liga and the Bundesliga. Fox could use the extra money by licensing out another game to upgrade their production which is just a step above a public access station in Omaha Nebraska.

    Sir Guy – One thing to think about is that ESPN could want more soccer inventory next season as they build up to Euro 2012 which ESPN likely will be showing again in June of 2012.

    There is always going to be snickering by traditional media guys like Kornheiser, Wilbon, and some of the guys on ATH because they don’t like being shown up as not knowing what they are talking about when it comes to sports so instead of reading up or watching something to learn about it, it’s easier to make a joke and move on. It is getting better as younger traditional sports media guys like Simmons, La Canfora, Stein, and others are more accepting to the sport and enjoy talking about it. It’s the same divide that is seen in MMA coverage where a lot of the older media guys have no interest but the younger media guys eat it up.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Please forgive the ignorance of this question–transplanted Britons trying to get organised with US smartphones + ‘on the go’ access. We live in an AT&T hole so iphones are not an option, but I’m struggling to figure out what is available for android. We have foxsoccer.tv and fsc so are set at home. No epsn3 yet but it’s coming soon. Could someone give a quick overview of what I can access live via on an Android phone (2.2)? For example, I know there is not a droid app for foxsoccer.tv yet I saw a reference to android 2.2 users being able to log into their accounts without an app. Is that correct? Link is here (comment from Dave): http://epltalk.com/fox-soccer-iphone-app-product-review-25686

    Is TalkSport Live live in the USA or is it blocked? I guess I thought it was blocked. Anything else available for android? Cheers!

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