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Fox Renews UEFA Champions League TV Rights In U.S. Through 2015

Fox logo Fox Renews UEFA Champions League TV Rights In U.S. Through 2015

Fox Sports Media Group today announced that it has renewed its exclusive media rights in the United States and Caribbean to the UEFA Champions League for three additional seasons from 2012/13 through 2014/15.

The agreement with UEFA ensures comprehensive coverage of the tournament on multiple Fox properties including Fox Sports, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports Net (FSN) and FX, as well as online video streaming service FoxSoccer.tv throughout the first half of this decade. Fox is currently in the second of a three-season partnership with UEFA through 2011/12, delivering for the first time ever all 146 UEFA Champions League matches from the Play-off Round onward to U.S. viewers.

Under the renewal, Fox Sports has committed to broadcasting the UEFA Champions League Final live to over 115 million households nationwide. Last season, Fox staged the first-ever network television broadcast of a European club soccer match when it showcased the UEFA Champions League Final, live and in high-definition, from Madrid.

In addition, two of the four semifinal matches will air on FX, Fox’s flagship general entertainment cable network available in over 98 million homes nationwide.

FSN reaches nearly 85 million homes nationwide through its owned and affiliated regional sports networks and is nearly doubling its UEFA Champions League coverage. FSN will televise 28 live contests on Tuesday and Wednesday matchdays. Currently, FSN only covers Tuesday broadcast windows.

As the primary broadcast outlet for the UEFA Champions League in the U.S., Fox Soccer Channel continues to deliver 110 live and delayed UEFA Champions League matches per season to its nearly 40 million subscribers, who also enjoy extensive coverage from England’s Barclays Premier League and Italy’s Serie A among other elite competitions.

Fox Soccer Plus carries 94 live and delayed match telecasts annually, and like Fox Soccer Channel, each UEFA Champions League matchday features 8-10 hour blocks of uninterrupted coverage.

Meanwhile, Fox Deportes continues to televise 110 live and delayed match telecasts per season. An additional 250 hours of UEFA Champions League encore coverage per season is planned by the nation’s leader in Spanish-language sports media.

The 2012/13-2014/15 media rights extend to the Internet via premium broadband portal FoxSoccer.tv, as well mobile devices through Fox Soccer’s iPhone app. FoxSoccer.com and FoxDeportes.com continue to offer exclusive video highlights of all matches plus live, interactive Match Trax featuring in-game stats, commentary and more. As a result, fans across the U.S. will have an extensive array of coverage choices for this unparalleled club soccer competition.

“Ever since the first deal for the current 2009-2012 rights cycle, FOX Sports have impressed us with their commitment to prioritise the UEFA Champions League in their scheduling,” said Guy Laurent Epstein, Head of Media Rights for UEFA. “Showing the Final on FOX’s over-the-air affiliates marks a huge turning point in the American psyche towards football, continuing in this vein for the 2012-15 rights cycle reflects FOX’s ongoing dedication to the best of European football.”

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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 →

35 Responses to Fox Renews UEFA Champions League TV Rights In U.S. Through 2015

  1. ruffneckc says:

    Love it! More please!

  2. marc says:

    If only ESPN had bought the rights then we could watch the games in HD on Comcast!

  3. DGS says:

    Does that mean that this year they will carry the Semis on FX? I have no hope that Comcast will add FSCHD in the next few months, so please let it be true.

  4. Kevin says:

    So is the final going to be on FOX again?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Kevin, it looks like it although it’s unclear from Fox’s press release.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • bradjmoore48 says:

        From the Fox press release:

        “Under the renewal, FOX Sports has committed to broadcasting the UEFA Champions League Final live to over 115 million households nationwide.”

        No other Fox network besides FOX itself reaches 115 million households, so I think that means yes, it will be on Fox again.

        What remains unclear to me is when they say 2 of the 4 semifinal matches will be on FX, does that mean both legs of 2 series or do they not realize its a two-leg segment so we’ll really only get 1 series (or worse, just 2 random matches out of the 8)? Nonetheless, good on Fox to start putting more out on its cable and broadcast channels. Maybe in the future (post-2015) FX will get a few EPL key matches and maybe more CL matches if the ratings justify it.

        • bradjmoore48 says:

          And I realize the semifinal thing is clear, there are only 4 semi matches, not 8…and to think I got a 750 math on the GRE :-/

          Still, wondering if we get 1 series, both legs, or 1 leg of both series…

  5. bluefanmd says:

    Gaffer,

    Does this mean the DirecTV will continue the process of airing all Champions League group fixtures not televised on FOX affiliates?

  6. jmansor says:

    This is a bit of a shock. I thought Fox had put less emphasis on their champions league coverage this year. The in studio talent has gone down a bit with Bobby McMahon not always making the trip to LA. I hope now they can make an investment into the studio set. Another reason why FSC coverage seems cheap and drab.

  7. AJ says:

    At frist when I saw this article I thought to myself “DAMMIT! more of this crap where I get one game a week and a dumb promise that we’ll get a replayed game which FSN Pittsburgh shuns with D2 football play-off game. Then get that replay a week later (ala Arsenal/Partizan on today).

    This is progress, now I can watch 2 games a week like I could on ESPN, all the semi-finals and final.

    There still is a laundry list of improvements need:
    Lose the UEFA feed for commentary
    Lose the glitches
    Make FSN’s game the big since more people probably watch on FSN
    Revamp the studio team (This is the first time I’ve seen any of these guys and I feel sorry for you all who have to put up with that all the time)
    Studio show suggestion: Keep McMahon, find a host & another analyst.

  8. ctgunner says:

    The only benefit to Fox renewing the rights for the Champions League is the amount of games that will be televised. There production for the matches feels like a high school broadcaster could do a better job. Fox better step up its production before they kill the excitement of this tournament.

    When ESPN had the CLeague you could feel the buzz around the matches. Granted you only got to see a limited amount of them at least they were done right! To be honest I have lost a lot of interest in watching CLeague with how poor of a job Fox does. The fact that I can’t watch in HD plays a large role in that too.

    • Evan says:

      100% agree. ESPN knows how to put on a quality broadcast. If you digest the Fox broadcast from beginning to end, you really can’t tell that the game is that big of a deal. Even during the final last year, which featured a team onsite, and was broadcast on network television, it just seemed like amateur hour.

    • sucka99 says:

      for me the buzz on ESPN was mainly because they only showed 1/2 games live a week so it was a big deal when the match was on. Now I can watch 4 side by side or 5 on the Mix Channel.

  9. Earl Reed says:

    Fox really should step up to the plate and concede some immediate financial goals in order to expand its base. Their distribution of Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus (both in HD) is quite lacking. Also, sometimes I wonder if Fox is intimidated by FIFA and UEFA and they end up keeping this overly stuffy, traditional-looking broadcast. ESPN has definitely taken a more contemporary approach on the EPL games, and it shows. Fox needs to step it up, use some better video segues between segments, add some energy into the broadcasts. Yesterday’s broadcast on ESPN was poignant, you felt like you were there. Until Fox decides that they want 90% of the country to see these games in HD, and then deliver with a better product both on and off the pitch, people aren’t going to be wooed by their product.

    • sucka99 says:

      AFAIK the Champions League broadcasts have many more restrictions in how you can present than the EPL including graphics, sponsors, etc.

    • Sir Guy says:

      “Until Fox decides that they want 90% of the country to see these games in HD…”

      Fox definitely needs to make some improvements, but it can’t do a thing about who does or does not get the games in HD. That is totally up to the cable/satellite companies both national and local. Their decisions sometimes make you scratch your head, but in the end it comes down to economics. Will they get a return on their dollar if they take up an HD channel slot with FSC/FS+? Apparently a lot of them figure the answer is, “No.”

  10. soonerscotty says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo!!!!!

  11. How popular is the Champions League in the States?

    • bradjmoore48 says:

      Simply put, it’s popular amongst soccer fans in the US, but that is still a small minority of the population. The CL Final last year on Fox, a broadcast (free-to-air) network, got a 1.1 rating, meaning just over a million TVs tuned into the match. So not spectacular like most of the US matches and the final of the World Cup on US TV (between 15 and 25 million viewers). The “casual sports fan” in the US only watches soccer during the World Cup, if that, so those ratings are always much higher. You can also take into account that the final was between two clubs (Inter and Bayern) who don’t have as major a following as other clubs do in the States. It might have been higher had it been, say, Barcelona and Man United, but not by a whole lot more.

      Couldn’t tell you what group stages ratings are like, but I’m sure they are not stunning since they are during the workday for us (2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT). They are also shown mostly on a subscription-based cable and online packages (FSC, FS+, foxsoccer.tv), so the market “reach” doesn’t go very far in the States.

      Champions League is popular among strong followers of the game in the US, it is arguably the biggest soccer competition on the planet (along with the World Cup), so there is at least have an interest.

      • jamie says:

        i consider the euro a better competition than the wc, the wc has so many weak teams from asia, africa and north america. a euro plus brazil and argentina would be a true tournament for the best team on earth.

        • bradjmoore48 says:

          Jamie – The Euros are also a major competition, certainly up there with the WC and CL. The problem with your 2nd statement is that how are those ‘weak teams’ supposed to get any better if they don’t play against top competition?

          Plus I think in the coming decades that will change: the Euros are expanding to 24 teams in 2016, so that gives 8 more teams a chance to compete, which could mean 8 average to slightly below par European teams competing, which could then turn into something similar to this past World Cup: a “play to not lose” mentality instead of a “play to win” mentality, much more defensive football. At the same time, should the football infrastructure of Asian, African and North American nations improve, there will be MORE competitive teams from those areas which will give the European teams and Brazil and Argentina a run for their money. Only 6 of 13 European teams made the KO rounds of the WC, and Uruguay, not Brazil or Argentina ended up being the best S. American team. Not to mention 2 out of 3 CONCACAF teams and 2 of 4 Asian teams made the KO rounds, so proportionally they were better than Europe in that respect.

  12. dlink09 says:

    ohhhhhhh, ESPN please ……

  13. Greg says:

    My cable company finally added FSC in HD yesterday. They still don’t offer FSC+ or FSC+ HD, but I’ve now officially waved goodbye to watching games in standard def. FYI, my cable company is Insight who is primarily in Ohio (especially the Columbus area), Indiana, and Kentucky.

  14. naija says:

    this is bad news for footy lovers in the US

  15. John says:

    On a Champions League related issue, (and the fact that I can’t find info elsewhere), does anyone know anything about the lack of Champions League on Sirius? Looks like they no longer deal with TWI for CL or EPL.

  16. bradjmoore48 says:

    New info: FX will carry both Wednesday CL semifinals, so April 27th Barca v Real Madrid 1st leg, and then May 4th Man U v Schalke 2nd leg. FSC will show the two Tuesday CL semis live (ManU-Schalke leg 1 and Barca-Real Madrid leg 2). The final will be on FOX.

  17. ol says:

    Fox soocer tv online streaming sucks. all the important UEFA CL and EPL matches involving the top clubs are always delayed (5 to 9 hours). who wants to pay $15 monthly just to watch delayed/replays…. how I wish ESPN could win back the tv rights in U.S. Atleast you know you’d see every match online live .

  18. Terry says:

    Foxsoccer.tv shows CL and EPL games live that are NOT shown on Fox Soccer Channel (FSC). Anything shown on FSC is delayed on foxsoccer.tv.

    So today’s CL semifinal (Schalke – Man United) is shown live on FSC but not on foxsoccer.tv . Tomorrow’s CL semifinal (Real Madrid – Barcelona) will be shown live on FX and so will be also be shown live on foxsoccer.tv.

    Today’s EPL game between Stoke and Wolves, because it is not on FSC is being shown live on foxsoccer.tv .

    Foxsoccer.tv sucks because of some of the problems encountered at times but their schedule cannot be faulted. In fact it’s better than FS+ .

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