Fox Soccer Channel is premiering a brand new packaged program tonight and every Friday night during the Major League Soccer season entitled “Soccer Night In America.” Why should fans of Premier League teams care? There are several reasons why. Let me explain.
First, whether you enjoy Major League Soccer or not, “Soccer Night In America” shows that Fox Soccer Channel is committed to improving its product. Judging by the above promo video, it certainly looks like Fox has raised the bar in terms of graphics and creating an engaging trailer. Whether the production value and on-screen graphics will be up to that quality throughout the game, we will have to wait and see. But the promo video definitely shows a lot of promise.
Second, it’ll be interesting to see how good Fox’s enhancements to the game are. According to their press release this week, the show will feature “Re-designed, state-of-the-art graphics” and “super slow-motion camera technology.” In more detail, Fox touts the technology by saying “The new graphics package incorporates Vizrt technology, which provides digital, real-time 3D and virtual graphic displays for a crisp, 21st Century look. Super slow-motion cameras and digital recorders added to game coverage capture action at 90 frames per second compared to the 30 frames per second of traditional slow motion, thus providing stunningly clear replays, especially in HD.” It certainly sounds intriguing.
Third, it’s quite possible that the broadcast tonight will give us an insight into how the rest of Fox Soccer Channel’s programming may be enhanced in the future, particularly the Fox Soccer Match Day and Super Sunday + programs as well as pre-match, half-time and post-match coverage of the Premier League.
Fourth, and most importantly, Fox is trying to encourage soccer fans to give Major League Soccer a try. Personally I think we owe it to Fox and Major League Soccer who bring the game to us in the United States. The least we can do is give it another chance (if you’ve not been hooked before). The first match features Portland Timbers against Philadelphia Union, two passionate teams who will be playing in front of the Timbers Army, the wild soccer fans from the northwest United States.
While Friday nights are challenging for some of us since we may be out with our friends or families after a hard week at work or school, it is an opportunity by Fox to capitalize on soccer fans during the one day of the week when there is hardly any other soccer games on television. The audience won’t be as large as a traditional Saturday or Sunday crowd, but it gives Fox an opportunity to carve out one night of the week and to encourage fans to make it a weekly habit.
Also, in exclusive news from EPL Talk, the Fox Soccer logo you see in the promo video above will be the official new logo for Fox Soccer which will debut in June, 2011.
Graphics aside, “Soccer Night In America” will feature Eric Wynalda and Christopher Sullivan teaming up in the studio, while JP Dellacamera will be doing the commentary of the game, Kyle Martino will be adding his analysis, and Brian Dunseth will provide sideline reports.
The match between Portland and Philadelphia kicks off at 10pm ET/7pm PT. If you’ve never seen Portland’s fans in action, you’re in for a treat!
What do you think of the promo, and will you be watching the match tonight?