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FOX Champions League Final Coverage Leaves Diehard Fans Out In The Cold

fox soccer2 FOX Champions League Final Coverage Leaves Diehard Fans Out In The Cold

Whether FOX’s coverage of the 2011 Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona will be deemed a success or not will depend largely on the TV ratings that the broadcast garners. FOX pulled out all of the bells and whistles on this telecast to bring a flashy and exciting 3-hour production of one of the top soccer games in the world to a U.S. audience. It’s hard to fault them on the delivery, but I have many question marks about the content.

The first thing you have to look at is the target demographic that FOX was trying to tailor its broadcast to. It’s impossible to please everyone, but it was clearly evident that FOX was framing their broadcast based on the notion that either a soccer newbie or someone not well versed in the sport was watching it. There was the “Football versus Futbol” comparison with NFL athlete Michael Strahan breaking down the most common differences between soccer and gridiron football. Then there was the player profiles on Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney, as well as a basic guide to London, a mention of Shakira dating Pique, etc.

From the first few minutes, it was plain to see that this was a “Soccer For Dummies” broadcast. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Obviously FOX is paying millions to broadcast this tournament to us, so it’s ultimately their decision who they want to try to attract. Again, if the TV ratings are the highest ever for a Champions League match on US television and their sponsors are satisfied after paying globs of money, then it’s a job well done for FOX. However for the soccer fans and purists, it leaves us out in the cold.

While the 45 minute pre-game show was beautiful to watch in HD, the content delivered was useless. For example, during the entire 45 minute pre-game show, there wasn’t one mention that Dimitar Berbatov was not starting and not even on the bench. Plus the team lineups weren’t even mentioned until three minutes before kick-off. The Berbatov exclusion could have generated a five-minute conversation to say the least. But for the die-hard soccer fans who have been with FOX since the days of Fox Sports World to Fox Soccer Channel, what is the message that FOX is telling us? That we’d be better off tuning out of the pre-game coverage so we can get our real news elsewhere and then just tune in for the 90 minutes of the game?

The pre-game show could have been taped in a studio in Los Angeles two days prior to the broadcast and it would have been just the same other than the backdrop of Wembley Stadium. The topics discussed were run-of-the-mill conversations that didn’t provide one piece of new information. There was no sense that it was live even though we know it was. We would have learned more from two minutes of Bobby McMahon than we did from 45 minutes of Menefee/Wynalda/Friedel.

Looking back to last summer’s World Cup, ESPN took a different tactic when bringing the sport to the United States. Instead of dumbing down its coverage, as FOX did today, they played it right down the middle where there was expert analysis from some of the best pundits in the world combined with some features about interesting stories and player profiles. But rather than play to the lowest common denominator, ESPN delivered an end product that didn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence and was captivating at the same time.

If FOX’s TV ratings for the Champions League is a massive success and those new soccer fans graduate to Fox Soccer Channel to cure their newfound addiction to the sport, then it’s a success. But if FOX’s intentional dumbing down of its coverage fails to win over the mainstream, then it also disenfranchises its most loyal viewers at the same time as it fails to generate the interest among the mainstream.

The question I have, however, is when in the future will FOX decide that it doesn’t need to dumb down the sport anymore? When will the critical mass be reached when it doesn’t have to do this? Or will they always adopt this tactic until the sport becomes (if ever) big enough where the Soccer For Dummies lesson isn’t needed anymore?

It’s not surprising that many soccer fans would prefer their sport to remain an underground success. At that rate, it wouldn’t be commercialized to the point where it’s trying too hard to appeal to the masses and focuses on its core audience instead. My argument is that there’s a way to appeal to both audiences as can be judged by the record TV ratings that ESPN garnered for its coverage of the 2010 World Cup.

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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.
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77 Responses to FOX Champions League Final Coverage Leaves Diehard Fans Out In The Cold

  1. Alan C says:

    I only caught the post-game coverage and thought it was alright, but Menefee was out of his depth. He did not seem to understand what Barca had actually won. Kept going on about the “championship”, the “Champions League title”, etc. Can’t remember him ever saying “champions of Europe” or anything of the sort.

    • curt menefee sucks says:

      Menefee’s an idiot. You’re 100% right that this is the Championship of Europe, but Menefee was too stupid to understand that.

      Plus, they should’ve mentioned that Barca now qualifies to the semifinals of the World Club Cup, which should also be aired by FOX.

  2. sucka99 says:

    I don’t get the outrage. This was broadcast on free-to-air terrestrial stations using much of the same techniques that ESPN used in their pregame for the USA-England match and that every broadcaster uses before Super Bowls.

    Was it light on content specific to the match? maybe. But remember there was 45 minutes of Sky commentary that would OVERLOAD on the minutiae. Needs to be a balance.

  3. andrew says:

    spot on. the amount of strange phrases coming out of the pre/post was simply embarrassing to anyone invested in the sport. Totally agree with the article. Bobby Mc is North Americas best on air personality, and he didn’t get a shout?

    Hopefully this is just growing pains. At least its on a major network. But hopefully the executives will listen to the fans. Shocking coverage in many ways. Pretty good game though. I hope that will outweigh the coverage.

  4. Nick says:

    Couldn’t agree more, a lot of us felt embarassed after about 20 minutes of the pregame on Fox, especially the “Football vs Futbol” thing and we ended up just hooking our laptop up to the TV and watching a Sky Sports stream. That had opened with a discussion of Berbatov not in the lineup, which meant none of us were surprised when it was announced. Really hope ESPN gets the right next time they’re up for bidding, I think ESPN learned last summer that people prefer feeling like they’re watching a serious sport and trying to get into it. It might be temporary, but they don’t like to feel like they’re being patronized. I think ESPN did the right thing by localizing it somewhat and going a little slower through all the incoming information but still actually providing real commentary and discussion on the game. The player profiles were the only real introduction for those not familiar with the game and I didn’t really feel those were unwelcome inclusions because they would transfer from telling us who the player is, to why he’s relevant today or what the news around him is.

    Also on all 3 Fox Soccer Preshows they went on with segments about the Giggs story, was that really neccessary? I think not. Today was a day about football and Man United vs Barcelona, I get the Fox Logic “Joe Public cares about sex scandels” but if newbies don’t even know who Giggs is, than why would they care anyway?

  5. Gustavo says:

    Let’s don’t expect 99% of casual viewers to get all the nuances of the game so quickly. Think about it: the CL final is being broadcast – live – on network TV. Until a few years that would’ve been unthinkable. I’m good with that. Club football is bound to be a harder sell to casuals than national team play. The game has grown in leaps in bounds in America in the past few years. That’ll continue. Be happy with that.

  6. Andrew says:

    For me, the biggest disappointment was the fact that they never acknowledged the fact that Puyol didn’t start. Never even mentioned it! First of all, they had him in their projected lineup, talked him up as the captain fantastic of Barcelona, like most would have, and then presented that incorrect lineup as if it were a fact. Then, when Xavi showed up on the screen as captain and the lineup had Puyol on the bench, they completely ignored it and just said, “There you can see Xavi the captain.” Luckily I had been on the internet and had already seen the lineups, but still. Shocking decision.

    Even for people who know nothing about the sport, knowing that a player like Puyol wasn’t even playing would’ve been important. More important than Berbatov’s exclusion, which they also ignored.

    Other than that I thought they did okay. I wasn’t expected them to do a broadcast that would appeal to me, but I was expecting them to at least analyze the lineups properly.

  7. mike says:

    I told you so. Fox never had a respect for the game. All i can say is i will discontinue my subscription to FSC for next season. Twats

    • Taimur says:

      yeah, but why blame the entire FSC for what FOX did? FSC I watch almost every week and they have pretty good coverage of all the Premier League and Champions League games, but it’s the main network that’s dumbing down the coverage. FSC is the closest that English & euro football come to the States. Fortunately, u don’t get Curt Menefee every week covering all the games. That would be a disaster of epic proportions. But it’s the main network FOX’s fault that they’ve decided to dumb down the coverage of the final .
      but if u still want to cancel ur subscription, that’s up to u.

    • JR says:

      So where are you gonna watch the Premiership and Champions league?

  8. Taimur says:

    Absolutely shocking coverage. My thoughts exactly. Curt Menefee is an utter disgrace who knows f***all about football. I wish ESPN/ABC gets the coverage next year. It was bad enough having Menefee butchering the beautiful game for us ppl who follow English & European football avidly. We had Michael Strahan explaining to us how football and soccer are different. Then Menefee talking about who Messi’s “Scottie Pippen” is? I am happy they have showed the final for two years in a row, but now it’s about time that ESPN/ABC get the coverage. We missed the opening ceremony of the game because FOX thought it was more important to show the commercials. Way too many commercials. When they show the SuperBowl, they show the half-time show which is like half an hour, but they cant show the pre-match opening which is only 7-8 minutes long. They did the same last year.

    • sucka99 says:

      The opening ceremonies have never been shown on Fox or (to my knowledge) ESPN – at least not for more than a few seconds. Because when showing footy in the US that’s when the networks take their ad breaks. They were shown on Fox Deportes both last year and this year but honestly it sucked. Just a bunch of people in hats twirling around. The only important piece of pageantry is the bringing of the trophy out and the teams walking out of the tunnel.

    • Venis says:

      They get better as soccer continue to grow in the usa

      • Venis says:

        Actually, we should not blame curt menefee. Remember he was th host and synapse and Friedel were the studio analysts who were should have been the soccer experts in the studio.menefee relied on his producers and researchers for his on air statements. Obviously the producers themselves have either a limited knowledge of the game or were too lazy to research it. The upside though is that the has come a long way in the USA and is only heading. So the intire fox crew has time to Lear. When I came to America in 1994, most of the world game was on espn2 and most people didn’t have espn2. I only watched the few games showned on espn and abc.now soccer is on every day, even the european nation championship is on espn. Back then, may be they were on pay per view. I am saying all that to say all of futbol fans to be grateful, things will get better. Keep watching soccer on whatever channel it is on, because only way to show the game is popular all over the world including in the USA.as the game popularity continue to increase my friends to commentators will bring more than their name recognition to the table. And watch, one day NBC will be competing for broadcasting rights of major league soccer, take that to the bank.

    • mrspolo says:

      I agree with that. They spent so much time here with all these blasted commercials that we missed the opening ceremonies and the closing interviews with the players and coaches, which I think alot more people were interested in than the panel rehashing the game. With that Curt guy butchering the broadcast with his “championship” pronouncements.
      “Barcelona are the champions of the champions league” ….Tw*t! is right. I hope someone else gets a chance to do this next year and show them how its really done. But knowing Fox, with all their money they will probably force out anyone else that wants to do it.

  9. mike says:

    Sucka99 u dont get the outrage are u kidding me,curt menefee broascasted about football u idiot!!

    • sucka99 says:

      Curt Menafee was only there in pre/postgame and at halftime. He didn’t call the game. Martin Tyler did direct from Sky audio. So Menafee was out of his depth and they dicked around on the pre-game with information – they were presenting the game on a terrestrial feed for casual fans. This is how Fox treats all their big finals – the Super Bowl, the BCS, etc. Remember Scooter from the World Series? But we got Martin Tyler for 90 minutes and to me that’s mostly what matters. Not that has-been Ian Darke.

      Regardless, if you’re a real fan of football you should know that Fox covering the Champions League is overall a better deal for day-in day-out fans than ESPN. I don’t want to have to watch games on my computer because Brett Favre retired or the softball championships ran late. And with DirecTV + Fox pretty much every game was available LIVE. Not tape delayed at 2 in the morning and not in Spanish on a channel you don’t get.

      I’ll take Menafee if it means I get to watch every game in the fall.

  10. mike says:

    it sucks to lose like this but i will say that manu has always learned from our mistake and we will learn from this. Sir alex is good to see the mistake and change the team around. May be some good xavis or inestas would do us and maybe get rid of a $30 million player that you cant even put on the bench.
    MANU4EVER

  11. James says:

    Fox made a mess with the broadcasting of champions league. Playing baseball ad and stuff. they messed it up for me.

  12. Todd says:

    I agree Fox was terrible but based on the fact that they pull a bunch of this same crap with the World Series (baseball being a game I would expect most Americans to understand) I don’t have much hope for future improvements. Fox sports just doesn’t respect serious fans.

  13. Matthew Reed says:

    I can’t argue with any of the OP comments although it didn’t bother me very much. If they mucked up the actual game, I would be disappointed. I did think the crowd noise was mixed far too loud, especially for the style of the play by play announcer. Tyler is legendary for good reason, it is hard to screw that up, even thought they may have made a good run at it.

  14. Tomisin says:

    Total mess by FOX. Kept showing projected lineup when the whole world knew the lineup ahead of time. Did not even show full trophy/medal presentation at the end. The Match was fantastic for a football fan but not for a Man Utd fan like me…pregame & post match coverage was nonsense.

  15. eplnfl says:

    I think the American sporting public is sufficiently informed about soccer now to move the broadcast above the basic level. That is not to say that some allowances can not be made to the casual viewer who on this holiday weekend may be turning in for the first time.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes was not having their own game announcers who could make a`statement that this was an American network broadcast. Nothing against Martin Tyler but ESPN has done things the right way in hiring it’s own team even if they are English to do a ESPN broadcast. Fox should consider the same.

  16. Taimur says:

    I think ESPN/ABC and the FOX SPORTS network can come up with this deal. Since FSC already does a good job showing EPL, Serie A, and Champions League matches, let them continue doing that. but for big matches such as cup finals, let ESPN get their own commentators and ESPN cover those. This was too big a match considering the two teams involved and the venue(WEMBLEY). They received a lot of criticism last year after the final in Madrid, but they were able to ‘go under the radar’ because Inter Milan and Bayern Munich were not as appealing to neutrals as United and Barcelona are and the World Cup saved their asses. But this time, they deserve every dose of criticism they get. They had one year to learn from their mistakes and to do something gr8 this time. But the same old s***. They are not getting away this time. Hopefully, this is the last time that clowns like Curt Menefee will ever present a ‘footie’ match. he can go back to covering NFL footbal which he knows best.

  17. rej4sl says:

    I hope the game is not on a network next season as we had a weather problem here and they pre-empted the game with a split screen – half with weather and half with football with no sound. Although from the comments here we did not miss much with the sound off. It would be far better to have been shown on a dedicated sports channel so this kind of thing does not happen. I understand they have to show emergency weather situations but with the biggest football game of the season being treated like this it does give cause to concern about networks getting games like this. They kept saying FCC regulations mandate them to show the weather but I am not sure how that works.

    • Steve says:

      I’ve gone through something like that where I live . . . during WC ’98, US v. Germany, b/c of a H.S. shooting where no one got hurt! It sucked! Also last year, same ABC affiliate ran big crawl long bottom of screen during US-England game warning us of thunderstorms — we get thunderstorms almost every week during the summer and no other local channel was running a crawl! Point is, we’ll always be susceptible to that crap. BUT, FSC is rerunning the game, so you can see it on full screen.

    • Casey G. says:

      you realize that the single reason that FOX Sports won the U.S. & Caribbean Broadcasting Rights to the Champions League was almost solely based off the fact that would be showing the Final on their mothership channel FOX, due to the amount of viewers who have access to that channel, and it’l be this way until the 2014-2015- Champions League season. Which probably means more useless Hosting by Curt Menifee and even more useless punditry/idioticness with occasional hosting by Eric Wynalda.

  18. SuperFan99 says:

    Menefee was totally out of his element. His personality is not even that engaging so why would Fox even use him? Did anybody notice when he said Referee V. Kassai was from “Hungaria?” Not that he was from Hungary or Hungarian. Outstanding point about Menefee talking about Messi’s “Scottie Pippen.” He spoke as if Messia was a one man show. He is a complete tool who knows nothing about the game. At least Fox was smart enough to broadcast the game in HD. Hopefully fans of the EPL will get to watch games on Fox Soccer Channel in HD next year, it’s only 2011.

    • Steve says:

      FSC DOES have HD. If your cable system doesn’t carry it, call it and demand it. Plus, many CL group games are on regional Fox Sports networks and most of those have HD.

  19. bluemoon70 says:

    Agreed. Pre-game show was terrible. Michael Strahan??? But all was well when I saw Martin Tyler was commentating the game.

    • Taimur says:

      Yeah, but I still think that FOX should have done much better with their coverage. IF ESPN can hire British and European analysts to comment on the matches for the World Cup, an event which attracts diehards and casuals alike, then the Champions League definitely deserve British commentators who are more experienced in commenting on footie and their analysis is more mature. CL final is usually watched by diehard fans mostly. It wouldn’t have hurt them to just get the FSC regulars like Warren Barton and Eric Wynalda who are more worthy of analyzing such a match than this joker Curt Menefee. I feel bad for Barton, since he used to play football and knows the game like from heart. Instead of him having the privilege to present the final, it’s some idiot who doesn’t know anything about the sport he’s commenting.

      • cappa says:

        Even though they have the knowledge and reputation, the problem Ive seen with British announcers and analysts in the past (Barton included) is that they are too biased to present to an international audience. I can see the bias if you are presenting in England, but the standard should change once the audience is international. Ive heard Barton refer to British teams as “we” in the past, although he has improved.

        The announcers today did do a good job in terms of being impartial, but during the CL games this season, some of them were terrible homers.

        Even though the announcers did a great job today, I felt if Fox was going to have an American only pre-game crew, they should have an American announcer too. Maybe someday…

  20. PaulFromMiami says:

    I don’t care about pre-game shows. If you care about pre-game shows more than the game and the in-game announcing than sir you are an IDIOT. the only thing i cared about was that the game was on FOX and it was on free-to-air TV. I don’t have cable right now(will be installed sometimes during the week) and i’d rather watching it on TV than online(better quality on TV).

    • Taimur says:

      The pregame show creates the mood for the match. Think about the Super Bowl. They start covering the event 3 hours before it starts and talk about the pregame preparations and the fans all lined up outside the stadium. That’s what builds up the excitement before the final. In the UK, Sky Sports and ITV do that. All we are asking is that FOX show some respect to the diehard fans so that we get a good show. A match like the Champions League final deserves full in-depth analysis of the two teams and the key players, how the team got there, who’s going to be in the staring XI, etc. Clearly, we didn’t get that today. It was like they were catering to 5-year olds. I hope they show it on ABC/ESPN next time. FOX can do NASCAR next time.

      • sucka99 says:

        And if you were really a die-hard you got a good deal of that from the FSC pregame and/or Sky Sports News in the hour before that. The Fox portion was certainly lacking in areas, but given their constraints of showing this over the air in many non-football-savvy markets, showing teams from European countries where no US player/team was involved, and having the very noob-unfriendly Martin Tyler on the mic, I think they did about as well as I expected them to – and in some cases better.

        • Taimur says:

          FYI, just because you don’t have FSC doesn’t mean you’re not a die-hard. Some ppl can’t afford the monthly subscription but they still watch all the matches on the net. They have to strain their necks a bit but that’s the price they’re willing to pay instead of paying $15 a month to watch it on a big TV. Everybody makes their own choice.

          • sucka99 says:

            “Everybody makes their own choice.” Exactly – which is why I think this kind of broadcast is better for the long run. Just like the Super Bowl isn’t, today was not about the die hard fans. It was about the casual fans. The die-hard fans would have/should have made due the way they always do. And if club soccer gets more viewers next fall, we’re all the better for it.

        • PaulFromMiami says:

          exactly, which is why I didn’t even watch the pre-game show. I’d rather listen to the football radio show or a podcast previewing the game. I was lucky enough to get the game on free to air. Why should i complain about a pre-game show(which i didn’t see) when i’ve just witness a great game between the two best club teams in the world.

  21. Lyle says:

    Aww… it’s all about me. The diehard fan needs his ego massaged, given a treat, and told that he’s the smartest football fan of them all.

    • Matt says:

      So true. Honestly the FSC presentation was just fine for me.

      It was on network tv. NETWORK TV! Stop whining and say thank you!

      I do sympathize with the weather update breaking through. That would be a serious pain.

      • Lyle says:

        Yep, I concur. Plus all the diehards had to do was watch FoxSoccer up until it switched to FOX then it was mostly just the game, with some typical pre – Super Bowl like shtick beforehand.

        This is just Euro/Soccer snobbery.

  22. Andy says:

    “That we’d be better off tuning out of the pre-game coverage so we can get our real news elsewhere and then just tune in for the 90 minutes of the game?”
    This is exactly what I did and got all my pre game coverage off the internet right up to when the teams came out on the pitch and then I enjoyed the beautiful HD picture.

    But as Gustavo said: “The CL final is being broadcast – live – on network TV. Until a few years that would’ve been unthinkable.”, so we should be really thankful for getting as much coverage as we did. Let’s face it, most of what Fox does really is TV for idiots – have you ever seen their 10pm news broadcast? It is pushed out to the lowest common denominator so even the dumbest of viewers can understand it. And that’s every night.

    So really we shouldn’t have expected anything more.

  23. SoccerLimey says:

    I think the broadcast was better than some people here are giving credit for. Remember, this was 2pm on a Saturday afternoon when most armchair sports fans are channel surfing to find something exciting to watch, so they have to dumb down to a degree.

    Menefee is OK but who else do you bring on that doesn’t totally dumb down the whole thing. Last year’s broadcast got enough ratings to bring it back next year and it was better than last season.

    Small steps, people.

  24. Joe says:

    Boo hoo hoo, your precious little niche lifestyle is ruined by seeing one of those “mainstream” NFL athletes in a soccer telecast. Good thing we’re so elite that we’re above all that – after all, we’re only into the single biggest sport in the world.

  25. Steve says:

    Just saw ending of FSC’s replay and it looks like it showed the entire award ceremony (Man U and Barca both going up the steps to get their medals) and all the post-game on-field stuff. Nice to know FSC was there to provide a “backup” version of the post-game.

  26. Elliott says:

    Soooo spot on. Here is the North American dilemma: MLS started to grain traction by giving up on the casual fan and focusing on the diehard. When will TV coverage follow suit?

  27. sucka99 says:

    It’s amazing to me how many “die-hards” there are that don’t understand the soccer media landscape in the US and the constraints and agendas of every media organization involved. These are the same people who are sure that ESPN will start a Soccer channel in place of Classic or will buy GolTV. Despite all indications of what their business business past says about how they operate.

  28. Buldgeoned says:

    I am not sure why you say if the ratings are high then the pregame was somehow a “success”. Are the ratings with this or any event really dependent on the pregame show? People were watching for the match, not the pregame show. A bad pregame show is a bad pregame show, regardless of how much or how little interest there is in the actual event, and regardless of the ultimate TV ratings.

    • The Gaffer says:

      We soccer fans will watch the game no matter what. But people new to the sport would have hopefully got hooked in via the pregame show, which would have been enough to convince them to watch the game.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  29. Casey G. says:

    You know Curt Menefee is doing a bad job of presenting when people say they would rather have Tommy Smyth (ESPN) on a broadcast instead.

  30. JW says:

    I didn’t fare that well in Geography in high school, but is the offical’s country “Hungaria” or “Hungary?” Because I’m pretty sure Menefee said “Hungaria.”

    Maybe he’s originally from “Canadia.”

  31. moose9t9 says:

    I wonder sometimes, what is this obsession with “Bringing new fans” to the game? Its mothreffing 2011 if people arent aware of football then they have their heads in the sand. I’m sick of pandering to the “new fans” if they dont get it, let them learn it like everyone on this site did. You never see hockey or NFL football try to pander to the “new fans”

    I’m also not so hot about ESPN’s work either even if they are alittle better than Fox. Dont get me started on ESPN3.

  32. Sean says:

    I live in Canada and was really curious as to how Fox was going to tackle the Champions League final so initial I tuned into their coverage.

    I had to switch to the Canadian coverage after I say the Michael Strahan bit. Mind you, Canadian coverage could be better but, I could not believe how much Fox was dumbing down the sport.

    How many neophytes in the United States would tune into the Champions League final on a Saturday afternoon when the weather is great anyway? Surely the vast majority of people would tune in because they actually knew something about the sport. I think there would be a far higher percentage of newcomers to the sport for a World Cup final as opposed to a Champions League final.

    I actually felt really bad for Curt Menefee. It was almost like Fox was setting him up to fail. Clearly he is not a football/soccer guy. Is it really that hard to hire someone that is actually passionate about the sport? I probably know more about hockey than Curt Menefee knows about this sport and no one in their right mind would ever employ me as the host of a hockey broadcast.

  33. Nelson says:

    I will take what I can get from network television. Beggars cant be choosers I guess. However, I do believe that FOX does its self a disservice by dumbing it down. I would think the typical American sports fan would be more intrigued with a conversation above their level. It makes them feel left out, like they got some learning to do to be apart of the conversation. This might spark more interest in the sport. Here is an analogy, what break room conversation would be more interesting to an American sports fan. Overhearing some guys getting excited about the Champions league who sound knowledgeable on the game? Or the conversation across the hall which is a couple of guys who clearly dont know soccer from cricket?

    The article below talks about how awful the FOX commentary was during the Final.
    http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2011/5/29/2195780/2011-uefa-champions-league-final-fox-coverage

  34. Nelson says:

    Your a typical American sports fan sipping your coffee at work in the company break room. You’ve heard about some Champions League final coming up and you thought you might tune in Saturday. Besides, there is not much going on in American sports right now and you thought you would like to learn more about this sport called soccer. Then two guys walk in talking about it. These guys are debating on the difference of Man U and Barcelona. One of the guys has a British accent and is really passionate about the sport. Next walk in a a couple of guys with Green Bay Packers ties on talking about the upcoming game and are making comments that compare soccer to their favorite, the NFL. They probably say things like “in NFL you cant head the ball with a helmet on” or “that little Messi guy is a one man show, he needs a Scottie Pippen.” Which conversation would the typical American sports fan want to eavesdrop on? We know what FOX thought was more interesting.

  35. rej4sl says:

    I really would have preferred to see it on FSC and wish we had waited until the 7PM delayed edition. When they did cut us off for the weather split screen the announcer said we are “sorry we are taking off the world cup game” which says it all really. And all through the split screen they kept saying sorry about the world cup game …..
    But I think on a Saturday at this time we do other things and it would have been fun to see it at European time in the evening slouching on the couch with no interruptions.

    • sucka99 says:

      The fact that they didn’t even understand the name of the competition validates Fox’s approach to attempt to pander to the noobs. It’s just different with network TV especially on Fox which seems to be the most schizophrenic media organization ever.

  36. Badger says:

    What were you expecting?
    I thought it was very entertaining ,made me laugh a few times.
    My favourite was when the guardsmen were bringing out the cup and Menefee said “‘and there come the beefeaters.”

  37. FootballLova says:

    Football is the number one sport in the world. Its watched and played by more countries in the world than any other sports. Therefore, if Fox failed to attract mainstream audience in the US, thats no lost for a sport that already is number one. Is there a position higher than number one? As long as I get my football coverage in the US, thats just fine with me. Don’t care if Americans fall in love with my beloved football.
    Football, Football and more Football!

  38. forweg says:

    This site is utterly useless with the number of trolls in the comments. Time to consider a new comment system, perhaps?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Forweg, I moderate the comments each and every day. I don’t see any trolls. If you see something that you believe is a troll comment, call it out and I’ll remove it if I agree.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  39. Taimur says:

    “Its mothreffing 2011 if people arent aware of football then they have their heads in the sand. I’m sick of pandering to the “new fans” if they dont get it, let them learn it like everyone on this site did. You never see hockey or NFL football try to pander to the “new fans” “.

    My sentiments exactly. I’ve already talked about how embarrassing FOX’s coverage was and Curt Menefee so I’m not gonna discuss that further.

  40. Raok says:

    Seems like viewers in India had better coverage. Ten action plus has been a boon to us, it is what every football fan dreamt in India.

  41. sucka99 says:

    The Super Bowl panders to new fans every year. And I suppose no one remembers Fox’s highlighted hockey puck or Scooter the World Series version of Microsoft Word’s paperclip?

    As someone says to a failed public speaker, “C’mon – you have to know the room.” Fox does the irreverent pandering, NBC does the tape delay, CBS keeps the past-their-prime broadcasters too long, ESPN over-promotes, and ABC does whatever ESPN tells them to do.

  42. SeminoleGunner says:

    Welcome to the big time soccer fans.

    I know our typical reflex when we are presented with subpar television coverage is to scream foul. “They don’t respect our sport” we think to ourselves and file this alongside the numerous instances of soccer being marginalized in US culture. But I don’t think that is really the case here.

    FOX Sports simply ruins everything they touch! Ask fans of the major North American leagues what they think of FOX’s offerings in their sport. MLB fans were widely dissatisfied when FOX broke into baseball in the mid 1990s (dancing cartoon baseballs giving out explanations of the game clearly meant for children, despite the game starting at 9PM, was one of the lowlights). NHL fans were given a glowing puck. Fans of college football hated FOX’s BCS coverage so much that FOX lost the contract after 3 seasons. Even FOX’s shining star, the NFL, had issues with their coverage in the early going.

    So in a sense, being given terrible, dumbed down television coverage from FOX is a rite of passage in American sports.

    • Casey G. says:

      to take the FOX thing on baseball further, i know a TON of Baseball Diehards who were absolutely disgusted during 2010 Playoffs and World Series when the network stopped using the MLB on FOX theme on all of their broadcsts, preferring to use their Fox Sports NFL theme. I’m sure myself and many others were really confused as to why FOX would use a theme so close/familiar to a certain league with ANOTHER league. How do you think old school WWF fans would have reacted if wrestlers like Andre The Giant (RIP), Ultimate Warrior or Macho Man Randy Savage (RIP) come out to Hulk Hogan’s Music? It would have made no sense and it would have been an absolutely riot.

      But i guess its been FOX’s decision to use that NFL theme for all of their sports properties on all of their broadcasts, Champions League Final included, it just makes absolutely no sense at all if you ask me.

  43. bluemoonUSA says:

    The thing I found interesting is that whenever Christopher Sullivan tried to talk tactics or something useful Menefee had his “Oh, crap” look on his face and the others seemed to look at him like, “hey, this is Fox, we can’t actually talk about something useful…cool it.”

    • The Gaffer says:

      I agree BlueMoon. Christopher Sullivan immediately added a ton of energy to the post-match show (as well as those brown shoes). He started talking about the artistry and choreography of Barcelona and what a magic performance we just witnessed.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  44. RedinVirginia says:

    Curt Menefee is the host of the NFL on fox show on Sundays….that says it all right there that FOX doesn’t care about us real football fans &…he knows jack about footie

  45. Dean Winchester says:

    Americans, need I say more hahahaha!!!! Still the typical American punditry and they even bring in an NFL pundit roflmao what is that about.

    Seriously speaking here, I think ESPN did a much more professional job by bringing in Roberto Martinez and the like for their coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They produced the coverage the right way with talent who knew the game on and off the pitch with Martin Tyler and Andy Gray doing the play by play.

    ESPN should reclaim the rights tot he Champions League before FOX makes a mockery out of it. Oh wait, they already did.

    America = A big joke

  46. Pauly says:

    Was this really surprising? Have you tried to watch any of Fox’s pre-match shows for an EPL or Champions League games. It’s 45 minutes of “let’s see how many commercials we could jam into a 45 minute span while still giving off the impression that we are actually having a pregame show.” Meanwhile there has never been one bit of insight ever provided by Eric Wynalda or Warren Barton. Fox doesn’t even tell you who’s on the bench for Champions League games, their pregame coverage all season has been an absolute joke that I have refused to watch all season.
    The only way I do watch their pregame shows however, is when they feature Curt Menefee and that is simply for the sheer comedy of watching Curt Menefee try to run a soccer show without knowing a single thing about soccer.

  47. ranndino says:

    I’m currently in Europe so watched the game on Sky here & I thought their pre-game show absolutely brilliant. Great segments, production value, interviews, tactical analysis. I’m still happy to hear that the match was televised by a national network in the States, but I think that the suites always overestimate the importance of introducing new fans to the game. I think most sports fans would prefer to watch the Sky pre-game show & if anything it would encourage them to become fans of the game because it was a grandiose buildup to the match. When I first came to the US from Europe I didn’t need a patronizing introduction to American football to become a fan of the game. What appealed to me was the production value, the analysis & the historical references by people like John Madden & ESPN’s Boomer. I also watched a bunch of NFL Film productions which do a great job of glorifying the sport, just like what Sky does so well with football. Lastly, calling the game futbol in English is quickly becoming my pet peeve. I understand the desire to differentiate it from American football, but it’s a bad introduction for new fans to the sport because it’s called football in English. Futbol is simply a Spanish name for it. Why not just call it calcio then?

  48. sucka99 says:

    well, ranndino, as a fan of the NFL for almost 30 years I can safely tell you that John Madden became a caricature of himself in his last decade or so and Chris Berman is an annoying doufus and an absolute hack. But both of them appeal to noob fans. There is a playbook with this stuff and Fox was following it. Again be glad that the actual game was unspoiled from Sky. That would not be the case in some other sport or other network.

    • ranndino says:

      Well, I wouldn’t know about what John Madden has become because I checked out of following the NFL when real football became widely available on American TV.

  49. Pete Q says:

    Forgive me for my late comment on this story. It took me a few days to recover from the Fox coverage of the CL final. Luckily, I was prepared by having my laptop ready and having the Sky feed at the ready. As soon as Fox cut to the Strahan piece comparing fooball and futbol, I muted the tv and turned to the Sky feed. I only watched the match “unmuted” while the game was on.

    Great point about ESPN’s coverage of the WC this past summer. I was hoping for the same from FOX, but sadly I was let down.

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