FOX Soccer announced that it’s increasing the FOXSoccer.tv broadband subscription price from $14.99 to $19.99 per month as of August according to an e-mail sent Friday to subscribers.
“Effective August 1st, 2011 the price of a FoxSoccer.tv monthly subscription will be increased to $19.99/month,” said the announcement from FOX Soccer. “The new FoxSoccer.tv monthly subscription rate reflects a significant investment in product upgrades, the availability of new platforms for use with your existing FoxSoccer.tv account and the evolving cost of rights fees.”
Part of the justification for the price increase comes from FOXSoccer.tv launching an iPad app on August 1 as well as the following new features to the live player:
- Picture in Picture: Watch multiple matches simultaneously,
- Live Chat: Chat with friends and soccer and rugby supporters during games,
- Real-time Scores and Stats: Keep track of the action from the other matches, or hide the feature and catch up on other games later,
- Manually adjust the bit rate: Adjust the bit rate if there are problems with the auto bit-rate detection mechanism.
The live player will also keep other features such as the pop-out player and DVR functionality to pause and rewind live action.
For the upcoming 2011-12 season, over 1,200 games are scheduled to appear on FOXSoccer.tv across 24 different leagues and cup tournaments. The leagues that will continue to be shown include the English Premier League, Serie A, Champions League, nPower Championship as well as soccer and rugby competitions. FOXSoccer.tv’s policy of showing Premier League matches that air live on FOX Soccer Channel later after midnight on demand will not change.
A central piece of FOX’s promotion for the FOXSoccer.tv service will be the “Anytime, Anywhere” message, to ensure that subscribers know they can watch the games by computer, iPhone and iPad with one subscription.
FOXSoccer.tv will debut their redesigned website and enhanced experience in August. It looks likely that FOX Soccer will include a 7-day free-trial in early August to encourage soccer fans to test out the new website and interface as well as the new iPhone and iPad apps.
While the monthly price is increasing by $5 in August, the annual pricing is the same ($159.99), but will increase to $169.99 as of September, 2011.
Whether soccer fans will sign up for FOXSoccer.tv at the increased rate will be contingent on two things. First, the biggest factor is how reliable the service is. While the quantity of matches shown on FOXSoccer.tv during the 2010-11 season was impressive, the reliability of the service was inconsistent. There were several times during the season when the service was either down or the live streaming was not working properly. However, there were periods of several weeks where the service quality was flawless. Hopefully the reliability and consistency will be much improved during 2011-12.
Second, it’s critical that the new interface of FOXSoccer.tv is so good that it justifies the increased expense. Not all FOXSoccer.tv subscribers have iPads, so it’s imperative that the experience on FOXSoccer.tv, most notably, is even better than the current one. If it is, and the service is reliable, there’s a much greater chance of soccer fans in the United States paying $19.99 per month with the confidence that the service is worth the money.
While $19.99 per month is not a trivial amount of money, it does represent good value if you’re someone who watches a lot of soccer games, especially Premier League matches. The experience of watching a ton of Premier League and Champions League matches on the convenience of your computer, phone or iPad is incredible. But the service has to be world-class to justify not only the cost but also the patience of a die-hard soccer fan who wants to see the best of the best.
Whether the $19.99 per month fee will be worth it will be dependent on how successful the launch is in August as well as how reliable the service is for the entire season.