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How to Fix FOX Soccer

fox soccer logo1 How to Fix FOX Soccer

If you live in the United States and you follow the Premier League, Fox Soccer Channel (soon to be renamed FOX Soccer) is a must in your life. It’s the main source of Premier League matches as well as news and review shows as well as a gateway into Europe with the Champions League and much more. But its programming is not perfect. It has significant room for improvement to improve the viewing experience for soccer fans nationwide.

I wouldn’t say that FOX Soccer is broken, far from it. But I would argue that a lot of fixing is needed to elevate its coverage and to make it a more pleasing viewing experience.

If I was in charge of programming at FOX Soccer, here’s what my imaginary weekly TV schedule would look like during the Premier League season. Let’s start with Saturday mornings.

Saturdays, 7:30am-9:45am ET; pre-match

The key to determining what programming to run on a Saturday morning is to understand the competition. The vast majority of soccer fans who are awake on a Saturday morning will watch the early kickoff shown on ESPN2 that begins at 7:30am ET and runs until 10am ET. Depending on who is playing in the early kick-off or if the match is completely one-sided, you may have some viewers itching at changing the station to something better. So, on Saturday mornings, my imaginary TV schedule has FOX Soccer showing Sky Sports News from 7am until 9:45am ET. During that time, FOX Soccer can get in as many TV commercials as they can.

Saturdays, 9:45am-10:45am ET; first Premier League match of the day on FOX Soccer

At 9:45am ET, their televised broadcast of their first live Premier League match of the day on FOX begins. Instead of having a cast of characters such as Christian Miles, Warren Barton and Jamie Trecker, FOX Soccer would have just a single host who would welcome the viewers to the broadcast and then hand the reins to the live feed from the player’s tunnel at the ground in England. Instead of talking over the broadcast, the FOX Soccer presenter would let the broadcast soak up the atmosphere of the pre-match kickoff through the sights and sounds. If there was a lull in the pre-match action, then the FOX Soccer presenter could flash onscreen the team line-ups or discuss some of the last minute team news or line-up surprises. But the focus of the viewing experience should be (1) creating an authentic atmosphere of anticipation and excitement that builds up to the kick-off time, and (2) providing the necessary team-lineup news the viewer needs to be prepared for the game.

What we don’t want to hear is talking heads babbling on about things that don’t add anything of value other than filling up time. What we crave is authenticity and what better way is there to capture this than showing the live feed from inside the stadium? ESPN2 started doing this at the beginning stage of last season, but they decided to fill it up with studio chatter. FOX Soccer can gain an edge on ESPN2 by providing this type of authentic coverage before each Premier League game so you can hear the voices of the home and away fans trying to sing over each other while the pre-match music plays in the background and the stadium announcer tries to motivate the crowd. That experience makes the viewer feel as if they’re at the stadium. It takes us to a different world.

As soon as the commentator begin their broadcast, FOX Soccer needs to tune in to them. They’ll do a much better job of setting up the match for us so that the excitement levels increase. This is not the time to break for a commercial, FOX, as you hurry back from the break and drop us into the commentary two seconds before kick-off. Letting the commentators set the scene and talk all the way through without interruption is key. And then the game kicks off. During the match itself, there are no changes that FOX Soccer needs to make.

Saturdays, 10:50am-11am ET; half-time

When the whistle blows at the end of the first half, FOX typically breaks into the audio and rushes into commercials. I would recommend FOX Soccer allowing the commentator to finish his thought and then to show the first half highlights (as we see when we watch the live feed on FOXSoccer.tv). And then, when that’s over to break for commercials.

At this stage, I would be fine with FOX Soccer running continuous commercials until the second half is ready to kick off. The 10-15 minutes of interrupted commercials would make up for the time lost when FOX Soccer usually plays commercials before a game starts. But if FOX feels that the advertisers would want a half-time show to build their sponsorships around it, I would scale down the half-time show by only featuring the FOX Soccer presenter who introduced the program and then have an analyst available by live video feed (someone such as Jamie Trecker or Bobby McMahon) to provide their expert analysis on what they saw. The key here is to elevate the dialogue rather than to repeat the obvious. We need to see or hear things from the expert analysis that we didn’t notice in the first half. We seek knowledge to help us better understand what we just saw, or to hear observations that helps enrich our experience of watching the game.

The half-time show should quickly flash up the results from the other matches being played around the country. And then pile on as many commercials as they can before the game starts again. FOX Soccer has to make money, of course.

Saturdays, 11am-11:50am ET; second half

When the teams come out for the beginning of the second half, I want to see that and I want to hear what the commentators are saying, not what the FOX Soccer presenter is babbling about. I want a quick and easy hand-off to the commentators so I can hear what changes have been made or what developments happened during the break. And then the game kicks off and the final whistle blows around 11:50am ET.

Saturdays, 11:55am-12:15pm ET; post-match coverage

Similar to the end of the first half, the live broadcast should stay with the commentators at the end of the second half. Let’s hear their closing thoughts as well as being able to see the goal highlights. Plus, the one other thing that has been missing in the past has been the post-match interviews. If any of these are available with players or managers, they should be shown live so we can get their insight as soon as it happens.

After that’s done, the FOX Soccer presenter should tell the viewers to stick around for the goal highlights from the other 10am ET matches that took place. After the commercials finish, the TV coverage returns where the FOX Soccer presenter simply shows the goal highlights from the other games and brings the viewer up to speed.

There should be 10 minutes of on-air discussion between the FOX Soccer presenter and expert pundit (Trecker or McMahon) to chat about the major storylines of the day from the games that were just played, as well as to start discussing the upcoming match (the 12:30pm ET one) to help with the build-up.

Saturdays, 12:15pm-12:30pm ET; pre-match coverage

Just like the pre-match coverage for the 10am ET kickoff, it’s imperative that the broadcast for the 12:30pm ET game begins at 12:15pm ET when we get to watch the players getting ready in the tunnel and the increasing crescendo of noise from the ground. FOX Soccer can continue to pepper in team line-ups and last minute line-up surprises to add to the broadcast, but the main thrust should be on us seeing and hearing what’s happening at the ground.

Saturdays, 12:30pm ET-2:30pm ET; match coverage

The same formula that FOX Soccer uses for coverage for a Premier League match as stated above for the 10am ET game should be used. Sticking to the formula will be important so that the chances of more FOX Soccer viewers watching the entire broadcast will increase. Right now, many tune in just as the match kicks off, tune out the minute the first half whistle blows, skip half-time, and then tune out when the second half whistle sounds.

Saturdays, 2:30pm-4:30pm ET; Serie A coverage

Serie A coverage

Saturdays, 4:30pm-6:30pm ET; Premier League match shown on delay

With the hindsight of knowing the results and seeing the highlights of all of the Premier League games from the day, the 4:30pm-6:30pm timeslot should be the Premier League match of the day (in its entirety).

Saturdays, 6:30pm-10pm ET; Major League Soccer coverage

Most MLS games on FOX Soccer kick-off at 7pm ET on Saturday nights, so a 6:30pm-7pm pre-match show is perfect. And when the game finishes at 9:30pm, there’s still 30 minutes remaining to conduct the post-match coverage as well as to bring viewers up to speed on highlights from other MLS games or more news from the league. FOX Soccer should own Saturday nights and make it a destination for fans of America’s top flight league.

Saturdays, 10pm-11pm ET; FOX Soccer Report

Same as now except that FOX Soccer Report needs to be transmitted in HD.

Sundays, 9am-10:45am ET; Serie A coverage

FOX Soccer can kick off their Sunday morning coverage with a live Serie A game. After this one, though, especially if the game ends on time, we’ll need FOX Soccer to cut over to their coverage of the Premier League match so that they can do a superb job of building up the anticipation for the 11am ET kick-off.

Sundays, 10:45am-1pm ET; live Premier League match

Just like with the Saturday morning games on FOX Soccer, it’s imperative that the broadcast of the 11am ET kickoff begins as early as possible to show the footage of the players warming up in the tunnel, as well as providing team line-ups and team news.

The rest of the coverage should be the same as what FOX Soccer does (in the imaginary sense) for the Saturday Premier League matches.

Sundays, 1pm-3pm ET; Serie A coverage

Instead of going straight into Super Sunday Plus, it’d be better for FOX Soccer to show another live Serie A match. This way, soccer fans have a guaranteed six hour block of live soccer coverage every Sunday.

Sundays, 3pm-6pm ET; miscellaneous coverage

Between 3pm-6pm ET, the coverage choices are open depending on what rights are available (MLS, re-runs of the best games from the weekend, Women’s Professional Soccer)

Sundays, evenings (times TBD); Super Sunday Plus

While Super Sunday Plus is timely and topical, the level of discourse on the show is not hard-hitting enough. We need to have more Bobby McMahon’s and Jamie Trecker’s and less Kyle Martino’s and Christian Miles. It needs to be a much improved weekend highlights and news show. It’s new time on Sunday evenings will allow the show to be more comprehensive, so it can mention the scores and show the highlights from the games played on Sunday afternoon. As far as the presenters and pundits on the show, I would remove Miles, Martino, Barton and Costigan and replace them with Wynalda, McMahon, Trecker and Christopher Sullivan.

The rest of the week

FOX Soccer’s biggest struggle for Monday morning through Friday night is convincing its own loyal viewers to come back and watch more television. If there are midweek Premier League matches or Champions League games on, then that’s easy. But outside of that, there is far too little programming that is must-see television even for die-hard soccer fans.

FOX Soccer has failed before with Soccer Talk Live and Fox Football Fone-In, but I still believe there’s a place for a caller-driven show about soccer that fans will be passionate about. However, instead of doing one show to satisfy everyone, I believe it’s better to break the show out and do two a week at a minimum. One will be focused on European soccer discussion. The other will be focused on Major League Soccer. In the past, Fox Football Fone-In was too Premier League-centric. Separating the show into two will allow soccer fans to get the best of both worlds — more insightful analysis on the leagues that interest them.

The format of these shows needs to be changed though. Two hours is too long. One hour is perfect. Instead of having two talking heads in front of the TV camera, it should be one presenter who then pulls in experts for their insight. Soccer Talk Live was on to something good when they interviewed Chad Ochocinco and Joe Scarborough via Skype video chat. That format works well. Except, instead of only interviewing celebrities, the presenter of the new call-in show should interview experts such as bloggers like The Swiss Ramble, Michael Cox and ArseBlogger, as well as podcasters such as Anto from Beyond The Pitch, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Dotun Adebayo.

By breaking the show out into two, MLS fans will be happier because they’ll have more air-time. And the same thing applies to European soccer fans who only want to talk European football.

As for the rest of the week, I’d love to see more classic games shown on FOX Soccer (FA Cup Finals from the 70s, 80s and 90s, as one example) as well as more original programming. Christopher Sullivan could do a series on soccer formations and tactics. Bobby McMahon could do an interview show where he sits down with a different guest each week to talk soccer.

And then Friday night can culminate in Soccer Night In America, where FOX Soccer focuses on a live MLS game and expert analysis.

And then on Saturday, everything starts again.

What are your thoughts on the above recommendations of how to improve FOX Soccer? Do you have ideas for programming that aren’t listed above? If so, share your opinions and ideas below in the comments section.

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 →

72 Responses to How to Fix FOX Soccer

  1. JP says:

    Absolutely love the idea. More authentic soccer and with the real feel. Would really love to see something like this implemented for next season. Also love the increase in MLS. recently been following it more that epl is on break and as much as it is a few steps down from epl the fan support has been excellent and made the games actually enjoyable to watch unlike the games in te last 10 years

  2. Harry Sigel says:

    #1 — Please do something with Christian Miles. He is as exciting as a 10th grade trig teacher reviewing the types of triangles. No offense to the young man, as he comes across as a nice guy — but he is awful.

    # 2 See #1

  3. daveG says:

    Well played Gaffer..well played indeed!
    Only thing I would like to see added to your post is FOX showing Soccer AM…surely FOX can pony up the god awful 7:30-9:45am infomercial slot for this quality show??
    OR show it live in the early hours and let us all DVR it to watch later in the day…plenty of ad breaks on this show that FOX can use to pay some bills.
    Anyone out there form FOX that can give me a good reason why NOT to show Soccer AM on FOX Soccer?

  4. fsquid says:

    Why shouldn’t Serie A get postgame treatment?

  5. JuveFan says:

    Sundays from noon-2- a live Serie A match. Umm, the noon Serie A game is on Saturdays, not Sundays.

    The Serie A games on Sunday are at 9am eastern and 2:45 eastern.

    And from 2-6 on Sunday you suggest they air MLS or WPS reruns?

    Do a little homework on your master plan!

  6. bradjmoore48 says:

    Like the ideas, just a minor quibble: on Sundays, you have the 11am Premier League match only going until noon and not 1pm. So really 1pm-6pm should be miscellaneous coverage, though I would put a Serie A match (either a 7am or 9am match) on delay, show it in 105 minutes (the 90 minute match plus 10 minutes of commercials, no halftime show) and then cut over to the 2:45pm live Sunday Serie A match. That will take you until 5pm for Super Sunday +, and then you can end the night with MLS/WPS/anything else.

  7. Steven says:

    Would like to see Serie A and Ligue 1 magazine/highlight shows during the week (like Goltv does with the Europa League). Could do without the Canadians sneering about US soccer on FSR (even if it is sneer worthy, pls. leave that to the fans). Also would like to see an onscreen “flag is up” indicator (similar to the penalty indicators on NFL and NCAA football broadcasts). Of course this would be the responsibility of the Sky feed and not FSC but why hasn’t anyone thought of this or tried it. As in American football, it would relieve a lot of viewer frustration such as when you think a team has scored only to be disappointed seconds later when you finally find out that the flag was up/thrown.

  8. DavidYB says:

    Brilliant stuff.

    Barton, Miles and Costigan all need to go. I think the idea of introducing Trecker and McMahon into the mix is also a good one, though I believe Fox may have burned a few bridges with Bobby. If he isn’t available, or even if he is, Ives Galarcep might be a good addition to the crew, especially during coverage of MLS and the USMNT.

  9. nc says:

    As for the M-F misc coverage I’m all for running classic games, or features on players/teams. This weekend they showed the Year in the life of Stephen Gerrard, and the History of the FA Cup. Both programs were more than a couple years old, but both were fun to watch. Particularly the FA Cup one which was a three hour show. Its a great concept which has been mismanaged by other networks. ESPN Classic is a great idea, but the stuff they run on there is garbage. Same goes with NFL Network. NFL Films has a treasure trove of old footage and their programming choices are suspect at best.

    I like where your head’s at Gaffer.

  10. Cricketlover says:

    I agree with everything the gaffer has said. It owuld improve the experience tremendously.

    Towards the end of last season the Sunday morning, 9 AM, Seria A match was replaced with an 8:30 or 9 AM EPL match. I believe the Seria A match was moved to FS+. Do we know what Fox intends to do this season at that Sunday morning time slot?

    When the Seria A match is shown at 9 AM it hardly ever ends by 10:45 AM. On some days it ended very close to 11 AM. That was followed by commercials and then a 2-minute introduction by Miles or soemone else before switching to the teams coming out followed by the kickoff which was then on delay by a few minutes. By the way, when Fox Soccer and foxsoccer.tv show the same live match (happened only a couple times last season) the Fox Soccer coverage is always a minute or two behind the foxsoccer.tv coverage. I’m assuming therefore that all Fox Soccer live matches are delayed by a minute or two. Not a big deal as far as I’m concerned but if you’re following results online you sometimes find out about a goal before seeing it on Fox Soccer.

  11. Jeff says:

    Fox Soccer needs to show football matches that were shown on Fox Soccer Plus from the weekends, and also shows mid-day matches if possible under the same formats this column have mentioned. Something like the nPower Football League Championship, French Ligue 1, or even some of the other matches from the UEFA Champions League that weren’t shown on Fox Soccer, and then maybe putting a preview/magazine show on MLS ala the Premier League.

    • bradjmoore48 says:

      Problem is, if you show all your FS+ programming on Fox Soccer, then why would anyone pay $15 a month for FS+? The long-term objective for Fox is to get good enough ratings on Fox Soccer for EPL and Champion’s League so that cable and satellite providers will move Fox Soccer from it’s add-on sports package tier to a larger cable/satellite tier to reach more homes, and then FS+ moves into the sports package tier instead of being a la carte $15/mo. So, outside of 5 Ligue 1 games and the Championship promotion playoff final, it’s doubtful any Championship or Ligue 1 games will be on Fox Soccer in the coming future.

  12. Frank says:

    Good point Cricketlover about the delay on FSC. Last season I was watching a game and happened to be checking other scores on Sky online when a goal was flashed by Sky before I saw it on FSC. It was about 30 seconds. So now I never check other scores online if I’m watching a game on FSC.

  13. David says:

    The Gaffer, those are some great ideas. Personally, I think the Fox Soccer Report needs a major overhaul. For starters, Fox needs to produce their own show. Broadcasting in HD is definitely a must. Fox Soccer Report is way to repetitive with their highlights. They repeat the same thing 30 minutes later. It’s not difficult to have enough information to make an hour show.

    Personally, I think there should be an hour news show dedicated to European soccer and and hour news show dedicated to MLS once a week. Of course, have a show daily with soccer news.

    As for games, I wish Fox would go live to the feed in England as the players walk out and at the half, instead of cutting to the halftime show and commercials right away, show highlights of the game. During the half, I would like to see a quick recap of the current scores and they can switch to commercials the rest of the time.

  14. Matt says:

    One thing that I would really like to see, if contractually possible, is for Fox Soccer to Broadcast BBC’s Match of the Day on delay. I know the 5:30 pm ET is usually prime for an MLS/USL/EPL delayed match, so push it to 7 or 8 pm. I get my fix on an illegal stream. They definitely have the best review show out there.

  15. Guy says:

    Some great ideas, Gaffer, but I’ll tell you what will happen before any of them—–Fox will put 5 talking heads in the studio just like they do for the NFL. I don’t know why more pointless banter is considered a good thing. I refuse to watch/listen.

  16. Threefeetoffun says:

    I got goosebumps reading this. Excellent ideas

  17. harry mallinson says:

    When will Fox realise that JP de la Camera has absolutely no knowledge of soccer ? He babbles on endlessly about irrelevant stuff and “states the obvious” – like “the ball is sent to the right/left side” etc. He knows nothing of the rules and cannot explain why a free -kick is being given. Please demote him to the women’s game or something where we don’t have to listen to him. Did you take him from ESPN/. Someone really blundered there.

    • RaiderRich says:

      More Eurosnobbery directed at a man who’s been a great servant to U.S. Soccer and the *only* man willing to broadcast this game in this country for a long time. He deserves a medal for his service to soccer in America, not the condemnation all you johnny-come-lately people who only follow the EPL because it’s the cool thing to do give him.

  18. Alan Knut says:

    How to fix Fox Soccer? Make an app like ESPN3 for the Xbox. You could have full pre-game, half-time, post-game without having to worry about time. You could watch two games at once, you could watch games on demand, you could pause them, etc…

    You offer up all of your soccer coverage live(and then instantly after the match on demand), nothing is delayed. People will flock to this service because they can watch their team every week. They will stop watching P2P streams at a reasonable price since the quality will be fantastic and you can watch it on your television. And being on demand means they will watch many more games in addition to watching their own team.

    Take it out of cable/satellite packages. What do you charge? $10 a month plus all you can advertise in the application itself. They certainly don’t get $10-15 a month per subscriber from the cable/satellite providers(even $1 per subscriber seems unlikely).

    This should be the model for networks/entertainment providers. Cable costs way too much money and has too many worthless channels. We live in a day and age where we have the technology to deliver/consume content at our leisure and to be given a choice. There is no need to conform to the decades long idea of live television and only one event at a time from a channel/network. That was due to technology limitations. Why limit ourselves still?

  19. Rick says:

    Excellent points. I hate how the FSC commentators try to rush a bunch of nonsense in right before the kickoff.

    The ads that FSC runs during the games are obnoxious. They squish the screen up. Anybody else dislike those?

  20. The Gaffer says:

    One thing I forgot to mention in my above article is how I feel Eric Wynalda, while not perfect, needs more air-time. Listen to the following candid interview with him at http://www.beyondthepitch.net/podcasts/edition/index.cfm/beyond-the-pitch/2011/06/27/eric-wynalda/ He raises good points and has the freedom to give his opinion. When he’s on FOX, he needs to be let loose and be more outspoken.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

    • bradjmoore48 says:

      I’d 2nd anyone listening to the Wynalda interview, or pretty much any Beyond the Pitch interview, as it is a fantastic podcast. Unfortunately, I think Fox has the muzzle around him when it comes to broadcasting. You could tell during the U.S. Gold Cup broadcasts in his facial expression he wanted to really lay out some criticism, but from my understanding that has gotten him into some trouble with both ESPN and Fox, so he kept himself in check. But my first thought in seeing him hold back was “Anto better call him right now, I think he’s about to blow a gasket.” Sure enough, 2 days later the interview was up, so at least there is an avenue for Wynalda to allay his thoughts.

  21. Wes says:

    I disagree about Wynalda being given more air time. I don’t think he brings anything to the table as far as the EPL is concerned.

    I do agree about all the other points above. However, it is safe to say that none of these will actually occur. This is Fox we’re talking about. They will make changes but as usual it will be for the worse. Just look at what they did about foxsoccer.tv with all the problems they had with reliability and quality with it, they added a bunch of new features none of which addressed the core problems and then had the audacity to charge more.

    When it comes to Fox, it is an exercise in fulitility in asking them to do anything.

  22. Charles says:

    Another thumbs down for Wynalda. Just give us the entire feed from Sky from 15 minutes before kickoff to 15 minutes after the final whistle. Why Americanize the broadcast.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Charles, I’m talking about Wynalda being used on a revamped Super Sunday Plus as well as the mid-week call-in shows, not the actual half-times of Premier League matches.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  23. Charles says:

    OK, gaffer. If you want Wynalda for Super Sunday Plus and some mid-week call-in show then I’m OK with that. I never watch those kinds of programs anyway. I only tune in to Fox to watch the live games. They need to change the way they introduce the EPL games, half-time show and final analysis. In that regard I agree with your proposals above. It would definitely make the viewing experience much improved.

  24. Tim says:

    Fox Soccer can’t be fixed.

  25. Harris says:

    We all have to resign ourselves to the fact that any American TV station showing any sport is going to Americanize it. That’s just the way it is. I cannot wait for the day when one of them broadcasts a cricket match :-) .

  26. Andy says:

    Harris, I can just hear the cricket “announcer” say: “The pitcher threw that ball just out of the strike zone and the catcher had to dive to his left to prevent the ball from getting to where the left-fielder is.” :-) .

  27. EvertonfanKY says:

    Interesting. Heres some of my opinions

    1 Sky Sports News in the morning live (It be great whilst eating breakfast)
    2 Soccer AM live
    3 Get rid of Wooder Warren Barton
    4 Get rid of Christian Miles

    I like number 5 the best

    5 Surrender all EPN rights to ESPN. ESPN can start there own soccer channel and broadcast every EPL game on ESPN3.

  28. richardfromnyc says:

    ESPN would simply ruin soccer if they obtained the rights to the EPL.

    • brian c says:

      I happen to really like ESPN’s coverage of EPL. One of my big pet peeves is the analysis that the Fox crew has before a game when they’re not showing the tunnel, the handshakes etc. ESPN generally shows all that.

  29. Ian says:

    Gaffer, you should ban these cricket fans from posting on this forum. They’re too funny :-) .

  30. Rzod3 says:

    It’s not Miles, it’s the lumps they put him with. You’d suck too if you had no one to play off of. They are dead weight. Miles is a good traffic cop. He needs commentators to provide “commentary” and analysis. That is what they are supposed to do.

  31. StellaWasAlwaysDown says:

    Great idea! I would love that schedule. The only thing I would add would be during the week show the matches that they did not televise over the weekend. I know there are rights and such, but I would think they could get their hands on the matches that have already been played fairly cheap.

  32. Jason says:

    I see no reason why Fox Soccer cannot show games shown on FS+ or foxsoccer.tv as they are all owned by Fox. They do show some later that day but they need to show others later in the week. The only games they won’t be able to show are the ones that are shown on ESPN2 as ESPN owns the rights to those.

    Just once I would like Fox to give us a taste of what a typical game-day broadcast is like in the UK. Take us live to the UK studio with all the prematch banter, half-time anaylysis and postmatch wrapup. That would be awesome.

  33. Sacto Blues says:

    The US based announcers are ok in fact Barton, Webster, and Costigan are pretty good but Bobby McMahon is very much overrated and doesn’t know what he is talking about. Bring back Fox Football Phone in with Webster and Cohen.

  34. Billsdad says:

    I second Sacto Blues motion aout Fox Football Fone-in. Wynalda almost killed it single-handedly. And that show with the porn star’s boyfried they tried last year, well that was just too hard to watch.

  35. Jimmy says:

    I agree with everything the gaffer wrote. It makes a lot of sense. I also agree with Jason who wrote: “Just once I would like Fox to give us a taste of what a typical game-day broadcast is like in the UK. Take us live to the UK studio with all the prematch banter, half-time anaylysis and postmatch wrapup. That would be awesome.” Amen.

    • The Gaffer says:

      One of the neat things about FOXSoccer.tv is that you sometimes get the halftime shows from Sky Sports when they show Carling Cup games and Champions League games. Not always, but they sometimes forget to block ‘em, so we get to see the analysis from UK TV networks.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  36. Moe says:

    I would love the Sky feed, or at least people at the matches that work for fox soccer, I like the fact that espn does that now

  37. MattLeTissierIsGod says:

    1. Build a proper set.
    2. Have better pundits. I like the idea of having a studio of pundits from mixed backgrounds but some of the current ones are truly, truly awful. Miles and Barton are the worst on TV as are some of the other clowns on Super Sunday. Staring at a stadium filling up is not going to sell the game here and this is not the 80′s. Very few grounds have decent atmospheres these days and if they do it’s certainly not buzzing 5 or 10 mins before kick off. Get a proper host with better graphics and stats and try out different pundits until the right balance and chemistry is there.
    3. Stop trying to convince us dross like Birmingham v Man City is ‘going to be a good one’. It’s not.
    4. Pick up the phone and talk to ESPN. At least they have a clue.

    Up The Saints.

  38. Robin BURT says:

    No one has mentioned the bald, English guy, Nick Webster, they need to bring him back. This was a guy that was insightful and entertaining. You can tell that he knows the game passionately and doesn’t take himself too seriously compared to some of the other robots that they put in front of the camera.

    His phone in show with Wynalda was great, the two of them were perfect double act. Bring the show back for christ sakes.

  39. Mark Wolfson says:

    Allow me to offer a counterpoint. 

    First, Fox Soccer does not have control of any of the cameras, replay equipment, or truck generated graphics during EPL matches. They’re lucky to get the feed of one camera set on a wide shot. So  there’s little opportunity to show the “pageantry” you claim to want.

    Personally, on field pre-game activities are a bore and vary little from game to game.

    When I watch sports on television, I want to be both informed and entertained. This is where Fox Soccer lets us down. They need to sign a deal with Opta to get their terrific statistical and tactical analysis. They need on-air talent that understands how to engage the viewer not just spout an opinion. Eric Wynalda is personable but doesn’t seem like the kind of guy I’d like to have a beer with. it’s that quality that made John Madden a television icon.

    I want the on air talent to argue about the value of different formations. Why is the 4-4-2 outdated according to some.  LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told me recently that the concept of “moving triangles” is outdated. Why? Do other coaches agree?

    I want to know more about the players in the EPL.  Who were their favorites growing up and why? How did John Terry become a top defender?  What do they like to do when they don’t have their soccer boots on? This is how fans identify with players, a key in creating new fans and keeping old ones.

    I want to know more about the traditions of the EPL teams.

    I want to know more about the subtleties of tactics. How are set pieces created and executed?  What are the specifics of how one team’s offense can break down their opponents defense.

    I could go on but I think you get the idea.  

    When I first started watching international football, I liked seeing the players walk out of the tunnel with the kids. Now I’m bored by it because you see it EVERY game. 

    What is needed to make Fox Soccer better, are higher quality talent (that gets constant feedback and evaluation) and some creativity.

    • Very good post MW, the problem with what you just said though is that you would be hard pressed to delve that deep into the inner workings of the game with the restrictions of having so many ad breaks…lead in and analysis of said tactics should be a 5-10 minute discussion, but FSC seems to want to give 30-45 seconds snippets of air time before they break away AGAIN for another ad about the LifeBracelet or Adults with Acne.
      I like where you are going but I would bloody scream at the screen if they rushed this every weekend like they do now.

      • Mark Wolfson says:

        The fact is you’ve got to pay for the productions somehow. A typical Major League Baseball game has about 29 minutes of commercials. A typical MLS game has about 11.5 minutes and both productions cost about the same (with variances in talent cost).

        It’s all about quality of the presentation. I think 10 minutes is too long to discuss tactics. But wecwrtainly need more than the skimpy treatment it gets now.

  40. Yespage says:

    I want soccer, not pre-game talk. If there is to be talk, let it be from the booth at the stadium. I love how you can see the start with the foxsoccer.tv. Just the field, nothing going on, but I don’t need the blather. Did Setanta ever have pre-game or half-time talk? I don’t recall so. I think they just showed the EPL feed.

    The problem becomes, what I want and enjoy isn’t necessarily going to be what the next guy wants or enjoys. I think Fox tries to go with what they think people want. The Super Sunday Super Bowl set thing with the crowd was over-the-top and embarrassing. I bet some fans liked it though. So is the way with subjective opinions.

    Six of one, half dozen of the other. Give me football! Oddly enough, with the NBA and NFL in doubt, others may be saying the same in the fall.

    • Guy says:

      I totally agree with your post, but didn’t Pat Dolan and …..?? (somebody help me) have pre/halftime/post discussions on Setanta? Maybe I’m thinking rugby. The memory is going. :-)

      • The Gaffer says:

        Correct, Pat Dolan and Paul Dempsey did the pre-match, half-time and post-match analysis for Setanta. No worries Guy, your memory is still working!

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

      • Yespage says:

        Yak! You’re right. I forgot about that. The only thing I could remember is the bouncing yellow soccer ball. They didn’t fill the entire slot with commentary, at least during half-time, I don’t think.

        • Guy says:

          Ahh, the little yellow ball. Those were the days. Still waiting for my Setanta refund by the way.

          I actually liked both of them. Dolan could get off on some rants, but he was never boring.

  41. Chris says:

    The biggest problem with Fox Soccer and the other Fox sports channels is that they don’t employ knowledgeable people to discuss the games. I don’t care where the person is from as long as he is insightful and knows the league he is talking about. You get the same people discussing EPL, MLS, Seria A, etc.

  42. hooraybeer says:

    This is all well and good to us fans, but no advertiser in thier right mind is going to pay much for a 30 second spot in the middle of 10 minutes of commercials, there is almost no value there. The pregame and halftime shows from the studio in theory keep more people focused on the channel, allow more short commercial breaks and probably get more revenue not to mention the sponsorship of those shows. Same with the Sky morning and cram commercials in, I am sure they make a ton more on the paid programming than they would by running Sky + Commercials. The tunnel stuff is great, but is it really worth 15 minutes of time for EVERY game, because lets face it there isnt that much of a demand for the channel, and that commercial at 9:58 is probably one of thier most expensive slots. The best compromise is probably getting to the grounds a 7-8 minutes before kickoff and dealing with a scroll until kickoff of advertising or split screens. I would rather FS make money so they can charge cable companies less to keep it on more accessible platforms so more people can enjoy and find the game.

    I totally agree though that the tunnel and expanded format should be used for FS+ and the website because it is being paid for by the subscriber.

  43. Sergio Azevedo says:

    There are more leagues then England and Italy. What about showing early morning Russian games, showing SPL, and even doing more in depth Championship games? There are enough games to fill up the entire week, even if they aren’t live. I watch FSC on weekends, but do not bother on weekdays. I also would like to see more specials on rivalries as well as history of individual clubs.

  44. Demolition Man says:

    I got another way to fix Fox Soccer. How about getting the HD feed available on more Comcast systems then the current few that have it? For something available for almost an year and a half its pathetic its taking Comcast this long to finally make it available.

  45. Michael says:

    The biggest thing Fox Soccer needs to fix is it’s production quality. That means graphics, audio, sets, and gameday experience. ESPN2 does a great job at most of this.

    • Mark Wolfson says:

      I agree that production quality needs a bump. Pretty graphics and sets don’t bring eyeballs to the screen given all the sports available on TV. Good content does. Smart, entertaining announcers, and graphics that help tell the stories and set the drama.

      For example, right now there is a near crisis in MLS. The season is not even half over and the league has already set a record for scoreless draws. There needs to be more impetus to score goals and not play it safe for the one point. Some are suggesting that additional points in the standings should be awarded for goals, say up to three as the old NASL did. This is a very important issue for the growth of the sport and MLS. It should be on the forefront of Fox Soccer’s coverage of the sport. it’s a great story. When the NHL was struggling for an audience they changed their scoring system. Should MLS do the same?

      • Matt says:

        No offense Mark, but there is a majorleaguesoccertalk.com for a reason…

        And I wholeheartedly disagree on your point that the MLS should be the forefront of Fox Soccer’s coverage. During the summer, sure, because the MLS is the only show in town. But once we get to the real season, it needs to stay exactly where it is.

        • Mark W. says:

          No offense taken Matt, but the thread is “How to Fix Fox Soccer” not “How to Fix Fox Soccer’s Coverage of the EPL.” And I never said that MLS should be at the “forefront” of the channel. But “big” soccer news should definitely be a major element on the channel. The lack of scoring in MLS is, to my way of thinking, a big story. Just as the proposal to change the game in Qatar for their World Cup from two 45 minute halves to three 30 minute periods.

          One very important note here is that the EPL telecasts we see in Fox Soccer are not the telecasts they get in England. We get “clean feeds” bereft of a good deal of the production elements seen in England. MLS broadcasters do the same thing when providing the feed from a “home” telecast to the visiting team’s rightsholder.

          • Matt says:

            Hey, if you think it’s worth mentioning and should be a big part of the coverage, that’s your opinion.

            Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t it better having the matches on the local sports channels as it cators to the target markets who will actually impact attendance and memorabilia purchase figures? I know that I would much rather have more premier league games on basic cable than on FSC, which is, in the best case scenario, part of the additional sports package through cable and satellite companies.

        • RaiderRich says:

          “there is a majorleaguesoccertalk.com for a reason”

          “I wholeheartedly disagree on your point that the MLS should be the forefront of Fox Soccer’s coverage.”

          “once we get to the real season…”

          Yes, pip pip, old boy. Let us have our tea and crumpets and watch proper English football and forget that vulgar American league. /sarcasm

          Fox Soccer is an AMERICAN channel, so yes, they should try to promote AMERICA’S league as much as the possibly can.

          The real problem with American soccer is EPL fans and other Eurosnobs like you. You choose to hurt American soccer spending money on overseas clubs when that money needs to stay in America to help our players earn competitive wages here. You hurt MLS’s chances to get a good TV contract by choosing to watch the EPL instead.

          I certainly hope you don’t claim American citizenship or residency because you deserve neither, Matt.

          • Matt says:

            Have you seen Fox Soccer lately? First ten minutes of fox soccer report: MLS. The event they have been advertising continuously: “Soccer Night in America” with the always abhorrent JP Dellacamera. And how could you forget the promotion of only the USMNT games for the Gold Cup?

            “The real problem with American soccer is EPL fans and other Eurosnobs like you.”

            Really?! So having a manager who is incapable of bringing out the best in his players isn’t a problem? Or having that same manager who is incapable of making merely competent tactical changes isn’t a problem either. Or using a federation system that is too stubborn and set in their ways, as opposed to conforming to a system that would allow us to harness one of the greatest talent pools in the world. Clearly people who prefer the quality of European and South American soccer is what really needs addressing asap.

            What really drives me crazy about the MLS is what happens to young players there. I have played with and against the new generation of players in the MLS, and at some point, they morph from the technical, skillful, intuitive players to athletes who just want to kick the ball as hard and far as they can, while trying to display their strength by hitting someone.

            I travel to every international friendly, qualifier, or Gold cup match in the great lakes region. I buy as much US soccer gear as I can get my hands on. And when I am up in the Twin Cities at college, I attend as many NSC Stars matches as I possibly can. I think my citizenship and residency are pretty safe, despite the fact that I have been a Man United supporter since age 12. I won’t be so arrogant as to question yours.

  46. Norm says:

    Any company owned by Mr Murdoch is beyond fixable.

  47. jac mills says:

    I love to watch soccer, and Fox Soccer Channel has provided that chance for me in the US. It is not top-notch presentation, with camera angles sometimes distorting, but I’ll take it. As long as they do NOT start showing five replays of every play, as does American football. Soccer is a fast-moving game and should be left at that, without constant interruptions and analyses by “commentators”. Usually, commentators are from Europe and know the game, so leave it that way, also. Now if only we could get the games without the extra cost, that would nice, wouldn’t it? But don’t hold your breath on that.

  48. shannon says:

    I pay a ton of money to subscribe to every cable channel that shows soccer: sports tier, spanish tier, extra for Fox Soccer Plus… My gripes with Fox Soccer Channel are as follows:
    - Fox Soccer Report is not timely, has retarded announcers (except for Bobby McMahon), and restarts its programming at the half hour, so it’s really only a half-hour show. Reportedly there is a Fox Soccer Report that has actual programming the entire hour, but I don’t know when it airs (it’s definitely after 11 p.m.).
    - Fox Soccer Channel’s broadcasts of EPL games are fine, in my opinion. They have an announcer for their SerieA games who, for years, consistently mispronounced Ronaldinho’s name as “Rolandinho” and it made the games unwatchable for me. I complained vigorously to Fox and, don’t you know, the last game Ronaldino played in the Serie A that announcer got his name right every time. The announcers for both EPL and Serie A could be more enthusiastic. I’m probably going to get a bunch of crap about this, but in my opinion, GolTV’s duo of Ray Hudson and his side-man, Phil Schoen would be an amazing improvement of the match commentators.
    - Fox Soccer Plus adds no programming whatsoever for matches. There’s no discussion of who’s playing, there are no squad line-ups, there is no half-time commentary, and they cut the feed off right at the end of the match. They obviously spend no money on that channel, yet I have to pay extra for it above and beyond my soccer tier.
    - Fox Soccer doesn’t acquire the rights to matches we want to see in the US. My recent gripe is that they aren”t showing any of the Copa America games (there’s no English feed for those games at all).
    - Did I mention that Fox Soccer Report doesn’t actually report timely soccer news? Thank God FSC shows Sky Sports News.

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