FOX to Broadcast Premier League Live On Free-to-air TV in US: Exclusive

Chelsea vs Man Utd Live On Super Bowl Sunday Plus 3 Premier League Matches on Tape-Delay During NFL Season

FOX Broadcasting Company (NASDAQ:NWS), the national broadcasting network, will televise the first ever Premier League match on free-to-air television in the United States on Sunday, February 5, 2012, according to a source. The clash between Chelsea and Manchester United will be shown live on Super Bowl Sunday beginning at 10:30am ET.

In addition to FOX’s historic coverage of a live Premier League match, the national FOX network will air three Premier League matches on tape-delay during the 2011-12 NFL season. The schedule of games are:

  • Sunday, September 18: Manchester United versus Chelsea (tape delay),
  • Sunday, October 2: Tottenham Hotspur versus Arsenal (tape delay),
  • Sunday, November 20: Chelsea versus Liverpool (tape delay).

The three tape-delay games will air adjacent to live NFL games. The tape-delayed games will be shown at either 2-4pm or 4:30-6:30pm ET — depending on local NFL/FOX programming. Meanwhile, throughout the Premier League season, FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus will continue to show the majority of games for viewers in the United States, while ESPN2 and will show many of the other games.

FOX Broadcasting Company was contacted regarding the news. A spokesperson declined to comment.

If you thought the English Premier League couldn’t get any bigger than it is now in the United States, you thought wrong. FOX Soccer’s ratings for their live coverage of Premier League games have continued to grow, while the national FOX Broadcasting Company are becoming more interested in live soccer coverage especially after considering the successful broadcast of the 2011 Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United, which was the most watched Champions League Final in US history.

In previous years, the biggest Premier League match on Super Bowl Sunday had been shown on FOX Soccer. The 2011 game between Chelsea and Liverpool was the most-watched FOX Soccer broadcast of all time with 418,000 average viewers. The 2010 Super Bowl Sunday clash between Chelsea and Arsenal garnered 403,000 average viewers, which was also shown on FOX Soccer.

For the 2011 coverage of Chelsea against Liverpool, FOX Soccer kicked off their coverage with a special edition of its weekly pre-match show, Super Sunday +, live from the set of FOX NFL Sunday.  The FOX Soccer pundits were joined by a studio audience featuring supporters from both clubs.

FOX’s coverage of a live Premier League match on US television will give MLS and NBC some competition. MLS fans were raving earlier this week about the prospect of seeing a live MLS game on NBC beginning with the 2012 season, which typically kicks off in March. NBC Sports Network recently won the MLS TV rights that FOX Soccer used to own.

One other consideration about FOX’s coverage of the Premier League will be whether they’ll continue to leave out the diehard fans who seek quality in-depth coverage in favor of attracting a mainstream audience to the sport, like they did with the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final. The audience for Chelsea against Manchester United on FOX Broadcasting Company will be more mainstream than FOX Soccer, but hopefully there’s an opportunity for FOX to find a compromise where the analysis and coverage of the game satisfies both the newcomer and diehard fan.

42 thoughts on “FOX to Broadcast Premier League Live On Free-to-air TV in US: Exclusive”

  1. Does this mean the games will not be show live? I’ll be pretty pissed off if I can watch Chelsea/ManU live on the 18th!

    1. Man Utd vs Chelsea on September 18 will be live on FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes at 11am ET, and re-aired on FOX broadcast network to fill time on Sunday afternoon.

  2. I want the games live, not in tape delay, I hope they put those games live in Fox soccer for the people who wants to see the games live.

  3. Iam a sports fan prefered club chelsea fc. I will be one of the happyest person if my club chelsea win champions league this season.

  4. Umm…the game will be re-scheduled to Sunday?

    And from the post: “The clash between Chelsea and Manchester United will be shown LIVE on Super Bowl Sunday beginning at 10:30am ET.” (emphasis added)

  5. FOX has to clear live sports broadcasts with its affiliates at least 6 months in advance so that the broadcast affiliates will be able to sell unused TV time (for infomercials and religious programming.)

    How many FOX affiliates will pre-empt Chelsea vs Man Utd on Sunday February 5 in favor of religious programming? I would guess about a dozen of so in smaller markets where FOX does NOT own the broadcast affiliates.

    Those of you in markets where FOX owns its own broadcast affiliates (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc.) have nothing to worry about.

  6. world class football will get a lot of exposure here in the States if it’s being played Adjacent to NFL games.
    only a good thing for the sport in the USA.

  7. Let me get this straight. Fox is going to put tape-delayed matches up against live NFL games? OMG. The NFL must be quaking in its boots.

    Are they trying to make soccer look ridiculous and irrelevant on purpose?

    1. Oftentimes, the NFL game that the football match competes against is an out-of-market team. So in Elmira, NY, you might have a San Diego/Oakland late matchup on CBS, which might not be important to the locals.

      Most markets already have ESPN2, so it’s not like they’re going to be reaching a ton of new people. Still, it may catch some new people.

    2. FOX is using EPL to fill the time slots on Sunday afternoons that were vacated when FOX cancelled all “time buy” programming from as a result of the crackdown by the U.S. Department of Justice on unlicensed online poker websites. was forced to exit the U.S. market (and its owner was indicted for money laundering) and FOX Sports needed to fill all those empty time slots with something.

    3. Why do we have to see everything negatively? For someone like me without cable or a foxsoccer subscription, watching games late on broadcast TV is much better than nothing at all.

      1. It definitely is good for you and certainly doesn’t hurt me in any way. I just don’t understand the strategy. The Sept. 18 match will be seen live by most soccer fans at 11:00 on Fox Soccer. We’re not likely to tune in again, so where will any ratings come from? It will be interesting to see how the matches do. OT’s explanation at least sheds some possible light on things.

  8. Good to hear but fox needs to buy la liga rights in 2012. The hispanic market in the united states watches only 2 leagues from Europe, the EPL for Mexican players like Chicharito and La liga. Both leagues don’t interfere at all in schedules either. EPL matches are early morning and la liga matches especially Barca and Real Madrid (which basically the only 2 teams people care about) afternoon to even 4 in the day. Serie A for me is not what you want to show to get new soccer fans. Serie A is a defensive minded league with low scoring and more about the result more then the beauty of the game. Real Madrid and Barcelona are the 2 teams you must show to gain new fans who feel soccer is low scoring. Both teams regualry score 5+ goals in a game. Espn was extremely lucky to air the Real Madrid vs Valencia game last season because it was full throttle high scoring resulting in a 6-3 game between 2nd and 3rd place. Fox also needs la liga because lets face it both Barca and Madrid are the 2 best teams on Earth with the 2 best players on Earth bar none. Serie A is dying a slow death too, they are falling in coefficiants, stadiums attendance is falling and players are even flying to once lesser leagues like France(Pastore) and Turkey(Muslera).

  9. Also please get Fox Soccer onto one of the english Directv basic packages. It honestly sucks that I have to pay 12.99 for a package of 30 sports channels when the only one I have any interest in is Fox soccer, Fox deportes and Goltv. I have to say that Fox Soccer should atleast get more viewership then say Fueltv which also owned by Fox and is on the 2nd tier English package on Directv. If Fox Soccer gets on a any of the english packages and buys La Liga rights then I would without hesitation drop the 12.99 SportsPack.

    1. I would actually BUY Fox Soccer Plus with the extra money I save by dropping Sportspack too. Now I can’t because it’s too much money but I would gladly get it if Fox Soccer was moved onto a english tier package on Directv.

      1. Well yeah technically but my argument is more in line about being to watch soccer as inexpensively as possible and that fox soccer should atleast garner more viewership than some of the channels on the lower priced English tier packages which basically what Channels use against tv providers like Directv to promote their channel to a better package when renewing their contracts.

  10. Not related, but want to warn Dish Network subscribers that Dish seems to have moved FS+ from channel 406 to channel 407 this afternoon. Channel 406 is now a mirror of channel 149 (FSC). It messed up all my timers to record matches and shows on FS+.

      1. Rumours are that Dish Network will no longer offer FSC in HD (except *perhaps* on AT250, but even that’s unconfirmed). I’ve recently downgraded to AT200 with the multisports package – purely for FSC HD – and will only be getting SD after the 7th.

        Time to leave Dish and stream games from various websites. I’m not going to continue paying them for something they’re dropping but offered as part of my sign-up deal.

  11. People, breathe. The tape delay matches will still be live on Fox Soccer, and Fox isn’t trying to go “head to head” with the NFL, just trying to grab a few fans on days it doesn’t have NFL doubleheaders.

    1. Could you have imagined, a merger between the NFL’s Proposed Soccer League and MLS similar to the ABA/NBA in basketball and AFL/NFL in American Football somewhere down the road?

  12. While I like the idea, why would you want to COMPETE with the MLS? If both NBC and Fox want to broaden people’s viewing of soccer here in the states, then they should do their best not to step on each others’ toes.

    There is plenty of money to be made by getting people exposed, but trying to knock each other out in a cramped market is not a good idea.

    However it IS a good reason to get up a lil extra early on that Sunday morning!

  13. Fox has been showing tape-delayed matches on their Fox Sportnet affiliates for years. This could really just an expansion of that. As long as the matches are still being shown live on FSC/FS+ I could care less that they’re being shown again later on Fox.

    Although, I do fear that Fox might take the same strategy that they do with F1. Speed normally shows F1 races live Sunday mornings. However, a handful of races are shown tape-delayed on Fox and not shown live on Speed. I think Fox do this to ensure decent ratings on Fox by forcing all potential viewers to watch at the sametime since F1 (like soccer) in America is a niche sport.

  14. Awesome news!!! Great to see more matches offered on networks that do not require me to fork over extra cash. Great also for the sport I have grown to enjoy thoroughly even if it is on tape delay!

  15. What happens with Fox’s (and CBS’) NFL coverage is that not every week is a network doubleheader so for example if the Giants are playing at four on FOX and theres no network game at one the tape delayed game would replace what would usually be paid programming or animal shows. But one important factor is that NBC has the Super Bowl this year so this is a very legitimate attempt to get ratings for a good game on a big day and not just do some football bundle.

  16. Someone before posted that hispanics only watch the EPL because of the mexicans players?! Are you crazy?!? The majority of hispanics don’t care about the Mexican players, and to be honest, Mexican players can’t adapt to the EPL. Beng hispanic, I love the EPL because of it’s pace, action, and high quality of play; not because of Mexican players.

    Also, most don’t care about La Liga because we all know that there are only 2 teams that compete for the title every year….so pretty predictable.

  17. The tape-delay soccer games during football season is f’in brilliant. If you get a terrible late NFL game (or even if you have a good one), you still usually only have one. Meaning nothing to change the channel to during halftime or a commercial.

    CBS & Fox have gotten insane ratings for crap like poker after football games just because of numbers with 15 million people (or more) watching the 1pm games. Just gain a fraction of those folks and you have a huge audience for soccer in the US.

  18. Unfortunately, I think the inclusion of ‘Sunday Ticket’ on directv’s basic package, as well as the ‘RedZone’ on the cable companies will hurt the ratings, as people are not stuck watching just the one early/late game.

  19. Tape delay kind of sucks but I’ll still watch a replay of my beloved Red men in beautiful HD (don’t get FSC in HD here).

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