In a surprise move, FOX Soccer has announced that Piers Morgan will be a studio guest for two upcoming Premier League games to be shown live on US television. The first will be the November 20 game on FOX Soccer featuring Liverpool against Chelsea (also aired later in the day on FOX), while the second one will be Chelsea against Manchester United live on FOX on Super Bowl Sunday (February 5, 2012).
Morgan, who will serve as an analyst as part of the studio team, is best known in the States for his CNN talk show. The former America’s Got Talent judge is one of the most vocal Arsenal supporters in the entertainment business.
“Piers Morgan brings insight, humor and a keen ability to analyze the game,” said FOX Soccer General Manager David Nathanson. “Aside from being a loyal Arsenal FC fan, he follows the Premier League closely and is a great addition to our broadcast team.”
Love him or hate him, what Morgan brings to FOX is street cred and a name recognition. Reading between the lines, the appointment of Morgan appears to be a move to increase the ratings of the broadcasts on FOX rather than FOX Soccer. Having someone recognizable like Morgan should increase the already record ratings the Premier League games have received on FOX.
The move by FOX is another positive sign of the network’s attempt to grow its soccer audience. If Morgan improves the ratings and on-air chemistry, don’t be surprised if the opinionated English talk show host plays a more prominent role in future soccer broadcasts. Hollywood actor Vinnie Jones recently appeared on FOX’s coverage of a Premier League game.