Several of the top TV markets in the United States won’t be showing the first Premier League match live on their local FOX affiliate due to a conflict with other programming scheduled for Sunday morning.
UPDATE: The number of FOX stations not showing the Arsenal-Manchester United game live is now reported to be up to 23 out of 185 FOX stations nationwide. The other cities (not mentioned below) who didn’t show the game live were Billings, Biloxi, Binghamton, Greenville, Huntsville, Macon, Minod, Omaha, Roanoke, Savannah, Springfield (MO), Terre Haute, Wheeling and Youngstown.
Cities such as Cleveland, Indianapolis, Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta and Milwaukee won’t be showing the game live, but will be playing it on delay, while Miami (WSVN) isn’t showing it until midnight ET (or later, if the NFC Championship game runs long). Atlanta (WAGA) and Milwaukee (WITI) will show the broadcast beginning at 12:30pm local time, while the other cities (Cleveland, WJW; Raleigh/Durham, WRAZ; Indianapolis, WXIN) will begin the broadcast at Noon local time. Programming is subject to change.
All six cities mentioned above are in the top 56 markets that make up the overnight TV ratings.
“Our hope is that our affiliates always take network programming in-pattern, but ultimately, the decision is theirs,” said a FOX Sports spokesperson. “Due to the atypical start time for the Arsenal-Manchester United match, and that this is the first year we’re attempting live EPL broadcasts, some affiliates are unable to accommodate the live broadcast due to prior programming commitments. Fortunately, the game will be live in almost 90% of the country. We’d be happier if it was 100%, but it’s a pretty good first step.”
In San Francisco, FOX station KTVU isn’t airing the game, but it’s sister station KICU will show it live. The TV schedule for FOX station in Birmingham, Alabama (WBRC) wasn’t available at press time.
The spokesperson for FOX Sports added, “We’ll be monitoring social media outlets and communicating with fans as best we can to let them know what’s happening in their area, and in the meantime it would be best to check local listings to be sure of the start time on Sunday.”
What programming is causing the issue? On WSVN in Miami and Raleigh/Durham (WRAZ), it’s church programming. Atlanta (WAGA), Milwaukee (WITI), Cleveland (WJW) are showing infomercials, while Indianapolis (WXIN) is showing a rerun of a local programming show as well as a rerun of a local sports show featuring high school and college athletes.
If you live in these markets and you’re incensed by the decision of your local FOX station, I’d encourage you to contact the station by phone, e-mail, Twitter and Facebook to share your outrage.