Highs and Lows Of FOX’s Live Coverage of Chelsea Against Manchester United

rob stone eric wynalda piers morgan 600x337 Highs and Lows Of FOXs Live Coverage of Chelsea Against Manchester United

The much-hyped match between Chelsea and Manchester United is over, and it was definitely one of the best matches of the season. Six goals, plenty of talking points and an amazing comeback, this is a game that we won’t forget for quite some time.

For TV viewers in the United States, here are the highs and lows of FOX’s live coverage of the game on the free-to-air network.

Highs

  1. FOX’s decision to continue giving us the Sky Sports audio commentary feed for matches. FOX deserves a thumbs up for giving us the treat of hearing Martin Tyler and Alan Smith instead of the international feed. The commentary is always the best available.
  2. FOX for showing the game live on free-to-air network TV. Not every station showed it (more about that later), but hats off to FOX for showing it on national TV to an audience of 1-2 million.
  3. Eric Wynalda. The opinionated pundit was straightforward, intelligent and listenable. He’s the best thing that FOX has going for it right now.
  4. Dear Super Bowl, Top That. Rob Stone’s line immediately after the game ended seemed sincere, unrehearsed and in your face. I loved it.
  5. Production quality. The on-screen graphics, camera angles and overall production value were well done and very professional.

Lows

  1. Piers Morgan. I’m not a Piers Morgan hater, but he seems to like being antagonistic — whether it’s trying to bait people on Twitter, or saying stupid things like David De Gea is the worst goalkeeper in the Premier League (like he said on before the match kicked off on FOX today). When he makes silly comments, it hurts not only his credibility but also that of FOX.
  2. Rob Stone. He’s only been on the job for a few weeks at FOX, but he’s already made a few flubs. The most noticeable one today was where, in the opening minute, he thought Gary Cahill was Tim Cahill. I would excuse him for that, but he’s made other flubs in previous weeks such as not knowing how to pronounce Norwich, and thinking that Robert Huth played for Sunderland instead of Stoke. At least Christian Miles wouldn’t have made those mistakes.
  3. The 16 FOX stations that decided to show the game on tape delay instead of live.
  4. Switching to the Tyler-Smith commentary one second before kick-off. You would think that FOX would have learned by now that we soccer fans like hearing the crowd noise and commentators a few minutes before kickoff. But FOX, as they always seem to do, ended up switching to the audio feed of Tyler-Smith one second before the ball was kicked. FOX, learn from ESPN.
  5. Post-match highlights. Unless I missed it, the post-match coverage was rushed and too short. ESPN gives us post-match interviews and highlights from the game. FOX gave us Wynalda and Morgan talking.
Agree or disagree? Share your feedback in the comments section below.

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 →
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45 Responses to Highs and Lows Of FOX’s Live Coverage of Chelsea Against Manchester United

  1. Nicholas says:

    Love everything about the list, expect Rob Stone. I thought he was ok, not great. Stone has a soccer background, I just wonder what the Fox people told him before the game started and that played into his roll on the pregame show….I think that they wanted to be the hype man and that did not work. I still think that there is a ton of hope for him…Im sure he will be anchoring Fox’s studio show for the Champions League final. Piers Morgan stinks, we want Warren Barton.

    • The Gaffer says:

      I like Rob Stone a lot but his lack of knowledge of the Premier League is surprising. I presumed he was an expert on the league, which he doesn’t seem to be. I’m sure he’ll be fine in the long run.

      I don’t like Warren Barton. He’s too straight-laced, never says anything you didn’t know already and is far too conservative in regards to giving an opinion. Wynalda shows him up big time. I’d rather see Bobby McMahon alongside Wynalda and Rob Stone.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  2. ChelseaDC says:

    As long as Piers Morgan is doing pre-game on Fox/Fox Soccer/etc., I won’t be tuning in. He’s an idiot and is painful to listen to. In no way does he qualify as an informed expert – it’s pure baiting and shock value. Just awful. You were way too kind here.

  3. sucka99 says:

    “Switching to the Tyler-Smith commentary one second before kick-off.”

    I don’t think they have any choice. I think the Sky Studio hands off to Tyler right before the kickoff. You could hear it bleed through in the Man United – Arsenal game at halftime.

    “the post-match coverage was rushed and too short.”

    Was the pregame + game in a 3 hour window or a 2.5 hour window? If the latter, they can’t do anything about that when the game ends so close to the top of the hour. Will the affiliates let them run over time so they can do a proper postgame? Will the affiliates allow a 3 hour window? There was no real postgame for ESPN’s game yesterday morning when the game was in a 2 hour window. They started at 7:55 and ended promptly at 10 for Sportscenter.

    Maybe they will put these games in a full 3 hour window next time.

    But you’re right. Piers Morgan is terrible.

    • Guy says:

      A rational post. What the hell is wrong with you? ;-) I think there are many things we don’t know or understand about the whole integration of the different feeds that bring us the final video/audio. Personally, I’m just happy that we get all the coverage we do. It’s probably a sign of how good we have it that most of the negative commentary is about little shit. “I hate his accent!” “His wife must dress him.” However, there is always room for improvement…..so rave on, boys. :-)

  4. Stacy Richardson says:

    I’m really tired of Fox — whether Fox Soccer or the Fox network — botching the handoffs to the game announcers at the beginning of matches and at the beginning of second halves.

    This has been going on for years, and they could have done something about it by now. Their lackadaisical production suggests they’re amateurs.

  5. SoccerLimey says:

    Even though I loathe Morgan on these soccer shows, his thoughts weren’t bad for a man that is in his business. Wynalda does a good job and Stone is serviceable. I’m just thankful that we weren’t treated to the gormless Chris Sullivan’s fake accents.

    Enjoyed the broadcast as a whole and a great ad for the League in the US

  6. Donny says:

    Have to agree with you. Piers should not be any where near a football show he has no clue and just says stupid things. The poor post match analysis. We love to hear the players/managers comments not about nascar or super bowl etc etc.

    They also need to not reference football teams as franchises as they are clearly not.

    • Fog says:

      “We love to hear the players/managers comments not about nascar or super bowl etc etc. ”

      I am sure when the players/managers start paying the bills, we will no longer hear about NASCAR and the Super Bowl. What kind of ratings to those shows get, any way???

  7. FOXSUCKS says:

    Low: Many Fox affiliates didn’t offer the game in HD and instead offered the game in a box 1/4 the size of an actual TV screen

  8. daniel says:

    I like Piers Morgan. I’m happy to hear a guy with a distinct opinion even though he is an Arsenal fan. For those people calling him unqualified, I read his newspaper column online every chance I got before he moved to America and I always found it to be witty, biased and a voice of a real fan. He brings great football passion to the broadcast and he is trying to infect the studio into some friendly banter (like the NFL pregame broadcasts) but the other plastic people aren’t responding.

  9. daniel says:

    Here is the Piers Morgan column archive if you need some light reading…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/columnist-1011722/Piers-Morgan.html

  10. scrumper says:

    I’d rather hear from a Piers Morgan who isn’t scared to voice his opinion. Like it or not he does know the game. Wynalda is good value, but this Rob Stone is one of a hundred clones you can see on ESPN etc any day of the week. Too sickly smooth and scared of their own shadows.

  11. CTBlues says:

    I think having the Rooney graphic behind the pundits after the match like ManU won the match was a bit much. Should have stuck with having someone from each team or nobody at all FOX your supposed to be neutral.

  12. jtm371 says:

    robb pebble sucks he made the Robert Huth mistake twice yesterday halftime and post match.peers is a jackass who needs to go away.it would be cheaper to simulcast Sky for pre and post match and it would not insult our intelligence.i will watch the matches and pass on the commentary.

  13. John says:

    I’ve watched two EPL games on the regular Fox channel so far, and both times the frame rate on the broadcast randomly drops during the match. It will be nice and smooth and then really choppy for a while, and then back to regular. Has anyone else noticed this, or is this just a problem with my local Fox affiliate? Of course, this Fox affiliate (Fox 8 in Cleveland) was one of the 16 to show the game on tape delay because it was important for them to show their stupid informercials.

    • Matt says:

      Yes I noticed that as well. Fox9 in the Twin Cities on Directv had that problem. It was especially apparent on goal-kicks. Normally I don’t have that problem with FSC.

      Sorry you had to wait the extra few hours to witness that match.

    • patrick starr says:

      the ball would get a little blurry throughout the game

  14. Colin says:

    Eoin O’Callaghan, Eric Wynalda, Bobby McMahon= fox dream team

  15. Why? says:

    I don’t really know what you guys are on about but I’ll tell you now that most the pundits I have heard on US football TV are very poor i.e. Warren Barton, Steve McManaman, Shaka Hislop and the little bald Irish fellow have all worked briefly in Briton but were very poor and got rid of quick (some of the stuff they come out with is seriously hilarious it‘s that much wide of the mark). I think the stations in the US have seen they have worked on commentating in the UK before and give them a job. It would seem that the people who do the hiring clearly don’t know much about football at all, I mean Piers Morgan????? WTF why? The fact that anybody would want to listen to this obnoxious twxt about anything is beyond me! Is it because he has been on other shows in the US before, added to the fact that he‘s British?
    Ian Drake wasn’t that bad but is more known for boxing commentating, is there a reason he doesn’t work in the UK as a football commentator anymore I suppose. Seriously all of these guys (I’ll give Drake the benefit of the doubt here) are really poor and don’t have a clue what they are on about and just picking up the pay cheque . Try turning the sound off then having your own opinions then listen to these buffoons afterwards if you have playing and years of watching experience you will see how bad they truly are.

    • Matt says:

      From everything I’ve heard, much of the motherland weren’t too fond of Darke’s more in your face enthusiasm. They preferred the more controlled nature of Martin Tyler, so he got moved down the depth chart, and instead of staying there, he made the switch to American affiliates. Honestly, I’m glad they snubbed him, because he is the standard to which I hold all other soccer commentators (though, I be a bit biased towards him just for his association with a certain goal scored by Landon Donovan back in South Africa)…

      In regards to the rest of those guys, I couldn’t agree with you more. If I hear about the old onion bag one more time i swear to god….

      • The Gaffer says:

        I disagree about your Darke assumptions. He came to ESPN for World Cup 2010, became a massive hit and has continued with ESPN since then. He may end up making more money for ESPN than what he was in the UK.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

      • whitesun69 says:

        Darke was less “in your face enthusiasm” when he was in the UK. He worked for ESPN at the World Cup, kind of pandered to hyper-patriotism in the US, and (ironically) was a hit here.

        Quite sad, really.

        • The Gaffer says:

          I don’t know. Ian Darke, for me, has always been very excitable. Here’s a tiny clip of some of his work in the Premier League from either Sky or IMG/TWI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZKeXdzi38Q&t=3m21s

          I don’t think he was pandering to hyper-patriotism. It was an unbelievable moment in a game where the emotions were high and you could have cut the suspense and tension with a knife. That Landon Donovan goal was a one-of-a-kind moment and Darke perfectly captured the enthusiasm and emotion that we all felt.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

    • The Gaffer says:

      To be honest, most of the TV pundits are poor except for a couple of exceptions.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  16. Jason K. says:

    You guys should have watched it on Fox Deportes. Since I don’t understand Spanish I paid more attention to the crowd noise and it was great. Didn’t have to suffer through the studio analysts either.

    Did WTIC in Hartford actually show the game in SD? Shameful! I was going to wait till noon to watch it on HD so I’m glad I watched it on Fox Deportes.

  17. DCUdiplomat96 says:

    the game was a Good matchup the bad thing it ended in a Tie. ofcourse Tylers Boring announcing, along with British Token Piers Morgan(#1 in London ha thats pennys here) I did Like Rob Stone, did a good job keeping the American integrity in the broadcast, unlike some folks on the other side of the desk(wynalda) …. the affiliate thing again few peple bitch about it hopefully have a better understand how american TV works and that sports arent usually shown that early in the Morning especially on a national network. and the logistics wasnt worked well between the Network head and its affiliates. …..

  18. JJ says:

    Eric Wynalda is borrring. What did he say today that was so interesting ? nothing.
    Piers Morgan is horrible. liberal snob. his rant about John Terry was ugly.
    Rob Stone is ok.

    i could care less about the hand off to the announcers.

  19. Mark says:

    Piers Morgan has no business with anything related to Football. Take him off and I might watch. Until then I will stick to ESPN and internet feeds.

  20. Rob says:

    I’m not quite sure why they made the switch to Rob Stone. After I heard him refer to Tottenham Hotspur last week as “The Tottenham Hotspurs”, it revealed that he didn’t know jack smack about English Soccer.

    Perhaps Fox read his Wikipedia page ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Stone ) and noted that he had a degree in English and figured he was fit for the job.

  21. Rob says:

    In a related matter, can we please start referring to a rare 4 goal haul in a match by a player as a “HAMBONE!”.

  22. jeff says:

    Stone’s a pro … he’ll get there once he’s had a chance to become more familiar with the EPL. It’s pretty clear that he’s not working from a base of knowledge and is trying to cram for the new role. But he’ll be solid in the future, because even if he doesn’t know the EPL he does know football/soccer.

  23. hank says:

    I have to disagree about Piers Morgan — he might not be my first choice (Bobby McMahon), but he brings some entertainment and seems to know about as much as most pundits. For example, I think he’s better than Barton or Christopher Sullivan to take a couple other examples from the FSC pundit lineup. I suspect he gets an extra degree of hate simply for being a bit of a (C-list?) celebrity…

    • The Gaffer says:

      I agree that Piers Morgan is better than Barton and Sullivan, but FOX could be do better. Morgan’s silly comment about De Gea being the worst goalkeeper in the Premier League was a perfect example.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  24. usspur says:

    Surprised no one mentioned the graphic “BPL” (I presume standing for ‘British’ Premier League) that was shown at least once on screen. If the producers have no clue then what hope is there?
    Reminds me of the 1990 world cup on TNT when they showed the Union Jack next to England’s name.

    • Fog says:

      Surprised no one mentioned the graphic “BPL” (I presume standing for ‘British’ Premier League)

      Or maybe: “Barclay’s” Premier League??? Just a guess :)

    • The Gaffer says:

      I missed that part. What did the BPL say? The official name of the league is the Barclays Premier League, so BPL would have been correct usage.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  25. usspur says:

    Yes, I suppose it was ‘Barclays’ :-) ! I suppose the reason why I thought it might be ‘British’ is because during the previous telecast Rob Stone said something about the ‘British League’.

  26. daS says:

    the post match on fox is always lacklustre. i always waste 10 minutes in ads or other channels, and all i get in return is a 2 minute analysis that any fan can come up with…

  27. MG says:

    I personally don’t care for coverage, as far as judging the people involved etc. As long as highlights are shown, team news, lineups and the match is shown, I’m happy.

  28. JW says:

    It’s funny, I rarely intend to tune into a match until right before kickoff, so I typically don’t care about pregame stuff, etc. However, I’ve enjoyed ESPN’s pre-match coverage so much that now I try my best to watch whenever it first comes on. Love the player and cultural profiles, and especially the banter between Darke and Macca. Maybe one day Fox will get to that point, but right now it still feels like they’re just trying to put out what “Americans” want rather than “soccer fans.”

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