FOX’s Americanization of the English Premier League

Most fans of the Premier League in the United States want the game to grow, and broadcasting games on a major network is a tremendous step forward. Unfortunately, this means soccer is jeopardizing one of the major areas where it breaks from every American sport. In a country where almost every televised game is sandwiched by balding men shouting declarative presumptions of questionable logic, where animated robots jump around 30-foot television screens flexing metal-muscles, we have to ask ourselves, is this the path we want the EPL to follow?

Soccer is a graceful and beautiful game to watch. For the most part, FOX Soccer’s coverage reflects that. They tend to have two people talking rationally (relatively speaking) before every game and briefly at half, otherwise letting the game absorb the majority of the spotlight. FOX Soccer tends not to make itself the center of attention, recognizing people watch for the game, not for the production.

All of this is in direct opposition to the broadcast of every other American sport. Pregame shows for the NFL and NBA are laden with grandiose former stars with opinions to match, massive digital screens to make the seven-foot analysts look human, and mind-bogglingly inane pre-filmed segments. During FOX’s most recent NFL-pregame show, the host interviewed two fictitious talking babies created by a company’s marketing department. Networks like TNT, FOX and ESPN want the pregame to be a spectacle in itself, at the expense of the game’s dignity.

FOX has already begun to follow this formula with soccer. If you think my fears of soccer broadcasts getting Americanized is farfetched, you needn’t look any further than Piers Morgan. By bringing in the “noted Twitter antagonist” as a third-wheel for the main FOX broadcast, the network is following the big personality-big declarations formula, and he didn’t disappoint in that regard. Aside from Piers, the network used the same theme music as the NFL broadcast, and consistently tried to market to the NFL crowd. Not only does this demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding about NFL audiences, but it shows FOX’s aspirations consist of applying the NFL broadcasting formula to the EPL.

First and foremost, we all love and appreciate the game of soccer. I have tremendous respect for the game, and want it to remain the central theme of each and every broadcast. I want the EPL to grow in the US, but I want it to lure people with its subtle complexity, beauty, and exuberance. I don’t want it diminished by big screens and shouting dolts.

All I ask is, when championing the growth of soccer in the US, be careful what you wish for. We might be getting it.

62 Comments

  1. FCAsheville February 8, 2012
    • The Gaffer February 8, 2012
      • Nonsense February 8, 2012
        • Nonsense February 8, 2012
          • The Gaffer February 8, 2012
      • FCAsheville February 8, 2012
        • The Gaffer February 8, 2012
          • Efrain February 8, 2012
  2. Mark February 8, 2012
    • FCAsheville February 8, 2012
  3. Fairchild February 8, 2012
    • Patrick Starr February 8, 2012
  4. Guy February 8, 2012
    • Taylor February 8, 2012
  5. DaveC February 8, 2012
    • The Gaffer February 8, 2012
    • Guy February 8, 2012
    • Mark February 8, 2012
      • Guy February 8, 2012
  6. Titus Pullo February 8, 2012
    • Guy February 8, 2012
      • Dan Lott February 8, 2012
        • MG February 9, 2012
  7. Jeff February 8, 2012
    • Nonsense February 8, 2012
    • Guy February 8, 2012
    • Temacube February 8, 2012
  8. Taylor February 8, 2012
    • MG February 8, 2012
  9. Jean February 8, 2012
  10. coachquinn14 February 8, 2012
    • MG February 8, 2012
  11. Fernando February 8, 2012
  12. Juan February 8, 2012
  13. Stacy Richardson February 8, 2012
    • Nonsense February 8, 2012
  14. Juan February 8, 2012
    • Nonsense February 8, 2012
      • Nonsense February 8, 2012
      • Juan February 8, 2012
        • Fog February 8, 2012
        • Nonsense February 8, 2012
          • The Gaffer February 8, 2012
  15. Fog February 8, 2012
  16. J February 8, 2012
    • EPLNFL February 8, 2012
  17. Donnie Malibu February 8, 2012
  18. Ken February 8, 2012
  19. Nonsense February 8, 2012
    • The Gaffer February 8, 2012
      • Nonsense February 8, 2012
        • The Gaffer February 8, 2012
  20. John February 8, 2012
  21. scrumper February 8, 2012
  22. Kody February 8, 2012
  23. dcudiplomat96 February 9, 2012
  24. Pietro Romeo February 9, 2012
  25. Pietro Romeo February 9, 2012
  26. Jim February 9, 2012
    • Pietro Romeo February 10, 2012
  27. Guy February 11, 2012

Leave a Reply