FOX Soccer Plus Wins US TV Rights to Scottish Premier League

FOX today announced that its FOX Soccer Plus network has won the US and Caribbean TV rights to the Scottish Premier League through 2013-14.

The agreement with SPORTFIVE International secures the SPL TV rights for the remainder of the 2011-12 season through the end of the 2013-14 campaign. The first Scottish Premier League game on FOX Soccer Plus will be Saturday, March 17 between Dundee United and Rangers (8:40am ET). But the one that everyone will be looking out for is the Old Firm Derby between Celtic and Rangers, which will be shown on FOX Soccer on Sunday, March 25 at 8am ET.

“We are proud to welcome the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League into our family of networks,” said Dermot McQuarrie, Senior Vice President of Production and Assistant General Manager of FOX Soccer. “The SPL is a top competition, featuring some of the most historic clubs in European football, including both Celtic and Rangers.”

FOX Soccer Plus plans to carry up to two SPL matches per week throughout the season, along with weekly half-hour highlight shows to recap each round of play. Schedule permitting, all Old Firm clashes are airing on FOX Soccer.

How will this impact FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus’s coverage of the Premier League? Depending on TV schedules, the biggest impact will be on Sunday mornings for soccer fans who typically watch the early Premier League kick-off (8am or 8:30am). Some of those Premier League matches may not be shown live on FOX Soccer Plus, but would be shown live on FOX Soccer 2Go instead. However, I don’t foresee the coverage of the Scottish Premier League having much impact on Saturday games. FOX’s Premier League game coverage begins at 10am ET on Saturdays.

63 thoughts on “FOX Soccer Plus Wins US TV Rights to Scottish Premier League”

  1. Supprised NBC Sports didn’t go after it to add some more programs to there lite line up.

    I also hope FOX got this on the cheap being that the money game “The Old Firm” may be no more.

  2. Awful news.
    The SPL is the epitome of an awful league. Only 2 teams competing for title, and those teams themselves are quite awful.

    Why would anyone outside of Scotland want to watch an SPL match???

    1. “Only 2 teams competing for title”
      Hmmm. Sounds like “La Liga”.

      ‘Why would anyone outside of Scotland want to watch an SPL match???’
      Hmmm. Sounds like the original “EPL” fan base in the States.

      Hopefully, Rangers will survive and there will be something worth watching. There have been some USA national teams players that have played for them…Claudio Reyna previously and Edu and Bocanegra currently.

      Any “top flight” soccer on TV is a plus. I currently only watch the EPL, but I am glad others have leagues to watch. I look forward to the Old Firm and other Rangers matches.

    2. As opposed to the EPL where only 3 teams and have won it in the past 20 years and are quite probably heading to only two having a chance? Ah, maybe you mean La Liga? No, only two teams there as well. Serie A? Oops. Okay, I give up.

      1. At least epl makes up for lack of competitiveness with quality. No disrespect top the SPL but the quality of the league is horrible.

        Fox dumped MLS to bring in this??
        What a joke.

        1. EPL only has quality because of the television deals and with more tv deals like this the SPL standard will improve. Also the scottish game is looking to rectify the lack of quality by implementing a better youth system. This could in the long term prove a good relationship for both FOX and the SPL as the money could help improve the quality at a faster rate.

          1. Selling SPL rights to a Fox channel in America will do absolutely nothing to help the quality of the league! The PL has quality because of it’s television rights dealings with Sky over the years… I’ll give you that one but how is the SPL standard going to improve now and in the near future? Do you not think if the SPL had quality it would already be shown the world over and have lucrative rights deals? Here in the UK, Sky Sports are known to over inflate the value of rights packages in order to win them – they always want the biggest and the best. They once offered the SPL £45 million, which was rejected, so Sky said they weren’t bothered and gave up interest in them. If it was a league that people genuinely cared about and wanted to watch, Sky would have done what they did with PL and blown the rival bidders out the water. The SPL need Sky here in the UK, it’s not the other way around – unlike with the Premier League. Over the years the demand for other leagues has grown and grown, leading to more and more live TV coverage but the SPL is still only showing 60 live games per season in the UK and the demand for those is very thin apart from the Old Firm games.

          2. In reply to Paul, that is exactly the point I’m making, the SPL standard at the moment is nothing to brag about with large disparity in quality throughout it – the difference between Celtic at the top and Dunfermline at the bottom is prob equivalent to lower half EPL and lower league 1. However I am saying that their is a new breeze of optimism around Scottish football in this revamp they are about to undertake, with football academies and a new u-20’s league. The new model for Scottish football is based on that of Holland, a country which is not too much larger than scotland yet has a conveyer belt of talent with players being exported to top teams around Europe on a yearly basis. Therefore, I do think that in the next 10 years or so the SPL will be of a higher standard, not EPL standard, but definitely better than it currently offers.

            As far as thinking that the EPL is the be all and end all of world football, I think it won’t be too long before it gets knocked of its perch. Unless they change to a tv deal structure similar to that of Spain, allowing the teams to negotiate their own so to maximise revenue, they will not be able to compete while spending within their means and abiding by the financial constrictions I’m sure that will be implemented in the coming years. Also, with a vast nation such as the US becoming more interested in soccer (albeit at an extremely slow rate) the wealth they could potentially have may blow all European clubs out the water.

            We will just have to wait and see. Finally a shout out to The Brazilian Serie A, which in my opinion has even more exciting talent than most, if not all European leagues.

          3. Calvin please don’t talk such nonsense. It’s a well known thing that the structure of the Premier League’s TV rights is highly regarded as being one of the best in European football. Serie A individually sold rights… they decided that was a very bad idea and hugely detrimental to the league as a whole so they reverted back to our formula. The chief of the Liga in Portugal has, in the past couple of days, come out and said their league needs to follow the example of English football and revert to our method also, because the current method is killing the league in Portugal. The Premier League will not be introducing individual selling rights.
            You would rather have a system like La Liga in place? 40% each to the top two teams and 20% between everybody else? Yeah, great idea.

            SPL talent will not grow – it will forever be the inferior border league cousin of the Premier League. Football here in the UK is MASSIVE and yet the only place you’ll hear anybody talking about the SPL is, believe it or not, in Scotland. It’s just not a big deal and never has been. Every few years the debate opens up regarding the amalgamation of the top clubs joining the Premier League but as yet nothing has ever come of it.

            As for the US becoming more interested in football and potentially blowing all European clubs out the water. Sorry but I don’t buy into that at all. The US has a reputation for always doing things ‘bigger and better’ but they haven’t managed it with football over the years. It will forever remain the stomping ground of the English and mainland European leagues as has been the case thus far over the many, many years since the introduction of league football.

    3. Kind of have to agree- it’s not they are a bad league but with 2 dominant teams- (1 now in chapter 11) you better make up for the lack of competitive balance with quality. This would absolutely be an issue in EPL if not for the exceptional quality of talent below the big 4. Where is Swansea of the SPL? The other question is how good is this league really? Where would it rate in Europe? is the Croatian League better? How many of these teams are competitive in Championship league – are they Southhampton quality? Pompey? league 2? How does SPL compare with MSL? seriously my sense is it’s pretty close

      As one of those terrible Americans who watch soccer- I am not thrilled because I will watch EPL, Italy and Span ahead of SPL and Germany and Norway and MSL and France – who loses games for this league- no one with a straight face can say SPL should replace any of these leagues coverage. Terrible decision- few will watch not because we’re dumb Americans because there are better choices

      1. Considering a defender that couldn’t make it at Celtic (Hooiveld) starts for Southampton, yes, the top two are better than Championship quality. Add in the fact that, in their first team, Celtic hav 15 internationals: Samaras, Ki, Brown, Commons, Forrest, Majstorovic, Rogne, Mulgrew, Izzaguire, Kayal, Wanyama, McCourt, Stokes, Ledley, Matthews. Among those, four have featured at the World Cup, which consists of much more international pedigree than any Championship side, as well as most Premiership teams.

        This doesn’t even take into account Hooper (outscored Andy Carroll in the Championship) or Forster (being touted for an England cap). Rangers are down, but Celtic’s squad is as good as any in England below the top 7 or so.

        In addition, Celtic outplayed Udinese over two legs in the Europa League, which is quite the accomplishment given how English teams have fared against Italian opposition this year in Europe.

  3. How could this be awful news? More football to watch. Take out the Tims and Scum and there would be a decent league in Scotland.

  4. Atleast this will give me the old firm derby on my TV screen. I don’t anticipate watching much SPL other than twice a year, hopefully the two games a week (lets be honest probably Celtic and Rangers games) won’t effect Fox’s coverage of the EPL

    1. FOX carries Serie A, Champions League, CONCACAF Champions League, Ligue Un and several other cups and competitions that are not UK-based.

      The Gaffer

  5. Too bad Fox Soccer Plus doesn’t have or use an alternate channel like Setanta did to show both a live EPL and SPL match at the same time. I’m happy with the news there will be another league to watch here in the U.S., but I hope this doesn’t mean we’ll miss out on a good premier league match Sunday morning.

    1. The Premier League matches that get bumped for SPL on Sunday mornings will be live on FOX Soccer 2Go.

      The Gaffer

  6. They also picked up Super League (UK Rugby League), NRL (Aussie Rugby League) and AFL (Aussie Rules) rights.

    Might as well call it Fox Soccer Setanta Sports 😛

    1. When did they pick up AFL? I love Aussie rules it’s my second favorite sport.
      If that’s all true that’s great news.


        Fox Soccer Plus already has carried games from Australia’s National Rugby League and England’s Super League. Fox Soccer Plus will begin showing games from the Australian Football League at the end of the month.

        (Fox Soccer VP) Nathanson also said FSC would carry some rugby or Aussie rules games live, particularly in the early morning hours. Sports like rugby and Australian football have a similar international appeal as soccer that keeps the programming in line with the FSC audience, Nathanson said.

        “We’ll pick and choose events that will drive bigger audiences,” Nathanson said. “We have experimented with early morning live rugby programming on Fox Soccer Channel before. As part of these deals, we’ll show some of the matches on FSC.”

  7. Fox has had a busy couple weeks. They got the National Rugby League & they announced their deal with the SPL and AFL (Australian Football League) today. Gotta give Fox Soccer Plus credit, they now have a very wide range of international competitions, including the two most popular finals in Australia.

    I’m excited about the AFL. I’ve followed footy since the 1980’s when it was on ESPN at odd hours.

  8. Ugh…the level of horticulturalism in Scotland is worse than the Premier League…go after the TV rights in Portugal, Holland, Greece, Turkey, Russia…somewhere where the fans don’t worship “kick and run” football and there are actual footballers who can receive and pass the ball…check the stats of Scotish clubs in Europe over the last decade or so…beyond awful…

  9. a fantastic coup for FSC+… for me .. im happy im not sitting in front of my 15″ laptop for the foreseeing saturdays.. UNLESS……. they has Miles and Sullivan doing the commentary… then YES.. i will boycott your broadcast…

    who will be doing the commentary?????????????????????

    if its the uk/europe feed.. then.. Good on you FS+.. you have justified my subscriptions since day ONE…


  10. the more i think about this .. the more it makes sense…ESPNUK has the SPL Rights.. another partnership to share rights.. aka EPL.. Ligue 1 is a great property.. but the SPL has a huge fan base.. the supporters clubs of Celtic and Rangers have been protecting these Pub viewing only rights for a long time.. Ligue 1 will go… and now since the rights are so fragile… with the administration of Rangers .. they are looking for a regular cash stream.. and now they have found it.. unfortunately to the expense of Ligue 1… who has a fantastic production value and great commentary they will be up for grabs.. let hope ESPN3 grabs this…

    ultimately.. a good choice at a great time for FSC+.. a money maker.. the pubs will be filled to enjoy the SPL


  11. Ligue 1 is filler for FOX Soccer Plus. ESPN and FOX aren’t going to outbid each other. Look for other deals to come soon as Sportel RIO wraps up today.

  12. My dream is to see Celtics and Rangers in the Premier League, that would be awesome, if Swansea is in the EPL, why not those two teams?

  13. Well done foxsoccer channel, now I can resume watching after an absence of a couple of years of total immersion of the English one team league drivel. More leagues the better, its going to be fun watching the SPL. In future please don’t saturated me with that boring English stuff.

    1. “English one team league drivel”… really?! You’ll get more action and upsets in the Premier League than you’ll get in the other major European leagues – week in, week out!

  14. I would have liked the Bundesliga but I guess this could be fine too. Really hope FSC gets the bundesliga in the future

  15. agree with some of the other comments, it’s always good news when there is more football to watch.

    But, I would prefer to see a deal to broadcast the English Championship. It’s a great league, lots of decent teams, great battle for the top most years and the play-off for the third promotion spot is always captivating. Plenty of clubs with historical cache too, West Ham, Southampton, Notts Forest, Birmingham, Millwall, Leeds, etc.

      1. Unfortunately, they are in SD on DirecTV. That is why I will not subscribe to the channel. If the SPL is in SD also, it will not be a big plus for the Plus. in my mind.

  16. FS+ already has a promo banner up on the Prem’s official site noting Saturday’s 8:40 a.m. Dundee v Rangers match.

  17. been wanting this for ages. the old firm is the biggest and most intense derby in the world.

    also anyone slating the SPL, yes our league isnt the greatest, BUT, the premier league is the most overrated league in the world. thats a two horse race every year as well. and the rest of league from the top 5 down are honestly, just awful. route one the entire game. boring boring football. the german league is the most exciting league in the world and the most competitive.

    mon the hoops.

  18. the americans that “support” the teams on here going about the spl a bad league. while the mls is… just as bad. were a country with 5 million people. we dont have the tv deal england have with sky. celtic and rangers get about a million a year from sky. while teams in england get what? 50 million for getting relegated? when the sky money stops and the foreigners stop putting millions of pounds the premier league will fall. im sure none of you know, but the scenario rangers have gotten themselves into with HMRC is going to happen with about 10 clubs in the premier league as the case with rangers is a test case. the debt all these clubs are in is literally unbearable. the bubble will burst soon and the americans are going to have nobody to support. well in england anyways.

    if you dont watch the spl and dont want to, fair enough. but saying things when the most of you havent even seen a game in scotland. if you watch and old firm game, you will see what an actual atmosphere is. not the over hyped “rivalries” you get in england.

  19. Considering Rangers will be hard pressed to finish their fixtures this season let alone be in the SPL next season with the two HMRC tax cases, the EBT issue and the secret contracts all hanging over the current entity, why didn’t FSP wait to see if Rangers were bought or liquidated? The rights for SPL would be worth a lot less if there are no Old Firm matches in the following seasons as any new entity tries to get promoted.

    1. FOX didn’t wait until the end of the season because FOX already knew that it needed to replace Ligue 1, which will not be available for license from the new global rights holder Al Jazeera (which is keeping Ligue 1 for its new sports channel in the Americas, which will definitely have Spanish-language audio and French-language audio.)

      The Gaffer and I both suspect that SPORTFIVE (the international media rights distributor of the SPL) gave the U.S. rights to the remainer of the current SPL season to FOX at a significant discount in exchange for getting the deal done for the next 2 seasons now.

  20. FOX Soccer (Plus, 2GO) has basically swapped the Scottish Premier League for French Ligue 1.

    The current global media rights holder for Ligue 1, Canal Plus Events S.A., will not be back in the next cycle.

    There is absolutely NO CHANCE FOX Soccer will be able to license the U.S. media rights to Ligue 1 from the next global media rights holder for the next cycle.

    Also note that TV5 Etats-Unis and TV5 Quebec/Canada, which have aired one Ligue 1 match each Saturday for the past 15 years, appear to have been muscled out as well.

  21. The DirecTV programming guide has the Dundee United v. Rangers game listed for Sunday morning. Unfortunately, it will be on FS+ in SD. I don’t if any other carriers have FS+ in HD full time, but on DirecTV it is only part time for a limited number of live matches each week.

    Two things I don’t understand:
    1) Why is FS+ not a full time channel since on DirecTV they charge $14.99/mo. and,
    2) Why does Fox Soccer do so many things half-assed like this???

    Why pay for something to increase your viewership and then put it on an extremely overpriced channel in SD???

    1. It’s quite possible that FOX may have been offered the SPL for the remainder of this season for an incredibly low price or even free, especially if the season is already over (we all know who is going to win it).

      The Gaffer

  22. the gaffer, i somehow doubt that they would have been able to show the SPL for free. even if the league is done.

    however you seem to know a lot so do you know if they plan on showing the league cup final on sunday? and also the scottish cup games? as im sure theyre getting it off of sky. so they will only show the old firm playing on the road and another spl game unless both the old firm are away.

    1. SPORTFIVE is the international video distributor of the Scottish Premier League, using video produced by BSkyB and IMG Sports Media.

      ESPN UK does not produce its own video, as it outsources video production to IMG Sports Media.

    2. Only one SPL match for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season has any value to FOX Soccer:

      The Old Firm Derby on 25 March.

      The league title was decided several weeks ago when Rangers FC went into administration.

  23. olivert, theres still another old firm game after that. the place for european places are quite exciting for smaller clubs as motherwell tries to get 2nd and dundee united in there as well i think. theres a league cup final this weekend with the scottish cup still up for grabs. i cant wait to go to the pub on the 25th then be able to watch it again and again when we win the league at ibrox. would be amazing.

    and the league was decided before then when celtic got back from being 15 points behind rangers to 4 points in front.

  24. fog i agree. ive got verizon though but FS+ is in standard definition the whole time. (took me a while to realize what SD meant) haha
    thats why im happy the old firm game is on fox soccer. for 1. i dont have FS+ to begin with. (only saw it through the free trial) and 2. everythings better in HD. Apart from ugly people on the tele

  25. It is a tainted title, Rangers had the league wrapped up, 15 points clear before the administration problems begun to appear. Add to that the fact the referees have been hounded to the point any decision against celtic or for Rangers has seen them demoted and even worse fearing their families safety from attack. (See Steve Conroy and the farce they created in 2011 with the referee strikes ) If you need any more proof just look up the booking and sending off to fouls ratio, one team is surprisingly ahead of everyone else, no prizes for guessing who!

    Celtic may try to enjoy their tainted title this year, but they will never forget Rangers won 3 in a row while on their knees crippled with debt. The Rangers will be back in 2012-13 – No Surrender!

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