FOX Sports Media Group announced today that it will show nine of the ten Premier League matches on the final day of the season across its family of networks. The unprecedented move by FOX means that for the first time in US television history, nine of the matches are being carried live simultaneously by one family of outlets. The tenth Premier League match played that day will be shown live on ESPN2.
Led by FX, FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) networks SPEED, FSN, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes, along with digital platforms FOXSoccer.com and FOX Soccer 2Go, are carrying all nine matches live on Sunday, May 13 at 10:00 AM ET. Pre-match coverage begins at 9:30 AM ET on all networks with the exception of SPEED, with all outlets carrying post-match coverage of this hallmark event.
“With so much at stake, there’s nothing like the tension of the Premier League’s final Sunday, and we hope to capture every minute we can using the considerable resources available to the FOX Sports Media Group, including SPEED and FUEL TV, unconventional outlets for soccer,” said FSMG’s Eric Shanks, Co-President and COO. “Our plan is to provide cut-ins and updates from matches as often as necessary, while never taking the viewer away from the game they’re watching.”
FOX Sports Media Group’s commitment to the Barclays Premier League is underlined by airing over 300 matches per season, including 180 live matches across FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus. FOX Sports also aired three encore matches on NFL Sundays last fall and two live matches last winter. Highlights, commentary and analysis from England’s top division are at the center of FOX Soccer’s primary studio shows, Match Day and Goals on Sunday. Additionally, FOX Soccer carries round-by-round Barclays Premier League preview and review shows, as well as a weekly magazine feature and Premier League Fan Zone.
FX carried two UEFA Champions League semifinal matches in 2011, and is doing the same this month. FSN, through its 20 owned-and-operated regional networks is the nation’s leading provider of local sports, producing over 5,000 live local events annually, but is no stranger to televising high-caliber soccer. It has aired a national Premier League game-of-the-week since 1998 and has aired UEFA Champions League matches on both a live and delayed basis. FSN also aired a national MLS game-of-the-week last season, Manchester United’s U.S. Summer Tour in 2003 and 2004, WPS matches nationally, a variety of college matches and ancillary programming. Finally, SPEED, the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle, and FUEL TV, FSMG’s dynamic sports network for men, offers soccer as a programming stunt for the first time.
Survival Sunday has serious implications for the teams involved. The centerpiece of this event is the relegation battle. While there can only be one league champion, the remaining 19 clubs jockey for position to determine qualification for European tournament play and Premiership survival. Wins and losses on May 13 carry heavy consequences, and a single point can be the difference between prosperity and financial ruin.
Survival Sunday matchups are listed below. Specific networks and digital platforms will be determined at a later date. ESPN will select one match from the schedule. All games begin at 10:00 AM ET.
Premier League matches on May 13, 2012:
- Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers TBA
- Everton v Newcastle United TBA
- Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers TBA
- Sunderland v Manchester United TBA
- Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham TBA
- Norwich City v Aston Villa TBA
- West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal TBA
- Wigan Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers TBA
- Stoke City v Bolton Wanderers TBA
- Swansea City v Liverpool TBA
In addition to a full slate of matches on FOX Sports Media Group’s networks, fans can also view and follow real-time scorelines on FOXSoccer.com/SurvivalSunday, as well as FOX Soccer 2Go, FOX Soccer’s subscription-based digital platform available online and via mobile and tablet applications.
This is an incredible move to raise the awareness of the Premier League to soccer fans in the United States. The exposure the league will get with games being played at the same time across several networks is phenomenal. FOX Sports is going “all in” with its focus on the English Premier League.
Of course, I’m sure the FOX executives (and many viewers) will be hoping that the Premier League title race, race for Champions League places and relegation battle will go down to the final day of the season.
The only concern I have, based on what has happened in previous seasons, is that it’s imperative that all of the games across the different networks (including ESPN) kick off at the same exact time on television. In previous years, FOX has shown games on a slight delay, which messed up the final day experience for many soccer fans. The final day of the season is the only time that IMG/TWI commentators – on the world feed — will reveal the latest scores from the other games, so it’s incredibly important for the games to be synced up when shown live on US television otherwise commentators will be providing spoilers, and will ruin the experience.
What’s your opinion about the move by FOX? Does your TV provider offer all of the networks where the games will be shown? Which matches will you like to see on which channel?