Arsenal fans in the United States will be glued to their TV sets this Sunday to watch their massive season finale against West Bromwich Albion. That is unless you live in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Colorado, Utah or the Northwest where six different regional sports networks will not be televising the game at all.
The West Brom vs Arsenal match will be shown live on TV nationwide in the United States on FSN (FOX Sports Net). However, the following six regional sports networks will not be showing the game:
- Comcast SportsNet Chicago
- Comcast SportsNet New England
- Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
- ROOT Sports Northwest
- ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain
- ROOT Sports Utah
“The RSNs (Regional sports networks) listed are not owned by FOX,” said a spokesman for FOX Sports. “They do have programming affiliations with FSN, and while we’ve made this game available to them, the decision to carry or not carry it is made locally. FOX has no control over that decision.”
FOX may not have any control over these six sports networks, but the decision by FOX to show the West Brom-Arsenal game on FSN is an unwise move based on how crucial the game is for Arsenal fans. FOX could have easily decided to show other major teams such as Chelsea (versus Blackburn) or Liverpool (against Swansea) to avoid risking the anger of Arsenal fans in a few key markets.
The enormity of the Arsenal match cannot be underestimated. There are three separate matches where teams are battling to finish in third place to guarantee qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League tournament. Since fourth won’t be good enough to qualify for the Champions League if Chelsea defeats Bayern Munich on May 19, supporters for Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle will be switching back and forth between the West Brom-Arsenal, Tottenham-Fulham and Everton-Newcastle matches. One goal scored for any team in any of those games can have massive consequences. A win for Arsenal will guarantee them Champions League soccer next season, but season finales with so much on the line often don’t go as easy as planned, so expect the unexpected. It’s no wonder, therefore, that the final day of the Premier League season is often so highly anticipated. Hence the reason why Arsenal supporters in these six TV markets are not going to be pleased when they read the news.
There is, however, a ray of hope for Arsenal fans. FOX Soccer 2Go, FOX’s broadband streaming service, will be showing the West Brom-Arsenal match live on its web, iPhone and iPad platforms. Readers can sign up for a one-month free trial to FOX Soccer 2Go by entering promo code XOOMFOX.
Nevertheless, it’s a shame that the Arsenal match won’t be shown live on television. While I’m very enthused and thankful that — between FOX and ESPN — all ten Premier League games on the final day of the season will be shown live, I only wish FOX would have made programming decisions based on the importance of each game instead of which teams will garner the highest TV ratings.
If I had to rank the relative importance of each of the nine Premier League games that FOX has rights to on Sunday, they would be as follows (ranked from highest priority to least):
- Sunderland vs Manchester United,
- West Brom vs Arsenal,
- Tottenham vs Fulham,
- Everton vs Newcastle,
- Stoke vs Bolton,
- Chelsea vs Blackburn tied with Swansea-Liverpool, Norwich vs Aston Villa and Wigan vs Wolves.
With FOX having the choice of showing the games across FX, FSN, FUEL, SPEED, FOX Deportes, FOX Soccer 2Go, FOX Soccer Plus and FOXSoccer.com, I’m disappointed that FOX decided to select West Brom vs Arsenal on the only network that FOX could not guarantee that 100% of viewers nationwide would be able to see the game — FSN. While FSN is a high profile network across the different regions nationwide, I believe it would have been better to put a Chelsea-Blackburn or Swansea-Liverpool on that RSN.
Arsenal fans who live in the six effected areas who want to see the game live on television should contact their regional sports network and politely let them know how disappointed you are and how important it is that the game should be shown on TV. If you push hard enough, it’s quite possible some of the networks may change their programming in favor of showing WBA-Arsenal.
Here’s the contact information for each of the six sports networks:
- Comcast SportsNet Chicago — Twitter » Facebook » Phone: 312-222-6000 » E-mail
- Comcast SportsNet New England — Twitter » Facebook » Phone: 617-933-9300 » Contact form
- Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia — Twitter » Facebook » Phone: 215-336-3500 » E-mail
- ROOT Sports Northwest — Twitter » Facebook » Phone: 425-649-6960 » Contact form
- ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain — Twitter » Facebook » Phone: 425-649-6960 » Contact form
- ROOT Sports Utah — Twitter » Facebook » Phone: 425-649-6960 » Contact form