UPDATED: Nick Webster and Phil Schoen Say Farewell to FOX Soccer and GolTV Respectively

Two veterans of soccer broadcasting in the United States are moving on to new pastures.

After 12 years at FOX Soccer, senior producer Nick Webster has left the network to become editor-in-chief of a new venture named Football.com   Webster was the voice and driving force behind FOX Soccer for many years. Viewers will remember him as the English co-host of FOX Football Fone-In, as well as the familiar English voice and face on many FOX Soccer programs throughout the years.

Meanwhile, GolTV commentator Phil Schoen has announced that he has resigned from the 24/7 soccer network. “Today, after nearly a decade of thrills, I have resigned from GolTV,” said Schoen. “So many memories, so many friends.”

Schoen has been the lead English commentator at GolTV for 10 years, where he was best known for his commentating on La Liga and Bundesliga matches for the Miami-based soccer network, alongside colorful co-commentator Ray Hudson.

UPDATE: We can now reveal that Phil Schoen has joined Al Jazeera, to work on their two soccer networks beIN Sport 1 and beIN Sport 2 that will launch on August 1 and will be based in Miami, Florida.

As EPL Talk reported two months ago, Al Jazeera has acquired US TV rights to La Liga and Serie A, beginning next season — in addition to Ligue Un, Copa America and other soccer properties. Now that GolTV has lost its flagship TV rights — La Liga, the only major soccer leagues the network carries are the Bundesliga, Brazilian and Argentinian leagues.

38 thoughts on “UPDATED: Nick Webster and Phil Schoen Say Farewell to FOX Soccer and GolTV Respectively”

  1. In regards to the last paragraph of this article, who has the US TV rights for Bundesliga now? And have any providers, be it satellite or cable, announced that they’d carry either of the two new AL Jazeera soccer channels yet?

    1. No TV providers have announced that they will be carrying either beIN Sport 1 or beIN Sport 2 yet. Al Jazeera has 72 days to get its act together, but according to an interview with Multichannel News, here’s what they said:

      “In an interview, Antonio Briceño, vice president of affiliate sales for Imagina US, said: “We don’t expect to have 100% distribution at launch, but we will reach enough homes at launch to satisfy the business plan.” He expects beIN Sport to gain further distribution over time.

      Although he would not identify the providers that beIn Sport was in advanced carriage talks, Briceño insisted that the matches would be available to U.S. soccer fans this upcoming season. “You may have to switch providers,” he noted.”

      The Gaffer

    2. Bundesliga was on ESPN3 all season, but I don’t know what that means in terms of TV rights. Probably nothing.

  2. GOLTV, Inc. has renewed the U.S. (and Canadian) rights to the Bundesliga through May 2015.

    GOLTV will keep 2 or 3 matches each round.

    ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com will have the other 2 matches.

    Same as before: one company has picks 1 and 4, the other company has picks 2 and 3. GOLTV can take the 5th match.

  3. Wonder if FSC will try to bring in Eredivisie or something to replace Serie A and the few Ligue 1 matches they had?

    1. Ray Hudson is a freelancer.

      beIN Sports USA can definitely afford Ray Hudson’s day rate.

      Looks like the band is “walking across the street”.

      Note that Imagina U.S. is located on NW 74th Street in Miami, in the same building where GOLTV USA started in 2003 before GOLTV USA moved to North Bay Village.

    1. I’ll bet they end up on Dish, DirecTV, Verizon, and Comcast, and many others at launch. HD will be the stretch, but if that happens then even better.

      Great move hiring Phil Schoen. Gives them some credibility from the start.

      I can’t imagine them trying to fleece anyone at this point. This is all about easing minds about a 2022 Qatar World Cup, and wouldn’t it be something if both beIn 1 and 2 HD were on your larger providers on the sports bundle? Wouldn’t surprise me at all…at this point I’ll bet they want viewers.

      1. Here in France, it’s gonna be €11 ($13.97)/month for both channels, which is considered shockingly cheap given the high quality of the sports properties they acquired over the past year. As a comparison, CANAL+ ( 1 channel ) which up until this season had the exclusive rights to Ligue 1 is a €39.90 ( $50.67)/month channel.

  4. Are we going to be able to continue watching the EPL on Fox Soccer and ESPN? Furthermore, if Al-Jazerra sport has some of the best leagues, what are the chances of Time-Warner Cable picking up that channel? I live in Texas and anticipate the local cable operators being unwilling to do this because of their pee sized brains. I hope I’m wrong.

    1. The EPL will continue to be on FOX and ESPN through the end of the 2012-13 season. We’ll find out this summer or fall who will have the rights in the US for years 2013-16.

      The likelihood of beiN Sport being available on Time Warner or Comcast anytime soon is pretty slim. You only have to look at how long it took for Setanta Sports and FOX Soccer Plus to be added (I’m still waiting as a Comcast customer). It could take years.

      The Gaffer

  5. So basically this leaves FSC with EPL, SPL, UCL, and Europa Lg? GolTV left with So America and Bundesliga? Sorry, still trying to wrap my mind around all this…

    1. Football.com is an American football site, but from what I understand, the site will also be covering soccer, which Nick will be responsible for.

      The Gaffer

  6. Not sure where to put this but here is a link to the movie “United”, the story of the busby babes.

    It was just released on iTunes for rent, click the link and then click the “view in iTunes” blue icon (you will need iTunes for that part to work), its a good watch if you like football, and I think some of you on here do.


  7. First, I hope “bein” gets its act together and get into as many cable/satellite providers as possible or at least have some type of internet streaming presence. Otherwise, La Liga and Serie A will have very little presence in this country. With Fox and ESPN having so much presence both those leagues should be concerned that they will actually lose a large segment of its fan base to the EPL, for example.

    Secondly, I never rated Phil Schoen as I found him to be lacking in fundamental knowledge of the sport. He was fortunate that he worked alongside Ray Hudson who frequently corrected a lot of his ignorant comments. And I don’t actually rate Hudson that highly except that he can be quite funny sometimes with comments like “that move was better than a wet dream”.

    1. Phil Schoen was really bad. Hudson constantly had to correct him on the most obvious of calls. I’m glad Schoen is gone. Now FSC just needs to get rid of the terrible twosome of Christian Miles and Christopher Sullivan.

  8. Will miss Webster on FS. I go back to the old Fox Sports World days and I have to say the on air talent has gone so far downhill as to be unwatchable. Shiny new studio set up can’t cover up the awfullness of the commentators. Why they’ve chosed to make Wynalda their start escapes me.

    1. The Rajivs, Sanjays, and Deepaks of the world who are bombarding ESPN executives (including John Skipper) with emails 24/7 demand “football” commentators with the “proper” accent who call “football” matches using “proper” terminology.

      Unfortunately, the likes of Phil Schoen does not broadcast with the “proper” accent to be useful at ESPN anymore. JP DellaCamera and Glenn Davis were also shown the door for the same reason.

      The same Rajivs, Sanjays, and Deepaks are the ones who have convinced ESPN to buy exclusive US video rights to ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 for streaming only at ESPN3.com (no U.S. TV coverage.)

      1. Why Indian names ? Indians, like Americans, are not renowned for caring much about “football”. You should have gone with ” The Nigels, Nevilles and Simons ..” :)

      2. You really have issues. Did your job just get outsourced to india or something?
        Haven’t we all just demanded for good commentators that know about the sport rather than a ‘proper’ accent?

    2. agree with huhe888, prior to the 2010 World Cup they basically threw their American soccer commentators to the curb, which is why Schoen probably doesn’t want to go back. While ESPN did a great job covering the World Cup, I still felt bad for a guy like JP Dellacamera who was doing MLS and USNT games but then when the World Cup came around they basically had no use for him

    1. Qatar Media can definitely afford Ray Hudson’s day rate if Qatar Media wants to put the band back together again at beIN Sports USA.

  9. GolTV was the worst low budget football channel ever. I felt like I was watching high school matches on public access or something. Ray Hudson would say “MAGIC” 300 times a game. “Give me the big piece of chicken” was the worst goal call in the history of televised football. In addition, it was never 24/7 football as advertised….they had infomercials on early in the mornings quite often. But, If you were a Boca Juniors fan, you could watch EVERY SINGLE GAME.

    The Europa League coverage was decent, but way too often you could tell you were just watching a live video feed bought from another carrier, with a commentator that wasn’t at the game, but was translating the spanish commentary that he was watching.

    If GolTV survives this I’d be amazed.

    1. GOLTV might survive as Spanish-language only if its wants to wait out Qatar Media for the next 10 years.

      Can’t see the likes of DIRECTV or Comcast keep GOLTV in English-language sports packs without either Barcelona or Real Madrid.

      Bundesliga doesn’t sell period.

      Brazilian Football doesn’t sell period.

      Boca Juniors and River Plate don’t sell to English-speaking viewers. Bilingual viewers of Futbol Argentino prefer the Spanish feed with “Marcelo Araujo” calling the matches from the stadium.

  10. Looks to me like the average American Serie A fan won’t have access to matches in HD for the foreseeable future. Sickening.

  11. Personally, I won’t be purchasing the Al-Jazeera based networks if they don’t already come in my DTV package. The commentary team of Schoen and Hudson was terrible, neither one worse than the other in my opinion. I literally watched the final Clasico game on mute.

    I am not a huge La Liga fan anyways so this really doesn’t affect me too much, but I do follow Real Madrid, just don’t usually have the time on the weekends to watch their games live.

    How big is the bidding war going to be on the EPL games for the contracted years following next season? I would assume these rights will be hashed out sometime before Thanksgiving?

    Personally, I would like to see ESPN (U.S.) hire an additional two commentating tandems. I would like to see Andy Gray given one final chance, but I know that’s a stretch considering the guy is a big time dirt bag. Aside from Martin Tyler, Ian Darke is the best commentator in the world, for me. His chemisty with “Macca” is funny and seems genuine.

    I assume if ESPN does get more EPL games, they will have to do something like this, but given this most recent news, Fox Soccer is really going to be forced to spend more money than it wants to get the same amount of games it has now.

    ESPN has a much better picture and overall production in my opinion, and I like the fact that halftime is conducted at the stadium. Not to say that Fox Soccer’s HD production isn’t good or even great, but I want to punch Eric Wynalda in the face. What’s wrong with just Rob Stone and Warren Barton?

    Looking forward to see what happened.

    1. ESPN, Inc. President John Skipper said the following when asked by CNBC Business News Media and Entertainment Correspondent Julia Boorstin about rising programming costs:

      “We are very disciplined about what we can pay to acquire rights.”


      If Qatar Media Corporation were to bid for U.S. media rights to English Premier League for 2010-2013 (expected bid: over $300 million) and if Qatar Media were to include a written guarantee in the tender document to put at least 6-8 big matches on a channel that clears at least 80 million households (i.e. NBC Sports Network), then Qatar Media will win the rights.

      My estimate of the “threshold of pain” for the FOX Sports-ESPN partnership is $180 million ($30 million from each company per season). Add another $45 million to get to $225 million if FOX and ESPN were to agree to give up 1st pick in Spanish to Univision Deportes Network for the purpose of allowing Univision to contribute another $15 million per season.

      1. The bidding will certainly be interesting and perhaps even nerve racking for U.S. fans. Fox and ESPN certainly have money, but there is no way they outbid Qatar if Qatar decides they want the rights. As you say, some sort of distribution guarantee would have to be included, but in the end money talks loudest.

        1. I think you can safely say they will go after Premier League rights. There was an article posted the other day containing quotes from the launch of the beIN Sport channel and it was said that the businesses in France and the US are different in the sense that in France they’re actively taking on the local powerhouse (Canal+) but in the US they’re aiming to be a “niche channel” providing international coverage and they won’t be taking on ESPN or Fox with domestic sports. This would say that they will never ever be looking to gain MLS rights or any other US sports… but they will be looking to add Premier League to their books.

          1. The other thing quoted was that one of the US channels will be in Spanish. With the amount of live football they’ve got to show over the course of a season, they can’t fit everything on one English and one Spanish channel so I’ll hazard a guess they’ll be having an online service too. I’d see it as a very exciting time because you can’t do anything about it so you may as well embrace it! 😉

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