The CONCACAF Champions League is taking a step towards it’s UEFA counterpart in it’s United States distribution. For American consumers who have enjoyed free, legal feeds from the Confederation’s site, that convenience should soon go away.
CONCACAF and FOX Soccer, in a press release issued today, announced that they have signed a new multi-year contract for the full United States rights to their two prized commodities, the Gold Cup and the Champions League. The deal will run through the 2015-16 Champions League tournament, and it includes not only television rights but streaming media rights in the US.
On the surface, this seems like a good thing – and it is for the average fan. We should continue to see all Major League Soccer club fixtures in the CCL on FOX Soccer, as well as biannual Gold Cup matches involving the US Men’s National Team. It’s good to see that FOX Soccer is still committed to the domestic game, even with the minor war of words they may be having with MLS.
Additionally, they have the rights to all matches in the Gold Cup and CCL. Any matches that are not shown on FOX Soccer can be streamed, most likely through their FOXSoccer2Go platform. The rights are also present to stream on-demand. While the CONCACAF.tv site was free, you had to watch live. So if you miss a match, you should be able to go in and pull up the full recorded match.
The downside will be the cost, as many have complained about the $19.99 monthly fee (or $169.99 for a single full-year payment) to access FOXSoccer2Go. This represents FOX’s first foray into using a domestic product to sell their online portal. We shouldn’t be surprised by this though. With everything from Major League Soccer to the Premier League coming at a premium for online streaming, you can’t blame both the Confederation and FOX itself for trying to turn a profit from the commodity.
For current subscribers to FOXSoccer2Go, you can now visit the same location for your CONCACAF viewing as you do the EPL, UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Europa League. Obviously it’s important for FOX to line up other content for their paid service, given that they lost the rights to Serie A and Ligue 1. The question will be whether this package will entice people to make the plunge.
In terms of the Gold Cup, the tournament generates a boatload of support from not only USMNT fans, but Mexico and other nationalities. This package represents a chance for American based viewers to view every match in the tournament – albeit at a price.
In the end though, as long as we have FOX Soccer, almost all matches of consequence to supporters of MLS sides will still be on the main channel. For the frugal fan, there should be little change to your viewing experience.
Yet this does represent a turning point for CONCACAF tournaments. What do you think? Will you consider purchasing a FOXSoccer2Go subscription because of this addition? Are there other domestic (or overseas) contests that you’d like to see obtained to make this worth the price? Feel free to comment on this news, and how it will affect you.
In the meantime, starting on August 17th, you can test drive the FOXSoccer2Go medium by signing up at this link. If you obtain an trial account, you should have access to the following:
– Next week’s CONCACAF Champions League fixtures
– The opening weekend of the Barclay’s Premier League
– The first leg of the UEFA Champion’s League Play-off Round next week.
According to our sister EPLTalk website, later this week FOXSoccer2Go will unveil their new Android-based app, in addition to updated iOS products and the web portal. Give it a go and see what you think.
Reader Todd asks about Spanish-language rights. This covers only English language rights. From my cursory searching, Univision appears to hold the Spanish-language rights for both tournaments.