Thanks FOX Soccer and ESPN for 17 Years of Continuous Premier League Coverage In US

On the eve of arguably the biggest weekend in the 2012-13 Premier League season thus far, soccer fans in the United States will be watching Chelsea-Manchester United and Everton-Liverpool with the knowledge that this will be the final season that both FOX Soccer and ESPN will be bringing their EPL coverage to us.

Since August 1996, between FOX Soccer and ESPN, they’ve brought us continuous coverage of the English Premier League. ESPN brought us the Premier League from 1996-1998, followed by 2009-2013, while FOX Soccer brought us the EPL from 1998 onwards.

Those 16 years (soon to be 17 when their coverage of the Premier League comes to a close next May) have been a glorious ride, bringing the league from tens of thousands of people to recent TV audiences of more than 1.5 million.

With the news that the joint bid from FOX Soccer-ESPN has failed, I wouldn’t be surprised if we soccer fans will savor our viewing experiences a little bit more this season — whether it’s Ian Darke and Steve McManaman on our Saturday mornings, or the team of Eric Wynalda, Rob Stone and Warren Barton on our weekends.

The growth of the Premier League and soccer in the United States have been a direct result of FOX Soccer and ESPN bringing the sport into our homes. Both networks have radically improved their level of coverage during the last 16 years. And there’s no doubt that they’ve raised the bar.

I’m sure ESPN and FOX Soccer will continue to provide quality coverage for the soccer rights they maintain. Thank you ESPN and FOX for 16, soon to be 17, wonderful years of golden memories. You will not be forgotten.

Read about the history of the Premier League on US television from 1980 to 2007.

31 thoughts on “Thanks FOX Soccer and ESPN for 17 Years of Continuous Premier League Coverage In US”

  1. Yes they have done a good job. They have gotten more criticism than they deserve. It hasn’t been perfect. Many have wanted all coverage straight from UK only. I prefer Neville to Wynalda, but I also like seeing Wynalda get excited about Dempsey and the Yanks that make it over there. Warren Barton did a good job. The new studio show is just getting off the ground in HD. They must be gutted.

    Don’t close up shop and send CL to Fox Sport SW. They won’t care about it like you guys do. I think the EPL is making an error here. Will NBC do more to grow the sport for the US/Canada? I doubt it.

    Thanks Fox Soccer. Well done.

  2. It’s a sad, sad day for Premier League fans in America. I suppose I have really taken it for granted the amount of Premier League football that has been offered with FOX Soccer/ESPN.

    I’m just a little concerned about where this leaves us fans for the next season. Will any other station provide the same amount of coverage? If it’s Bein that gets it, then I’m not sure where that leaves me as a Dish Network customer. I don’t really want to have to pay more money, but…. I guess we will have to wait and see what actually happens.

  3. Yes. 6 guaranteed live matches every weekend. there’s no way NBC or Bein or even both could or would match that. This is a sad day indeed.

    1. NBC could match it easily. NBC only has pro football on Sunday nights, so all of Sunday is open. NBC only has Notre Dame college football, so most of the times have nothing else to compete with.

      NBC owns these networks: NBC, NBC Sports, G4, SyFy, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, and USA. They have plenty of places to show the games. And it’s not like EPL wouldn’t beat the ratings most of those channels are getting early weekend mornings. Plus that doesn’t factor in the channels that Comcast owns (who owns NBC). Those include various Comcast Sports channels plus E!.

      If someone besides FOX and ESPN were going to win, NBC was by far the best option.

  4. Who then will show the games? What is the point of Fox Soccer Channel?

    To be honest, I refuse to watch the pre match talks and same with half time talks. Rob Stone is too hard to watch. If he had even the slightest of clues what he was going on about, it might be different.

    Fox Soccer News is a horrible substitution from the Fox Soccer Report. The analysts they have are clueless. The Jamaican guy does my head in. Bobby McMahon is hardly on it and he is what made the FSR.

    How they managed to lose the rights is beyond me. Its owned by Rupert Murdoch, is it not? He owns sky and its obvious that’s where they get the feed for all of their games they show.

    They should have tried to get rights to the German League. The most competitive league in the world for a top league.

    Espn only showed one game a week. And that was the earliest game because the folks at FSC were too lazy and couldn’t be bothered waking up at 4am to cover a game.

  5. Also, if it is NBC that get it. I think they will do what they did with the Olympics. Have new channels added for it.

    Great news is that FSC will keep showing the SPL ! 😀

  6. So next year Foxsoccer2go will be Champions League,Europa League,the SPL and the odd A League game?What a shame. Does anyone know if NBC Universal will offer a streaming package as well? In 2012 streaming should be a part of any live sports package, but I’m not optimistic Comcast will go that route. Sad day for American soccer fans.

  7. I just bought a home and got a good TV/internet bundle through U-verse which included FSC. We’ll see what the future holds for us to be able to view EPL matches.

  8. A sad day but another part of the growth of soccer in America. NBC will do I fine job I have no worries about that. I would expect they will try to go with there own productions as a result of their recent experience in the UK with the 2012 games. It is not foreign to them for sure.

    ESPN to me never seemed to reach the level of production and special event that I thought they would with the EPL. You can claim they never had enough time to develop fully.

    FOX Soccer will be missed in a different way. It was the mother so to speak of the EPL in the US. We as American fans of the EPL where raised by it and on it. Yes, there production for all too long was terrible. In a way that poor quality was part of the fans badge of honor. We where trying to show our support despite 70’s style production we where seeing in 2005. Only the select few cult followers would be up on a dark winter morning struggling with bad commercials and cardboard sets to enjoy our sport. It made us special.

    Fox Soccer made attempts to upgrade the fan experience but never quite to where we thought it should be. May be we outgrew it and the split had to come but it will be like leaving your family home to strike out on your own.

  9. Savouring Barton, wynalda and stone … Not likely… I just prey whoever wins does NOT consider the three stooges as options for anything. The only worse option for anchoring the Fox Soccer shows would be Joe Buck.

    Fox have themselves to blame. NBC show foresight. Poor leadership at fox has lead to them being outbid. The same with ESPN, I thought they might go for the whole thing on their own, ESPN NOT making a solo
    bid is more shocking than fix not winning the bid.

  10. With all the channel switching that’s happened in the past 15yrs there was always the constant of turning on FSW/FSC/FS and seeing EPL. That comfort zone is now gone. NBC(or Bein) will be different but I’m sure we’ll get used to it.

  11. Comcast cornered the market for soccer in america. In the long run this might work out, bein signed with Comcast pretty quick and with nbc winning the epl we should be able to see a lot more, but you are going to have to get Comcast to see it. As far as fsc goes it was a good run they exposed the game far more than anyone else has they took it off of ppv and let us see more than we had ever had. I know that if it wasn’t for fox sports world I would have never been able to find the Passion for the greatest game in the world

  12. If NBC do win this and show the games on NBC Sports it will be a boon to people as on Comcast it is in the Starter tier and also available on our DTA. I wonder how long it will be before Comcast moves NBC Sports to the Sports pack to make more money.

  13. I hope that the Sky feed with its game announcers remain. If it is American announcers with their need to constantly blather on and on and on, it will seriously detract from the overall product.

    1. Good point Charles. It’s quite possible that NBC Universal would want to feature American commentators on the games. We won’t know for sure until next year though.

      The Gaffer

    2. the sky feed? sometimes it is, but mostly as pointed out by gaffer on numerous occasions its a international broadcast team provided by BPL. and the BPL also uses the Sky feed internationally No reason NBC would want american commentators. Anything they do offer will not be any worse than the current options by fox soccer’s europa games. There is no reason to think it will be that bad, the agreement will include feeds.

      1. There’s too many unknowns right now. NBC may want to put more of an American stamp on their coverage. Or they may not. Let’s wait to see what they decide first.

        The Gaffer

  14. Why is everyone so confident that NBC will get the rights and not beIN? We need to wait till the winner is announced and then wait to see what they plan for next season.

    I don’t think either company will spend all that money and not offer the games to the viewers, be it through added channels, internet or selling of games to other companies.

    1. 2 reasons:

      1. Multiple media outlets are now reporting that NBC Universal Media (NBC Sports Group and Deportes Telemundo) have won the U.S. rights.

      2. The winning bid of $250 million is consistent with the notion that beIN SPORT LLC did NOT enter a bid. The observation of no bid from beIN SPORT LLC is consistent with the columns that Phil Mushnick of the New York Post has written since August describing beIN SPORT LLC as an “oily” business.

      1. Only Variety specifically stated that NBC had won without citing any sources. Nearly all the reputable media that also reported on the story are simply announcing that the NBC bid is “in the lead”. It is Sports Business Daily that broke the story with an article titled ” NBC Universal is front-runner in bid for…” and goes on to say ” It is not clear if the Al Jazeera network, BeIN Sport, still is in the running..” We still have to wait a few more days to be sure.

        1. I agree Li. It looks likely that NBC Universal has won it, but until a source quotes someone or the Premier League issues a statement, I’m not convinced that beIN SPORT is out of it yet.

          The Gaffer

        2. A press release from NBC just officially confirmed the deal today. ” NBCUniversal becomes the exclusive English- and Spanish-language media rights holder to all 380 Premier League matches across all platforms and devices in the United States. “

  15. It’s sad to see ESPN lose out. Their coverage was very well done. I love Darke’s pre match coverage of fans and history. I’m not as disappointed in seeing FOX lose out as long as the new network can offer nearly as many games to the viewers. Which begs the question, why would a network spend millions of dollars and not get a return on their investment? If they cannot show the games to a large population, then they’ll lose money. Is it out of the question for NBC to follow in FOXs footsteps and create a NBC Soccer Channel.

    1. They don’t need to create a NBC Soccer Channel because they have so many channels at their disposal. NBC Sports shows hunting and fishing in the morning on the weekends, they could have a match of the week on NBC, CNBC is basically paid programming on the weekends, and then there is also MSNBC, USA Network, Universal HD, Universal Sport, Telemundo. Then online they have Hulu and where they show some live games, but my guess is they would probably be smart and use Hulu Plus so they can make some money off it.

      1. Not very convenient for the soccer fan having games on 5 different channels, is it? However, if they offer a Fox Soccer 2 Go type outlet on Hulu Plus, I’m subscribed. Doesn’t seem likely though. Hulu Plus is just TV shows. Having soccer games in the mix would be odd.

        1. I doubt they will use 5 different channels. I think they will use NBC Sports, Telemundo for Spanish, NBC if they have a really big game they want to show on on broadcast, and CNBC for overflow. You have to also remember none of those stations are pay stations like FS+ and aren’t on the sports package.

  16. i wonder if they’ll nbc will use their own commentators or use the ones from sky sports. I actually enjoy their commentary. I’m gonna miss fox soccer. Jamaican guy on fox soccer news is stupid. He said yesterday that the offsides goal that man u got against chelsea should be allowed if he’s only offsides by a shoulder.

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