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After Losing EPL to NBC, What Will Happen to FOX Soccer?

fox soccer logo After Losing EPL to NBC, What Will Happen to FOX Soccer?

Last week, when news filtered in that FOX Soccer and ESPN’s joint bid to continue showing Premier League soccer for three more years had failed, an insider revealed to EPL Talk that the atmosphere in the FOX Soccer headquarters felt like someone had just died.

Coverage of the English Premier League has been FOX Soccer’s number one priority since the network began as Fox Sports World, which was renamed Fox Soccer Channel before becoming simply FOX Soccer. Without the Premier League in its stable of media rights after May 2013, FOX Soccer’s programming guide looks particularly stark.

FOX Soccer finds itself at a crossroads. They can either try to rebuild by picking up other TV rights to beef up their 2013-14 schedule, or they could decide to dissolve FOX Soccer next year and turn it into a FOX Sports 2 or FOX Sports 3 channel, where they would offer viewers a variety of different sports programming including a limited soccer offering (choosing from the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and England home matches, as well as smaller leagues). FOX also has US rights to the Women’s World Cup (2015) and FIFA World Cup tournaments (2018 and 2022), but those are still in the distant future.

FOX finds itself in an uncomfortable position. beIN SPORT has the rights to La Liga, the Championship and  Serie A. NBC will have the rights to EPL, as well as the current rights to MLS. ESPN has some USMNT games in addition to FIFA World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016. Other than that, there isn’t much left that’s strong enough to lead or build a channel around.

The channel could try to pick up additional rights such as the Bundesliga from GolTV, but the TV ratings would be far less than what it enjoys with the Premier League.

Additionally, without the Premier League, FOX Soccer 2Go becomes practically worthless after May 2013. And the future of FOX Soccer Plus appears bleak if there’s no FOX Soccer around.

Based on the options available to FOX Soccer, the best decision may be to pull the plug next year and then show what rights it has across it’s anticipated FOX Sports # channels.

While FOX Soccer has raised the bar on its coverage of Premier League soccer in the United States, it has made a lot of mistakes. FOX’s Americanization of FOX Soccer resulted in a far greater expenditure with mixed results:

— The launch of a Hollywood-style TV chat show entitled Soccer Talk Live was a flop.
— Canceling FOX Football Fone-In and not replacing it with a caller-driven show was a mistake.
— FOX’s focus on bringing in American talent such as Kyle Martino, Kasey Keller, Rob Stone and Brian McBride was misguided. FOX Soccer “pushed out” their crown jewel of its coverage, veteran pundit Bobby McMahon, which was the best thing the channel had going for them. (The number of ex-pats in front of the camera at FOX Soccer were reduced to Warren Barton and Keith Costigan; far fewer than in the past), and
— The money spent producing “Being: Liverpool” could have been better spent by allocating that towards a larger bid for EPL media rights.

Don’t get me wrong. FOX has made some significant steps to improve its coverage and presentation, but it ultimately lost out to heavyweight competitors NBC and beIN SPORT where it mattered the most — TV rights deals.

In a very short of time in the United States, NBC Sports has displaced FOX while beIN SPORT has displaced GolTV. As a result, the future for both FOX Soccer and GolTV looks bleak as the soccer heavyweights have shuffled the deck and have now dealt us two media companies that we’re not used to dealing with when it comes to top class international soccer. Where FOX Soccer and GolTV go from here, it’s their call. But it’s another fascinating story to watch unfold as the sport of soccer continues to grow by leaps and bounds in this country.

What do you think? Does the future of FOX Soccer look grim, or do you see the network having a new lease of life now that it won’t have to pay the very expensive TV rights for the Premier League for 2013-16? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

This entry was posted in beIN SPORT, FOX Soccer, GolTV, Leagues: EPL, NBC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

107 Responses to After Losing EPL to NBC, What Will Happen to FOX Soccer?

  1. Tomas Brolin Fatcakes says:

    Excellent point re: “Being: Liverpool”.

    Frankly, i’d rather have seen an EPL match replay. I loved being able to turn on FSC and see an EPL replay, at least more often than not. I could pick up matches I didn’t see live over the weekend. Lately, it just seemed to be ancient CL matches and “Being Liverpool” repeats. Cue the yawning.

  2. Nelson says:

    They will pull the plug. I bet you anything the channel ceases to exist this time next year and it disappears off your channel lineups. Whoever said everyone at the network acts like someone died is probably an understatement. I’m sure many people at the station, especially the on air talent probably see this as a death sentence or the beginning of the end of their careers. I hope none of them are hired by NBC. They arent good enough. The one person NBC really needs is Ian Darke from ESPN. Many have said that wont happen as he has a contract through 2014. But, what is ESPN going to be paying him to do up untill WC?

    • Garry Craske says:

      Agreed on Ian Darke a very good commentator, and know’s his footie history. Fox just got complacent over the new rights bid i feel and possibly thought that they would just need to bid something. Unless they can get the English Championship live then they are a dead duck.

  3. JIm says:

    YES NO Fox soccer!!!!!!! Can’t wait till NBC starts showing the matches. Hate Fox soccer’s channel and the website.

    • Bobby says:

      Fox did a good job over all. Bobby McMahon should have been kept around, lot better than the idiots on now. As for it going out of business, since I hate Rupert Murdoch and what he stands for I will not shed any tears for anything that starts with FOX.

    • darren says:

      my concern is that when a match wasn’t on FOX Soccer, it might be on Fox Soccer+ or Fox Soccer 2 Go… so even if the game I wanted to watch wasn’t featured on the “main” channel, I could still go somewhere to see it. With NBC in control, I’m not sure what will happen with multiple matches on at the same time.

      • The Gaffer says:

        One 10am ET match on Saturday will be shown live on television. All of the other 10am ET matches will be available online to watch live.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

  4. Smokey Bacon says:

    Its game over for FSC. But to blame it on Being: Liverpool is a bit harsh. Let us not forget, FSC is arguably the main reason the EPL is as popular as it is over here in the United States. FSC was starting to up their game in response to competition from ESPN when the rug was pulled from under them. The fact that even ESPN declined shows you how much NBC has overpaid to get the EPL. I am most disappointed in the Premier League who threw away a 15 year partnership and literally sold out to the highest bidder. Must it always be about the bottom line. NBC has its work cut out and I’m not confident at all that they will be able to pull it off. The Americanization of the EPL has begun and it won’t be long before people are slating it on here.

  5. Matt says:

    I am convinced that it will become fox Sports 2. There simply isn’t enough content to fill the dead space that will occur during every week that is void of Champions/Europa League for the next 3 years. I can’t imagine that they’d try to go on a rugby overload, right?

    I hope that NBC can learn from Fox Soccer. Hopefully they start utilizing BBC America as an outlet for the content. Is it possible that they could arrange Hulu plus as the online mode of distribution? The live functionality is already there, and the app is only rivaled by Netflix in terms of availability. Not to mention that it is infinitely more user friendly than FS2G…

  6. Dust says:

    It was an incredibly poor business decision, the wasted market value, momentum and previous investments will now be for the benefit of NBC.

    I still can not understand why fox soccer would invest in the next 2 world cups (which can not be cheap) and not continue to invest in the sports most popular league competition.

    Will they now sell off their big competitions and call it a day? 2018 is a quite a ways away. Perhaps they will wait till the net bidding process and just out bid everyone else in the next round.

    I was just becoming attached to watching the NCAA game of the week on a Friday too.

    I would imagine an executive cull at fox sports. Perhaps they sub license games from bein & NBC? They have 7 months to figure it out.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      beIN SPORT LLC has no interest in sublicensing. beIN SPORT LLC is what it is, a “private” company whose executives make their money via “private banking”. beIN SPORT LLC is NOT a traditional media company and should not be regarded as one.

      NBC has also made it clear that it wants to keep EPL all to itself. No sublicensing.

      FOX Sports Media Group will be healtier than ever after SPEED, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, and FOX Soccer Plus are converted to FOX Sports 1-4.

      College Football (gridiron) and College Basketball make money for pay sports TV channels in the U.S. Pro sports including EPL are now loss leaders.

      • Bobby says:

        Not sure how much money they will make off college sports, they paid a lot of money for the rights. Guess they can replay college games over and over again, 3 plus hours long.

  7. Bill Kiehlkopf says:

    I agree with you completely. Fox Fone-In was great and the replacement was terrible. Bobby McMahon is great. The best U.S. guys they had are Chris Sullivan and Miles O’Brien and they were shuttled off. Eric Wynalda is obnoxious, Brian McBride has nothing to say and Rob Stone is boring. When you fall for the beautiful game you don’t need it Americanized like a bad ESPN program. But NBC Olympic coverage was shaky also. I saw them air a commercial in the middle of a half of soccer-unacceptable. If this is what is in store it will suck.

    • Don says:

      Ha,

      I do agree that football phone in show was comedy and entertainment…as much as Liverpool fans chased Seven Cohen out of town I really enjoyed that show…they tried to “Americanize” it (FSC) a little too much..they should realize who is really interested in the channel…I agree brain McBride was an odd choice for on air talent…Barton is knowledgeable but just a bit dry…Macca and Dark on ESPN are mint..not because they’re Brits but they are just funny, have great chemistry and knowledge of the game as well…anyway I won’t kick a dying horse…thanks FSC for the coverage…they lacked in some areas but they tried…I think they lost their way when they tried expanding to FSC+ etc and charging an arm and a leg…more focused on revenue streams…good luck to them..hopefully they can survive in some capacity.

      • Bobby says:

        I think Fox Soccer will continue, they will come back into the picture in 3 years, and promote EPL with their coverage of the world WC and other tournaments. NBC is no soccer fan, they wanted to fill their schedule until other sports became available so this is a set back not a death penalty. Fox soccer plus however is dead next may.

  8. Oliver Tse says:

    SPEED becomes FOX Sports 1, with Major League Baseball and premium NCAA Football games from FX migrating over to join NASCAR to bulk up. 1st choice UEFA Champions League games on weekday afternoons can also air.

    FUEL TV becomes FOX Sports 2, with lesser NCAA football games (i.e. Conference USA) and NCAA basketball games (Conference USA, PAC 12) joining UFC and leftover action sports. 2nd choice UEFA Champions League games on weekday afternoons can air on this channel.

    FOX Soccer becomes FOX Sports 3, with NCAA basketball filling weeknight evenings during the winter. UEFA Europa League 1st choice games stay here. The 3rd choice UEFA Champions League games will air on this channel.

    FOX Soccer Plus becomes FOX Sports 4, with Dutch Eredivisie as the primary soccer product on weekends starting next season to go with Celtic matches from the Scottish Premier League. UEFA Europa League games featuring lesser teams will also stay here. Sky Sports News can move here. If there is no escape clause for the FOX Soccer News contract with Rogers, then FOX Soccer News will end up here.

    FOX can sublicense Spanish-language rights to Dutch Eredivisie to ESPN Deportes, as Dutch Eredivisie has practically no value on FOX Deportes.

    • Yespage says:

      I thought you said a while ago that FSC was safe, regardless if they had the EPL or not.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        The “bandwidth” that FOX Soccer current occupies will live on, likely as FOX Sports 3 in my opinion. FOX Sports 3 will be a healtier business than FOX Soccer.

        • Yespage says:

          But you said the channel would be fine… it had the World Cup stuff to keep it going.

          • Oliver Tse says:

            Again, the bandwidth will be used more efficiently. The “Channel” will be around, but more likely as “FOX Sports 3″ instead of “FOX Soccer”.

            I actually prefer “FOX Sports 1″, “FOX Sports 2″, “FOX Sports 3″, and “FOX Sports 4″ instead of SPEED, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, and FOX Soccer Plus.

          • Yespage says:

            The channel will still be around, just with another name… and other programming? That is pretty efficient spin there.

  9. Oliver Tse says:

    A number of people left FOX Soccer between May and August.

    They (along with me) originally thought that beIN SPORT LLC would kill FOX Soccer.

    Once Phil Mushnick started exposing beIN SPORT LLC for what it really is with 2 attack columns in August: a “private banking” operation that pretends to be a media company, I crossed off beIN SPORT LLC from my list of contenders for EPL rights.

    What surprised me was ESPN, Inc. allowing itself to partner with the loser. ESPN, Inc. had the advantage of being a sublicensee.

    I will never understand why ESPN, Inc. didn’t shop itself to NBC Sports Group as a sublicense partner.

    • andrew says:

      Because ESPN and NBC Sports are direct competitors.

      • Bobby says:

        So were Fox and ESPN in that sense. The fact is ESPN only wanted the early games on Saturday, their schedule is generally full after that.

    • FakeTseTseFly says:

      Did you cross them off your list just after they put you on their ‘do not hire’ list?

      All comments about beIN NOT being a ‘real’ media company smack of sour grapes Oliver – and I’m sorry but any company that has a TV channel is considered a ‘media company’, whether you like it or not.

      Time will tell whether beIN succeeds but one thing we know for sure – any predictions you make regarding ANYTHING media-related are likely to be 1000% wrong.

  10. dust says:

    espn’s parent Disney just purchased Lucas Film for 4 billion, so its not like they were strapped for cash. Plus english football is a far more disney / youth friendly sport, you would think they would have jumped at the chance..its all just weird.

  11. Kobashi says:

    I expect FOX to make a huge big for the next round of TV rights as they build up to the World Cup in 2018. My feeling is that they will make a much bigger bid for the 16-17 to 18-19 contract cycle. By that time the Fox # channels will have been established and they can bring back the Prem.

    Oliver was pretty spot on how the Fox # channels will look. Hopefully, the cable companies will reconfigure their lineups so the channels are lined up next to each other when surfing.

  12. dano328 says:

    I think they could “get by” by purchasing the Bundesliga from GolTV. That would give them quality matches on the weekend even if the ratings aren’t as good. They could argue its a better league (based on recent UEFA results) even though most of us would disagree. Then they still have CL. I just don’t want to see them close up & think German football is a decent alternative. Then they can fight back for the EPL in 2016. As a consumer, I would enjoy having more leagues to watch without getting a dish.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      For the Umpteenth time: GOLTV has locked up the U.S. rights to the Bundesliga in English and Spanish through May 2015.

      GOLTV has no interest in sublicensing the Bundesliga to either ESPN or FOX.

      NewsCorp/FOX will have worldwide rights to the Dutch Eredivisie for the next 12 seasons. I expect Dutch Eredivisie to anchor “FOX Sports 4 (USA)”, the channel we now know as FOX Soccer Plus.

      • Bobby says:

        The Scottish league will get more games. With WC also coming as well England home games Fox soccer will remain as is in my opinion. They will bid for EPL again and this time the EPL may divide the packages by tiers and have 2 or 3 bidders for Saturday early games. Sunday early games etc. That is what they are doing in England.

  13. Huw Roma says:

    The writing has been on the wall for Fox Soccer for some time. How pathetic is the channel when the EPL is taking an international break? Continuous replays of CL and EPL games, with nothing new for days on end. I really don’t think anyone is clamoring for more CONCACAF Champions League matches. They are going to have to revert back to the days of Fox Sports World and incorporate rugby, rugby league and maybe Cricket into their lineup again. It’s the only answer. This means finishing FS+ of course, which when you look at it has more relevancy than FSC in terms of content. I think Fox relied so much on the EPL that they never figured this would happen. Their stunning lack of coverage of just about anything except the EPL, CL and Europa League is stunning. Even internationals are barely touched. Let’s just hope NBC does a better job than the pathetic pundits offered by Fox. They are a true disgrace.

  14. MmMMmmMm says:

    I need to see what kind of online live streaming/match archive service NBC plans to implement. Or at least they BETTER plan to implement.

    • Charles Boyer says:

      Their streaming of other sports has been good in the past and they say that streaming is a definite part of their plans. I would think that in 2014 Internet streaming will be even more integral to the television experience than it is now.

      What would be really cool to me is if they sold a package to cable and satellite vendors similar to NFL Sunday Ticket where one could get all the games for $100 a year or so. While streaming is nice, high-def programming with no buffering is even better.

  15. Marc L says:

    Get the Bundesliga, put it with existing rights to Champions League and FA Cup and hang around based on that. I’d certainly watch that channel and want to have it.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      Again, GOLTV has locked up the U.S. rights in English and Spanish to the Bundesliga through May 2015.

      GOLTV has no interest in sublicensing the Bundesliga to ESPN or FOX.

      FOX will have the Dutch Eredivisie on a worldwide basis for the next 12 seasons.

  16. Earl Reed says:

    Here’s a thought: as the sport has grown in America (and it has), FOX was peculiarly positioned to limit its audience based on the simple fact it had a dedicated soccer-only channel. Cable & satellite providers were not very motivated to move a soccer-only network into the fore, since traditional thinking belies that soccer has no market.

    With the sport growing, moving the most popular league in America to a multisport network (and no, FS+ doesn’t count) is a natural transition, and shame on FOX for dragging its feet in implementing this type of forward thinking while they actually owned the rights. Instead they went with a more conservative approach with their soccer-only platform, extracting every cent possible through forcing people into sports tiers or buying subscriptions.

    For those who have DirecTV, NBC Sports Network is on the Choice Xtra package (i.e. no sports tier), and has moved to channel 220 up nearer to the ESPN’s and the NHL/NFL/MLB/Golf/Tennis networks.

    • Andy says:

      NBC Sports Network is still channel 603 on DirecTV. I am a fan of this move if it means I can drop the Sports Pack and save a few bucks a month while getting my EPL fix on my regular programming package.

      • Earl Reed says:

        Maybe it’s in the process of moving. I looked at my DirecTV iPhone app the other day and it had 603 saying that NBCSN is moving and 220 as NBCSN.

  17. Scrumper says:

    NBC has taken a bold move here and not something I ever expected from a major US network content on a diet of huge revenues from home grown sports. It would be interesting to see their supporting research. Cash is king, and therefore, there must be sufficient revenue expections for the NBC bid in the first place.

    At first I thought if might be to capitalise on the massive fever pitch the Americas will be caught up in as the Brazil World Cup approaches, but according to this article ESPN has the rights. So unless there is a deal in the wings for ESPN to sell their rights to NBC this isn’t the case. So it will be interesting to see how NBC plans to show the EPL.

    Anyway I’m glad I should still be able to see my live games each week but cautious how it’s going to be presented. I’ve always hoped for direct feed for all the games and surrounding shows etc from the UK, but I can’t see NBC allowing this. As for FSC how can it continue?

  18. Gary says:

    Sad to hear about FSC. Despite their downfalls, you at least new that every Sat/Sun morning you could turn to FSC and FSC+ and view live games.

    Im worried that NBC is going to fragment the coverage over such a wide variety of channels and platforms (online) that it will become a real pain just keeping up with where the games will be shown. And, until proven otherwise next season, im still concerned about some form of tape delay from NBC on a portion of the games.

    NBC sounds good in theory, and I like being able to spend about $20 less a month dropping FSC and FSC+ from my satellite package, but the simplicity of their coverage I fear is going to be missed.

    And, watching an EPL match on Bravo just sounds wrong.

    • Bobby says:

      I agree, NBC does not know how to broadcast soccer, they are going to use inexperienced American announcers not the SKY announcers we have been used to. No more Martyn Tyleri am afraid. Will have to watch the game without the audio.

      • Huw Roma says:

        No more Martin Tyler? I never hear him at all aside from the odd England international, so he will hardly be missed.

        • Huw Roma says:

          Why the thumbs down? We don’t get Sky Sports coverage for the EPL, let alone hear Martin Tyler on a weekly basis? Am I wrong?

          • The Gaffer says:

            FOX often chooses to play the Sky feed for games especially when Tyler is the commentator, so we often hear him for Champions League matches and the big EPL games.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • Kobashi says:

            I never understood why Fox didn’t go out of their way to pick up Tyler’s commentary more. I love Peter Drury and think he might be the most underrated commentators on the planet but when Fox has the option to pick up Tyler’s commentary you do it every time.

            It’s a shame that Fox and Sky didn’t hook up more where Sky shared more resources w/Fox in the States to make Fox’s production much better.

  19. I see them eliminating Fox Soccer Plus and rebranding. They still have some soccer rights and a bunch of rugby (and Aussie Rules) options. It will end up being like “Fox Sports World” all over again.

  20. Reid says:

    I only have Fox Soccer 2Go, so I’ve never seen any of their other programs. For me, I’ll be jumping ship because I have no interest in anything else they offer once the Premiere League is gone.

    I’m just glad a company with streaming experience won the rights.

  21. Paul Mahoney says:

    Fox Soccer did certainly help promote the EPL in the state and make many more games available in the past. But they also did a lot of annoying things to their most loyal viewers. For example, Fox Soccer is broadcasting the Liverpool Anzhi Europa League content today. Problem: that’s games been moved and Liverpool is actually playing Swansea in a Capital One Cup content an hour earlier. Will Fox Soccer cover it? On what channel? And how the heck to I record it when the guide shows the wrong games? This is for a game that will be played in about six hours – and still Fox viewers have no idea what they’re doing. I bought an extra sports tier to be able to see more Liverpool matches and still I have no idea. Lame. Lame. Lame. May NBC suck less.

  22. Tony Butterworth says:

    It’s hard to see how they continue but what about the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, they won’t even have a channel. Of course they may well have the Prem back by then.

    • Bobby says:

      I agree. Look for Fox to get some EPL games when the next bid comes. If the EPL has grown as expected the games will be sold separately some will bid for Saturday game, others for Sunday games etc.

    • CTBlues says:

      FOX won the rights to the WC not Fox Soccer. They will be showing the WC on FOX, FX, and probably Fox Sports 1-4.

  23. Tony Butterworth says:

    I like the article but calling Keith Costigan an expat is a major stretch. I think Keller and Harkes know far more about the English game.

  24. Frill Artist says:

    Good riddance.

  25. Gaz says:

    Huge milestone for the game. I’ll be forever grateful to Fox (FSC, FS+) for bringing live English football to this expat’s TV screen every Saturday and Sunday morning in recent years. As a Utd fan, we seem to be especially blessed as our games are shown every single weekend. Ironically, with these channels I’ve been able to enjoy more live Premier League football on TV on a weekly basis than my family and friends back in the UK.

    That said, it seems obvious that Fox has been too slow to embrace the opportunity it had to secure it’s status as THE home of soccer here in the US. It’s great that they recently updated the look and feel of the studio from which pregame, in game and post game analysis was happening. Some would argue this isn’t important but it is. And the fact that they finally got round to showing games on FSC in HD (the picture quality of their coverage on FSC had been so far behind that of ESPN2 it was embarrassing) was another step forward but as a paying subscriber, I have to ask “why did this take so long?”. Speaking of picture quality, I still ask myself on a weekly basis just why the hell I continue to pay $15 a month for FS+. Watching games on there is akin to picking up a dodgy internet feed on my laptop. A fuzzy picture that only fills half my screen…. painful.

    So yes, there has been some progress but in truth, not enough. The decision to cut some of the fan-centric programming was a bad one. Yes, the Fox Football Fone-In program was horrible but that was because the personnel involved were wrong – not the concept. A massive part of being a fan is what happens between the games. We want to engage with each other, discuss and argue and without that forum, fans feel less connected to the game they love.

    I also have to say the “personalities” (if I can even use that word) that have been at the helm of FSC’s coverage are awful. I know it’s easy to point criticism from the comfort of my armchair but watching Barton, Wynalda and the anchor (whose name my brain hasn’t even bothered to remember) go through their “I want to be a game-show host so bad” routine is nothing short of soul destroying. McBride I have less of a problem with but he plays it so safe he might as well not be there.

    I get all warm and tingly when I see my beloved Utd are on ESPN where I know Ian Darke and Steve McManaman will be there to take me through from pre-game to post-game. Those 2 are brilliant both together and as individuals and I hope the folks at NBC manage to buy them out of their deal with ESPN and bring them over.

    At the end of the day, I think the move to NBC could be the start of a new era for football fans here in the US. I have no doubt new fans will jump on board and my hope is that those of us who have been here for the last decade or more will have an even better experience. Provided they respect the game (no mid game commercials) and the intelligence of the fan base by bringing in intelligent, interesting and credible people to run their programs, this should be a great move.

    Fox Soccer will (and probably should) go away. What happens to it next, I really don’t care. Scottish football means nothing to me. I think they’ll eventually end up selling their international tourney rights to NBC (at a large profit to Fox) who will hopefully grasp the opportunity that Fox let slip away.

    • Tony Butterworth says:

      Good post, top to bottom :)

    • Guy says:

      Nice post.

      They were slow in bringing HD, but then the cable companies made it worse by taking so long to carry it. I’m not sure everyone has it, yet.

      btw, my FS+ (which I don’t pay any extra for) is also in HD. ;-)

    • Scrumper says:

      NBC should add a few Scots to the mix. They are always insightful and have good comments without any histrionics.

      McBride always looks pale, washed out and mumbles like he’s been stricken with dengue fever. Barton peruses Readers Digest for new words – currently “exquisite” – and lately he’s been shouting a lot. Wynalda has become the voice of misery and despair, like a bloke who’s just discovered he’s made his Mother in Law pregnant and the easiest way to get rid of Rob Stone is to put a mirror in his dressing room and he’ll never leave it. And Keith Costigan must be the world’s second luckiest man behind Ringo.

      • Bobby says:

        I agree. Just because they use to play soccer it doesn’t mean they can analyze the game. They should bring some from England. I have a feeling NBC announcer will be sitting in the studio calling the games like Fox soccer does on the Europa League early games. That old be horrible.

  26. Oliver Tse says:

    My take on how FOX Sports 1 – 4 USA might look like:

    FOX Sports 1 – Major League Baseball, NASCAR, premium NCAA football games on Saturdays, UEFA Champions League 1st choice matches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, English FA Cup Final, plus the return of FOX Sports News, and a whole bunch of NFL and MLB talk shows

    FOX Sports 2 – UFC, 2nd tier NCAA football games on Thursdays and Saturdays (i.e. Big 12, Conference USA), UEFA Champions League 2nd choice matches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, English FA Cup semifinals, and action sports (skateboarding, motocross, etc.)

    FOX Sports 3 – NCAA basketball games during the winter (Conference USA and PAC 12), 3rd tier NCAA Football (Big 12 and Conference USA) on Thursdays and Saturdays, UEFA Champions League 3rd choice matches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, UEFA Europa League 1st choice matches on Thursdays, English Community Shield, English National Team, English FA Cup Rounds 3 – 6.

    FOX Sports 4 – Dutch Eredivisie on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; Scottish Premier League, UEFA Europa League 2nd Choice matches, English FA Cup Rounds 1-2 plus overflow matches on Saturdays at 10am ET in Rounds 3-5, Sky Sports News U.K., FOX Soccer News (if agreement with Rogers cannot be terminated), FOX Sports News Australia, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Aussie Rules.

  27. SoccerLimey says:

    I think what I find interesting is the large gap between what NBC finally bid and the figure that FOX submitted. I would have thought that FOX, with already established structure, would have been more committed to winning the bid.

    It seems to me that maybe they found out they were losing too much money and wanted out anyway. The loss of Bobby McMahon was a huge mistake.

    Personally, I think ESPN PressPass does a much more professional job of covering news in all the European leagues.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      The gap isn’t that large. I had expected FOX-ESPN to go has high as $210 million ($70 million/season.)

      NBCUniversal Media bid $250 million.

      beIN SPORT LLC did NOT bid and had no interested in bidding (otherwise, NBCU would have gotten blown away, as I expected a bid of $500 million if beIN SPORT LLC were actually interested in bidding.)

      • Tim says:

        I wish I could down rate you 100 times. Dude, no one cares what you expected beIN to bid. The bottom line is you are always 100% wrong. And did I mention annoying?

      • FakeTseTseFly says:

        Oliver, you had NO information about beIN’s interest in bidding or not because they refuse to even take your calls.

        Please keep your information to the facts…not your trolling heresay.

  28. John says:

    It’s gotta be a testament to the popularity or perceived popularity in the future that soccer offerings have spread from three channels (Gol, FSC, and ESPN) a little more than a year ago to 5 channels. Idk the state of contracts for the other European leagues but Fox has to do something. They are not going to let their big investments in the World Cup stand alone. If something as bad as Gol TV can hang around, News Corp should be able to prop up FSC, although I think FSP and 2Go are probably dead now.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      But ONLY one domestic European league is really worth anything in the U.S. English-language general TV market: EPL.

      FOX was correct to let Serie A and Ligue 1 go to beIN SPORT LLC, which is not really a legitimate media company because the two executives in charge (Youssef and Nasser) are more concerned with their “private banking” activities.

      beIN SPORT LLC bought the U.S. and Canadian rights to the European Handball Champions League.

      The acquisition pattern by beIN SPORT LLC is now clear: overpay for a lot of junk from brokers who are willing to conduct “private banking”, but do NOT bid for products (EPL, Bundesliga) if too many government watchdogs are paying attention.

  29. Evan says:

    this is what happens when you decide to forget all the other leagues and focus on one.

    if they still had MLS and serie a, coupled with champions league and Europa league, they could at least survive.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      On the contrary, losing EPL is the best thing that can happen to FOX Sports Media Group, as “FOX Sports 3″ will be healthier and more profitable than FOX Soccer because FOX Sports 3 can have live prime time college basketball during the winter to complement UEFA Europa League and CONCACAF Champions League soccer.

      Furthermore, FOX can now move the best UEFA Champions League matches off FOX Soccer in order to beef up FOX Sports 1 (SPEED) and FOX Sports 2 (FUEL TV) on weekday afternoons.

      (The FOX Sports Net system is dead now that Comcast chose not to renew the affiliation agreement for Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area/Chicago/Mid-Atlantic/New England/Philadelphia.)

      I expect “FOX Sports 4″ (FOX Soccer Plus) to be the home of the Dutch Eredivisie and Sky Sports News U.S. for the next 12 seasons. If FOX is stuck with having to license FOX Soccer News from Rogers through 2015, then FOX Soccer News can air on “FOX Sports 4″.

      • Guy says:

        Oliver…

        I know some like to trash your thoughts/opinions and yes, sometimes they’re wrong, but I enjoy reading your stuff. I can decide after the fact if you’re crazy or not. Keep it up. ;-)

  30. Oliver Tse says:

    Schoen and Hudson are calling the Chelsea-Man Utd League Cup match on beIN SPORT HD (USA) as we speak.

    beIN SPORT LLC is “re-inventing the wheel” again, as it does every week.

    • Kent says:

      Oliver, isn’t beIN only in spanish? I have it on comcast in boston, they had the barcelona-real madrid match a couple weeks ago, but only in spanish

      • David says:

        There’s an English version, but a lot of the Comcast areas haven’t gotten it yet (they said end of the year or early in 2013 they’ll pick it up).

        Some of the major matches do have English-language commentary using the SAP option.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        Comcast only offers beIN SPORT en Espanol, which has Spanish-speaking on-camera talent and announcers. The on-camera hosts are Ana Cobos, Miguel Serrano, and Carmen Boquin. Ines Sainz makes cameo appearances from time to time.

        DIRECTV and DISH both offer beIN SPORT HD, which is in English (with English-speaking on-camera talent) plus Spanish SAP. Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson are the primary commentary team. Ross Dyer and Ian Joy usually call the “B” matches. The on-camera hosts are Terri Leigh and Temryss Lane.

        DIRECTV also offers beIN SPORT en Espanol.

        Former German national team goalkeeper Bodo Illgner can analyze matches in either English or Spanish on beIN SPORT HD and beIN SPORT en Espanol.

        • Bobby says:

          Comcast has SAP on its Spanish broadcast too. They claim the English channel is coming, no date so far. Rumour is it will be done by 12/22/12

          • Oliver Tse says:

            Comcast will take beIN SPORT HD as soon as Sheik Al-Thani wires a fat launch fee from Doha Bank.

            beIN SPORT LLC has no leverage because the executives have chosen to 1) buy rights to only “junk” products from brokers “in private”, and 2) pay fat launch fees to DIRECTV and DISH (believed to be around $30 million to each.)

            Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House, etc. are all waiting to collect launch fees before allocating bandwidth.

      • Kent says:

        figured this out last night, you can go to audio options and change the language to English, the same way some one can turn spanish for ABC or something, watched some italian football last night on beIN, must say it is way better than GolTV, pretty good actually

  31. Kent says:

    I was so bummed when I heard this on the podcast, I watch most of my games on fox soccer 2 go and DVR others from the soccer channel. Having access to EPL, UEFA and Europa league has been so awesome and like every good thing will be ruined for more money. I would guess that NBC is not going to put out a live and on-demand iOS/Android app out with every EPL game available, that is what hurts the most. It seems like it was really on the cusp of picking up over here and they will kill it. The couple of good games a week they broadcast will be great, don’t get me wrong. But it is an online/on-demand world we are living in.
    Now, if they do it like they did with the olympics, making it all available online, I will love them forever.
    P.S. Being Liverpool, for someone new to soccer, was great. It is super easy to be cynical and forget the excitement of a new fan.

  32. David says:

    We will have to wait and see what NBC does with its EPL games. let’s hope they make all the games available via TV channels and online like Fox has. As much as we have all criticized Fox we should at least admit that they did and do make available all the games for viewers be it through Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus or foxsoccer2go.

    As for what will now happen to Fox? They still have the Champions League, Europa League and World Cup so they will still be relevant to those that love those tournaments. How they restructure themselves is going to be the interesting thing to watch. I expect them to begin broadcasting more rugby (to attract new viewers) and maybe even buy the rights to cricket matches (presently ESPN3 shows cricket and their viewership is pretty decent). Will they pick up other European or South American leagues is another thing to look out for.

  33. Pakapala says:

    Well Fox still have 2 very valuable assets Champions League and World Cup. I don’t see FSC going down the way of Gol TV. It might be rebranded into Fox Sports Channel or even retain the Fox Soccer name and gather some 2nd-tier leagues rights.

  34. Oliver Tse says:

    FOX Sports Latin America has re-branded its channels south of the border.

    The primary channel remains “FOX Sports”.

    The second channel, previously known as “FOX Sports+” (Pronounced FOX Sports Mas), is now FOX Sports Dos.

    The 3rd channel launched on Monday: FOX Sports Tres. FOX Sports Tres will be the home of Formula 1, UFC, and Action Sports. FOX Sports Tres competes head to head against ESPN Tres Latin America.

    One would expect Canal SPEED Latin America to be rebranded “FOX Sports Cuatro” once the “Speed” brand goes away in July 2013.

  35. Oliver Tse says:

    Correction: Canal SPEED Latin America was rebranded “FOX Sports Tres” as of 0900 Buenos Aires Time on Monday.

  36. Ian says:

    If Fox Soccer gets the Bundesliga they will be fine. They already have the Champions League and the Europa League. The Bundesliga is actually the best domestic league with the largest attendance in the world. The players are younger, faster, more aggressive and more skillfull. It just needs promoted.

    • The Gaffer says:

      I’m hoping they get the Bundesliga too, to give the league the accessibility and respect it deserves in this country.

      There must be a price where GolTV would be willing to sublicense many of the games to FOX Soccer.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  37. Pat McCurry says:

    Well first they have to round up their main soccer assets:

    FA Cup
    FA Community Shield
    Champion’s League
    Europa League
    Scottish Premier League

    They could try getting the rights to stuff like Eredivisie, Primera Liga, and even Blue Square Conference and non-league stuff. Or they can beef up their schedule with non-football assets like rugby and Australian Rules Football.

    Next season is very important for Fox Soccer. It will be make or break, but not the end of the world for the channel.

  38. JohnA says:

    Fox Soccer Channel will survive with Champions league, Europa league, Scottish league, Dutch league, possibly some Budesliga, some FA cup, and some rugby.

  39. sean says:

    The Bundesliga would be worth it and who is to say the ratings would be low once the new to the Bundesliga spectator finds out how entertaining the league is??!!

  40. Jamie D says:

    So long as FSC continues to broadcast Sky Sports News I’m in.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Its doubtful that FOX Soccer will continue to show Sky Sports after this summer especially if FOX Soccer becomes FOX Sports 3.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  41. MDD says:

    Can someone please explain why we can’t simply get a straight feed from Sky Sports? It’s not as though we don’t speak the same dominant language, and anyone who’s spent any significant time in England will tell you that the coverage on Sky Sports and BBC is on a completely different level. Say nothing of the fact that the network wouldn’t have to spend the money on studios and on air talent and so forth…how is this option not available? Makes no sense
    I won’t even bother commenting about how they’re apparently sending match commentators to England to do the Fox Soccer broadcasts of live matches (today’s United v Chelsea match as an example – again….why?)

  42. Fuubar says:

    At least we won’t have to listen to that awful Gus Johnson any more. My 5 year old son said it best: “why is that man yelling?” every time someone even gets near the box. And frankly if he says “in the 6″ one more time, I’m going to reach through my screen and pull his tongue out!!

  43. LondonMUFC says:

    Really think that Fox Soccer should try and pick up other leagues, let NBC have EPL. I would love to be able to watch more Bundesliga as well as get a market in the US where I can watch Porto/Fenerbahce/etc outside of Europa/Champions League. There are so many world leagues that would be awesome to be able to see in the USA. Russia, Turkey, Portugal, Belgium, Ukraine, Croatia…no American channel plays these leagues and the only times we get to see the teams are in the European competitions.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Sadly, it looks like FOX Soccer will shut down this summer — http://epltalk.com/2013/03/29/what-will-fox-soccers-lasting-legacy-be/

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  44. Kevin says:

    Most people in the US who say the EPL is better than the Bundesliga are the same types of people who say they like the Yankees, or the Cowboys, and it’s because they like choosing a team with lots of hype. I have watched both leauges for years and I favor the Bundesliga. With the exception of Bayern Munich almost always being a contender, every season I feel like every team has a decent chance of a championship. But in the EPL its almost always comes down to the same 4 teams. Manchester U, Chelsea, Etc. It gets old. EPL is exciting but I like Bundesliga better. I can only hope as a comcast subscriber that Fox picks up the games from Gol TV.

    • The Gaffer says:

      GolTV has another year or two under their contract for Bundesliga, so FOX won’t be picking those games up. Plus, they would clash with their NASCAR programming that FOX Sports 1 has on weekend mornings, so it wouldn’t be a fit anymore.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  45. Joe says:

    Fox should focus on AFL. Australian Football League. It’s a great game an I think they would be a ratings winner. The only thing is the time difference. Games would have to be shown Live and tape delay during normal watching hours in North America. Rugby is another sport they should go all in. Also Fox should pick up up Ligue 1 from France and they should show some Italian Seria B games to fill in some time slots. Concentrate on games from Different Countries. Holland, Portugal, Belgium, ect… FSC and FSC Plus cannot go off the air. There are other things to show. Argentinian and Brazilian Leagues could be shown also.

  46. LSP says:

    So, now I’m paying for a station I longer receive.
    I have to keep Fox to keep Gol. Waste of money.
    I like Premiere League and I can’t get it.
    Fox, you are supposed to appreciate your customers, not take our pleasure away. I hope you realize what a mistake you’ve made.

  47. EPL-Thank you overly produced NBC TV. (No Great Job Honestly) says:

    For anyone who’s done a presentation(undergrad, high school, grad school). Remember when everyone was prepared to do a presentation in class and for some reason the order was selected the day off? Remember after the 1st or 2nd person went, everyone had a better sense of what to do better? Well here comes NBC. Right now the EPL is awesome, not to mention, the fact that there is not an overload of soccer ALL WEEK( I wouldn’t mind that) It creates an anticipation like the NFL. not to mention the competitiveness of the first 6 weeks. NBC is has scored a slam dunk(NBA JAM style-slamma mamma). GO EPL and Long Live Arsenal Gunners

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