FOX Elevates US Coverage of the FA Cup to Its Free-to-Air TV Network

After FOX lost in their joint bid with ESPN to secure the US media rights to the Premier League for seasons 2013-16, one of the unlikely winners of the decision is the FA Cup. With FOX only having five months of the Premier League remaining before they “hand over the keys” to NBC Sports, FOX has decided to boost its coverage of the FA Cup by moving two of its matches to the free-to-air FOX network (as we reported a few weeks ago).

The first of those FA Cup games to be shown live on FOX to a nationwide TV audience is this Saturday at Noon ET when West Ham United plays Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup. The other match that FOX will show live is the FA Cup Final on May 11, 2013.

While FOX has left than six months remaining in its contract with the Premier League, FOX has the US media rights to the FA Cup through the 2017-18 season. That provides FOX several major opportunities to continue broadcasting live English football games through 2018, when FOX has the rights to the FIFA World Cup. While the number of FA Cup matches is limited (from January through May when Premier League teams participate in the tournament), this gives FOX an excellent opportunity to continue to be in the faces of English soccer fans in addition to its coverage of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

For FOX, one of the risks of showing live soccer matches on its free-to-air network is trying to ensure that all of the FOX affiliates nationwide will agree to show the game live, so be sure to check your local listings to ensure the game will be shown live. If you miss it, the match will be shown on delay at 2:30pm ET on FOX Soccer.

As an aside, one of the disappointments regarding TV coverage of soccer on US television is that the US Open Cup doesn’t get the same level of attention or media coverage that the English FA Cup does. Nevertheless, there’s no doubting how prestigious and wonderful the FA Cup is to watch especially in the third round when there are often shock results. If any competition sums up the English game, it’s the FA Cup. And therefore FOX’s decision to elevate the FA Cup to a larger US audience is a welcome move indeed.

Here’s the complete schedule of FA Cup matches that will be shown live on US television and Internet this weekend:

Saturday, January 5:

Brighton vs Newcastle (FA Cup), 7:30am, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go
Southampton vs Chelsea (FA Cup), 10am, FOX Soccer
Peterborough vs Norwich (FA Cup), 10am, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go
Macclesfield vs Cardiff (FA Cup), FOX Soccer 2Go
West Ham United vs Manchester United (FA Cup), 12:15pm, FOX network and FOX Deportes (Note: Some FOX affiliates will be showing this game delayed; check local listings)

Sunday, January 6:

Swansea City vs Arsenal (FA Cup), 8:30am, FOX Soccer
Mansfield Town vs Liverpool (FA Cup), 11am, FOX Soccer

Monday, January 7:

Cheltenham vs Everton (FA Cup), 2:45pm, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go

15 thoughts on “FOX Elevates US Coverage of the FA Cup to Its Free-to-Air TV Network”

  1. Here in Hartford Fox will be delaying it till 2 Pm and will show Bloopers for an hour before the game. Awful. Let’s hope NBC doesn’t have the same problem with affiliates when they show EPL games next season.

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem. The vast majority of matches will be presented on the NBC Sports Network and NBC’s other cable outlets, not the regular broadcast channel.

    2. So annoying. That’s 2 out of the last 3 live matches that Fox has broadcast that Fox61 CT has had on delay. The Fox 5 affiliate out of NY is showing it live- do any CT cable companies still carry that?

      1. If you live south of Stamford I think you cn get Fox 5 from NYC.

        Those of us north of Stamford have to live with Fox 61. I cannot believe the programming that will bump the FA Cup game. Shocking!

  2. Fair play to FOX for trying but unless you are English and grew up in the days when the FA cup final was the only live game on TV, then the FA Cup might as well be the Carling Cup. They might also regret committing to show the final on the network if they get something like Pompey-Cardiff from a few years ago. I enjoy the FA cup but it has never been the same since they started playing the semis at Wembley as well as the final. Getting to Wembley used to be the whole point. Plus winning gets you into the Europa league while 4th in the league gets you a shot at the champions league. This further diminishes the FA cup . To make relevant again, they should give up the 4th place spot and give it to the winner of the FA cup. Chances are that team has beaten one of the big four to win it and therefore deserves a sh*t at the champions league.

  3. For DirecTV subscribers, the Fox Soccer Channel (ch. 619) is now included in the Choice Xtra, Choice Ultimate and Premier programming packages. With one of these programming packages it is no longer necessary to purchase the Sports Pack in order to receive Fox Soccer Channel.

  4. Gaffer:

    Any idea on the direction of Fox Soccer come May 2013?

    I believe that Fox has confirmed that they will keep the channel, but Champions League, Europa League, Scotish League and the FA Cup cannot sustain Fox Soccer.

    With La Liga, Seria A and MLS off the table, do you expect Fox to go after Bundesliga rights, Eredivisie rights, South American leagues (GolTV has Bundesliga, Brazil and Argentina as I recall)? Maybe even the Portugese, Russian or Turkish leagues?

    If they pack the lineup w/ “reality” shows of “the making of a soccer star” type, the channel will automatically become unwatchable and might as well close shop.

    Is Fox Soccer Plus done come May as well?

  5. best of Luck to Fox, I dont see them really making any impact on the mainstream scene. really i only see the benefit for the Hardcore soccer fans who dont have Cable or something. Also for the folks who are still mad at the Local Affiliates maybe yall ned to take a chill pill. the market is not the big in demand for soccer to be on Local TV.

  6. Come On You Irons! The match will not be the best to display football to America, as both squads will likely be reserves… BUT WEST HAM on rabbit ear TV in my house. That can’y be wrong!

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