FOX Sports Engages In Revisionism To Paint Itself As First Home For Soccer In America

FOX Sports launched their new daily TV show earlier this week on FOX Sports 1. While the reviews for FOX Soccer Daily have been disappointing, one aspect of their show that has been overlooked so far has been something they slipped in to the intro.

Watch the following video:

The glaring line from the video that caught my attention was the following claim made by FOX:

“We were the first home for soccer in America.”

In my opinion, that’s quite a bold claim and an incorrect and misleading one at that. FOX Sports World launched on November 1, 1997. The sports network was renamed as Fox Soccer Channel in 2005, and then renamed to FOX Soccer in 2011. While it’s true that FOX launched before GolTV and well before beIN SPORT, it’s quite a stretch to say that FOX was the first home for soccer in America.

In fact, Setanta Sports launched their first channel two years prior to FOX Sports World. Beginning in 1995, Setanta beamed live Premier League matches into pubs throughout North America, allowing soccer fans to watch live matches from Europe. Or you could go further back to plenty of other homes of soccer — either PBS for Soccer Made In Germany, ESPN for its coverage of soccer in the 80s and beyond, Prime Network, SportsChannel America and so on. As a back story, here’s the history of English soccer on US television from 1980 to 2007.

The history of soccer on television in the United States did not begin in 1997 when FOX Sports World launched. There’s no doubt that FOX Sports has had a massive impact on the growth of the sport in North America, but to say it was the first home for soccer in America is an exaggeration. Perhaps it was an over exuberant copywriter that was hired to punch up the copy? Or FOX rewriting history?

13 thoughts on “FOX Sports Engages In Revisionism To Paint Itself As First Home For Soccer In America”

  1. I watched Prem games on ESPN2 on Monday’s before FOX Sports World launched. I watched the 1991 FA Cup Final (Spurs-Forest) on some second/third tier channel here in south Florida. I do thank FOX affiliates (Sunshine Network now Sun Sports here in Florida) for the Lionel Bienveniue show on Sunday nights but that simply gave us an outlet to expand our fandom after discovering through other sources.

    Prime Network showed the most soccer in the early/mid 1990s but I do believe they were bought by NewsCorp so FOX can rightly claim their legacy.

    Of course the original home for the game on American TV were the outlets that showed the NASL (CBS then TVS, ABS, USA Network and ESPN) and of course PBS Soccer Made in Germany.

    Let’s give PBS the credit on this one. That show was the best thing on TV to ever happen to soccer in this country prior to the founding of MLS and the explosion in the 2000s. I still hear about the program all the time from my contemporaries.

  2. Actually I can live with it. FSC made it their business, the others somewhat only visited the subject or failed to gain larger attention. We would not have what we saw last Saturday on NBC without them.

    Let me compare this. Monty Python was on the BBC before it became famous in America being on PBS. Who made it more famous BBC or PBS? I hate to date myself but in high school and college all the kids watched it.

    1. Agreed. They were the first majority Soccer channel – the first one to use Soccer as a business model. Funny enough I think Gol were the first ALL-soccer channel so Fox can’t even claim that.

      I think so many people hate Fox that they get no benefit of the doubt with things like this. Listening to some of the absolutely shallow discussion as to why Arsenal haven’t landed any targets (compared to the Neville and Carragher ather videos posted here) you might say that they deserve no benefit of the doubt lol.

      But I’ll give them this. FSW is how I got on the bandwagon back in the day. Call it nostalgia of watching all those games and having ready access to all kinds of shows (from Sky Sports News to Dream Team) in a pre-internet-streaming world.

  3. I discovered the beautiful game in the mid to late 90s. The first club game I remember was Dortmund beating Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final in 1997. I watched it on ESPN2. I also remember watching Spanish league games on Monday on ESPN2. My favorite coverage was ESPN’s of the UEFA Champions League and the World Cup finals (1990 I watched Univision, 1994 on ABC and 1998 on ESPN). I have fond memories of watching the 2002 World Cup at 11pm in CA. My top match was the USA almost beating Germany in the quarterfinals of that tournament.

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