FOX Sports Ups Its Soccer Coverage After Years of Malaise

American fans of the beautiful game have, by and large, lauded NBC’s coverage of the Premier League. Many of those same fans were dissatisfied with how FOX Soccer and the other FOX Networks covered the Premier League prior to losing the rights to NBC Sports Group.

FOX treated the Premier League like a property that it could simply throw on air, broadcast with minimal effort or production and maintain an audience. But FOX never really grew the audience of the league beyond the growing popularity of the sport in general in this country. The single best thing FOX did to increase exposure and interest in the league was sub-licensing games to ESPN.

The criticism of FOX was consistent and well founded. However, today it appears that, without articulating it, FOX has taken the criticism to heart and have made some changes to how it covers its remaining blue-chip soccer property, the UEFA Champions League.

Exposed to a larger audience on FOX Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 as well as more frequent broadcasts on FOX Sports various regional networks, the network has raised its game in noticeable ways.

The pre-game show hosted by Rob Stone features deeper analysis and more real discussion about the teams in a broader context as well more highlights and a professional presentation for the games. The studio commentator talent of Brian McBride, Eric Wynalda and Warren Barton appear more prepared and less reactionary/rash in their judgments about players, managers, teams and managers than in previous seasons.

On Tuesday when Celtic-Barca ended before Ajax-Milan was completed, FOX Sports 1 mimicked NBCSN and switched games. The next day FOX Sports 1 did the same thing, throwing on the scintillating Juventus-Galatasaray conclusion for viewers to see. This demonstrated that FOX had learned new tricks to bring a few minutes of Champions League matches, even from the premium FOX Soccer Plus, to a wider audience.

The wrap-up show after the matches has been stronger than in past years and Europa League coverage has improved as well.

It’s still early in the 2013-14 season, but it appears that after years of malaise, FOX has upped its game. Finally.

35 thoughts on “FOX Sports Ups Its Soccer Coverage After Years of Malaise”

  1. It is too bad, Fox didnt take football more seriously until now. A bit late. The CL coverage is definitely better than last season.

    1. I couldn’t disagree more, they showed Arsenals game on fox soccer plus, and they have not really shown any replays of the days matchs in the evening when people are home to view them. For all Foxs faults and their are many, at least year they showed a lot reboardcast in the evening.

    1. Yeah honestly the worst thing about it for me is the fact that they removed it during the Ultimate Fighter, which dont get me wrong is a great show to watch, but its a reality show and they leave it in during the Champions League. It is truly ridiculous how someone at Fox doesnt realize this is a bad thing.

  2. NBC and ESPN have set a sports viewing precedent that FOX can only dream of matching.

    EVERY BPL match is available to stream or watch on TV for FREE to many cable and satellite customers who have NBCSN (which for the record, is much more accessible and much cheaper than Fox Soccer was and Fox Soccer Plus currently is).

    During World Cup qualifiers, ESPN shows many matches on ESPN3 and some on their TV networks as well, for FREE.

    Yet, FoxSoccer2Go costs $20 a month and the only soccer competition that they have is the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League.

    I fear for the World Cup in 2018 & 2022 when they have exclusive rights.

    1. And a quick addendum to this point of them being behind the curve, I just noticed that if you have BeIN Sport, you can get BeIn Sport Play ( and login via your satellite/cable provider (not all are on there yet, but I imagine that they will soon) and can stream any programming on BeIN Sport, BeIn Sport Spanish, as well as any match that they don’t air on TV but have the rights to.

      And it’s all, you guessed it, FREE!

  3. Not sure what you’re talking’s more terrible than ever. NBC gives us every Prem game for free. Fox wants $15/month for FSP and $20 for F2G to see every game. Then they never show all the games on replay later if they didn’t show it live, they’ll show the ones that were already available live. It’s ridiculous I can’t see the Arsenal game that was on FSP or Dortmund, etc.

    Furthermore, I don’t know about anyone else, but I have U-Verse and FS2 isn’t available in HD and it’s garbage. Not to mention the ticker constantly going on. Absolutely terrible.

  4. I’m always a little bit confounded by some of the things people on this site choose to complain about.

    Fox is showing games to a wider audience than they did before, yet people complain that they no longer show replays? I’ve never heard fans of any other sport complain that a network didn’t rebroadcast a game in prime-time. If you can’t see a game live, just record it.

    Which brings me to my next point – the ticker. I get some people don’t like it for aesthetics. Fine, you are entitled to your opinion. Personally, I like to be able to keep track of other games going on. However, I don’t get the argument about it ruining games you have recorded. When you choose to watch games that you record, you are viewing them in a different way than the vast majority of viewers. I don’t find it to be a flaw in coverage just because it doesn’t accommodate a small group of people who record the games. Not saying there is anything wrong with watching games that way, I just don’t see how you can complain about broadcasts not being tailored to minor viewer preferences.

    Don’t mean to offend anyone. Rant over.

    1. How can you record a game that isn’t on live? They don’t show Dortmund at all, let alone live, the SECOND BEST team in Europe last year. Bayern/ Man City was on SD FS2 yesterday. I can’t see Arsenal unless I pay for FSP or F2G. Arsenal is not a minor viewer preference. And I don’t even need it on live or on primetime, just replay it at sometime at 2am or something so I can record it.

      As for the ticker, it’s distracting. I find myself accidentally looking at it and reading the same NFL/MLB headlines over and over. We all have phones and tablets now, if you wanted to keep up with other games you can easily look up the score.

    2. Comcast doesnt have FS2 or FSP. That means I can only watch 2 of the 16 champions league matches per week. That is terrible and the games they usually put on are not the best ones of the week. Arsenal/Napoli is a better matchup than Barca/Celtic. Dortmund/Marselle is better also. Not playing the City/Bayern game yesterday was a disgrace. The ticker is something that is unfortunetly there so i can keep track of the 159th baseball game of the season or that some O-Lineman was traded for a conditional draft pick in 2034. And incase i missed those 2 things, i will be reminded for the next 2 hours that they happened. They could do so many better things with that than what they do. Keep track of passes, how far each player has ran, tackles made…

  5. I’m sorry.. I couldn’t disagree more. The slap and tickle pregame show is a joke. They are trying too hard to mimic their NFL counterparts. It’s unwatchable.. Especially Brian Mcbride… He has never looked comfortable in front of the camera. Their is no depth to their analysis whatsoever. The only reason we see more games is due to FS1 and FS2 lack of any programming content , how often do you see rebroadcasts? Compare that to their UFC rebroadcasts. And as someone noted, the ticker has returned, the hardcore footballers enemy. And then there is the shadow of Gus Johnson looming awaiting to spring up on a broadcast. FS1 better now than Fox Soccer? I don’t think so.


    1. I’m really not trying to keeping hating on Fox. But they ruin the fun of watching matches.

      They are now showing the teams walking out of the tunnel and trying to give viewers a taste of the atmosphere. But, for example Celtic-Barca, they keep talking over the crowd noise. They were going on and on about how incredible the atmosphere was at Celtic Park, instead of just shutting up and letting the audience hear it and see it on its own.

      The people in the Fox studio think they’re as important as the actual match. They don’t realize the broadcast is not about them.

    2. The only endearing thing about Fox Sports One’s broadcast (in my opinion) are that they are in HD. The picture quality is very good.

    3. Come off it! The pre and post continues to be so amateurish. Players names are rattled off with “he’ll give them width” (right winger) or “he wants to show the boss” (I think that’s everyone) or the best one “they have a deep bench” (Oak? Pine? somebody’s Grandfather made it? not sure). Today Barton called Dembele – Demberlay. Then of course the wannabe comedian Rob Stone with “Theeee Ameeeeericaaaan” which had people diving out of windows across the nation.

      Please, they haven’t learned anything and can never hope of achieving the very professional NBC set up. In fact, even though it beggars belief, they’ve got worse.

      Nice to hear Chris Kamara in the booth for the Juventus game though.

      1. I usually don’t get into pre and post game coverage arguments perhaps because I have been desensitized to the antics of those on various ESPN shows, NFL shows, etc.

        But yesterday watching the show in between the Europa League matches it seemed FOX went back to their college frat boy antics especially when they mentioned FC Sheriff Tiraspol and started giggling like little kids when mentioning the word “Sheriff”. Grow up guys.

  6. I’ve resorted to sticking pieces of paper all over my telly where I think a score will pop up. My theory is if you are going to show a game later on YOUR network, then don’t show the score before then.
    Also, Stone, Wynalda, etc. look like they’re modeling for Jos A. Banks instead of analyzing the game. Sit your arses down and stop trying to be funny!

    1. Yes, showing the scores and that stupid ticker at the bottom have clearly degraded their soccer broadcast compared to the old Fox soccer channel. Their only saving grace is the good PQ (compared to NBCSN).

  7. The fact that they have the rights to the entire Champions League and only show 3 live matches (I only get one channel) is terrible. They have so many networks that are playing reruns of terrible shows. I dont care if they dont play all the games live either. They can play a different game later that night and the following morning. They only have college football, ufc, nascar and UCL/Europa league. Football is only on saturdays, nascar is on the weekends and ufc is at night. Their big ticket game yesterday should have been a no brainer with Bayern playing City. They put it on FS2 which im guessing a lot less than half the country has. The only positive thing about the United game was watching them continue to struggle in all their matches.

  8. They do seem to making a better effort recently. It’s almost as they’ve been shamed by how good NBC are. Wynalda and Barton are still terrible and Gus will no doubt be back when he’s done with college throwball. The ticker has to go too but that will never happen.

  9. Too little too late and thankfully no more Warren Woodern Barton during my EPL coverage. NBC is a breeze of fresh air.

  10. Wow, could have guessed but just now realized this was written by Kartik. Generally has no touch of what an actual soccer fan wants, and is as smug as Taylor Twellman. Hence the word “malaise” in the title. Ridiculous article.

  11. Good article. It seems ironic that in America we could lose our one dedicated soccer channel and somehow wind up with better soccer coverage, but that’s precisely what happened.

    1. I’m not sure what FOX Sports has up their sleeves in terms of plans for the future with FOX Soccer Plus, but perhaps their Facebook page is a preview of what we can expect. If you go to, it’s 100% about rugby and says absolutely nothing about soccer.

      With the FOX Soccer Plus name being such a confusing name given the coverage the channel shows, perhaps they’re planning on a name change soon?

  12. Now that the horse has run off, fox decides to utilize the gate. Too little too late. All the rants over the years on fox’s website were for nought. They didn’t listen to their core audience. They’ve got what they deserve. From a business standpoint they are doing what makes sense. “Let’s be more like throwball. That is our biggest audience. Let’s throw more racin’ and rasslin’ at them. It will increase our audience. Football was a small footnote in our bigger picture. So long suckers.”

    I say so long Fox. I quit plus on the last day of last season. They can keep their re runs and rugby. I am a football fan.

  13. Fox does a really poor job producing those soccer games. I almost lost interest in the beautiful game until nbc took over.
    Just look at the champions league highlight show. They just use the real time commentary for the highlight show. That is just one bit of it. The background music, overall quality is really poor.

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