Better Late Than Never, FOX Sports Steps Up Its European Soccer Coverage

This week’s European action was the best yet from a television standpoint in the United States since FOX took the rights for the Champions League away from ESPN in 2009. FOX’s studio shows were well done, with commentary talent in Eric Wynalda, Brian McBride and Warren Barton appearing exceptionally well prepared unlike times in the past.

The flow of the show has also improved thanks to better production as well as the hosting talent of both Rob Stone and new face Will Selva. Both Stone and Selva, who are industry veterans, give professionalism to FOX’s programming. It wasn’t long ago when Stone was hired that FOX’s studio shows looked like a glorified infomercial.

Stone and Selva have both hosted high intensity studio shows on ESPN so the transition to better shaped and more serious studio shows for FOX’s European broadcasts suits them. Wyanlda, in particular, can be one of the best pundits Stateside if put in the right environment, and the changes at FOX have improved his output this season.

FOX has also done a very smart thing by involving the likes of J.P Dellacamera, John Strong, Dave Denholm and Glenn Davis in Europa League coverage. This has given the many of the top American voices an opportunity to call European matches, as well as providing the viewer with more insight than the international feed announcers typically do.

FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 give a wider window to the world for FOX’s European soccer packages. Perhaps that is why the studio production is better and the talent appears better prepared about the matches they are previewing or reviewing.

All this leads to FOX Soccer Daily. The show has yet to find its niche, and while host Julie Stewart-Binks has dramatically improved, the show still lacks the analysis and credibility of ESPN FC. The show employs a rapid fire format on topics but doesn’t really break down or analyze issues related to the sport the way ESPN FC does. Also every afternoon it feels like Stewart-Binks runs out of time on topics she has to discuss. The “stoppage time” section is a good idea, but unless it a rapid fire format, one minute is not enough time and the host ends up apologizing on-air for not getting to other areas of discussion.

Considering that ESPN FC has produced lively discussions on topics such as diving and retrospective punishments, FOX Soccer Daily could take a page out of that book and have a show with more than two guests and really dig into a topic.

FOX Soccer Daily continues to be a work in progress but the overall production and level of professionalism at the FOX networks have improved.

22 thoughts on “Better Late Than Never, FOX Sports Steps Up Its European Soccer Coverage”

  1. Sure it’s nice having Fox Soccer Daily, there’s no doubt that Fox’s overall UEFA coverage has regressed since the demise of Fox Soccer Channel. Fox Sports 1 & 2 don’t televise the less-splashy soccer programming that true fans appreciated, such as:

    1. The invaluable “Champions League Review Show,” with its nightly UCL highlights

    2. The Champions League draws

    3. Sky Sports transfer deadline day coverage

    4. The UEFA Super Cup last August

    Simply put, FS1 and FS2 are not adequate replacements for FSC.

  2. I still hate how they choose games.

    I was fine when on one channel they had Barca playing Celtic and on my regional fox channel had Milan playing Ajax. Makes sense, Milan and Barca are big draws.

    I was even fine when they did the same when Barca played Ajax, and Milan with Celtic. While on both weeks my Arsenal was on FSP.

    This tuesday Milan and Barca played and they rightfully were on FS1. What sucked was on FSOhio they had Ajax and Celtic while Arsenal and Dortmund were on FSP, which was a much better matchup.

    Dumb. Also Screw giving Fox $20 to watch the match on FoxSoccer2Go, which is the worst.

  3. Sorry.. But I have to disagree with your assessment.. I watched the Champions League pre game show to give it another chance.. And there still doing their jokey slap on back high five laughing routine. It’s painfully obvious they are trying to be like the NFL show. It doesn’t work. I have seen absolutely NOTHING that shows me they are more prepared than there were on FSC. Mcbride is still unwatchable.. Stone looks like he should be selling toothpaste …Barton’s any hope of analysis is lost in the jokey concept of the show. Wynalda is still Wynalda. I didn’t see the Europa show show I can’t comment.

    Commentators still are an issue.. Great they are using international feeds and Sky for the Champions league.. Even with the Gus cloud that is coming next year.. I can take US announcers in the Europa league for non marquee games… But just watched the Wigan match with Shep messing and someone.. You CANNOT tell me they give any more insight than the international feed… They had Gus Johnson’s fact sheet… If you want to call that prepared.. Well that’s your opinion.. Are things better… No. FSC were better when they were trying to be serious and have some real analysis… Game choices, jar jar binks, the ticker, the high five show… IS THIS BETTER???



    1. Agree with almost all of that.

      I also think FOX has done a poor job in game selection. Seems like they keep throwing big match ups onto the worst channels.

  4. Is Fox paying you or something? Second article in a couple weeks giving Fox props for absolutely garbage soccer coverage. Luckily FSP was on free preview otherwise it would have been more of the same ridiculous airing choices of games. Won’t even get into all the other things wrong with Fox because I already did it on your last article. What a joke.

    1. “Luckily FSP was on free preview” yeah for those cable systems or providers that have FSP you can get the free preview but Comcast in the San Francisco Bay Area doesn’t have it and they don’t have FS2 either, so we’re really SOL. I have to agree with you, the article smells to much like a sell job.

      1. Exactly. I couldn’t imagine not being able to see the arsenal/Dortmund game, at least on replay. That’s insane. And if it wasn’t for the free preview I wouldn’t have. FS1 replays the same games over and over instead of the ones that were aired on other networks live.

  5. So many of these comments make sense. Now lets talk about that FOX soccer daily…. I believed the show replaced FOX soccer report, please correct me if I am wrong. Now I do not like the fact that its a 30 minute show, I feel they goof around too much especially Eric Wynalda….

    1. ESPN FC is a much better show.

      I really wish FOX would actually take some notes from the high quality products that come from NBC and ESPN.

    1. You mean the NBCsports network that doesn’t show replays of EPL games, that puts the EPL review show on at 2 am, that would rather show hunting and other such shows instead of soccer – nope don’t want them to get CL or EL.

      FS1 is a joke too. Since losing Fox Soccer, things have gone down hill for soccer viewing audience in the USA. Fox will screw up Bundesliga too in 2015 by only showing Bayern Munich and the rest of games via streaming online or some odd channel that most providers won’t carry.

      Only beInsports does a good job. Like to see them get Europe League or CL. Although EL may be eliminated if you go by what Platini has hinted.

      Also ESPN FC and Fox Soccer daily are shown in the middle of the day when the majority of people are at work – so, it’s useless.

      1. Agree with you re: Fox screwing up Bundesliga. They’ll do the same thing they’re doing now with UCL. Show one game on FS1 and make you pay to see any others.

        Disagree with you about nbc though. Granted they don’t replay games, but give you the option to see every game live, for free, so you can record it. Or the app which allows you to watch games on demand. That is amazing and the complete opposite of Fox. Only way that sucks is if you don’t have DVR or a smartphone/tablet which I would have to think is a small minority of people in the US. I have no complaints for nbc and I think MOTD is awesome.

        1. re:”Only way that sucks is if you don’t have DVR or a smartphone/tablet which I would have to think is a small minority of people in the US.”

          Really, majority of 313 million people? I don’t think so.

          I don’t have a smartphone or tablet. And even if I did, I’d have no interest watching a game (or movie) on a small screen. That’s why we have TV’s – wide screens too.

          Also there are many people in the US who can’t afford internet, let alone wifi or data plans for smart phones.

          I find the types of generalizations you made to be from XGen’ers or Millennials.

      2. Your post is infurating for so many reasons:
        1) If you bother to check your TV Guide – around 11:30pm/12am & between 7am – 9am most days, NBCSN does show replays of games and MOTD along with most of the PL shows. I’ll agree with you however about the timing of the review show.
        2) NBCSN, FS1, ESPN, etc are NOT 24/7 soccer networks. They are GENERAL sports networks, which means they will show other programs/soccer apart from soccer.
        3) beIN Sports does a good job? This is the network which currently has so many leagues that they struggle to give ample airtime to all of them without having their ‘Play’ service to stream games.
        4) Regarding the timing of ESPN FC & FSC, there’s a invention called a PVR which most people have or can get. If people want to watch those shows at a time that suits them, they can record it. Clever isn’t it?

        1. Yea… I get people want all their shows at an optimal time for them, but the EPL already gets more time than the NHL on NBCSG and that’s their biggest partner besides the Olympics

        2. Infuriating, huh, well I guess you must have a small tolerance level.

          beInsport shows replays of games throughout the week so there is plenty of opportunities to watch games.

          NBCsports only shows replays of games (edited) they show live on TV, they don’t show replays of games they’ve shown on NBC app/online. And even if a person has comcast where they show other games on demand, it’s only in HD and not available for those who don’t have HD (in SD).

          re: “NBCSN, FS1, ESPN, etc are NOT 24/7 soccer networks. They are GENERAL sports networks” really – no kidding – wow. Duh.

          Before FS1, it was Fox soccer and was a 24/7 soccer channel. beInsport isn’t a 24/7 soccer channel but they manage to show plenty of soccer. BTW I don’t consider shark fishing, hunting a sport (my opinion).

          Regarding you view on recording ESPN FC and or Fox Soccer daily, well I don’t have a DVR (or a PDR- whatever that is?) plus both of these shows could be re-shown for west coast folks at a later time like Fox Soccer did (twice a day).

          Ok so have I infuriated you some more? Maybe? :-)

  6. It’s a shame that Fox keeps stubbornly display scores from other games! And not at the bottom but in the middle of the screen. Are they aware of DVR? What if we want to watch more than 1 game? Ridiculous.

  7. Are you people ever happy with anything? There is nothing wrong with the coverage. If any of you cry babies remember back to when ESPN had the rights to UCL it was one game a week called by American commentators(I know you all must of hated that)and that was it! No pre game no post game….NOTHING! I will take this all day over the alternative or have you forgotten that most people in the US dont give a sh*t about soccer and we are lucky to have this.

    1. Your argument is great!!!!

      IF THIS WAS 1994!!!

      People do give a sh!t about soccer… Look at the rating increases.. The demographics… It’s all positive for soccer…

      There are no excuses for not having a top notch broadcast in 2013… Because we HAVE had it… And now we are regressing with soccer on Fox Sports1… ESPN realised this and changed… Fox is going backwards regardless of what this article is trying to state


    2. Yea, Tim. Your argument is dated.

      US broadcasters are bidding millions of dollars for the rights to these matches. The audience may not be as large in the US as the NFL or NBA, but it is an audience.

      NBC has pleased Premier League audiences with their product. That means that a group of people now feel good about NBC and are being exposed to their programming. More than likely, they will start showing more interest in NBC shows and go to their website. I know I have.

      I stopped watching FOX after the Gus Johnson experiment. I gave them another shot with the new “fun” FOX coverage, only to realize quickly that nothing had changed. So I’m back to turning on the match for the match only. I don’t watch their pregame, halftime or postgame shows…or anything other FOX programming.

    3. re: remember back to when ESPN had the rights to UCL it was one game a week called by American commentators”

      When was that? From 2002 to the last year ESPN had CL, playing calling was Derek Rae and Tommy Symthe (with a “Y”). Derek Rae was the great and one of the best.

      They showed 4 games a week (2 each on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNclassic (Tues and Wed) plus they had a weekly 1 hour highlight/review of CL games played that week (on Thursdays). That show was 100% superior to Fox Soccer CL and FS1/2.

      Maybe you’re thinking about ESPN and World Cup coverage using American commentators until 2010 when they changed to English/British. Prior to the 2010 WC I refused to watch ESPN coverage of WC. Watched it on Univision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *