With all of the focus on FOX Sports 1 and the dismal ratings on FOX Sports 2, FOX Soccer Plus has gotten lost in the shuffle. The channel has seemingly become the red headed stepchild at FOX Sports.
With all of the changes at FOX Sports in the past 12 months, FOX Soccer Plus has become less relevant than ever before. With FOX losing rights and deciding not to renew contracts, FOX Soccer Plus has lost — for starters — Sky Sports News (with Jim White inexplicably yelling about nothing important on transfer deadline day, as well as the morning papers review), and the review show of the Championship and Football League.
There is room, however, for “premium rugby” and Aussie Rules football amongst the thinning choices of soccer on a network supposedly dedicated to it. The Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and some England matches are all excellent properties to have, but unfortunately only the Champions League and FA Cup are of vital interest to many soccer fans. And they are also not weekly programming over the course of a season.
It’s become clear that FOX Soccer Plus is a part-time soccer network with more rugby and Aussie Rules football programming than actual soccer. Using the available match figures by FOX Soccer Plus’s own website, it’s pretty easy to see why there is very little value to FOX Soccer Plus unless you are a fan of rugby. It is a continuation of FOX’s inability to create an excellent soccer network. It’s not only about having the rights to soccer, but having the rights to games that people want to see. This was a problem when they had the Bundesliga, Serie A and the Premier League.
Instead FOX has morphed FOX Soccer Plus into a rugby dominated channel, which has very little exclusive soccer content. There is no original programming for highlights or analysis. The usefulness of the channel is limited to Tuesday-Thursday afternoons and occasional weekends for the FA Cup. Is that value for their price of $14.99 (or more) a month?
Consider the dubious decisions FOX Sports has made in the last year. They stopped broadcasting FOX Soccer Report and replaced it with FOX Soccer News, which they shut down in less than a year. Then they replaced it with FOX Soccer Daily, which was a total ratings disaster and they shut that down within nine months too. Meanwhile, FOX Sports undervalued its biggest soccer property and lost the rights to the Premier League, and then they killed FOX Soccer Channel. What we’re left with is occasional soccer coverage on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, and a FOX Soccer Plus that should be named FOX Sports Plus. The real losers here are the soccer fans as we’re paying for a channel that has become completely irrelevant.