Now that the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League is over until the Knockout Round kicks off in February, it’s perfect timing to give a report card for FOX’s new soccer TV experience called MultiMatch 90, which was quietly debuted in September.
The concept of MultiMatch 90 is to mimic a similar experience that NFL fans enjoy with the RedZone channel where instead of broadcasting one live UEFA Champions League game, FOX Sports offers a broadcast that jumps around from live game to game when anything exciting or of note happens such as goals, free kicks, red cards, etcetera.
The challenge with soccer is that it’s more spontaneous and unpredictable than gridiron football, so it makes the job for the producer that much more challenging to pick and choose which live moments to show in key games.
Having said that, FOX Sports’ MultiMatch 90 is the best and most unique coverage that the network has offered soccer fans since FOX killed FOX Soccer in September 2013.
Here are the highs and lows of the MultiMatch 90 service:
1. John Strong and Ross Dyer
Without a doubt, FOX Sports made the perfect decision in hiring John Strong and Ross Dyer to host the broadcasts of MultiMatch 90. The very talented Strong has been hosting the majority of MultiMatch 90 broadcasts, but the recent addition of Ross Dyer has been a sound move.
Between the two of them, there’s no drop off in quality, and both men are sincere, listenable and know their soccer.
Rating (hosts): A-
2. It’s a better overall experience
Some soccer fans may be aghast, but following UEFA Champions League coverage with MultiMatch 90 is a better viewing experience for the person at home. There’s no feeling that you’re missing out on a stellar match on another channel. You can sit back and just simply enjoy the soccer.
There are times when producers will go to a specific moment in the game hoping that something will happen, such as a corner kick or free kick, but these more often than not fizzle out into nothing, and the show loses some momentum as a result.
Rating (overall experience): B+
3. Perfect for neutral soccer fans
If you have no horse in the race when watching UEFA Champions League and you just want to watch the best moments from 90 minutes of soccer and be on top of everything that happened in all of the games, MultiMatch 90 is perfect.
If your team is playing, then you’re still better off watching the full 90 minutes of your favorite club and leaving MultiMatch 90 for everyone else.
Rating (appeal to soccer fans): A
4. No talking heads, just soccer
As we’ve described countless times, one of the most frustrating aspects of FOX’s soccer coverage is the lack of quality, knowledge and preparedness by the talent in the studio. FOX Sports has made baby steps in its soccer coverage, but the advantage of MultiMatch 90 is that it’s pure entertainment without the talking heads. There’s no annoying banter. It’s just pure soccer with either Strong or Dyer guiding you through the best moments of games.