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Fox Soccer Channel Missing Out on Champions League

Think back for a second and consider the last time that one day had so many brilliant matches as today. For me, it has to be last summer’s World Cup.

Today, of course, we have the extremely intriguing match-ups between Barcelona and Liverpool, Porto and Chelsea, Watford against Wigan and, to a lesser extent, Everton versus Spurs. The Everton match could surprise me — after all, there’s a lot to play for including the struggle for UEFA Cup positions — but I have a feeling the match will pale in comparison to the others on feast today. Without a doubt, today is the biggest football day of the year.

What’s the one thing that Barca v Liverpool, Porto v Chelsea and Watford v Wigan have in common? None of the matches will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel. Instead, it’s a menu of Setanta Sports and ESPN today.

While Fox Soccer Channel had the opportunity to shine last weekend with the FA Cup, they’ve been hurt this season by poor matches — at times — and not much luck in terms of FA Cup draws that pitted non-league Davids against Premiership Goliaths. And even with the Premiership coverage, Fox has been left to pick up what Setanta doesn’t want, so the action on the pitch from Fox hasn’t been the best — except for the coveted Sunday 11am ET timeslot where Fox has shone.

It’ll be a big weekend for Setanta this weekend with the League Cup final in store. Fox Soccer Channel’s most interesting matchup will be Saturday morning’s relegation battle between West Ham and Charlton.

At the end of the day, we shouldn’t look a gift horse in its mouth. The combination of ESPN, Setanta Sports, GolTV AND Fox Soccer Channel allows us fans to experience soccer like we have never experienced in the past. All of the above mentioned networks have their faults, but together we’re living in a dreamworld — in a good way.

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  1. soccerTV

    February 23, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Setanta issued a press release about a month ago regarding its share of the EPL games for the U.S. market.

    Setanta Sports USA and Setanta Broadband will have the Monday night games (usually at 3pm Eastern/12noon Pacific) starting with the 2007-2008 season.

    FSC ran into a problem that will evetually affect other soccer TV networks that prefer to be part of digital tiers or sports packs.

    Once a channel becomes available on over 90% of cable and satellite TV systems, it can only grow its subscriber revenues on the order of 3-5% each year.

    Unfortunately, soccer TV rights fees for the most expensive products are growing in excess of 20% each year.

    FSC simply cannot afford to keep exclusive US TV rights to EPL anymore, as its projected revenue growth simply does NOT match the projected rights fee growth.

    Eventually (in 3 to 5 years), GolTV will run into the same problem.

  2. twd3lr

    February 22, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    “After seeing what games FSC has on this weekend it’s safe to say they are missing out on the EPL.”

    No lie! Let’s see. On Setanta this weekend we have:
    Fulham vs Manchester United
    Liverpool vs Sheffield United
    Middlesbrough vs Reading
    Wigan Athletic vs Newcastle United
    Chelsea vs Arsenal (League Cup Final)

    On FSC we have:
    Charlton Athletic vs West Ham United
    Watford vs Everton
    Tottenham Hotspur vs Bolton Wanderers
    Blackburn Rovers vs Portsmouth

    Tottenham v. Bolton should be fun, but I’ll pass on the rest of FSC’s offerings.


    February 22, 2007 at 7:41 am

    After seeing what games FSC has on this weekend it’s safe to say they are missing out on the EPL.

  4. Anonymous

    February 21, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    FSC’s quality of games has been a constant topic on this forum. The reality is tat their production is attrocious, and their are getting second hand games from EPL, second hand games from Italy, and MLS games(college soccer incl.). And that’s about it. With no Champions League, La Luga, and the cream of the crop from the Premiership, FSC is doomed of being the “third best soccer channel in America”.(out of 3, that is).
    On a different note: Liverpool and Rafa absolutely schooled Barca today at Camp Nou. It was a fantastic victory, with the appropriate irony of goalscorers, and golf-swinging celebrations.
    This was the best response to all the criticism in the press. The team stuck together and Rafa deserves all the credit for it. The idiots from FFF last night wanted to crucify Bellamy. Bellamy’s response today was magnificent. We are all humans, after all and we all make mistakes. Not to condone whatever happened in Portugal, but some comments in the press were absolutely extreme.
    5 times champions of Europe is no joke! An amazing club with amazing traditions. If we could only win the Premier league within my lifetime…

  5. The Gaffer

    February 21, 2007 at 2:51 pm


    I think twd3lr was referring to the Monday EPL matches going from FSC to Setanta. twd3lr, correct me if I’m wrong.

    I checked in with ITVN a few weeks ago about the On-Demand service and the chances of that being ready by the beginning of next season, but they had no news to report. That could be good news or bad news.

    The Gaffer

  6. Anonymous

    February 21, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    If you go to

    you will get an entire offering of games on the web for free.

    I use tvants and sopcasts and between these 2 i get all of the english broadcast games i want.

  7. Simon Burke

    February 21, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Where did you hear Setanta will be showing more choice games? Right now ia m happy as i have both ITVN and Setanta but i do not want to see Setanta get too much as i too like taping games and the quality on my TV is that bit better. Apparently Setanta are trying for the on demand for next season though I cant verify that, it was only what I heard – anyone know any more? Oliver???



  8. Ossie's Dream

    February 21, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks, Gaffer, I will check that out.

  9. Elisa

    February 21, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I have Setanta because it shows so many Liverpool games and Premiership games. Imagine if I didn’t buy Setanta, awful. I also love their CL games. I wish we could see more of them. Not all of us have ESPN Desportes etc. Roma v Lyon is a cracking game and we can’t see it. Truly ashame. If ESPN got smart they would continue to show more and more CL games. (ESPN Classics delayed match is a start) We football conisseurs want to see the best of the best.

  10. The Gaffer

    February 21, 2007 at 12:17 pm


    It’s a great question, but it has more to do with the cable industry than Setanta.

    Cable companies are extremely slow in adding new channels to their offerings, so it takes quite a bit of patience, clout and persistence for networks like Setanta to get added.

    You may want to listen to the Shane O’Rourke from Setanta interview on the EPL Talk Podcast at (just type the chap’s name into the search) to learn more.

    The Gaffer

  11. Ossie's Dream

    February 21, 2007 at 11:50 am


    Any idea why cable providers don’t offer Setanta? Am I right in thinking that only satellite providers broadcast Setanta? Until recently I had DirecTV and thus was spoiled for choice. I now live in a Time Warner Cable household, which means I still get FSC but no Setanta. Is it because Setanta is broadcast from Ireland? I really have no idea and am trying to get my head around this frustrating situation!


  12. twd3lr

    February 21, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Good points, all. I’m a little concerned about how the face of soccer broadcasting could change next year, particularly for my beloved EPL.

    This year, I had to go to a bit of an extreme and signed up for ITVN service in order to get Setanta (I am a DISH Network subscriber). While I am thrilled to have the service, the broadcasts are soft and pixelated (probably doesn’t help that I’m watching it on an HDTV set); but a bigger issue than that is that it takes my DVR out of the equation, which was fine when ITVN had Setanta on-demand, but apparently that ruffled some feathers, so now I have to catch a live broadcast or a replay. Next season it seems that even more of the choice matches are moving to Setanta, so this becomes even more of a concern for me. I hope, hope, hope that DISH and Setanta work out an agreement so I can ditch the ITVN box.

    Another great channel for those of us with DISH HD is the World Sport channel. I am generally not a fan of La Liga, but damn, it is nice to watch the “big games” live in HD. Can I have SkySports HD, please? 😉

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