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Fox Soccer Channel Acquires Champions League TV Rights In U.S.

Fox Soccer Channel logoIt’s confirmed. Fox Soccer Channel has acquired the rights to the UEFA Champions League on U.S. TV beginning with the 2009-2010 season, according to the Associated Press.

This confirms the news that EPL Talk reported on March 19 when ESPN, Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports bid on the TV rights while at the SportelAmerica Conference, the leading industry conference, held earlier this month in Miami Beach, Florida.

The announcement is a massive coup for Fox Soccer Channel. ESPN has held the rights to the UEFA Champions League since the 1994-1995 season. An ESPN official confirmed the news, according to the AP.

“We have been informed by UEFA that they are moving ahead with a new partner in the United States,” ESPN said in a statement Monday. “We made a strong bid that we believe would have helped continue the year-to-year growth of the UEFA Champions League in the United States.”

For those keeping score at home, it’s now Fox Sports 2, ESPN zero. Not only has ESPN lost the U.S. rights to the Champions League TV coverage, but it also recently lost the TV rights in Central and South America for the same competition to Fox Sports.

Regarding the news that ESPN has conceded defeat over the U.S. rights to Fox Soccer Channel, a representative for Fox Soccer Channel refused to comment as of press time.

An interesting development regarding the news, which is reported by SportsBusiness Daily, is the possibility of Fox spreading the Champions League games across Fox Soccer Channel (in 34 million homes), FX (in 95 million homes) or its regional sports networks (aka Fox Sports Net).

There also remains a strong possibility that Fox Soccer Channel will sub-license some of the Champions League rights to Setanta Sports, similar to how ESPN and Setanta share the rights currently.

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  1. Same Old Same Old

    September 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Every comment here is from just one country,
    British Brainingwashing Crap or is it British Boring Crap or is it
    British Bootball Crap, its all the same from the same people who are dead last on the planet when it come to real football.

    • The Gaffer

      September 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm

      SOSO, the visitors to EPL Talk and those who comment are from every corner of the world. Where are you from?

      The Gaffer

  2. chad

    June 12, 2009 at 10:42 am

    I agree with almost everyone here. I dont want to hear the dumb FSC commentators commentate on europe’s premier competition. If Max Bretos and whoever the other loser starts commentating, then i will turn it to spainish. I hope they send it out to the commentators at the game (like they do on the EPL games).

  3. carlos

    May 29, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I don’t see how this is a good move at all for the American soccer fan unless Fox is able to get their stuff together to show the games in HD and if it’s able to share the games on its other channels like the local FSNs or FX. Most people do not have FSC and I just don’t get alienating the audience.
    The only positive this move has I can think of is no more Tommy Smyth!!! WOO!!

  4. serban

    May 26, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Finally we get rid of the stupid ticker from ESPN!!!!!
    I cannot stand that thing! Like anyone needs to watch the CL final between Barca and MANU and read in the same time about what the horses line-up is for the Preakness…idiots!

    From Jan 2010, 7 games per weekend in HD on Fox Soccer Channel HD? Are you kidding me? My wife will have a big problem with that!
    Comcast, can you hear us? Get that FSC HD right away!

  5. Johnny

    April 20, 2009 at 1:03 am

    Can’t wait for HD!! Time to bring the Bundesliga back to FSC!!!!!

  6. Willy

    April 15, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Paul, those are great news, I just recently downgraded my DirecTV package and I don’t have FSC anymore, but I’ll put it back the moment FSC goes HD, that’ what I was praying for from day 1!! FSC in HD, my God, thank you, thank you, thank you for listening to our prayers!! and games on Fox Sports en Español!! that’s sweet too, (I just hope they go to HD as well soon, although I don’t know if the programming generated in SouthAmerica, ie. Copa Libertadores, etc, will be in HD any time soon), it also means that the MLS Saturday matches will also be in HD!! man those are great news, I can’t wait!!!!

  7. Daniel

    April 13, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    i cant stand watching delayed games either when i can find the score in a second, i hate the bulky espn scoreboard and the bottom line too, i just have ocd when i watch soccer cuz it the beautiful game i guess, so now fsc will prolly use that sleak champions league design the rest of the world has

    and lets hope they get the commentators that are there becuase last thursday when i watched a minute of the marseille shaktar game i had to turn it off becuase that dumb in-studio guy could not pronounce names and had a terrible commentating voice

  8. Daniel

    April 13, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    That is some great news Paul! I loved having the Champions League on ESPN, but maybe now we can see even more games on FSC, i always hated how ESPN only showed chelsea, liverpool and manchester, dont get me wrong im a complete chelsea fan, but i would love to see some teams from france, germany, portugal more often………..
    the thing bad about FSC and ESPN is when they do the announcers, they dont go to the stadiums so they never no who is going to replaced, whether it is offside…theyre just guessing you have to be at the stadium to be a good announcer

    and when an american commentates about soccer he just sounds in my opinion pretty dumb, i prefer a european accent, makes them sound more intelligent and they are usually more soccer smart

  9. Karo

    April 11, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    wow Paul I hope you’re not kidding because your post just made me a lot happier right now!!!! I was dissapointed because I just switched to Directv to have Goltv and I don’t currently have FSC but being able to watch CL on FSN HD is just amazing!!! I was always jealous watching baskteball and American football games on ESPN HS but no soccer. Now we will get to see more live soccer plus HD!!!
    Thanks man.

  10. Paul

    April 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Just listened to an interview with the FOX Sports International President David Sternberg, and here a few more detailed facts about FSC HD and the Champions League coming to FOX Sports.

    – Live Studio for Pre-Game and Post-Game on Champion League match days.
    – Highlight Shows will be compiled by FSC.
    – FSC will show UEFA’s weekly Champions League Magazine Show (which comes out every week throughout the season, even on non-match weeks)
    – Online Interactive Viewing through
    – Commentary from the stadium by English language UEFA team.
    – Launch of Fox Soccer Channel HD at the end of 2009.
    – HD matches to be broadcast from the start of the Champions League 09-10 season on FSN HD, and the Final Match will be broadcast on FX HD.
    – Tuesday match days will have 3 live matches: One game on FSN HD, a second match on FSC (in HD starting in 2010), and a third match on FOX Sports Espanol which will have an English language audio feed that can be turned on.
    – Wednesday match days will have 2 live matches: One on FSC, and the second on FOX Sports Espanol.
    – Fox Soccer Channel is in 35 million homes. FSN is in 83 million homes. FX is in as many homes as ESPN (98 million homes).
    – All FOX Champions League programming will be in native HD, not a up-convert that ESPN uses.
    Starting in January 2010, FSC will broadcast three English Premier League games in HD, and 4 Italian Serie A games in HD each weekend.

    Overall, I must say, It’s just a better deal for football fans and the mainstream viewer. We get more games live, and more games in HD. ESPN only showed the Final in HD, we get all games that are shown on HD channels in HD (no black bars on the sides!). Also, starting next year we get EPL and Serie A games in HD (!!!!) on FSC.

  11. Neil

    April 6, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Good news is that Fox plan to use UEFA’s direct feeds, so we won’t be stuck with terrible studio commentry from terrible announcers. Unfortunately there appear to be no plans to broadcast in HD anytime soon though, but not to worry. There are also plans to have more extensive pre and post game studio discussions, something that is alien to commercial friendly ESPN.

  12. rasta

    April 6, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Christian Miles, Keith Costigan, and Max Bretos all SUCK. They just repet what ever is said on sky sprorts of what the commentor says anyways.

  13. Sean Garmer

    April 3, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I’m going to assume that they are going to do what they do with the EPL and just use the direct feeds. I also agree that for the growth of the game they need to get HD by then, plus it would help their EPL and Serie A broadcasts as well. I personally don’t have HD but it would be nice to be able to go to a pub or my parent’s house and watch it in HD.

    Also FSC is extremely loyal to their announcers and host people like Max and Christian Miles, so that’s also why I see them just taking the direct feeds, because I don’t think FSC wants to upset their set of guys they have by bringing in much better guys like Derek Rae, Adrian Healey, and Tommy Smyth, and they probably get paid too much to just bring them in as people to be in-studio for pre-game, half-time, and post-game.

    Just my opinion, but I believe if anyone big comes in they are going to use them in other capacities than just Champions League, and we are probably gonna see Christian Miles, Keith Costigan, or Max Bretos out.

  14. Ze da Silva

    April 2, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    I prefer FSC’s announcers and commentators anyway. I can’t understand anything Tommy Smith’s saying with his accent. hahaha

  15. Brice

    April 2, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    They better get some bloody good commentators! I almost don’t watch FSC because of their rubbish announcers. If I have to hear GOOOAAALLLLLL from Max, then I will turn off my HD FSC, and turn on some illegal Chinese feed on the internet where I can barely see the ball.

  16. Ze da Silva

    April 2, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I love it! Let’s concentrate all soccer in 1 channel! yeaaaaahooo!

    For those who are complaining that FSC’s a “pay channel”, what’s the difference from now? ESPN shows only 2 out of 16 games per week anyway. The rest is on ESPNDeportes, a pay channel. Or Setanta. ESPN doesn’t give a crap about the Champions League.

    Go FSC!

  17. JRB

    April 1, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    This is fabulous! Finally the CL goes to a channel who takes the sport seriously and not as an after thought. I’d be willing to bet it gets higher numbers than ESPN despite less market penetration. I’ve been watching FSC since it debuted as Fox Sports World and I’m glad to see they are finally hitting their stride.

    The only way it can get better is if they promise not to hire Tommy Smith…

  18. spartak1

    April 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    The big hope is that that since Sky sports is part owned by Fox, we are going to get direct feeds of CL, similar to the current Premiership situation. Their staff announcers are terrible.

    HD would be awesome of course, but it’s not like ESPN was broadcasting CL in HD, the feed on their HD channel was regular, with bars on the sides.

    The biggest negative is obviously access, ESPN2 was available in pretty much any cable package, ESPN360 was an invaluable resource when TV wasn’t available, and having 3-4 games available on ESPN Deportes on all CL game days was fantastic.

    What’s a bit encouraging is the paragraph above mentioning broadcasts on FX and FSN, the two channels that are also quite common.

    I share the hope with Mike’s post, maybe this means that ESPN is preparing to concentrate their soccer spending elsewhere, though I always thought CL was perfect for them, being on weekday afternoons, not interfering with their core programming.

  19. TAD

    April 1, 2009 at 9:18 am

    I hope FSC will consider hiring Derek Rae and Tommy Smith away from ESPN . Max Bretos and Christian Miles or any other American Team of broadcastors cannot compete with Ian Darke, Martin Tyler, or Alan Parry!

  20. John Ruff

    March 31, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    In my opinion this is a bad thing for US soccer.
    1) ESPN reaches a mainstream audience and places quality soccer to a broader audience.
    2) FSC seriously needs to address the lack of an HD feed. Their statement of “FSC is exploring ways of offering some programs in high definition (HD) where rights and access to HD feeds are available.” has been on their site for months. Time to move forward. HD makes the beautiful game, well beautiful.

  21. Mike

    March 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I am horridly disappointed to hear this news. Don’t get me wrong, FSC is okay, but a move away from the widely available ESPN is going to be bad for raising the profile of the sport in the United States. At least in my region, FSC is a pay channel in a very high tier package with the local cable company, meaning I likely won’t be able to watch CL games on TV anymore. I hope this means ESPN is preparing a massive bid for the US EPL rights with the intent to air the games on ESPN 1 or 2 or create an entirely new channel, specific to soccer, for the standard cable market. If not, I guess it will just have to be more MLS for me.

    Reno, NV, USA

  22. Ivan

    March 31, 2009 at 11:48 am

    No more Max Bretos, Christian Miles and the remaining misunderstandings from FSC.
    1. Get quality play-by-play commentators and analysts.
    2. Get the channel on HD! ASAP!
    3. Get more games live on FX, Fox Sports Net, and FSC.
    Part of me is happy that ESPN will stop showing any soccer. Both major ESPN channels are an absolute joke, anyway…

  23. Erik

    March 31, 2009 at 8:02 am

    I just want to know when FSC is going to start doing some HD broadcasting. Give me that I and I don’t really care who’s sitting in the booth yapping.

  24. uh?

    March 31, 2009 at 2:55 am

    how about the local fox network? would that be too much?

  25. Charlie

    March 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    What SSR, don’t you like listening to public access channel announcers such as that found on FSC? lol…

    (Bobby McMahon excepted, of course)

  26. SSReporters

    March 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    This will only work if FSC gets the Sky Sports feed with Martin Tyler, ALan Parry, Ian Darke, and so on commentating.

    But if I hear even 1 minute of Max Bretos screaming like a hyena with his “Yeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssss” or Christian Miles bore me to tears in addition to him rolling the “R” for every name from “Ramos” to “Reggie” I’ll smash the TV set with a hammer.

    I really hope they sign away Derek Rae or something to do the matches because I can’t see anything positive coming out of this.

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