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Details of Fox’s Champions League Coverage Revealed

Fox Soccer Channel logoFox Soccer Channel has announced the details of their Champions League TV rights deal. Here are the most important points to know:

  • Fox will broadcast 31 live and 79 delayed matches on FSC next season.
  • Sixteen games will air on Fox Sports Net on Tuesdays.
  • The final from Madrid on May 22, 2010, will be on FX.
  • Fox Sports en Espanol will broadcast 31 matches live and 63 on delay.
  • Setanta will continue its U.S. coverage of the Champions League under a separate agreement with UEFA, and will televise 94 matches. Fox Soccer Channel will get the top picks.
  • Fox Soccer Channel is considering using the international feed for commentators instead of their own (Fox must have heard your voices; 67% of you voted for the international feed).
  • Its coverage will start with the new playoff round on Aug. 18-19 and Aug. 25-26, 2009.
  • FSC also plans to air pregame and highlights shows.
  • Fox hopes that the addition of the Champions League coverage will “get the network positioned onto more broadly distributed tiers and packages.”
  • Fox plans on adding HD telecasts by the end of this year.

While Fox is the big winner here, the other big winner is Setanta Sports. In World Soccer Talk’s exclusive interview with Setanta Sports from the SportelAmerica Conference on March 16, Setanta announced they were deep in talks with Fox Soccer Channel and UEFA to acquire the rights alongside Fox, and that’s what they accomplished.

More analysis later, but in the meantime what is your opinion regarding the news above? Click the comments link and share your opinion.

Source: AP

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  1. John

    May 4, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    That’s all well and good, but FSC has no chance at getting wider distribution. The network has never posted a tenth of a national ratings point (never achieved one-tenth of one percent of the national television universe).

  2. TLN en Español

    April 3, 2009 at 10:10 am

    There is a separate channel 100% in Spanish language called TLN en Español on Bell channel 699. TLN en Español is a sister station of TLN Telelatino and offers soccer as well.

  3. cftv

    April 2, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    I posted this on MLSTalk but am posting it here as well.

    I am interested what choice game the FSN Regionals will get since its in the most homes and for people who watch at work where in a lunch room or a break room that have cable TV but aren’t wired for Digital Cable which FSC is on while FSN if your area is serviced is on your basic cable tier. Also why is FSN only getting a Tuesday Game on the Regional and why not a game on Wednesday as well?

    I really hope that ESPN is going to put their eggs into the Premiership basket by getting the rights to the 7:30am game and 1st choice game on Saturday Mornings at 10am, the Sunday Morning at 11am game, the Monday afternoon game, and 1st choice for midweek games for ESPN 2.

    Leaving Fox and Setanta to fight for the 3 to 4 10am games that are produced and syndicated throughout the world 1 of which that can air live on each station and the other ones used as tape delay content, the noon game, and the early Sunday Morning game.

    I don’t think ESPN has any room for the Saturday noon game because of College Football and Basketball games obviously and would be FSC’s best chance to still air marquee match ups if they are looking to stay relevant in terms of being able to show the big teams.

    I hope FSC receives the 2nd choice 10am game as well but could see Setanta making a hard push for it because of the need to have a team in the Big 4 play as they need subscribers and they won’t get subscribers if they are stuck airing the next level of the league weekly among the group of Tottenham, Villa, Everton, West Ham, and Newcastle games if they manage to survive the drop while Fox grabs the other Big 4 team week in and week out if there are 2 playing at 10am on Saturdays. I don’t really mean that as a slight but for Setanta to have subscribers they need to have 1 of the Big 4 playing week in and week out to keep a subscriber base outside your absolute hardcore that will watch any game presented.

    That said they could do a deal where FSC and Setanta agree to split the 2nd choice game week to week at 10am leaving both sides a chance to get pick which game they want while being at the mercy of the Premiership Schedule Makers on alternate Saturdays. Setanta can continue showing the Championship Games at noon against the Prem on FSC.

    I just think having the prime games at 7:30am, 10am on Saturdays and the 11am game on Sunday’s airing on ESPN 2 is the best thing for the growth of the sport and league as a sports property in the US because of the visibility that the ESPN Machine provides.

    If it doesn’t work out in 3 years and ESPN isn’t happy with the numbers the games are drawing there is Fox and Setanta if they can last that long business wise who will be more than happy to take the Premiership back off the hands of ESPN with a much more visible and popular property than it was 3 years previous just because of how many sports fans there are that who just check ESPN and ESPN 2 to see what is going on in the world of Sports on Saturday and Sunday Mornings.

    I don’t see the sport of soccer blowing up in popularity like UFC where 300k to 1.2M households will pay 50 bucks a month to watch soccer games like UFC is doing but I could see them drawing new fans to the sport that are intrigued by this foreign league that is filled with drama and teams that you can either love or hate depending on which team Joe American Sports Fan decides to support.

    I don’t think Derrick Rae or Tommy Smyth will jump to Fox just because they can both still call international games for ESPN’s English speaking broadcasts that can be called from the studios Bristol for their international markets ESPN still services as I think they call La Liga games together as well as any Champions League rights they get in Asia. Both guys seem settled at their age on the East Coast and i doubt either of them would want to move to LA where FSC is located. That said I could see the duo calling games from the monitors in Bristol like they currently do for the Champions League for the North American Market if ESPN does win the rights to the Premiership.

    I really think that FSC being based in LA and not in New York hurts the production as I think the production would be better if they were based out East because10am is a whole hell of a lot later than 7am is for the early games. I hate that there is no futbol coverage from 5am to 9am on Saturday and Sunday Mornings on FSC. I am an early riser on the weekend and I want some futbol to watch.

    That time frame would be a perfect time to air my idea that the Gaffer brought up to Shane O’Rourke from Setanta who blew the idea out of the water while the Programmer at FSC that Chris talked to last year thought it was an intriguing idea of airing the old EPL Review Show in chronological order. Those recordings are sitting in some vault collecting dust and would be a great primer for new soccer fans that want to get into the history of the league and how we got to where we are today as the program really does give a great run down of what happened as a snapshot of the week that was the Premiership. If they started with the first year of the Premiership that would be amazing but if they choose like 98 or 99 and worked their way to present day that would beat the hell out of airing paid programs like they currently air from 5am to 9am Eastern. That could even be an option for ESPN Classic to do as well if they wanted to get into the history of the Premiership. I am sure TWI who has produced the show for years still have those recordings. They really need to be dusted off if you ask me!

    I am really looking forward to how the Premiership Rights will shake out this next month with 3 different companies playing chess with each other all making moves around the chess board.

    All that said I am really shocked that ESPN did lose the rights to the CL as I figured they were a shoe in to continue broadcasting on ESPN 2, Classic, and Deportes.

    The next 6 weeks or so are going to be fun to see how all this turns out!

  4. Juan-John

    April 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Posted this on the MLSTalk site but might as well put it here, too:

    ESPN really lost out, especially with the UCL Final to be played on a SATURDAY beginning next year. Forget about the regular weekday UCL matches — TV ratings for those in North America probably won’t be much different than they were on ESPN, which is fine.

    As for the final? Oh, baby. Because it’s on a SATURDAY, that could be a much bigger deal than people think, if it’s marketed right. ESPN got just over a million viewers for last year’s weekday final. If contested by a pair of top teams, like say Liverpool and Barcelona next year, watch for that ratings number to EXPLODE because it’s on a Saturday.

    Give that a few years of steady growth and the broadcast of that game could have a bigger worldwide TV audience than the Superbowl (this is NOT wishful thinking — I’m serious about this). At which point forget F/X, it’ll be on the same regular Fox affiliates that show NFL games on Sunday and the World Series and the BCS championship games.

  5. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    April 2, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    First off W, given the recent success of USL in the Concacaf Champions League and the failures of MLS, it is more likely FC New York of USL-1 is in that semifinal match you envision not the Red Bulls.

    Secondly, RBNY is moving next season to their own facility. CONCACAF CL is a good product, and produces compelling football. The Mexican League is played at a very high standard and has some of the stars of the South American game.

    MLS is on the other hand is in trouble both from a TV and fan interest standpoint. Expansion is helping in new markets but old MLS markets seem to be less and less interested in the league than ever.

  6. W

    April 2, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The Premier and Champion’s League (not the Final) in HD in America would be Heaven on Earth.

    But wouldn’t this local HD coverage deal a huge blow to the MLS and the CONCACRAP, sorry, CONCACAF Champions League? I mean come on, these programs are hanging by a thread here. No one is going to care about the New York Red Bulls VS some Mexican FC Semi-Final at Giants Football Stadium when they can watch Real Madrid VS Arsenal at the gorgeous Emirates stadium.

    Just my thoughts….

  7. Corey

    April 2, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Well I for one am excited to hear that FSC is getting the rights, along with Setanta. Not saying I didn’t like ESPN’s coverage because I did, but giving the Champions Legaue rights to a dedicated soccer channel (along with Setanta) can only be seen as a good thing here and should help elevate the profile of FSC.

    A couple of musts here:

    * HD broadcasts and international feed (commentators)
    * VOD (Video On Demand)
    * Champions League Wrap-Up Show
    * FSN broadcasts (Hopefully that means Comcast SportsNet areas get these games too and in HD)

  8. James

    April 2, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Sounds good. 31 live/79 delayed matches has to be a good bit more than ESPN was broadcasting. Particularly the number of delayed matches.

    Just as good is the news Setanta will continue airing second-choice matches. Lots of those matches, like Chelsea-Juve and Arsenal-Roma lately, have been pretty darn good.

  9. Clynnnog

    April 2, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Regarding the rights for Canada, it will be a big change if only SSC get the rights. Since the mid 90’s or so, TSN and Telelatino (by the way there isn’t a separate spanish TLN…it is all one….a show is in either Italian or Spanish) have covered the games. TSN has used the ESPN feed (and often showing the game that is ‘for our international audience only’) and Canadian footie fans have listened to the folks in Bristol call a game in Europe and we have put up with the bulge inthe ole onion bag guy.

    TSN is on basic cable or in some places on the next tier of cable. Setanta is a pay channel ($15/month). Fox Sports World Canada (an absolute travesty of a channel) is only about $3/month or it can be bundled with other sports channels.

  10. Kevin

    April 2, 2009 at 10:02 am

    This is all good news. The move to HD is fantastic, as is the addition of Foxsports Net giving viewers the ability to watch multiple games in addition to tape delayed games.

    I like that they will use the international feed as there on-air talent stinks, but my problem is are they going to roll out Christian Miles for a pre-game show. There pre-game shows for EPL games is pretty awful. I hope they add some talent to the show, and maybe some production value.

    My only other problem with FSC broadcast is that they always wait until the last possible second to go to the international feed. I understand its probably part of the rights but I hate the thought of not seeing Anfield roaring on a European night before kick-off. I hope they figure out a way to have a pre-game show and go to the international feed early enough to see the players come out of the tunnel, rather than right at kick-off.

  11. Morgan

    April 2, 2009 at 9:59 am

    All sports should be in HD! Its like when color tvs came out, nobody wanted to watch in black and white anymore. Jump on it FSC, because you have been slacking for a long time!

  12. Morgan

    April 2, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Broadcast the EPL in HD for god sakes already will ya! It’s so painful to watch half my 50″ tv with the way FSC broadcasts.

  13. Ivan

    April 2, 2009 at 9:38 am

    It is a good start.
    Now, the big thing for Fox Soccer Channel is to broaden its reach to as many households as possible. It is up to them to do that over the summer!!!
    I was hoping they would show the final on the regular Fox station, but F/X will do.
    HD is a MUST! End of the year may be a bit too late. How about this summer, before the new season begins.

  14. LS

    April 2, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Apparently, if the rumours I’ve read are true, Setanta Sports Canada is the only serious bidder for the Champions League rights in the Canadian market for the 2009-2012 contract cycle. Setanta will have the option to sublicense matches with Italian or Spanish commentary to the TeleLatino Networks: TLN and TLN en Espanol.

  15. eplnfl

    April 2, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Seems some of the right stuff. FSC should get some of it’s own talent on the air and maybe this will be a chance to land a big name to showcase it’s coverage. No idea of who that name should be maybe some people here can suggest it.

    Any word on an internet on demand service for FSC viewers or a Comcast On-Demand type set up. That would be a great aid to the American audience that is at work during game time.
    All in all sounds like a good start.

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