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Fox Soccer Channel Shuffles TV Lineup To Focus More On EPL

Beginning today, Fox Soccer Channel has made significant changes to its primetime viewing schedule to focus more on the Premier League and Champions League while pushing other shows such as Soccer Talk Live to late-night viewing times.

The new schedule features a three-hour block of Premier League programming from 7-10pm ET each weekday evening. Then on Friday nights at 8pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel will feature a “Game Of The Week” from England.

Fox Soccer Channel kicks-off its enhanced weeknight programming Mondays at 7 p.m. ET with the Barclays Premier League Review Show and continues with two-hour match telecasts each evening as well as archival and magazine programs from the world’s most-watched sports league.  Tuesdays-Fridays at 11 p.m. also feature classic matches from the UEFA Champions League, while Fox Soccer Report remains in its usual time slots of 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.  Fox Soccer Channel’s schedule will vary on UEFA Champions League and CONCACAF Champions League matchdays from August-May, as well as during the MLS and college soccer seasons.

To accomodate the changes, Soccer Talk Live will move from Monday at 7pm ET to 11pm ET. The show will repeated for viewers on the west coast at 11pm PT.

You can read a lot into the programming changes. The way I take it is that Fox is trying to capitalize on the strong TV ratings they’ve been seeing from the Premier League. Plus, after spending so much on the rights to show the games, they want to make sure that they benefit from the ratings, even when shown on replay. Soccer fans crave soccer games, so it makes complete sense to establish a consistent nightly viewing three-hour block of time when Fox will hope that viewers will become used to watching games during primetime. And for people new to soccer, the primetime games are the perfect teaser to hook new fans to the Premier League which they can then watch live on any weekend.

For Soccer Talk Live, the story isn’t as rosy. An 11pm ET start-time is going to be tough to attract fans. Fox may presume that the format of the show may work better late at night, and more power to them if they can make it work. But when your original time slot has been replaced by re-runs, it’s not a promising sign. Still, it’s a victory for the Premier League and is another example of how the league is increasing with popularity in the United States.

What do you think of Fox Soccer Channel’s new programming lineup? Share your feedback in the comments section below.

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  1. mdove11

    October 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Not sure where else to ask this…

    Does anyone know if the Manchester United v Bursaspor match will be on later tonight? I hate that it’s the only game not being shown live, online, but will it go up as a delay at midnight or something?

    • bradjmoore48

      October 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm

      Yes. It’ll be up around midnight.

  2. goon

    October 19, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    How long do you think FS+ will even survive in its current $15/month? I for one refuse to pay that when I don’t even get FSC in HD yet with U-Verse and will wait until they add it to whatever package FSC is in.

    • Sir Guy

      October 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      See my comment above. It’s not Fox that is responsible for the $15/month charge that some have to pay for FS+. Some of us get it for “free”.

  3. us spur

    October 19, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Still no one mentioning that ESPN have screwed us US soccer fans again. They got the rights to the EPL, then stick most of the games on ESPN3 where most people don’t get them/know they’re on. What’s on instead of the Spurs vs Everton game on Saturday? College football re-runs!

    • sucka99

      October 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm

      • us spur

        October 20, 2010 at 10:45 am

        Thanks for that … they must have just changed it on the channel listings because up until Monday the guide had college football on at that time.

    • bradjmoore48

      October 20, 2010 at 10:39 am

      us spur,

      It’s only the Monday matches that don’t involve a ‘big’ EPL team (ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Man City) that get pushed to ESPN3 only. They will always show Saturday matches. And when the group stage of CL is done and the big teams start playing Monday matches through the holiday season, those will be on TV as well.

      • us spur

        October 20, 2010 at 10:52 am

        This is my point … if ESPN do win the rights to the next EPL package, we’ll not get to see all the games and so get shafted, again!

        • sucka99

          October 20, 2010 at 11:26 am

          or we’ll be at the mercy of a sublicensing agreement with FSC or FSN or Versus or GolTV or someone – which probably means half as many matches on TV as there are today and shuttling people off to the Internet.

          but FSC will never give up the EPL. It’s their raison d’etre

          • bradjmoore48

            October 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

            us spur – how is that any different from putting EPL matches online with Do you hate Fox for ONLY having 2 channels (1 which you have to pay extra for) so you can’t watch every match live on TV? Hate to say it, but more matches will be put online only in the future, not less.

            2nd, ESPN were forced as part of the sublicense to take on the Monday matches. If you want to blame anyone for why ESPN puts Monday matches online, first blame Fox for looking out for their own interest and not given ESPN2 a Sunday time slot, which usually has a big matchup, then blame the people who watch ESPN2 mid afternoon programming in bigger numbers than a Monday EPL match that doesn’t involve a big team.

            Before you jump all over ESPN, know the facts.

          • Sir Guy

            October 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm

            “FSC will never give up the EPL. It’s their raison d’etre”


            Frankly, I think ESPN are quite happy with the whole process. They don’t have to go out on a limb for the entire package. They let FOX go do the major work and then take what they can get. No conflicts with college football….ever.

            I don’t see ESPN ever bidding for the entire package a la FOX.

          • sucka99

            October 21, 2010 at 2:56 am

            bradjmoore48 there’s a big difference between showing one game a week on TV and showing 10 (albeit half delayed). ESPN simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to give us more than a few games a week because of their other higher rating commitments.

            ESPN puts games online because they don’t get enough ratings on their channel but they still want to offer it to tech-savvy viewers. Fox puts games online to create an additional revenue source for people who can’t get their channels and/or don’t want to wait to watch it delayed. Apples and oranges.

            If you want access to games, you want Fox to have lots of access to the EPL because ESPN just doesn’t have (or want to use) space on their channels.

  4. JMac

    October 19, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Have you anything about Bell Express Vu dropping Fox Sports World Canada
    from it’s grid in November?

    • The Gaffer

      October 19, 2010 at 8:55 pm

      JMac, I’ve read similar stories that Fox Sports World Canada is being dropped, but I don’t have any additional information. Sorry.

      The Gaffer

  5. Jason

    October 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Bring back fox football fone in!

  6. Dave C

    October 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I’ve always wanted to know why they show the Australian A-League on FSC.

    Given that (a) not many Australians like soccer any way, (b) not many Australians immigrate to the US, hence the Australian viewership of FSC must be tiny, and (c) the A-league is of no interest to soccer fans from outside of Australia; I wonder if anyone ever watches FSC’s A-league shows.

    • The Gaffer

      October 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm

      Dave, it’s probably because it’s very cheap programming to fill airtime.

      The Gaffer

  7. JW

    October 19, 2010 at 9:50 am

    This would be AWESOME news…

    …if Comcast carried FSC HD and FSC+.

    As it is, I just don’t find myself seeking extra matches of any sort these days unless they’re in HD. Wow, have I become spoiled or what?

  8. sucka99

    October 19, 2010 at 6:01 am

    So instead of showing news EPL-focused news from Sky or CL highlight shows they’re showing classic matches in the 7pm time slot?

    I don’t get it.

  9. Duck

    October 19, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Thank goodness. I’ve been wanting classic matches for a while now. Do you know if they will be classics from before FSC began broadcasting the games? Like will we get the 05 CL Final or the 99 CL Final? There’s a lot of classic CL games from the 90s that a lot of US soccer fans missed.

  10. Cricketlover

    October 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Just thought you should know that the Spartak Moscow vs Chelsea match will be shown live at 12:30 pm on and also on Fox Sports World Espanyol. It kicks off earlier than the other matches which begin at 2:45pm.

  11. RedKen

    October 18, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    It’s a good move considering how tame show Soccer Talk Live was. But it’s a real snooze for those of us who have already seen the weekend games and standard highlight shows. I’d still prefer Fox Football Fone-In for game insight and a few laughs. There was a lot of passion from the callers-in, too. The problem with FFF is they are bereft of ideas. Here are some solid recommendations:

    1. Bring back Fox Football Fone-In. Nick Webster is sorely missed these days.

    2. Add the British show Soccer AM to the line-up. I saw it while in the UK. It’s zany, raunchy and has funny bits. Plus, they have Prem League players as guests.

    3. Drop the rugby from Fox Soccer Plus once and for all. That’s not what soccer fans are paying for.

    4. Replace the rugby with more NPower Championship games and more USL games. Both very undervalued leagues that have a lot of great soccer to offer. And without all the overpaid prima donnas.

    5. Put a more concerted effort behind MLS. FSC has been shamefully vacant in this area, especially when you consider that it’s supposed to be an American soccer channel. One MLS game a week ain’t gonna help anyone, boys.


    • The Gaffer

      October 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      I noticed that Fox Sports Australia is showing a ‘Best Of Soccer AM’ show down under. Perhaps Fox Soccer Channel could look into bringing this stateside?

      The Gaffer

    • csb059

      October 19, 2010 at 11:16 am

      “3. Drop the rugby from Fox Soccer Plus once and for all. That’s not what soccer fans are paying for.”

      Yes please, because only soccer fans matter. Sorry to be rude but it’s a ridiculous statement on it’s face.

      Typical American soccer fans are not going to watch NPower Championship or USL matches, nor are they going to decide to pay for FS+ or because these matches are added to the programming line up. Rugby fans are paying for FS+/ because it’s the only way to get top quality Rugby. Fox would be silly to get rid of extremely cheap rugby programming that drives up the subscriber numbers to replace it with programming only a few diehards that already subscribe to service/channel desire.

      • Duke

        October 19, 2010 at 2:16 pm

        Have to disagree with you on the Championship matches, csb059. The quality of play is better than MLS (generally) and the crowds are among the best I’ve seen. Granted, my exposure has been very limited, but I would definitely be interested in having some NPower Championship matches to choose from each week.

        • csb059

          October 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm

          So you’re not subscribing to FS+ or due to a lack of NPower matches? If so, I’d bet you’re the only one in the country. Also, your point about quality of the MLS vs NPower is a strawman and immaterial. Neither FS+ nor broadcast MLS. There’s plenty of chum to remove from the FS+/ line up if slots are desired for NPower matches, (J-League Highlights, A-League Highlights, A-League matches, Football Superstar, Football Asia, etc.). Just because you and RedKen don’t like rugby, doesn’t mean dropping the programming for NPower Championship matches make any sense from a viewership, subscriber, or monetary perspective for Fox.

      • Jason Gatties

        October 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm

        You are beyond naive if you don’t think all of FS+’s audience are strictly soccer fans. A good portion of the subscribers are not only interested in rugby, but “put up” with soccer programming in order to watch rugby.

        Rugby, not soccer, is the fastest growing sport in the United States. That’s why NBC paid so much money to gain the rights to the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup. Get off your high horse.

        • Jason Gatties

          October 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm

          *if you think

        • sucka99

          October 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm

          by NBC do you mean Comcast NBC Universal (read: Versus or Universal Sports)?

        • Sir Guy

          October 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm

          I agree with Jason a little too often, but here I go again. If I were a “soccer only” fan I would be disappointed with FS+ if I had to pay extra for it. As a “dual” fan I would gladly pay extra to catch all the great rugby action.

          Fortunately, for me, it’s a moot point. TimeWarner put FS+ on my digital tier at no extra cost, so I get it all for “free”. Satellite subscribers and other “payers” should blame their provider, not Fox. Fox isn’t forcing them to charge you the $15 per month. That’s down to individual provider policy/greed.

          And to think I used to badmouth TWC…….Never again! 😉

      • RedKen

        October 20, 2010 at 1:23 am

        Not so ridiculous. And truth told, your reply is not ridiculous, either. But the truth is that Fox Soccer Plus is a pay-per-month channel, and so soccer fans are getting sold short. If rugby fans are passionate about their sport, they should set up Fox Rugby Channel. I don’t know one rugby fan who gives a hoot about soccer or vice-versa. It’s just Fox’s attempt to cash in on them both.

        • sucka99

          October 20, 2010 at 4:29 am

          I don’t know if “cash in” is quite the right phrase. Remember all these rights came from the arrangements Fox had with Setanta. So they probably HAVE to do this in order to break even (or more probably minimize losses). I suspect that unless Rugby gains a certain following , Fox won’t renew those rugby rights, and damn well might get rid of the channel altogether (or change it into something else like they did to Fox Reality Channel). There’s no way of knowing what FS+ looks like when the Rugby and Champions League rights run out.

        • csb059

          October 20, 2010 at 9:31 am

          So you’re caught up on the name of the channel? My lord, because it’s called Fox Soccer Plus, soccer fans are getting sold short? Again that’s ridiculous. If I told you Fox was changing the name of Fox Soccer Plus to Fox International Sports would you soccer fans have the same claim? Clearly Rugby is the Plus in Fox Soccer, so get over it.

    • Terry

      October 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      “5. Put a more concerted effort behind MLS. FSC has been shamefully vacant in this area, especially when you consider that it’s supposed to be an American soccer channel. One MLS game a week ain’t gonna help anyone, boys.”

      Sorry, but it is not FSI’s job to promote the MLS. Even ESPN, with all their channels, only shows at most 1 MLS game a week. It is token support and that is all the MLS deserves until it decides what it wants to be and gets there.

      • The Gaffer

        October 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

        I agree Terry. MLS’s TV ratings are on a downward spiral. There was a World Cup bounce after this summer, but the Premier League got the bounce, not MLS.

        The Gaffer

      • Matt

        October 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

        I’d actually love nothing more than to see MLS leave FSC. They need a partner that can add better production value and one that views the league as an asset, not a burden.

      • RedKen

        October 20, 2010 at 1:30 am

        Idaknow. As an american soccer fan, player and coach, I feel that we need to do all we can to watch, and encourage watching, the MLS. It really has been getting better and we can’t just leave it up to someone else to provide “token support”. It’s up to us, folks. It’s not what “it” decides it wants to be, it’s what we want it to be. MLS playoffs are just around the corner. Are you on the bus or off? I, for one, am on.

  12. David Griffith

    October 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Good to see more broadcasts throughout the week!

  13. olivert

    October 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    One more BIG CHANGE made by FSI:

    On October 24, the early Sunday EPL match usually at 8:25am ET (i.e. the ones FSI didn’t want to sublicense to ESPN Inc.) moves to FSC, while the Sunday Serie A match at 8:55am ET moves to FS+.

    That means Stoke vs Man Utd will be on FSC instead of FS+

    • jmansor

      October 18, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      Hmmm, I wonder if FS+ will survive. Maybe it just isn’t a successful business model.

      • gwright

        October 19, 2010 at 12:27 am

        At $15/month on Verizon, it surely isn’t going to be a successful business model. I can get every premium movie channel for less than that. It’s just asking a bit (read: a lot) too much, even for a huge fan of the game.

    • The Gaffer

      October 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      That’s excellent news for fans of Premier League clubs in the United States. With these decisions made by Fox today, they’re going where the highest TV ratings are for its channel, and that’s the Premier League.

      The Gaffer

      • Matt

        October 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm

        If you’re a fan of the Premier League it’s great. I like good football, whether it’s from England, Italy or wherever. I’d much rather have a top quality Serie A game on FSC than FS+. Instead they are going to shift Italy to FS+ to accommodate whatever EPL match they have at 9, whether the quality of the football is deserving or not. I’ll say this for the EPL – they’ve done a great job on convincing Americans that they have the best football in the world week in and week out. Whether that actually holds up to scrutiny is another matter.

        • Dan

          October 19, 2010 at 12:21 am

          A bummer to hear about more Serie A going to FS+ as I enjoy watching that more than the EPL. With that said, since I can get ESPN3 through the 360 and watch the games in HD, as long as ESPN carries Serie A then I’m happy.

  14. Cantona

    October 18, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I like to know the genius at FSC who decided to take off SKY SPORTS NEWS.. now its only (rarely) on FSC+… I used to watch it as a wrap up after all the Champions League games.. now its not even on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at all….. they need to bring back SKY SPORTS NEWS ASAP!!!!


    • Fernando

      October 19, 2010 at 9:43 am

      Totally agree on this point. This show provides much better access to manager and players then Fox Soccer Report (add to the fact that FSR looks like a local cable access show).

      Just when I think the people who run this channel are doing something correct they go and kill off a vital program. Does anyone remember when SSN was the only news outlet on the old Fox Sports World???

      They show a live broadcast for Good Morning Sports Fan at 2am eastern, how does that serve the EPL audience?? Total nonsense. These are the same people who thought we wanted to watch J-League highlights.

    • sucka99

      October 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      It’s been moved to FS+ at 7pm weeknights. For the most part, on Champions League Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays you’ll only see Sky Sports News on FSC at 1pm.

  15. daniel

    October 18, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    i dont want to be greedy but it would be nice to have stuff like that on the app 😉

  16. Erik

    October 18, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Fox’s first mistake was getting rid of Fox Football Fone-in – I miss me some Nick and Eric.

  17. Matt

    October 18, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Would like to see more a mix of Serie A and EPL to be honest. I’d much rather see Juve-Palermo than be subjected to a match between Wolves and Bolton, for example.

    • SSReporters

      October 18, 2010 at 9:19 pm

      FSC is airing a Serie A match after the PL Review Show next week.

    • wavestriker

      October 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      What Matt said. More Serie A, or even replays of classic EPL matches from years past, like other sport-specific cable channels (NBATV, MLB Network, etc). Not trying to deprive anyone of the pleasure of seeing their favorite lower table EPL club (I root for Everton, who aren’t exactly burning it up), but I like these channels because of the opportunity to take in the best of the sport not just in the present, but the past as well.

      Plus Serie A seems particularly interesting this year.

    • Q

      October 19, 2010 at 9:57 am

      Yes, more Serie A please, Forza Roma!

  18. Terry

    October 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I always thought 7pm eastern time (4pm western) was too early for anything except a call-in show. And now there really is no need for Soccer Talk Live to be live anymore, right? I mean, many other shows that are not live query twitter for questions to ask a guest. I just don’t see the need for something live except a call-in.

  19. Davies

    October 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    more serie a too plz

  20. Titus Pullo

    October 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    This is a move I can get behind!

  21. jbm

    October 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    More Premier League football? Yes please. Question is are they going to show repeats of games from FS+,, and early in the morning games or just the big 3?

    • Duke

      October 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm

      More Premier League is a good thing. Something else I would like to see: A couple Championship games.

      I realize I’m going to take some heat for this, but a couple weeks ago, when Chelsea and Arsenal were playing their London derby, FS+ (Free trial on DirecTV that week) had the Crystal Palace v. QPR London derby. To be honest, the Championship match was more fun to watch.

      Hey, there are a LOT of hours during the week between actual matches. The more those hours are filled up with footie, the better.

      My 2 cents…

  22. BA14

    October 18, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Monday Nights are for the NFL for me so it doesn’t matter when soccer talk live is on.

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