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6 Reasons Why EPL Matches On ESPN Are More Exciting Than Fox Soccer Channel

What is it about the Premier League which makes it so much more exciting than other leagues? And what is it about those Premier League broadcasts on ESPN that make them more exciting than similar matches on Fox Soccer Channel?

For ESPN, maybe it’s the fact that the games are shown in HD (I’m still annoyed that my local cable provider, Comcast, hasn’t made Fox Soccer Channel HD available in my area)? But besides from the HD aspect, there are a few other reasons why I believe their broadcasts of the Premier League are more exciting than on Fox. Here’s why:

  1. ESPN features their own commentators. You would think that this wouldn’t make much of a difference. A commentator is a commentator. But without a shadow of a doubt, ESPN commentators are more excitable than the typical TWI/IMG commentator we hear on the international feed for a Premier League match (which is what Fox Soccer Channel uses). Ian Darke is the best example. The man has so much excitement in his voice. You can tell that he really loves the sport and that he’s benefited from commentating boxing matches in the past. His delivery packs several punches. When shots go agonizingly wide or in the back of the net, you’re so much more excited because Darke is excited, too. Even Saturday, with Derek Rae stepping in for Darke, he has that passion running through his veins. With Rae, games feel like a matter of life and death. They’re that important and his commentary keeps you glued to the screen. As for the commentary on Fox, it all depends who you get. For the most part, it’s more of a traditional English commentary which can be too quiet and sedate at times.
  2. The crowd noises seem louder on ESPN. Maybe it’s me, but it seems that the crowd noises on Premier League matches shown on ESPN are much louder than Fox. I realize that the matches ESPN2 show are usually only the big matches of the weekend. But even when ESPN2 shows a 10am ET game on a Saturday, which is sometimes less intense than an early Saturday kickoff or a Monday evening match, the decibel levels seem much higher. Not only does the crowd noise sound better on ESPN, but there’s far fewer crackles and pops than what I experience when listening to a Premier League broadcast by Fox. Throughout the match, the volume seems to go up and down during spells as well as the annoying crackle and pop noises.
  3. The production value on ESPN is far better. The on-screen graphics, the music, the titles, the cohesion of the production… everything seems so much better on ESPN than Fox.
  4. There’s more build-up which adds to the excitement. ESPN does a better job of listening to its viewers and taking action. When viewers last season and this season mentioned that they loved the pre-match build-up, instead of being rushed into each broadcast, ESPN has been giving us more and more features such as pre-match interviews and shots of the players in the tunnel. Fox Soccer Channel, meanwhile, seems like they have no clue at times. In the build-up to the Newcastle United against Liverpool match, everyone wanted to hear what the crowd’s reaction was when Alan Pardew walked out on to the pitch. Fox didn’t show it. Instead, they had Nick Webster rambling on and on about the team line-up that only minutes earlier Christian Miles and Warren Barton had told us all about.
  5. Each episode seems so different. With ESPN, you never know what to expect with their Premier League broadcasts. Will we see Ian Darke and Macca live from the gantry at Anfield? Will we see Rebecca Lowe in studio in London giving us her thoughts? Will there be a half-time feature on Bolton’s hotel at the Reebok Stadium or the pies served at Villa Park? Will there be pre-match interviews with David Ginola, Sir Alex Ferguson or Gerard Houllier? And so on. With Fox, their Premier League broadcasts have been so predictable for years that they lack spontaneity and excitement. You can set your watch to exactly what will happen before the match, at half time and after the match is over.
  6. Having the cameras at the ground adds more excitement. It’s one thing having ESPN UK’s crew at the ground where the broadcast is being beamed from, but I’ve also enjoyed seeing the crowd shots that ESPN show before matches and during half time of just regular fans enjoying the game. It makes the broadcast seem more human and something you can relate to a personal basis. Bottom line, it’s a nice touch and it’s something that Fox can only do when the IMG/TWI cameras oblige.

What do you think? Is watching Premier League matches on US television on ESPN more exciting than Fox Soccer Channel? If so, are there more reasons why ESPN is more exciting other than those that I’ve listed above? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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  1. Sam

    December 16, 2010 at 7:28 am

    The Gol Tv announcers are some of the worst around. Phil Schoen talks way too much and has no insight into the sport. His ignorance about tactics is overwhelming. He just talks loudly. There are two announcers I always use the mute button for and Phil Schoen is one of them, the other is John Harkes. FSC announcers are nowhere nearly as bad as Gol TV.

  2. lucidswirl

    December 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    personally i am just deciding whether or not is worth a subscription as i see there are no liverpool matches on the docket to stream this month. espn3 has the espn2 matches up live and on replay as well as others. any insight on this question mr. gaffer sir?

    • The Gaffer

      December 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm

      Lucidswirl, if you want to see Manchester United v Liverpool in the FA Cup and Everton v Liverpool in the league, they both should be on In fact, between now and mid-January, there should be four or more Liverpool games on that channel. Check out the TV listings, which include listings, at

      The Gaffer

      • lucidswirl

        December 16, 2010 at 6:29 pm

        Awesome! Must have looked at the wrong spot. I am curious why vs Fulham and also United v Chelsea won’t be available on .tv but only on tv.

        • The Gaffer

          December 16, 2010 at 7:13 pm

          Games shown on Fox Soccer Channel are only available on demand on, usually after midnight that night.

          The Gaffer

          • lucidswirl

            December 17, 2010 at 1:59 am

            May go ahead and do the subscription then. Thanks man!

  3. clyde mcphat

    December 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I’m utterly amazed about the lack of knowledge from the folks on here.

    Firstly, the announcers used by FSC on the EPL games are not employed by FSC but by the Premier League production company that does the games worldwide. We here many of the same voices week over week. Are you here to tell me that the lead play by play man on the Spurs-Chelsea match last weekend was dull? Peter Drury is excellent! And I am also here to tell you that ESPN only supplements their coverage with ONE extra camera right now. the one that shows Darke and Macca in the booth. That’s it! All the other positions are the ones that are included in the TV rights package. I would have thought the readers of this blog would have been a little bit more sophisticated when it comes to TV production. And if any of you morons were watching ESPN last year, you would have heard the very same announcers we get on FSC. ESPN made a decision to hire Darke and Macca on a full time basis after the WC. To complain about FSC and how much footy they actually bring to us is just nonsense. Cmon, folks.

    • The Gaffer

      December 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      Clyde, most of us know that the announcers are employed by TWI, not Fox nor the Premier League. But the level of enthusiasm that Ian Darke, as one example, adds to a Premier League match on ESPN is much more than what he provided on TWI. And I’m sure he’s doing it on purpose for an American audience. For the most part, the UK commentators working for TWI are great. But some of them are much more laid back than Darke.

      The Gaffer

  4. Hack

    December 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I would have to agree about the announcers on ESPN compared to FSC. When I watch a match, I want the announcers to sound excited and passionate. The announcers on FSC often about put me to sleep.

    I especially enjoy listening to the lead announcers for GOL TV. They make me feel like I am actually in the crowd watching the match.

    • VillaPark

      December 15, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      Now I’ve heard it all. Complaining about the FSC announcers, really? It says it all that you really like the GOLTV announcers fellating over everything Barcelona or Ronaldo do.

      Ian Darke talks way too much now. Americanizing and all. And endlessly calls McManaman Macka about 200 times per broadcast.

  5. Greg

    December 15, 2010 at 11:31 am

    My cable company finally added FSC in HD yesterday. They still don’t offer FSC+ or FSC+ HD, but I’ve now officially waved goodbye to watching games in standard def. FYI, my cable company is Insight who is primarily in Ohio (especially the Columbus area), Indiana, and Kentucky.

  6. EvertonfanKY

    December 15, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Gaffer do FSC execs and ESPN read this site?

    As for FSC last Saturday what a mess they did with The Everton game? They started it late and made there presentation look so amateurish just cutting in and starting the game. What took the biscuit was that the 2nd half started like 10-20 seconds into the game.

    And as for the one screen advertising im bloody paying DISH money to watch you guys I don’t want my one screen size changing.

    Same goes for FSC+ Im playing $15 a month I don’t expect on screen advertising. I would also like a better picture quaility.

    Anways gaffer your article says it all. EPSN still makes Warren Barton and co look so woodern and amateurish.

    • The Gaffer

      December 15, 2010 at 9:15 am

      EvertonfanKY, yes, execs from ESPN and FSC read the site, so the comments made are being heard.

      The Gaffer

    • Sir Guy

      December 15, 2010 at 11:46 am

      The money you pay Dish isn’t going into FSC’s bank account. I realize some are frustrated by the pop-ups, etc., but where would FSC get its revenue if not for them? Pre-match and halftime ads certainly wouldn’t cover their costs. If I’m an advertiser I would opt for banners or pop-ups every time as I know where all the viewers are at halftime and it’s not in front of their sets.

      On-screen advertising is the trade off cost we soccer fans have to accept for getting a full 90 minutes of action without timeouts. Would any of us want to see soccer broadcast on the NFL model? God forbid.

      • EvertonfanKY

        December 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm

        FSC+ is prem channel like HBO etc. I pay dish $15 a month dish takes a chunk and some of it goes to FSC. Look at the Setanta model when Setanta was on air they hardly had any reveunes as it was a subscribtion channel the same goes for FSC+.

        As for FSC a small portion of what I pay dish goes to Fox. Each chanel gets so much money from each cable or dish subscriber which is why so many of the fox channels where taken from dish a few months ago over a dispute.

        • Sir Guy

          December 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm

          I get FS+ SD (TimeWarner, eastern NC) for “nothing”. It is part of my regular digital channel line-up. If I want it in HD I can get it along with a bunch of other “Sports Pass” channels for $5 per month.

          FS+ is only a subscription channel for you because Dish wants it to be, not because of Fox.

    • Dave C

      December 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm

      EPSN still makes Warren Barton and co look so woodern and amateurish

      ESPN doesn’t make them look wooden and amateurish – they’re quite capable of looking wooden and amateurish all by themselves! 😉

      • Sir Guy

        December 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

        haha. Like it. 🙂

  7. sucka99

    December 15, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Yet another “Fox Sux ESPN Rulz” article, eh? OK, I’ll play along…

    “1. ESPN features their own commentators…ESPN commentators are more excitable than the typical TWI/IMG commentator we hear on the international feed for a Premier League match.”

    Ian Darke used to be a TWI/IMG commentator. But IMO he’s regressed on ESPN with a touch of John Maddenism with the way he dumbs down his commentary. Adrian Healey is a step below all the TWI guys. But I will say that Derek Rae IS the best in the business. Hands down.

    “2. The crowd noises seem louder on ESPN. Maybe it’s me”

    Yes it’s you. For me the hallmark of Premier League matches is the crowd noise and I would assume that since the in-game broadcast is handled by the same people for all the 10:00 games, that there would be no difference in sound.

    “3. The production value on ESPN is far better.”

    no argument here

    “4. There’s more build-up which adds to the excitement.”

    Ehhh – maybe so but comparing apples to apples (10am broadcast to 10am broadcast) there’s more visuals on Fox than on ESPN, but more crowd noise on ESPN.

    “5. Each episode seems so different. With ESPN, you never know what to expect”

    This is actually a negative for me. I want to know what to expect. I want to know that there will be a game every Saturday at 10, and noon, Sunday at 8:30 and 11 and that I won’t have to open my computer and navigate some website to watch the game online.

    “6. Having the cameras at the ground adds more excitement.”

    I think both broadcasts have a good amount of crowd reaction shots. Yes Fox is reliant on the international feed to do so, but the international feed does do so.

    Can we at some point acknowledge the benefit of having almost all the games available on TV on Fox Channels for the EPL, Serie A, and Champions League so that we don’t have to go to computers, illegal streams, or Spanish channels to watch?

  8. vermaelen5

    December 15, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Here’s a Comcast subscriber still angry at the company. Get FCS in HD!

  9. Seminole Gunner

    December 15, 2010 at 2:56 am

    For a network that has been quite successful in other arenas, FOX has often struggled with broadcasting sports. Their NFL style has gained acceptance now, but was heavily criticized when it first debuted in the 1990s. Same goes for baseball. FOX’s broadcast of college football’s Bowl Championship Series was almost universally hated by fans, and now they’ve lost that contract to ESPN.

    In the case of FSC, they seem to have made the decision that they are simply not going to invest enough resources to produce a quality broadcast. In light of that, I wish they would just cut out the irritating FSC middlemen and give us the raw Sky feed for games covered by Sky. For the games that are not, they could give us the old raw Premier League feed that Setanta used to show. At least that would spare us Christian Miles, and maybe they could focus their resources on actually joining the game on time.

  10. VillaPark

    December 15, 2010 at 1:58 am

    What I find amazing is the love for ESPN when they have continuously decided all season long not to show certain games other than online with ESPN3 unless it is a Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool game. If Sunderland faces Stoke or Blackburn plays Bolton on a Monday, you can rest assured that ESPN won’t bother to show the game.

    When you can cherry pick and show one game per week, you can lay out all of the bells and whistles and make it look great. It’s why the old version of Monday Night Football was must-see television – the production of one game was much easier to handle in the NFL than other networks who had to cover 5-6 regional games at a time.

    While everyone is glowing about ESPN’s one game, I’m also busy watching the FSC game on another TV and EVERY OTHER LIVE GAME on FSTV.

    If I have to choose between one or the other, give me FSC’s products over ESPN’s.

    • Moose9t9

      December 15, 2010 at 11:55 am

      I agree with this. I find it annoying that only the teams you mentioned get shown on Saturdays.

    • Sir Guy

      December 15, 2010 at 12:08 pm

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think ESPN gets to cherry pick anything. They purchased certain timeslots from Fox who own the rights to all EPL matches in the U.S.

      From an earlier EPLTalk article: “The timeslots that ESPN2 have taken are Saturday mornings at 7:30am ET (10am when there are no early kick-offs) and weekday afternoons (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday) at 2:45pm ET.”

      So, ESPN can broadcast those matches, but no others. It isn’t a matter of choice, but what their deal with Fox allows them.

      • Sir Guy

        December 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm

        How many times have they failed to broadcast a M-T-W 2:45 match (other than on ESPN3)? That’s not a rhetorical question. I don’t know the answer.

        • sucka99

          December 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm

          They’ve only shown about half of the Monday matches and they declined to show a Monday Arsenal game – the second to last game of the season last year.

      • The Gaffer

        December 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm

        Sir Guy, you’re correct. For the midweek games and when ESPN has a 10am ET game on a Saturday (when there is no 7.45am ET), Fox and ESPN duke it out to decide who gets what.

        The Gaffer

        • VillaPark

          December 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm

          While this is true, ESPN can only show one game. Even the second best game available would be perfectly fine for FSC (FSC would view Fulham v Bolton as a good matchup while ESPN would kick it to their online service and now show it on TV).

          I was mainly talking about the Monday timeslot where they have only shown half the games. It’s the major complaint I have with ESPN.

          • Sir Guy

            December 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm

            “I was mainly talking about the Monday timeslot where they have only shown half the games.”

            That is interesting. They are probably making some economic decision based on possible ratings/ad revenue versus their regular programming. Not exactly an overwhelming commitment to the beautiful game or its fans, is it?

  11. Hoosh

    December 15, 2010 at 12:45 am

    I have to say, I love the sleekness of ESPN’s coverage, and Ian Darke is a wonderful commentator, especially when we don’t have to endure John Harkes alongside him.

    While I enjoy ESPN’s coverage much more, I also am very appreciative of FSC’s coverage, especially since I will never forget my excitement when I stumbled upon a Champions League game randomly on Fox Sports West.

    If anything, I look forward to ESPN picking up more matches in the future, forcing FSC to invest more in their product.

    • Sir Guy

      December 15, 2010 at 11:58 am

      “If anything, I look forward to ESPN picking up more matches in the future, forcing FSC to invest more in their product.”

      Remember that ESPN gets all its matches from Fox. ESPN doesn’t bid for the rights. They just pick up what Fox is willing to sell them. ESPN seems content with that approach.

  12. LeTissierNoseAll

    December 14, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    As stated FSC really hasn’t evolved at all and looks cheap and nasty. Nick Webster is so bad it’s shocking. How Christian Miles keeps his job is a mystery to me. He is appalling. Warren Barton is just plain awful. The studio is tacky beyond belief. Truly, truly horrific coverage but they have their core audience so do they care? They obviously get by with the 100,000 viewers or so a game so why bother spending anymore? If they belive the sport will never really grow here why should they splash the cash with decent announcers and analysis?

  13. Jim

    December 14, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    ESPN is my favorite, but on Saturday’s it’s hard to get up and watch a match in HD on ESPN3. FSC wouldn’t be so bad if they added some pre match stuff besides the crappy show they have on. It’s not bad, but let’s watch some pre-match stuff at the stadiums.

  14. SantaClaus

    December 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    While I appreciate the better quality of production from ESPN2, I’m not that dissatisfied with FSC given that their advertising base isn’t as good as ESPN2. It’s all about what FSC can afford which is tied to their income from advertising. FSC was first in making the EPL popular by showing games live. They still show more EPL games than ESPN2. For me, that is more important than a better quality of production. ESPN2 still shows scores of other EPL games which I personally don’t like as I prefer to record some games to view later. So they don’t always listen to their viewers.

    By the way, if you watch ESPND (Deportes) you will appreciate FSC more. The quality of the broadcast on ESPND is terrible. Even worse than Gol TV. It’s all about revenue from advertising and channels like FSC, Gol TV and ESPND just don’t generate that much. Hence all those Proactiv commercials on FSC.

  15. Richard

    December 14, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    7* ESPN HD picture cant be compared with crappy compressed FSC 720pHD

  16. dlink09

    December 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    i am an Arsenal fan.. heck i will even watch Spurs game on ESPN.. 🙂
    FSC ………………………….

  17. John

    December 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    While I do agree with the premise of this argument 100%, I do feel a little bad in bashing FSC.

    I mean, they did expel every effort to make sure we see almost every game, each week. You certainly can’t fault their committment to bringing us what we want.

    That said, now that they’ve won the big prize, they need to act like champions and think about making the content as best as it can be

  18. Football Souvenirs

    December 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    ESPN has Ian Darke….say no more

    • jose

      December 14, 2010 at 6:43 pm

      go, go u.s.a.

    • Scott

      December 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      +1 His work during the World Cup was outstanding!

  19. Rene

    December 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I agree ESPN is in a different class than FSC, however it’s limited to only 1 or 2 games a weekend which makes FSC a must need for die-hard fans like me to watch almost 6 EPL games a weekend. Does anyone know what the viewing percentages are for ESPN’s coverages vs FSC?

  20. JMTate

    December 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Agree with all your points. I’m hoping that Santa brings more games to ESPN/ESPN2. I love watching the games (and actually getting to use my surround sound) – from pre-match to post-match.

    Gaffer- any news on the EPL TV contract front? I thought for a while there that ESPN had a chance to show more games each week – is the pattern set for the remainder of the season or is there a chance we’ll get more games via ESPN? (perhaps gossip about ESPN Soccer channel?)

    • JMTate

      December 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

      ETA: I came home this afternoon – had a flyer from Comcast in the mail with new HD channels added, including Fox Soccer Channel HD!

      • The Gaffer

        December 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm

        Jason, which part of the States do you live in?

        The Gaffer

        • JMTate

          December 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm

          Albuquerque area

  21. settingthetable

    December 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    This is a pretty pedestrian thing to comment about FSC, but…

    Who picked out that theme music and intro graphics for Fox Soccer Match Day? It’s like some weird cross between surf music and a kids’ video game. Does it sound like something that would be a prelude for the Premier League? Does it stir the senses like a symphonic piece and a quality graphic would?

  22. jbm

    December 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    ESPN is like an Apple Store, FSC is like CostCo/Sams Club.

    ESPN offers the pick of lots of games, offers a pleasant custom experience that attracts a lot of people.

    FSC offers lots of options in bulk in a warehouse.

    I don’t think FSC *CAN* offer an experience like ESPN does due to time and budget. But I think they’ve positioned themself as the one-stop location for soccer in the USA.

  23. Lou Poulain

    December 14, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    FSC gets lots of points for regular week by week coverage of EPL and Serie A. But they don’t do their own production and the faults on the production quality side are with the sources. (It makes you wonder what the TV experience is for the fans in England.) When I had Dish and FSC HD, the difference in production quality was still evident.

    I actually dislike the tone and tempo of the half-time on ESPN. It’s a little too imitative of what the networks do with NFL, and it doesn’t work for me. But, I do like the build-up to the game on ESPN, and wish the FSC game broadcasts began about 10 minutes before kickoff instead of at the first whistle.

  24. PhillySpur

    December 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    For the most part I disagree with this article. I am a big fan of FSC and very appreciative of all they have done bring football to America.
    Commentators – I prefer the FSC commentators. I’m not looking for excitable announcers. I’ll take the quiet and sedate English announcers any day. Let the play on the pitch do the talking.
    Crowd noise – The crowd noise Sunday at WHL sounded loud enough for me. Although, I do agree with one of the posts about the sound quality of Serie A, but that may be due to the fact that no one is there.
    Production value – the last thing I want is more on screen graphics and music. I’m not 13. Keep this up and we’ll be watching the NFL.
    I do agree that FSC struggles with the start of the game. For some reason they haven’t come up with a way to seamlessly move from the studio to the stadium.

  25. Feehily

    December 14, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    First good and sensible article I’ve read on here for a while. ESPN’s coverage is so much better. Feels like someone has taken care to make it look and feel professional and do the beautiful game justice.
    FSC, even after all the year they have been the go to Premier League guys, haven’t evolved with the US fans. They still dumb things down and still feel like they are dealing with 5 year olds, like oh Football fans are simple, they don’t care as long as we give them the Football. Which is only half true…
    FSC seems to think that because they have the most games that that is enough.

    But with ESPN’s every increasing understanding and appreciation of Football it is time for FSC to up it’s game. Everything about ESPN’s broadcast screams “We take this very seriously, but we are still going to make it fun.” They aren’t afraid to throw money into it as the World Cup did so very well. Ian Darke is a quality commentator and to get him not only to commentate but to do so just for the US market is such a huge step in the right direction. He is talking to the US audience directly and that changes they whole complexion of the broadcast. And Steve Mcmanaman has been top class, so funny at times and even though the Man Utd game sucked balls he was great ti listen to. Talking about getting drunk with the Chilean miners and when the game started to get a little heated he said “Good!” Also when he made some derogatory comments about Fifa and Darke said (jokingly) “Be careful what you say about Fifa.” to which Maca replied “Ah Fifa Schmifa!” You wouldn’t get that from anyone else, not Pleat, Francis, Smith or Gray!

    Keep it up ESPN and force FSC to step into the future of Football broadcasting and take it seriously!!

    And with regard to the ticker at the bottom, I don’t like it but it is needed as the casual fan will get his feeds while still watching the game. Keep him seated!! But hey it’s not even for the whole game which is a good call!

  26. Drew

    December 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I’m glad The Gaffer continues to bring attention to this. I’m not convinced any decision-makers at Fox will see it (let alone respond to it), but hopefully if enough people speak up then something will happen and Fox will stop being so complacent.

    Completely agree that we should be grateful for the sheer volume of games we can now watch in the US, but like other commenters have said, in most cases we are in fact paying extra for that privilege and I don’t see why we shouldn’t be critical of a poor product.

    My ONE complaint about ESPN’s coverage, as others have mentioned, is the announcing of other scores. I suppose it is standard practice in other “American” sports, but soccer is a little bit unique in my opinion–especially in the US where not many of us are “from” English cities–in that viewers like myself watch for the sport just as much or more as to root for one team. If they continue doing it, I hope they can at least start giving a heads up that they’re about to mention other scores so we can change the channel or mute or something…

    • Rabble Rouser

      December 15, 2010 at 9:07 am

      Another whiner who needs to grow up. God did not invent soccer so you could watch each game individually without any knowledge of the others. This isn’t some sport fully dependent on a Men in Black pen to erase your memory so you can be catered to like a spoiled 6-year-old. The games are happening at the same time. They shouldn’t ignore the scores just so you don’t have a temper tantrum.

      It’s normal to find out what is going on elsewhere. It is unnatural to expect the rest of the world to shut up so you can be satisfied, you immature fool.

  27. Dave

    December 14, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I think what is great about ESPN’s performance is that while the video, audio and commentary quality are all top notch, the production as a whole seems more connected to the viewer from what those of us in the States have become accustomed to in their coverage of other sports.

    It feels as if ESPN has their own small EPL team shuttling from venue to venue each week, having a good time with it and perhaps not believing they’ve lucked into such a gig. You get to know the commentators and even the home made halftime shows from the broadcasting booth have been hilarious at times, particularly the back and forth over the snoods at a recent game (I don’t remember which one).

    While it may be only a matter of time before the league starts getting the whole overblown ESPN production, I am happy to enjoy the “throwback” level it’s at right now.

  28. Christian

    December 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Old Trafford was in full boom yesterday during the match and the broadcast on ESPN2 caught it perfectly. I got chills during certain points of the match because the audience was giving it their all which only puts me, the viewer, right there with them and ESPN gets that.

    I did love the piece on the Pies a few weeks ago. Number one seller though…was bacon 😛

  29. Brian

    December 14, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Agreed. I’ve been breaking in my 7.1 home theater this week and the audio feed from FSC is bad. On the HD signal from ESPN (most likely 5.1) the rear channels really convey the actual sounds of the ground and make you feel as if you are truly there.

  30. Megan

    December 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm


    After the 2006 world cup, I was about ready to watch all games on GOLTV, but the addition of steve and the other commentators (minus Alexi Lalas) it was so much pleasurable. I now watch most Monday EPL games on espn3

  31. Terry

    December 14, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I hope you realize that ESPN was one of the first sports channels to amplify stadium/crowd noise (for college football). FSC couldn’t start doing this unless it’s done through Sky and it would have to be subsidized by other revenue as it is being done in ESPN.

  32. Scott

    December 14, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    6 Reasons to Leave Comcast in favor of Directv:
    No FSC HD
    No FSC+
    Illegal Business Practices (CSN Monopoly in Philadelphia)
    Poor Customer Service
    Directv’s Whole-Home DVR Service

    • Rovers

      December 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm

      I would love to have Direct TV, but it is not an option for a lot of people. My building has a contract with Comcast so I have no choice. Many other people don’t have a clear view for a proper signal and others live in areas where weather becomes a major factor. I previously had Direct TV and I miss it, but its no longer an option for me. I’m sure there are many like me that are stuck with Comcast or other providers that want to see their provider improve their service. Not having FSC HD is a disgrace. Comcast also had Setanta so there is no excuse for not having FSC+.

    • King Eric

      December 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      Ya, I got fed up before world cup when they didn’t have HD FSC up and running yet and was tired of waiting for FS Plus as well, so I switchd before it started and got DVR for free to and saved all the good matches. Looks like I made a good choice since none of it is up yet- disgraceful.

  33. John

    December 14, 2010 at 11:46 am

    What’s the point of manufacturing a controversy? Must our country always have a “team diehard” mentality with respect to every subject? Why can’t we just be pleased that the Premier league is widely available rather than nitpick petty differences. Ian Darke was one of those commentators heard on FSC prior to his ESPN by the way.

    • The Gaffer

      December 14, 2010 at 11:56 am

      John, we love the Premier League coverage on Fox and ESPN. But that shouldn’t stop us from providing helpful advice on how Fox can make their productions better, should it?

      The Gaffer

    • ctgunner

      December 14, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      The gaffer isn’t manufacturing a controversy. He is merely trying to get FSC to raise its production level. If he can make FSC aware of the fact that we appreciate a better production level good for him. I say thank you and about time someone hold FSC to a higher standard.

      When a viewer pays a tone of $ for cable and FSC they’re allowed to nitpick. Gaffer keep it up and Thank you.

  34. Trevor

    December 14, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Agree with a lot of these points, especially production/audio. One reason I’ve personally had a hard time watching Serie A live is because of FSC’s poor audio. The crowd/atmosphere is almost non-existent on FSC Serie A broadcasts, less than stellar commentators also play a part.

    This still ultimately boils down to entertainment and ESPN does a far better job of presenting and building up the event.

    • Onions

      December 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      gotta agree with you on this one. half of the appeal of this sport to me is how passionate the fans are and how most games seem like the most important event in that place for the whole week. if I can’t hear the crowd and how wild/animated they are about the game, I generally tune out or even bail on the game.

    • settingthetable

      December 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm

      Have you seen Serie A crowds? Other than Inter and AC games at home, there’s not much atmosphere as it is.

  35. Aaron

    December 14, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Yea, this is all true. I do agree that ESPN makes the actual game a little more exciting for the average viewer. But I still think Fox is liked more in the American soccer community just because it focuses on soccer. You get like three games in a week with ESPN if you’re lucky, while Fox gives you three Saturday, three Sunday, and that’s just EPL. Throw in Serie A and all the little South American games, well, you just have better content from Fox.

  36. King Eric

    December 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I would have to agree for the most part w/the gist of this article however there are two concerns I do have w/ESPN.

    1. As mentioned on here plenty of times before, when they broadcast a match live at the same time as others they announce constant score updates for the other games, which is a big no-no in football.

    2. Once in awhile they’ll bring people into the studio who don’t belong i.e. Alexi Lalas, Harkes, etc., but for the most part it’s pretty good and I like the fact that they signed on Ian Darke.

    Other than that, much better job overall.

    • Rabble Rouser

      December 15, 2010 at 9:03 am

      A big no-not in “football.” Give me a break. England does not have a string of tape-delayed games to satisfy some petty fetish for treating each game as some sort of bubble-wrapped fragile entity. Listen to BBC Radio. Go to England once in a while. People talk about other games going on ALL THE TIME.

      Grow up.

      • King Eric

        December 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm

        I have been and sure it’s different when you’re knowingly surrounded by that atmosphere and expect it, especially if at a pub or place showing multiple matches on simultaneously, or Soccer Saturday on Sky for instance. However, it’s different when I choose to seclude myself and watch at home on TV and then unexpectedly get updates all of a sudden in the middle of the match I’m watching. If I wanted to do that I would listen on BBC radio or have my laptop nearby.

        Now knowing that of course, I simply watch the ESPN broadcasted game last, but it’s annoying that they do that knowing full well that they’re not broadcasting to an audience in England, but probably more so to the fanatic in America who woke up early to watch all the action. It’s not NFL or baseball that’s made for commercial breaks and flipping to other channels when action is expected.

    • Pablo Nadoski

      January 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      I do miss that Terri Leieh girl from Fx Soccer Rept. And what happened to Max Braetos – he was pretty good and I think went to ESPN. Darke and Macca truly bring in the feel of the game.

  37. Kevin

    December 14, 2010 at 11:40 am

    #7 you can watch the espn match on espn3 live not on tape delay like fsc+ operates

  38. farlieonfootie

    December 14, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Agreed 100%, and here’s one more: ESPN has better commercials. What’s with FSC and their continuing love affair with ProActiv?! Are there that many teenage girls watching the EPL? It seems to be the only advertiser they can attract…..

    • Seminole Gunner

      December 15, 2010 at 2:43 am

      All we get are Proactiv, Penny Talk, and that damn “There’s nothing like the beautiful game in HD!” commercial.

      At least the Penny Talk and TV ads make sense.

  39. Fernando

    December 14, 2010 at 11:38 am

    With ESPN’s arrival we can see FSC clearly doesn’t care or can’t/won’t improve their production standards. FOX should be embarrassed.

    Fox Sports backs all their other sports properties with top talent but with FSC, they take their viewers for granted. I mean nothing sums this up more then Fox Soccer Report, a cheap, bland disaster.

  40. Jon

    December 14, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I also agree about the improvement in overall quality when watching on ESPN. However, let’s hope that ESPN leaves well enough alone. I would hate to see *too much* in the way of production, ala NFL football or NASCAR on Fox. Having extensive in-game graphics, super-imposed yellow lines, player cams, telestrators etc. would diminish the beautiful game for me.

  41. Carmello

    December 14, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Ian Drake is wonderful, but there’s just something very engaging about Steve Mcmanaman too. While my wife was enthralled with Alexi Lalas this summer for ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup (I think she liked his attitude and red hair and his last name… good girls always want to date the bad boy), I was glued to the set when Macca was giving his analysis. So glad ESPN picked him up.

    • Lebowski

      December 14, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Alexi Lalas is the only complaint I had with ESPN’s coverage of the world cup. The man is a buffoon!

      • TGov

        December 15, 2010 at 11:28 am

        Ya, I can’t stand to listen to Lalas. When he is on there I mute the TV.

  42. RWEMC

    December 14, 2010 at 11:16 am

    ESPN take pride in the product it is showing! FSC need to wake up. Who ever is in charge at ESPN please keep it up and shell out more $ for more games PLEASE!

  43. jmansor

    December 14, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I agree with what you are saying and I love the ESPN broadcasts. It could be easy for Fox to improve a little bit, just switch over to the TMI broadcast and soon as possible. Let them do the build up instead of running another crappy commercial. Fox Soccer.TV is so much better with the direct feed from TMI.

  44. Garrett

    December 14, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I definitely agree with everything in this article. I enjoy tuning in to ESPN WAY more than FSC. First, because of the commentators who are actually at the stadium. During Newcastle v Liverpool on FSC, the picture went out, so did the sound at the stadium, but the commentators kept talking. It made me wonder where they were really at. Second, because of the HD broadcast. Still no FSC HD for me either…

  45. Steve.O

    December 14, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Production is better . Multiple camera views really matters. Atturk was right about the second hand feel of FSC. However, I love FSC because the sheer amount of soccer content they bring and mostly because they are NOT ESPN breaking in to tell me about Brett Farve. My only production complaint for ESPN is, don’t tell me other scores!!!! Otherwise, I appreciate theor efforts

    • Aaron

      December 14, 2010 at 11:45 am

      I agree on NOT TELLING OTHER SCORES! I used to duct tape the bottom of my TV to avoid this back when ESPN had rights to the Champions League.

      • Rabble Rouser

        December 15, 2010 at 8:59 am


        Big bunch of babies. The whole world does not revolve around you having some immature compulsion to watching each individual game in some pristine condition of ignorance. Some of us have lives – you might want to look into one of those – and enjoy knowing what’s going on around the league in real time. God forbid you ever listen to BBC Radio where they jump in all the time and update what’s going on.

        Grow up.

        • King Eric

          December 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm

          I don’t think we’re saying we sit there and watch all 10 games each weekend, buddy. But if it’s a big weekend for instance and there are a select few that I definitely want to watch, then I don’t want to know the scores, end of. It ruins a match for me when I know the results and even worse when I know which team has scored at what stage of the match. It should be a simple choice. And sorry we actually like to watch the matches, not just get the updates and look at the updated table standings right away or have a wank to fantasy points. I live for the weekend and football is life, obviously yours is dull.

        • What the...

          December 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm

          What? I am baffled by your reaction and response hahahaha

  46. John

    December 14, 2010 at 11:06 am

    For some weird reason, watching a game on ESPN feels more “legitimate”, like the whole world is watching.

    Wathcing a game on FSC feels like it’s just me watching…like I’m all alone in liking this sport.

    • Carmello

      December 14, 2010 at 11:17 am

      John, you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. I’ve felt the same way for YEARS. I just haven’t been able to articulate that feeling. Brilliant.

    • Seminole Gunner

      December 15, 2010 at 2:41 am

      Yep you said it all John.

    • sucka99

      December 15, 2010 at 9:06 am

      LOL! This must be how city-dwelling hunting enthusiasts feel in the 30 minute block before ESPN EPL games. Like there are others out there around that fancy a 5am trip to the woods to shoot wild quail.

      *cue Michael Jackson singing “You Are Not Alone”*

    • Ryan

      December 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

      Brilliant comment.

      You’ve captured the feeling perfectly.

  47. Bryan

    December 14, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I completely agree wholeheartedly with this entire article. Fox Soccer also seems to at times and sometimes entire halves of games, have a terrible feed going. It is as though I could find a better more clear feed of the game online from some free place. I definitely notice the pregame info more for ESPN games and am annoyed when FSC goes directly into the start of a game with almost 0 pregame talk. It is entirely as though ESPN cares and is trying to make the broadcasts better and FSC is not and they are the Soccer specific channel. Here is to ESPN!

  48. Attaturk

    December 14, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I’m guessing one reason the sound is better on ESPN2 is that in addition to a high def signal you are probably getting HD audio in 5.1.

    Another reason it seems better besides the obvious ones is the psychological one. If the “WWL” takes something seriously it seems like a big deal, while Fox Soccer Channel for the most part has a real “Community Theatre” and second-hand quality vibe.

    Even in SD there’s a difference in the bandwidth devoted to ESPN2 which is on most basic cable and FoxSoccer which is usually stuck between the Golf Channel and the Extreme Sports Channel. So the SD picture on FSC is even worse than ESPN2’s SD channel and on a big-screen the picture is even more stretched out and awful.

    Sometimes you cannot even read the numbers on the uniforms.

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