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FOX Weather Coverage Ruins Champions League Final For Fans in Twin Cities

If you thought Manchester United’s performance in the 2011 Champions League Final against Barcelona was frustrating to watch, spare a thought for TV viewers in Minneapolis-St. Paul who had the game interrupted by their local weather team who were reporting a tornado warning.

While tornado warnings are something that shouldn’t be ignored, it was the way that the FOX 9 News team interrupted the UEFA Champions League Final that bothered many viewers including EPL Talk reader Donald O.  He sent in the above picture and cataloged the following complaints about FOX 9’s actions:

  • The FOX 9 news and weather team kept on referring to the Champions League Final game as “The World Cup,”
  • FOX 9 said that they were required by the FCC to interrupt the game and inform viewers of the approaching storm. However, the local CBS affiliate continued showing their coverage of a golf tournament and just ran weather updates across the bottom of the screen,
  • FOX 9 viewers had to watch the entire second half of the match (except for minute 45-50) in the split-screen mode (pictured above); the volume from the game was turned off so viewers could only hear the meteorologists,
  • The half-time show was preempted with weather coverage,
  • After the game ended, FOX 9 skipped the trophy presentation.

“This was so frustrating for a game you wait all year to see,” said Donald O. “While I understand the concern for public safety, there are better ways for doing things. Local communities have tornado warning sirens so FOX 9 can’t claim they are the only source of information for these sorts of things. The weather was also isolated to a swath south of the metro area, so it was even more frustrating as we watched the light rain coming down while we tried to watch our split screen with no sound.”

According to FOX 9’s website, “A line of severe thunderstorms rolled through the western part of Minnesota and southern parts of the Twin Cities dropping hail and rain on Saturday afternoon. There are no reports of major damage. One tornado touched down in Sibley County. It happened about 2:29 p.m. But there are no reports of damage.”

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  1. Michaelb

    May 30, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Lets face it Fox is all about Fox, period. People are right all the other stations ran crawls. Fox wants people to think they are important and they are not and as we know their news sucks. I never ever watch them unless I have to. I suggest you do the same. Love all your comments. Soccer fans rule. As a treat I am putting the link for the commercial I did in 1998 for the World Cup with the Brazilian National Team it has almost 3 million hits on youtube.

  2. ArsenalFC

    May 30, 2011 at 12:23 am

    sry bout the ppl who live in Minnesota. I hope nxt year, FOX don’t get the rights to host the Champions League FINAL. Let’s hope FSC gets it, even though you need subscription for that. I really feel for guys like the FSC analysts who spend the whole year commenting on all kinds of matches like Premier League, CL, Serie A, and they see the European Cup final go to a bunch of ppl who’ve been paid by Fox to act dumb and pander to casual fans. Like someone said earlier, the World Cup is the ONLY opportunity to pander to casual fans because that’s the only time that casual fans turn up to watch soccer. As for the CL, most ppl who watch it are already club footie fans and the casual fans would’ve been converted the summer before. Why would casual fans be interested in two clubs in Europe playing?? It’s not about the “world” anymore. It’s just down to the brass-tacks, down to football.

  3. Henry

    May 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    It was a shambles. Public safety is a priority, but there is absolutely no reason why they could not return to the game with regular updates from the weather (plus a permanent ticker). 300 million watched this game and we were the only ones to be told that it was over by the weatherman. As mentioned, their comments just made it worse … ‘oh it looks like Barcelona have scored’ and ‘we know it’s important to some of you, but’ … but what, the only people watching your channel at this time think it’s important period. I had dozens of options for following the storm, I only had one for following the live action of the game and FOX cut it off.

    Not showing the trophy presentation said everything about their understanding of the audience. Thanks for nothing KMSP.

  4. Stacy Richardson

    May 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    First of all, this was a local event; the severe-weather coverage knocked the Champions League final off the air only in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

    Secondly, the headline is very misleading: the Fox network AS SUCH did not ruin the game coverage. It was a decision by the local station (which, admittedly is, in this case, owned-and-operated by Fox).

    Third, although TV stations are not REQUIRED to air severe-weather information (except, in some cases, as part of an Emergency Action Notification), the area had suffered a RECENT KILLER TORNADO. If the TV station had failed to do an adequate job of warning the public, and another tornado had killed someone in their coverage area, the station would NEVER have lived it down.

    Lives of the viewers: more important than football. Good decision by KMSP.

    • sucka99

      May 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      I don’t agree with the last point. They didn’t have to stay with the Tornado for the full second half or cancel the trophy presentation. As noted, the other stations just ran a crawl. The problem was this particular affiliate’s decision that soccer wasn’t as important as puffing their chest out as the Weather Leader or whatever.

      Showing the game and responsibly warning of weather events is not mutually exclusive.

      • The Gaffer

        May 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm

        FOX 9 were probably justifying their expensive weather technology and state-of-the-art on-screen graphics — combined with the thinking that they could increase TV ratings by sensationalizing a weather storm instead of showing a soccer game that they didn’t understand or care about. Sad.

        The Gaffer

  5. rej4sl

    May 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    The major problem was the arrogance of the presenters and the fact that no one is complaining about the weather – it is the way they did it. Put a ticker on the bottom of the screen. If it is life threatening then come on the air and tell people. A lot of it is Fox got caught with their pants around their ankles the Sunday previous when we had a touchdown in north Minneapolis. But that time all networks were reporting full screen weather.

  6. Footballfool

    May 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Sorry this happened to you but I’m sure that they felt that they had to do it due to the recent Midwest disasters. Unless they REALLY HATE European football of course.

  7. sucka99

    May 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    It was probably the combination of the dangerous tornadoes in Joplin and OKC as well as not knowing/caring about the audience of this soccer match. If it were the NFL they probably would have done the crawl unless it got serious. At the very least they would have moved the game to a digital subchannel or a traditional UHF affiliate. But this is because of supply and demand. They didn’t even know the name of the competition. And this speaks even more to how people did not understand the competition.

    BTW the title of this blog should be “KMSP-TV FOX 9 Weather Coverage Ruins Champions League Final For Fans In Twin Cities.” The current title is inaccurate and almost seems agenda driven.

    • The Gaffer

      May 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      sucka99, the truncation of the headline was on purpose and I had no agenda. I try to keep the headlines between 1-2 lines for readability (as well as making sure that they’re short enough so Google can list the entire headline).

      The Gaffer

    • caw

      May 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      sucka99 –

      You clearly did not watch this match in the Twin Cities then.

      You hairsplitting makes little difference.

      The ruined it, plain and simple.

      • sucka99

        May 29, 2011 at 8:39 pm

        I clearly didn’t. My local Fox affiliate ran all 3 hours of the broadcast without interruption and even had some local commercials for one of the summer footy tour matches in the area. This is why I said the title is misleading. Fox may have ruined the pregame and postgame for some, but KMSP Fox 9 ruined the game for those in the Twin Cities. Not Fox. That’s like saying News Corp or the National Weather Service ruined the game.

        There is definitely a debate to be had about whether important games like this should be subject to the whims of local affiliates with different priorities from the network versus on a national cable channel that won’t have to stop for weather updates or (in the case of FSN affiliates during the group/knockout stages) a breaking local sports story. This will always be the case until world soccer gets more political and economic power behind it in this country like horse racing or boxing or golf. Would KMSP have done this to the Kentucky Derby or the US Open or the Indy 500? I doubt it – certainly not for 40 straight minutes.

        BTW as a die-hard I also had Fox Deportes as a backup. And failing that, the Internet. So clearly there were options.

  8. CTBlues

    May 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    You got to wonder if they would have done that if Fox was showing an MLB, NFL, or NASCAR game/race if they would have just run a ticker on the bottom or would they do the same thing.

    • Jim

      May 29, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      They have interrupted before during other events like last weekends MLB game of the week. During the broadcast, the meteorologists kept apologizing for interrupting, but said they were required to, just like the article says. They also kept referring to messages being sent to the stations Facebook page and Ian Leonard’s Twitter account about his attire that night, must have been out with friends. It was a bit ridiculous that they really focused on apologizing, attire, and asking for photos. I stick with the station because they do an excellent job of covering the news, weather, and events that are not commonly found on other TC stations. Thankfully when I am home in Wisconsin just across the border from the metro, I have a Fox station from another city in Wisconsin that does not interrupt when storms approach usually.

      The frustration level rises dramatically when they start interrupting different events. Fox is usually the only channel that has to “stay” with the storms. The other stations typically scroll stuff on the bottom or break in for just a bit before going back to regular programming. I understand why they have to, but I wish there was a way they could only do it for people who are directly affected. Last Sunday, the storms hit in the Twin Cities, I live about 60-70 miles south, and we only had a few passing showers, but every news station was focused on the storms because they were hitting the direct metro.

  9. Evan

    May 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    The same happened to me every 10 minutes. The sound of the match would be almost nonexistent and the screen size would shrink as weather news scrolled across the bottom. Really annoying considering it was a cloudless sunny day.

  10. Dawleylad

    May 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Wow what a shame for them.. However the game must go down in history as one of the most one sided matches ever?

  11. fsquid

    May 29, 2011 at 9:16 am

    If they don’t do this and people do get injured, then its their butts. I can see either way. As a soccer fan, I’d be pissed too and wish they’d just run a ticker.

  12. sucka99

    May 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Maybe we should put a poll up asking whether the Champions League Final is too important to subject to the whims of Network TV and should have instead been on FX.

  13. rej4sl

    May 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

    The only time we ever watch FOX is for sports and were forced to watch FOX 9 due to the game being on there. It really was not a joy to see – the FOX coverage of the game was bad enough but the attempt at portraying a local storm as the storm of the century was sublime. Being rude to viewers who had the audacity to complain was belittling to us all and finally we were watching the world cup. Only on FOX 9 could they screw up this badly.

  14. Elliott

    May 29, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Wow. Fox has found an entirely new way to ruin soccer broadcasts in the United States. What will they come up with next?

  15. Sean

    May 29, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Part of me feels sad for the people that had to go through this. The other part of me is laughing at how inept Fox 9 is.

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