FOX has invested heavily in the past 1-2 years on future rights to the World Cups (for 2015-2022), Bundesliga (2015-2020), MLS & USMNT (2015-2022) and European qualifiers (2014-2018). Now that they’ve spent all those millions of dollars on rights, it’s time for FOX (who are notorious for paying low salaries to its employees; Gus Johnson excepted) to spend money on hiring the best talent available to round out its coverage. There’s no point having the rights to all of these tournaments and leagues from around the world if the talent is going to be below average.
Beginning September, 2014, FOX has enough regular, ongoing soccer coverage through at least 2018 (and beyond) to make it worthwhile to bring in a team of quality talent that can wow viewers. The challenge will be finding the talent that is available, knowledgable and has the right chemistry. Plus the other challenge is trying to find talent that can be well versed in the Champions League, Europa League, MLS, Women’s World Cup and Bundesliga. FOX may have to increase the number of talent at their disposal in order to be able to cover the leagues.
FOX needs to keep some of the talent it already has such as JP Dellacamera, Brian Dunseth and Mark Rogondino. All three are hard-working professionals who deserve more air-time.
Meanwhile, while these pundits were excellent footballers during their time, the sooner FOX gets rid of Mario Melchiot and Mikael Silvestre, the better. Neither man offers any valuable insight other than stating the obvious.
So, who should FOX try to sign for its coverage? The list is endless (including commentators, analysts, presenters and co-commentators), but some recommendations include Derek Rae, Phil Schoen, Paul Dempsey, Mark Donaldson, Glenn Davis, Janusz Michallik, Jon Champion, Daniel Mann, Stewart Robson, Steve Cangialosi, Craig Burley, Taylor Twellman, Kyle Martino, Bob Ley, Martin Tyler, Graeme Le Saux, etc.
Bigger talent acquisitions can be expected closer to World Cup 2018, but it’s important that FOX begins to bed in their soccer talent in 2014 in order to build a rapport with the audience.
What can we expect from FOX Sports? It’s really up to FOX. In a newspaper interview in the Tampa Bay Times, a FOX exec said:
“If you look at the money that we here at Fox and NBC and ESPN have dedicated to soccer rights, it’s a testament to our belief in the sport and our belief of soccer on television in the United States,” said David Nathanson, general manager and chief operating officer of Fox Sports 1.