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FOX’s lack of communication about Bundesliga is worrisome

bundesliga

Other than the Premier League, arguably the most marketable European soccer league in the United States is the Bundesliga. It’s more competitive top to bottom than La Liga. The stadiums, large attendances and raucous crowds make it a better experience to watch than the Premier League. The league features many of the current World Cup champions. Plus the TV coverage of the Bundesliga is second to none, with excellent production values, and plenty of interviews and shoulder programming available.

So, why is it that we’re just over 3 weeks away from the 2015/16 Bundesliga season and we haven’t heard a single word from FOX Sports about its coverage plans or opening weekend TV schedule?

Apologists for FOX Sports will argue that FOX Sports has been incredibly busy with its coverage of the Women’s World Cup, Gold Cup and International Champions Cup, but surely an organization of the size of FOX Sports can nail down the TV schedule for the opening Bundesliga weekend and send out a press release to announce its plans?

One would have thought that after losing the Premier League to NBC Sports, FOX Sports would have shaped up its act once they found out they FOX had acquired the rights to the Bundesliga in October, 2013. While GolTV had the Bundesliga rights through ’til the end of the 2014/15 season, the network has had plenty of time to plan its strategy.

Contrast this with the way that NBC Sports rolled out its marketing and public relations for its TV debut of the 2013/14 Premier League season:

— Four months before the season started, it invited soccer media to a press conference in New York City where NBC announced its plans, conducted interviews to explain every minute detail of its coverage and had Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore share his excitement regarding the coverage plans.

— During the summer of 2013, NBC Sports also released a series of hilarious promotional videos starring Jason Sudekis in his role as An American Coach in London. Just one of the videos in the series has been viewed more than 9 million times.

In an interview with a Bundesliga executive in March 2015, he expressed how the Bundesliga was excited and willing to help FOX Sports in whatever ways it can to promote the league.

But here we sit, less than 2 weeks away from the German Super Cup, and FOX Sports hasn’t released any details.

After doing a lot of digging, we do know that FOX Soccer Plus will be televising many of the Bundesliga games. However, five years after the launch of FOX Soccer Plus, many TV subscribers are unable to get the network (and even if you do get it, the cost ranges from $6.99 to $14.99 for the service by itself and it is not part of a package). So, for many, FOX Soccer 2GO remains the only legal and viable way of watching these games.

SEE MOREPreliminary TV schedule for FOX’s coverage of the Bundesliga.

With so little information on how and where to watch games and expecting customers to choose between FOX Soccer Plus or FOX Soccer 2GO, this is not a good start for FOX Sports and the Bundesliga.

It’s sad to see that the season hasn’t even started yet and FOX Sports is keeping people in the dark regarding its plans to broadcast the Bundesliga. At a time when interest in soccer is growing in the US, FOX is missing out on opportunities to get sports fan excited and interested in making the Bundesliga a part of its weekend plans. With time running out, FOX Sports is cutting it really close. Let’s hope that an announcement will be made soon.

 

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53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. Michael Appert

    August 17, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    The EPL to me is much more exciting because of the history, the smaller clubs like Norwich, Bournemouth and Leicester make it exciting and root for these teams. I like the BL too, but there is very little coverage and FOX is not doing a good job promoting, I dont evven get FS2 and will not pay so much extra money when these networks have raised the cost so much. Why cant FOX make every game available for FREE like NBC sports does for the EPL. All these European Leagues still will never compare to England as they have all the history dating back to the 1850’s and their top teir pro league started in 1889. Where were Spain, Italy and germany then, LOL?? NBC destroys any of those other leagues in ratings.

  2. Ivan

    July 22, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Well, according to this source

    http://awfulannouncing.com/2015/fox-needs-to-schedule-the-bundesliga-to-take-advantage-of-the-summer-of-soccer.html

    through September, FS1 or FS2 are showing just 1 Bundesliga game, everything else gets dumped on the channel that no one has.

    Gaffer, you have previously mentioned that TV executives check your blog regularly. I wonder if Fox Sports execs are aware of how despised Fox is by soccer fans for its coverage of soccer. I wonder if they care…

    • Christopher Harris

      July 22, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Ivan, they read it but they don’t care.

      FOX has always made decisions that they thought best. They have never been very receptive to outside opinions — whether that’s from soccer fans or the media. They do their own thing.

  3. Toby

    July 22, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    I think Fox are regretting signing the contract with the Bundesliga and wish they had used the money on the EPL.

    I people forget FOX signed the deal after the all German CL final speculating this would be the new dominant league in Europe with a top rivalry of Bayern Munich and Dortmund to sustain it. But now the Bundesliga is not doing well in the CL league and the Bayern and Dortmund rivalry has disappeared making the Bundesliga a one team boring league. Fox are now stuck with property that has completely lost value and now they are going to bury it.

    I remember a Guardian article about an EPL executive that said the reason the EPL rights are so appealing to TV companies around the world is not just the football but the fact the crowd is very diverse compared to other European leagues. The Bundesliga might have massive full stadiums, but because nearly all the fans are white Germans, it isn’t as relateable to international audiences.

    Like movie studios who dumps a bad film in a bad month, I think Fox are regretting their Bundesliga deal and will put it on their minor channels.

  4. Trip

    July 22, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    You hope when the PL decides to hand out the tv rights to the US, they don’t do it only for money (but probably will). NBCSN has done such a tremendous job moving the PL forward in the US, I have no faith in Fox to continue the tradition (recent World Cup withstanding – it’s a World Cup, they HAD to produce). Fox, with all their Football and NASCAR commitments, when will they have time to actually show games? Does the PL see what Fox is doing to the Bundesliga and say “eeeks, they are putting their games on a paid service and not on multiple channels, maybe we don’t want to partner with them.”

  5. David

    July 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    No disrespect to the writer, but he should have done a little more research. Fox does have the schedule on their website for the opening week. Bayern vs Hamburger will be on Fox Sports Plus on Friday August 14 2:30pm ET). On Saturday, Fox Sports Plus will air Werder Bremen vs Schalke on Fox Sports Plus (9:30a ET) On Sunday, FSP will air Stuttgart vs FC Koln at 11:30a ET.

    • Christopher Harris

      July 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      David, can you provide the link to the TV schedule? We can’t find it on FOXsoccer.com nor FOXSports.com. There is one on FOXSoccerPlus.com, which the article mentions.

      Unless there’s been a name change, it’s FOX Soccer Plus, not FOX Sports Plus.

      Also, we revealed the TV listings for the Bundesliga on FOX Soccer Plus a few weeks ago. The issue is the lack of communication regarding which games will be on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Soccer 2GO.

      • Daniel Windler

        July 22, 2015 at 2:39 pm

        All games will be on Fox Soccer 2 Go. That’s already on the Fox Soccer 2 Go app/web site, and if you go to the description of the app in the apple app store, it says that all Bundesliga games will be streamed live. I’ve also been told by someone at Fox that all windows that don’t have a game on plus will have a game on fs1 or fs2. What I’m unclear about is whether the early Saturday game on FS plus is in addition to a game or games on fs1 and fs2.

      • David

        July 22, 2015 at 4:55 pm

        Here is where I found the schedule for the first week:

        http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/schedule?competition=4

        I apologize for the typo in my previous post. I meant Fox Soccer Plus. I must have missed the post regarding FSP schedule. I do agree Fox needs to be more transparent with their Bundesliga plans.

        • Christopher Harris

          July 22, 2015 at 5:01 pm

          Thanks David. I’ve looked at that page a number of times, but I didn’t realize until now that the TV listings are shown in gray type on the black background, which makes it really hard to see.

          Thanks for sharing the link!

          Little by little, more information is coming out about FOX’s Bundesliga coverage.

          • David

            July 22, 2015 at 5:24 pm

            Your welcome. The FSP in gray type is easy to miss. It’s really disappointing the matches so far will only be on Fox Soccer Plus. I hope that changes so we see matches of FS1 and FS2.

  6. francis

    July 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    No doubt about it, the Bundesliga is a fantastic league to watch – the game tempo is very similar to the EPL, and the stadiums & fan support is amazing. But outside of Bayern, the league lacks star power. And unlike La Liga, BL matches are scheduled more or less head-to-head w/EPL which means they will be crushed in the TV ratings

  7. goatslookshifty

    July 22, 2015 at 8:59 am

    This headline simply could have read ‘Fox’s coverage is worrisome’
    Admittedly beating the proverbial dead horse, but their entire coverage of club soccer is below par in general. The network rates the sport behind NFL, NASCAR and I’m inclined to say MMA too. Every filler program is either NASCAR and MMA. No football programming whatsoever, except for games. Given their on-air broadcasters, they might actually be doing us all a favor.
    I am interested to see who their commentators will be for Bundesliga games though. That could also be a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Matt

      July 22, 2015 at 9:51 am

      I assume they will simply use the global English feed, I don’t know their names off the top of my head but their voices are distinct, they also do the English commentary on the BL youtube videos

      When FOX got the BL rights I expected most of it being relegated to FS2 or even below that. The only games I expect to be on FS1 are the two Bayern-Dortmund games, the DFB Cup final and maybe some select games in the months where FOX has nothing to show (February)

      • Christopher Harris

        July 22, 2015 at 9:58 am

        Alan Fountain is one of the commentators on the world feed. He sounds very similar to Toby Charles.

      • Annoyingracoon01

        July 22, 2015 at 10:22 am

        Doesn’t ESPN own the German cup?

        • fsquid

          July 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm

          yes

  8. Thyname

    July 22, 2015 at 7:04 am

    I refuse to pay any money for Fox Soccer Plus. Paying $15 for a single channel is stupid. I hope they don’t relegate Bundesliga to that channel. If they do, no Bundesliga for me, plenty of other choices out there..

  9. Tony

    July 22, 2015 at 6:56 am

    1) I have to disagree that the Bundesliga is the most marketable league in the US after EPL. La Liga is clearly more marketable because the stars and teams are better known (Barca/Madrid > Bayern), the US has a large Spanish speaking population that follows La Liga, and the games are on at better times. Bundesliga has never really gotten any kind of push in the US.

    2) European football leagues should avoid channels with a large American football (pro and college) inventory, it’s that simple. Fox has and hopes to get more college football. Fox is promoting the crap out of WWC, Gold Cup, ICC, etc because these are all summer events. ESPN/Fox view soccer as a profitable summer sport to fill in during football/basketball offseason. For committed coverage in the fall and spring, rely on soccer specific stations (bein) or networks like NBCSN with little football coverage

    3) If we are going to have all major European leagues covered well, there needs to be another major sports network. Between bein, ESPN, NBC and FS1, there is no room to properly televise Bundesliga (meaning pregame shows, postgame shows, mulitple games a week) on the first run network.

    • CTBlues

      July 22, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      There is always CBS Sports Network or Turner, but not really.

  10. Civrock

    July 22, 2015 at 4:45 am

    I’ve read that specific information can’t be released by FOX until August 1st when GOLTV’s contract officially runs out, likely due to stipulations in the existing one.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/soccer/comments/3e50bs/foxs_lack_of_communication_about_bundesliga/

    • Christopher Harris

      July 22, 2015 at 6:53 am

      That’s not true.

      GolTV’s contract ended at the end of the 2014/15 season — at the end of May.

      • francis

        July 22, 2015 at 11:48 am

        But GOL is still showing replays of games from the 14/15 season

        • Christopher Harris

          July 22, 2015 at 12:37 pm

          GolTV had the rights to the 14/15 season so they can continue to show those if they want to.

          And a few weeks ago FOX Sports 1 or FOX Sports 2 showed a video of goal highlights from Bundesliga 2013/14 season.

          Nothing is preventing FOX from promoting its coverage of the 2015/16 Bundesliga season other than FOX itself.

  11. Kyle

    July 22, 2015 at 3:51 am

    As an American in Europe, the BudesLiga is much funner to watch over EPL and La Liga because of the style of play and (other than Bayern) the competition is much better top to bottom.

    The Budesliga has the highest average of Goals and shots on goals with lower bookings then the other two. Far less crying/flopping then EPL also.

    10/10 I would prefer the Bundesliga over the other two.

  12. San Fransiscan

    July 22, 2015 at 12:42 am

    More competitive than la liga?

    2014-2015: Bayern won the league two months before the league was over.
    2013-2014: Bayern won the league two months before the league was over.
    2012-2013: Bayern won the league one month before the league was over.

    • Literate Individual

      July 22, 2015 at 12:49 am

      Hello there San Franciscan,

      Looks like you’re putting that Californian education to good use. Let me break it down for you. The autho said, top to bottom is more competitive than La Liga. La Liga is Barca and RM and on the odd year Atleti. So what he said wasn’t inaccurate. Hope this helps you out my friend.

      Signed,

      Reading Comprehension

      • San Fransiscan

        July 22, 2015 at 4:11 am

        Not really. If what the OP saod is true then it should be bottom only. The top looks like is always decided a month or two early.

    • Kyle

      July 22, 2015 at 3:54 am

      Sorry but other than the top 3 (Ath/RM/FCB) La Liga has arguably the worst bottom 5 clubs in all of the EU Leagues including the Elite Series in Norway.

      • Daniel

        July 22, 2015 at 3:02 pm

        The UEFA coefficient tracks the top 7 teams of the top 3 European leagues (and the top 6 of leagues 4-6) and Spain’s UEFA coefficient is completely demolishing everyone else’s. Just one tie, but Sevilla (5th in La Liga) easily defeated Gladbach (3rd in Bundesliga) last season. So Spain is only 2-3 teams is demonstrably untrue. As far as the very bottom of the leagues, there’s no way to compare, but I think they are defeated easily more because the top of the Spanish league is so good more than these teams are worse than the bottom of the other leagues. But things get repeated without evidence and people latch on to these supposed truisms. We can like both La Liga and Bundesliga for different reasons. It’s really ok.

        Back to the issue at hand. I’d love to see Bundesliga get the coverage it deserves, so what’s happening with Fox is very worrisome.

  13. Emmett

    July 21, 2015 at 11:53 pm

  14. Justin

    July 21, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    You guys need to relax. I’ve seen FOX’s schedule for the Bundesliga games. Plenty of games are going to be shown on FS1, FS2 and even the regional networks. No different than their coverage of UEFA CL games.

    • Kevin

      July 21, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      Where have you seen this? I hope you’re right.

      • Justin

        July 22, 2015 at 8:16 am

        I work in TV listings. I’ve personally seen the schedules for FS1, FS2 and FS+

        • Christopher Harris

          July 22, 2015 at 12:54 pm

          “Justin,” email me at web@worldsoccertalk.com. We’d love to get your help to get the information out there (confidentially, of course).

          • fsquid

            July 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm

            I’d love to see it too.

          • Justin

            July 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm

            FS2 schedule info was sent to you.

    • Daniel

      July 22, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      I’m sorry but the ONLY game every week that should be on Fox Sports Plus is the third choice early Saturday game. (And even that should be available free online to fs1/fs2 authenticated users.) Seriously, what is Fox Sports 2 showing on Friday afternoon or Saturday or Sunday that trumps Bundesliga?

    • Blues Guy

      July 22, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      As they say on Reddit, OP will SURELY deliver.

      • Justin

        July 22, 2015 at 5:18 pm

        I did. I showed Christopher the FS2 schedule so he could see for himself.

  15. Tom

    July 21, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I wonder how much will end up on Fox Sports Go? I really shouldn’t have to pay for Fox Soccer Plus. They need to put it on FS2 at least. There’s never anything on that channel now.

  16. gargoyle

    July 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Fox just buys things because they can. Why would anyone think their coverage of Bundisliga would be any better than their coverage of EPL or CL?

  17. Ivan

    July 21, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    I sent Fox a nasty e-mail last week but they haven’t responded yet.

    Fox is awful, plain and simple. I loathe everything Fox.

    Watch them dump all live games to FS Plus, a channel that no one has access to…I hate Fox!

    They have no excuse not to show 2 live games every weekend on FS1 and FS2. But, then, again, it’s Fox…

  18. Brian

    July 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    I’m elated to see this article. I thought I was the only person who noticed Fox’s complete silence about the upcoming season. I was really excited when I heard that they got the rights to the Bundesliga. I’ve been checking FoxSports website on almost a daily basis, and still no mention of it. Unreal. Why did they spend money on a product they’re not gonna promote??

    • Mark

      July 21, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      No you were not the only one who thought about it. Every time I remembered to ask, I was at work and blocked form leaving comments………I just knew they would screw it up somehow. Being dying for Budesliga ever since DirecTV dumped GOL.

  19. Civrock

    July 21, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    I guess all we can do at this point is wait and see what they announce, if and when they announce it, or whenever games appear on a FOX’s channel schedule somewhere.

    Anyone have contacts at FOX around here that could fish for some information…? 🙂

  20. Daniel

    July 21, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Over the weekend FOX Deportes was announcing that they will have the bundesliga. could be possible for fox to share the rights with ESPN the same way they do it with the champions league?

  21. AJ

    July 21, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I was afraid of this when they bought the Bundesliga rights.

    Obviously they aren’t going take Bundesliga seriously and this just filler to FOX.

    Disappointing but shouldn’t be shocked, further proof the next 2 World Cups are going to be a dumpster fires at least when comes to TV coverage.

    No reason Sunday morning fixtures can’t be shown on FS1 now that they’ve move their other NFL pregame show to the network channel.

    No reason Friday fixtures shouldn’t be shown on FS1. NASCAR qualifying can be relegated and every hates Francesa anyway.

    No reason one the 5 games that kick-off simultaneously can’t be shown on FS1. They aren’t competing with College GameDay with their own program.

    • Brian

      July 21, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Here’s me hoping they would copy the NBCSports model (with the Prem), and use auxiliary channels to carry every game of the Bundesliga. Now I guess we’ll be lucky to even get one a day.

    • CTBlues

      July 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      They don’t even have NASCAR this time of year. Coverage switched to NBC on 4th of July weekend and wont be back with FOX until February.

      • Christopher Harris

        July 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm

        I looked at the TV listings to see what was stopping FOX Sports 1 or FOX Sports 2 from showing the German Super Cup on those channels (between Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg).

        FS1 has NASCAR Camping Truck series. and FS2 has street racing.

        • CTBlues

          July 22, 2015 at 1:01 pm

          What a joke.

        • Harry Cee

          July 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

          2 niche racing broadcasts are outranking the German Super Cup…yeah Fox gives no s**ts about Bundesliga

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