With FOX Sports, the Bundesliga seemingly can’t win.
In the biggest Bundesliga game of the season featuring Sunday’s matchup between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, FOX Sports has decided to demote Der Klassiker to FOX Sports 2 and show NASCAR instead.
But it’s not a NASCAR race. Instead, it’s a NASCAR show before the race.
Bayern-Dortmund kicks off at 11:30am ET on FOX Sports 2. Over on FS1, FOX will be showing NASCAR RaceDay from 11:30am to 1pm ET followed by a rerun of “United SportsCar Championship.” But the actual NASCAR race that FOX is promoting with their RaceDay show doesn’t begin until 2:30pm ET. And even then, the race will be shown on NBCSN and not on any FOX network.
Presumably the executives at FOX Sports believe that the NASCAR pre-race show will generate a greater TV viewing audience than the Bayern-Dortmund game. And they’re probably right. But it’s a kick in the teeth to the Bundesliga, and fans of the teams who want to (1) see the game (FOX Sports 2 is still only in 40% of households), (2) see the game in HD (many providers who offer FOX Sports 2 only show it in SD) and (3) see the league grow in the United States.
While Bundesliga games on FOX Sports 2 have generated an average viewing audience of 25,000 so far this season, there’s no doubt that Bayern-Dortmund will smash that number. But if FOX really wanted to try to promote the league to Americans, it would take a hit and show it on FOX Sports 1 instead. If the most eagerly anticipated game of the Bundesliga season thus far is demoted to FOX Sports 2, how can FOX and the Bundesliga expect the league to grow its audience in the United States?
It’s almost as if FOX Sports has resigned itself to believing that it can’t make the Bundesliga a success on US TV, and is scheduling games to pad its schedule and fulfill the obligation of its TV rights deal.
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