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Soccer news coverage on US TV is still lacking

SSN on Set Jim White & Natalie Sawyer

During every transfer window, soccer fans in the United States are reminded how much they miss FOX Soccer’s coverage of Sky Sports News. What FOX probably initially envisioned as filler programming, the show quickly became must-see TV for many soccer fans. They were able to get their fill of the latest news, transfer rumors as well as in-depth pieces on clubs or players that you would never otherwise see on US television.

For many soccer fans, Sky Sports News wasn’t all about the transfer window coverage. Sure, those days were the most memorable, but Sky Sports News offered Americans a source they could turn to at most moments throughout the day for breaking soccer news.

It’s been two and a half years since FOX pulled the plug on Sky Sports News, and there’s still no replacement for breaking soccer news on US television. FOX tried their best with FOX Soccer Daily, but that failed. ESPN has their daily ESPN FC show, but it’s only on for 30 minutes every day. And NBCSN still has a gaping hole in its coverage (particularly on weekdays when there are no Premier League games).

Unfortunately, I don’t expect anything will change anytime soon. It feels like soccer is being treated like a second class sport in this country when it comes to breaking news. If a major soccer story breaks, most US TV outlets won’t carry it live. Sure, if a FIFA scandal erupts, the sports networks may report on it, but it’s the day-to-day soccer news that matters most to fans that isn’t being covered in a timely manner.

The most logical platform for Sky Sports News is FOX Soccer Plus, but that channel is continually treated like the red-headed stepchild and lacks a clear vision of what it wants to be.

Other than FOX, it’s extremely unlikely that any sports network in the US would mount a serious commitment to a soccer news channel given the resources and financial investment that would be required.

So for soccer fans in the United States who are craving Sky Sports News or a similar equivalent where they can stay updated on the most popular English-language soccer league in the United States, Sky Sports News is the only relevant option.

If you live in the US, you can either watch Sky Sports News via an illegal stream (which we don’t recommend given the pop-up ads, malware infections, privacy concerns and illegality), or you can sign up for a free trial to a smart DNS service where you can watch your favorite British channels (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, etc). But if you want to watch Sky Sports News, you still need to subscribe to the Sky Go service, but that can cost £32 per month (an equivalent of $45 per month). Ugh.

So, we’re stuck. Thankfully, the Web and social media as well as online radio streams can help fill the void, but it isn’t the same. The only logical solution could be if NBC Sports decided to add more programming from Premier League Productions in the future, but there’s no sign of that happening anytime soon. Until then, the clock continues to run based on the number of days without Sky Sports News or an equivalent. We’re at 933 and counting.

Editor’s note: Read the comments in the following article to get a good perspective on how much Sky Sports News was missed on US TV.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. NaBUru38

    January 29, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Fox Sports 2 or Fox Soccer Plus could air Sky Sports News.

  2. Tony

    January 21, 2016 at 10:24 am

    NBCSN ran a transfer window special back in August, but I believe it was poorly rated. I do remember watching it to catch up on the De Gea saga. The issue with studio shows and breaking news on NBCSN isn’t soccer specific – no one is turning to NBCSN for breaking news or studio shows for any sport.

  3. Jasinho

    January 21, 2016 at 4:58 am

    I’m praying hard that FuboTV would pick up Sky Sports News, Fubo has made a few good moves lately.

  4. Lou burns

    January 20, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Yeah, sure miss Sky Sports News. Used to look forward to it every day, and would have lunch while watching the noon broadcast. Keep hoping that someone will pick it up.

  5. Kobashi

    January 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    My interest in soccer has waned a ton since the death of FOX Soccer. Almost every weeknight from 2002 to 2013 I’d watch Sky Sports News at 7p following the 6p SportsCenter and most nights I’d watch the 10p FOX Soccer Report. If I missed the 10p FOX Soccer Report I’d watch the rerun at 6a or 7a the next morning before heading off to work.

    Back then I felt that I was on top of all of the clubs, players, storylines, and rumors in England and had my finger on what was happening around the rest of Europe. 2.5 years later I feel in the dark because I lost my 2 hour fix of first run daily news programming.

    I get that the studio shows are much better on NBC and it is great that they air every game live on digital cable but I miss the tonnage of coverage I got when FOX had the rights of the Prem. More replays, shoulder programming, and news programming is more important to me than a better studio show. All games airing live really isn’t a big deal to me since I’m a United fan and it was rare that their games weren’t on TV and FOX in their day w/the contract would usually air 8 of the 10 games live or on delay w/multiple replays on FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus. I like the Men in Blazers and they’re doing a show that is pretty much a facsimile of the show Nick Geber and Steven Cohen hosted years ago.

    Anyway, after blowing FOX w/all of the text above, it is crummy that they don’t still broadcast Sky Sports News on FOX Soccer Plus w/a reair in the middle of the night on FS1 or FS2 since Murdoch owns both networks!

  6. Enrique

    January 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    What about The Xpress Extra on BeIN Sports? Great alternative

    • Christopher Harris

      January 20, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      It’s a wrap-up show, which still means that when major breaking soccer news happens, it isn’t covered live on US TV.

  7. sucka99

    January 20, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Couple of things:

    1. FOX Soccer News ran concurrent wit Sky Sports News on FSC. Fox Soccer Daily was the 30 minute show on FS1 hosted by Julie Stewart Binks that was cancelled after a few months – soon to be followed by all the other late-afternoon shows that FS1 launched with.

    2. ESPN FC only runs for an hour on Sundays (when not pre-empted) or when they have special events like the MLS Media Days yesterday and today. Otherwise it’s 30 minutes on weekdays. The podcast (basically an audio cut of the show minus commercials and highlights) is actually a decent way to get by as it also includes special web-only content like Burley’s Boiling Point. The show is still a but too ESPNish (facts vs volume) for me but it’s the only daily-ish highlight show we have.

    3. Dodgy Sky Sports streams can easily be circumvented by using the uBlock Origin plugin. Of course there’s still the problem of having to use the Flash video plugin which is a security hole carnival, but I mitigate it somewhat by using it on a Chromebook or on a virtual machine. Not perfect, but hey – I need my fix.

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