UPDATE: After public outrage from soccer fans in the US, FOX has decided to make a last-minute U-turn and will now feature the game live on FX. More details here.
If you want to watch Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich on live TV this Saturday, you won’t find it on FOX Sports 1. You won’t find it on FOX Sports 2 either. Nor will you find it on FOX Sports Net or any other FOX affiliate. Instead, the only place you can watch the biggest live Bundesliga game of the 2015/16 season is on FOX Soccer Plus, the TV channel that most soccer fans in the United States don’t get.
The reason the match between the teams in first and second can’t be shown on FOX Sports 1 or 2 is because of scheduling conflicts. FOX Sports has bumped Dortmund-Bayern to FOX Soccer Plus because FS1 is showing college basketball while NASCAR is on FS2. Meanwhile, FOX Sports Net is showing a different college basketball game.
To try to make up for the scheduling faux pas, FOX has agreed to put the game on FOX Sports GO, FOX’s less than reliable streaming service, but you’ll need to authenticate your login to prove that you subscribe to FOX Sports 1 through your cable or satellite TV provider. For cord cutters, there is relief. The game will be shown live on FOX Soccer 2GO.
While FOX Sports hasn’t thrown in the towel yet over the Bundesliga, the latest development is worrying. It underlines how one of the most entertaining leagues in world soccer can’t find room on a network that prioritizes college basketball and NASCAR over soccer. At least when FOX Sports had a FOX Soccer channel, soccer games didn’t get bumped.
With NBC’s coverage of the Premier League, when scheduling conflicts happen, games are shown on CNBC or USA Network. So, it makes me wonder how hard FOX tried to see if a different FOX-affiliated network could show the game instead, such as FX or FXX. In 2012, FOX did something similar for the Premier League when it showed games live across 7 TV networks at the same time. But this time around, FOX had known about the date and kickoff time for Dortmund-Bayern since December 21, so FOX Sports had 2.5 months to come up with a suitable plan. Yet, the outcome was less than desired.
The best that FOX Sports could come up with is agreeing to show the game on FOX Sports Net, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 on tape delay, hours after the game is over.
And here’s how FOX Sports spun the news in their official press release:
“It has been our privilege to give Bundesliga soccer unprecedented exposure in the U.S. this season, and we recognize how important this particular match is, so given its kick-off time we’ve worked very hard to make Der Klassiker available live and on delay as widely as possible given our pre-existing commitments,” said Patrick Crakes, FOX Sports Senior Vice President, Programming, Research and Content Strategy.
Is FOX Sports GO really the best FOX could have come up with as their solution? The Bundesliga and its fans deserve better.
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