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FOX’s irresponsible programming change upsets Man Utd fans

By showing a rescheduled NASCAR race on Sunday morning on FOX Sports 1, the programming change caused plenty of consternation among soccer fans in the United States this weekend who wanted to watch the Manchester United FA Cup game against Blackburn Rovers.

Originally scheduled to air at 11:15am ET on Sunday, the Blackburn-Manchester United game was bumped to FS2 to make way for NASCAR on FS1. As if that change didn’t cause enough anger, the Bundesliga game between Monchengladbach and Leipzig then had to be bumped from FS2 to FOX Soccer Plus. And then, last but not least, the Köln vs. Schalke game on FS2 was bumped on FOX Soccer Plus after the Gladbach vs. Leipzig game ended.

Programming changes are part and parcel of sports on television. However, the way that FOX Sports handled this situation was particularly irresponsible. The reason for all of the changes in the first place was that the NASCAR race originally scheduled to run on Saturday night had to be postponed due to rainy weather. Instead of informing the soccer media on Saturday (who would have in turn communicated the programming change to soccer fans in the United States), FOX Sports decided to sit on the news and not inform anyone until Sunday morning.

FOX Sports’ mode of communication was to post messages on social media and to inform viewers watching the Fulham-Spurs game. However, the vast majority of United supporters didn’t find out about the news until 11:15am ET when they tuned into FS1 to find NASCAR on TV instead of Rovers against Manchester United.

It’s bad enough that the programming change wasn’t properly communicated to soccer fans, but having the Blackburn-United game bumped to FS2 meant that many soccer fans in the United States weren’t able to watch the game at all. FS2 is currently in 50 million homes in the United States, compared to 85 million for FS1. Many Comcast subscribers, in particular, are still unable to get FS2.

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  1. daniel

    February 21, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    i just pirated streamed it and tweeted comcast for as much as i pay i cant get fs2,fox soccer plus or bein sport connect is a joke. i was able to have a choice of ian darke on btsports or martin tyler on the fox/world feed.

  2. Wrong Said Fred

    February 21, 2017 at 11:05 am

    What you call “irresponsible”, they call “business”. Just as the Bundesliga audience pales in comparison to the Man U audience, the Man U audience pales in comparison to the NASCAR audience. Their responsibility is to put on the programming that drives the biggest numbers, full stop.

    • Christopher Harris

      February 21, 2017 at 11:16 am

      That’s not what the issue is. The issue is that they didn’t inform anyone on Saturday that the change would happen. As a result, soccer fans didn’t have time to prepare and find ways to access FS2.

  3. Rob

    February 20, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    If only the main Fox could have been used? Hmmm.

  4. Paul

    February 20, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Did Fox Sports inform NASCAR fans that this race was going to be on FS1? If so then it is a shambolic way to treat your customers by only informing some of the change and not others. FS2 isn’t available where I live and even though I am not a Man Utd or Blackburn Rovers supporter, I did want to watch the FA Cup game.

  5. Fsquid

    February 20, 2017 at 6:52 am

    So it took MAN U fans a whopping 5 sec to realize they needed to go to FS2?

    • Christopher Harris

      February 20, 2017 at 8:23 am

      That’s not the point. The point is that not as many people have FS2 as FS1. So if FOX had communicated the change on Saturday night, United fans could have taken steps to find ways to get FS2 before the match kicked off.

      • The Auditor

        February 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm

        FOX did a mediocre job here, (although posting on social media reaches far more viewers than informing the soccer media; sorry you didn’t get a personal note!) but one could make a counter argument that the audience in the US tuning to FA Cup matches and Bundesliga matches are going to be rather well versed in getting to outlets like FS2 and FOX Sports Go to follow their competitors.

        Just remember – the FOX uses situations like these to drive public demand for the smaller outlets. Place a desirable product on the small outlet and watch the audience demand said smaller outlet from the cable provider. ESPN did this successfully for decades to drive ESPN2, ESPNU and WatchESPN/ESPN3 platforms into what they are today. They successfully used college sports with large passionate fanbases (football and basketball) to drive demand of carriage from providers. FOX isn’t going to care 1 bit if a few people didn’t get to see Man U’s FA Cup match but will be happy if they called and screamed at Comcast or whomever for not carrying it.

  6. Oj

    February 20, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Who the fck watches NASCAR!?!?! Six fingered inbreds that’s who

    • Tim

      February 20, 2017 at 11:28 am

      More people watch NASCAR than soccer by a good margin.

  7. J

    February 19, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    and for the people who had to record the poxy game because of other commitments DID not get any recording !!!

  8. joe

    February 19, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Face the facts….soccer and the biggest team in the world got bumped for NASCAR. For everyone living in a bubble thinking this sport has made it needs to wake up.

    • Vsssssqz

      February 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      THANK YOU!!!!!!!! I don’t know why that concept is hard for Soccer fans to understand.

  9. Rob Mac

    February 19, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Complete bunch of tossers run U.S Sport and that includes the TV Channels. The most watched soccer team in the USA was bumped down the TV roster to accomodate another American Sport that is dying a death like American Football (Played with Hands) and the Baseball World series ( Watched only by Americans). I trust that the owners of GM (Chevrolet), what a bunch of AH’s Murdoch’s companies are. And that includes Sky Fake News and Sky Sports who gave us the alleged sexual predator Richard Keyes.

    • Vsssssqz

      February 19, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      You do realize that they only care about what Americans watch because this is in regards to the U.S. tv rights that air in America? I love football as much as anyone but you and the Chris and Kartiks of U.S. Soccer think that the mission of these networks is to “grow the sport”, what business would air something that will get them 300K viewers on it’s best day instead of something close to 1 million? And if American Football is dying than what is soccer in this country? so Soccer is getting 300K viewers instead of 100K 10 years ago and NFL went from 16 million to 14 million for a few weeks so Soccer is catching up? Ummm okay, you obviously don’t run a TV network and neither does Chris Harris.

  10. BrianW

    February 19, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    That was bad enough, but what was even worse was that they announced the result in the ticker across the bottom while the game was in progress. Shameful.

    I am so glad that Fox no longer has the EPL. This sort of thing, using 3rd rate commentators for UEFA games and having analysis teams that talk over each other just shows disrespect for the game.

    • Vsssssqz

      February 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      3rd rate commentators? This site had them listed as TOP 10 IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!! LMAO!

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