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FOX Sports to televise Bundesliga return

The more things change, the more they stay the same with FOX Sports.

With no other major sports on U.S. television and the return of the Bundesliga around the corner, FOX Sports have the opportunity — as the rights-holder to the German league in the United States — to broadcast actual live sports to a wider audience on its networks at a time where there’s no real competition from any other sports network.

So what have FOX Sports decided to do? Instead of trying to leverage its over-the-air FOX broadcast network to feature games, FOX Sports is picking up right where it left off. The sports network will broadcast the Bundesliga games from May 16 through May 18 across FS1, FS2 and FOX Soccer Plus.

Yes, FOX Soccer Plus is still a thing even though its “sister channel” FOX Soccer Match Pass is shutting down next month. Meanwhile, FS2 continues to be one of those networks that many sports fans don’t have access to or hardly watch.

Given FOX’s inconsistent treatment of the Bundesliga, perhaps we should be thankful that most of the games will be on FS1? But imagine how different things could have been if FOX Sports had considered putting some of these games on the over-the-air FOX broadcast network. It’s not difficult to envision a time in the future when soccer fans and media look back at the 2015 to 2020 period when FOX Sports had the U.S. rights to the Bundesliga that the words “missed opportunity” will come up again and again.

On the heels of Germany winning the World Cup in 2014, how different would the level of interest in the Bundesliga have been if FOX had started to market the league effectively instead of scrambling at the last minute to come up with an inadequate and inconsistent programming plan? And with the coronavirus killing live sports for two long months, imagine what could have been if FOX had decided to feature the Bundesliga in a bigger, bolder way?

Beginning with the 2020/21 Bundesliga season, the U.S. rights will go to ESPN+. The sooner that happens, the better.

The German league will resume on Saturday, May 16 in what it calls a “probation period” where the league, according to DFL CEO Christian Seifert, could be cancelled if safety procedures are not followed correctly.

 

All kickoff times listed are in the Eastern United States timezone.

 

Saturday, May 16

Dortmund vs. Schalke, 9:30am, FS1, FOX Deportes, Sling Blue, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)

RB Leipzig vs. Freiburg, 9:30am, FS2, TUDN, Sling Blue + World Sports, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)

Augsburg vs. Wolfsburg, 9:30am, FOX Soccer Plus and fuboTV (free trial)

Dusseldorf vs. Paderborn, 9:30am, FOX Soccer Match Pass

Hoffenheim vs. Hertha Berlin, 9:30am, FOX Soccer Match Pass

Frankfurt vs. Monchengladbach, 12:30pm, FS1, TUDN, Sling Blue, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)

 

Sunday, May 17

Cologne vs. Mainz, 9:30am, FS1, FOX Deportes, Sling Blue, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)

Union Berlin vs. Bayern Munich, Noon, FS1, UniMas, TUDN, Sling Blue, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)

 

Monday, May 18

Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 2:30pm, FS2, FOX Deportes, Sling Blue + World Sports, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)

 

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. taylork

    May 12, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    So what’s the cheapest way to get these games with a DVR for Roku? I assume Sling Blue with Sports Extra with DVR. I’ve never had Fubo so can get some trial?

    I had Fanatiz, ESPN+, NBC Gold back when there were live games which gave me everything but Bundesliga (relatively) and was just going to wait it out until the fall, but I can’t take any dark British crime dramas or baggy pants 1990’s Champions League games.

  2. JonC

    May 11, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Most folks in the US have access to FS1. ESPN, on the other hand, has squandered its Serie A rights, showing almost all Italian games on a ridiculously overpriced app you’re not allowed to purchase without a cable subscription. Sorry to hear they have money to waste acquiring rights they won’t use.

    • Chronos

      May 11, 2020 at 8:03 pm

      Well, you don’t need a cable subscription to get ESPN+ so there’s that. $5/mo for 90% of Serie A plus FA Cup, most of MLS, daily MLB amd/or NHL games, and in the fall 90% of the Bundesliga seems like a good deal to me. I can’t get MSNBC without cable or a streaming package that costs far more than $5.

      I’m actually more annoyed that they put one Serie A match on ESPNNews or wherever it is they put it (another subscription) than the fact that I get dozens of top flight matches for $5.

      • Chronos

        May 11, 2020 at 8:05 pm

        Oops, I meant NBCSN:) And NBC requires a whole other package to see all the matches.

      • Monte Reed

        May 12, 2020 at 9:51 am

        I’m also annoyed with that one match on ESPNNews.

  3. Azer

    May 9, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Christopher – The only reason Fox Sports never marketed the league effectively is because they didn’t have the channel for it. It’s main channel FS1 is all about American Sports first, it’s where the revenue comes from. Here is an example: On Monday 5/18 talk shows like Speak for Yourself or Skip & Shannon generate more money for Fox then Bremen v Leverkusen. If there is NASCAR on FS1 on 5/16 & 5/17 the Bundesliga would be on FS2. I’m sure the same thing goes for the big FOX network. You know the answer to this surly but you’re asking the same question every time. As the saying goes follow the money. It’s all about money.

    • Monte Reed

      May 9, 2020 at 9:35 pm

      Since all they show on the Fox Soccer Channel is rugby, you are correct, they don’t have a channel for it……….

      • Azer

        May 9, 2020 at 11:29 pm

        Fox Soccer Channel went out of business prior to Fox Sports acquiring the Bundesliga rights. I believe in 2013. Keep Up.

        • Monte Reed

          May 11, 2020 at 12:28 pm

          sorry, I was talking about Fox Soccer Plus.

          • Eddie

            May 12, 2020 at 1:47 pm

            What’s next for Fox soccer Plus?

            • Monte Reed

              May 12, 2020 at 3:37 pm

              more rugby……

              • Eddie

                May 12, 2020 at 3:47 pm

                they could rename FS3(fox sports 3)

            • nosferatu

              May 12, 2020 at 6:02 pm

              Spectrum recently made it a stand-alone pay channel. Even having the sports pack I no longer can watch it! That doesn’t seem to bode well for its future.

  4. rej4sl

    May 9, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Thankfully we have FS1 and FS2 in HD here. So can catch most games but putting it on Network would have been awesome.

  5. Greg

    May 8, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    TIL Fox Soccer Pass is still a thing they expected people to pay for

  6. Chronos

    May 8, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    My local Fox station has “paid programming” scheduled during these matches. So I suppose that’s more lucrative than top-flight football. Pity.

    • John

      May 13, 2020 at 9:06 am

      As someone with family in that industry, they actually are to the local affiliate.

  7. jstrummer

    May 8, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Five matches on FS1 and two on FS2 on a lame duck contract and WST find a way to whine about a league that’ll be virtually fully online next year.

    • Karl Knapp

      May 9, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      You must be new to Christopher’s work!

  8. Macman

    May 8, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Fox probably figured that with only 9 rounds of matches left before they lose Bundesliga rights, why promote a product that could only help ESPN in the long run? Adhere to the contract and run out the string.

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