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
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
Sunday, May 17
Monday, May 18