ESPN Sports

FOX Sport broadcasting rights of Premier League (Part 1)

Summary

FOX wisely changed gears on math ch presentation and used the feeds from UK television partner Sky Sports. During the knockout stages, FOX strategically partnered with cable channel FX and newly created premium HD channel FOX Soccer Plus (which had […]

FOX wisely changed gears on math ch presentation and used the feeds from UK television partner Sky Sports. During the knockout stages, FOX strategically partnered with cable channel FX and newly created premium HD channel FOX Soccer Plus (which had started programming on January 1, 2010 after the closure of Setanta Sports in the US) to supplement the program used to broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel and the FOX Regional Networks.  For the final of the 2009-10 competition, they broadcasted the match over-the-air on the FOX Network and hired the NFL presenter Curt Menefee to host the day’s coverage.

In 2011, FOX recruited Rob Stone from ESPN where he was a longtime gap-filler on ESPN’s soccer coverage and a commentator of lower-tier college football and basketball games for the network. Stone was immediately gained many attention as the host of the Premier League on FOX Soccer and the Champions League. The same year, FOX won the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup in English. The announcement was a surprise which ended ESPN and the networks managed by Disney’s effective monopoly any big international summer tournaments that broadcasted in English on United States TV.

Having acquired the rights to broadcast FIFA events, FOX started grooming Gus Johnson as the new American voice of soccer during 2013 season. At this point, FOX started shifting bigger matches from the Sky Sports or international commentary feed. Johnson was unable to grasp the cadence and flow of calling a soccer match, along with the network’s acquisition of the rights to broadcast the reconfigured Big East Conference’s basketball package, came the end of the experiment. Former Portland Timbers broadcaster John Strong replaced Johnson and became the top voice for the competition on FOX until the broadcaster lost the broadcasting rights in 2018.

FOX in 2013 officially launched two dedicated national sports networks to compete with ESPN’s multiple channel lineup, NBC and CBS new sports channels. The Champions League would be a core business of FS1 and FS2’s programming. In fact, when FOX launched the channel, classic American sports writers were amazed by how much the broadcaster promoted soccer as part of the new channels makeup, expressing a high level of commitment publicly that had rarely been seen by a US-based network.