Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fox Sports Makes Its Official Announcement Regarding Champions League Rights

As we have been predicting for some time now, today Fox Sports officially announced that it has won the rights to show the Champions League in the United States for the 2009/10 through 2011/12 seasons. We've got the official press release for your reading pleasure after the jump.

And, your intrepid reporter (heh) participated in a conference call this afternoon with David Sternberg, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Fox Sports International, and Roger Hall, CEO of Setanta North America.

Here are the highlights of the deal:

  • Fox Soccer will broadcast both Tuesday and Wednesday games throughout the tournament across FSC, FSN, Fox Sports en Espanol and FX.
  • There will be prime-time rebroadcasts of CL matches (nice for those of us at work during the week).
  • Setanta will get second choice on a bunch of CL matches.

And here are the highlights of the conference call with Fox Sports and Setanta:

  • Games will be split between FSC, FSN, en Espanol & final match on FX (Saturday game in HD). The exact split has not not been determined yet.
  • There will be broadband video highlights on Fox Soccer's website, but Setanta will have full games on a ppv/tourny ticket basis. will relaunch in May 2009
  • Did not divulge financial info.
  • All FSN games will be in HD, and FSC HD will launch at end of 2009.
  • No decisions on talent for production, but most likely it will be the on-site international commentary provided by UEFA. This is identical to the way that FSC broadcasts EPL games, where the feed comes directly from the EPL.
  • Pre and post-game shows will be in LA, staffed with "the best talent available."
  • Idea with the final on FX is to broaden appeal
  • There is a good working relationship between Fox and Setanta, with joint programming acquisition, buying and selling of programming from/to each other.
  • Fox Sports is closely connected with bSkyb, license and recruit personnel, communicate to find ways to coordinate. But rights to EPL games is separate process, so there is really no collaboration with bSkyb.
  • Fox Sports is "very confident" on the next round of EPL rights acquisition. But, the current package extends through 2010 so bidding process will not begin until summer at the earliest.
  • As far as expanding access to Fox Sports channels, the answer is essentially that they would love to get into as many homes as possible (the current number is around 40 million).

And here is the official press release:

Fox CL Rights PR

I guess all we can say now is kudos to Fox Sports for solidifying their role as the leading source for footy broadcasting in the United States. Now, please just don't screw it up!


epiblast said...

yes, please, do not screw this up! the last thing I need is to hear Christian Miles or Max Bredos doing commentary during the Champions League...

Bigus Dickus said...

Nor do we need those 3 plums in the fake pub talking bollocks. For the record, I have no problem with them 'presenting'.
Presenters present, Ex-players have an opinion. The way it should be.

This is a great opportunity for FSC to move on to the next level and become professional finally.

Spectator said...

During the conference call, Sternberg seemed to say all the right things and was genuinely excited about the deal. I'm optimistic about the quality of coverage. The biggest hurdle will be just getting into more homes -- which was thing that made ESPN more appealing. I can't count how many times I'd be a bar or restaurant that was showing a CL match, not because there were any footy fans watching but because ESPN2 is the default station in a lot places. But, if Fox can use this deal as a springboard to get in more homes, than God's speed to them!

Nathaniel said...

No decisions on talent for production, but most likely it will be the on-site international commentary provided by UEFA.

It appears that there is, in fact, a deity watching over us...

cjdomer04 said...

I have no problem with Derek Rae, I think he's actually quite good. Smyth, on the other hand, sucks. If they could grab on the good prem color guys and pair him with Rae, that would be great.

Goat said...

I'd hope that the final on FX is only temporary and that eventually it will be on Fox (the big one). I think they would actually do well to distinguish themselves as the main broadcaster of soccer in the US. Kudos also to Spectator. How exactly did you get in on the conference call and did you get to ask any questions?

Spectator said...

@Goat: Apparently we are such a legitimate footy news source that we got invited to participate! There were only 5 or 6 of us on the call, a couple legit newspaper writers and a couple other bloggers (including that site whose name shall not be spoken). I asked the questions about HD and broadcast teams. It was fun, but I'll probably stick to the ol' day job.

v said...

I dont think we expect journalism here but you are referring to the european Champions League.

We also have a north american Champions League so it would be nice to differentiate here in the US.

Its pretty sad how hard it is to find anything on the one played here either on ESPN or any other sports web site.

Soccer is heading for another massive north american failure wth the pathetic coverage soccer is getting now.
(Im not even gona mention that Canada to the north is 35million people and they stand have never got a league going, the country has only one sports league in the whole country, while cold little places of 5 million like Denmark and Norway have pro soccer leagues.)

Spectator said...

You can pretty much assume I'm always talking about the real Champions League (aka the European one). As for soccer in Canada, what about the two MLS teams?

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