Fox Soccer Channel beats out ESPN for rights to UEFA Champions League starting next season

2008 028  Champions League Logo 

In a move that is sure to rock the American soccer-viewing audience, Fox Soccer Channel has beaten out ESPN for the U.S. broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League. The new agreement will kick in starting with next season's Champions League Tournament.

The story, first reported by The Unprofessional Foul more than a week ago, was finally confirmed by ESPN on Monday, signaling a big blow to ESPN's plans to increase the visibility of soccer in its broadcasts.

The victory is a major won for Fox Soccer Channel, which already boasts the English Premier League and Italian Serie A.

The bad news? Far more viewers have ESPN than have Fox Soccer Channel, making it that much tougher for American soccer fans to watch Champions League action. Then there is FSC's lack of an HD option.

What do you think of this news? Happy? Disappointed? Wondering what Champions League matches might be like with Max Bretos and Christopher Sullivan calling them?

Share your thoughts below.

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206 Responses to Fox Soccer Channel beats out ESPN for rights to UEFA Champions League starting next season

  1. Byron says:

    I love FSC, but the lack of HD and the thought of Bretos makes me want to puke.

  2. Nick says:

    This literally just ruined my day

  3. Marc says:

    As Max would say…. YYEEEAAAAAAASSSSSS

  4. Scott says:

    There is nothing that could have ruined my day worse than hearing this…

  5. Ives Fan says:

    im PISSED! im in college and we dont get fox soccer channel!!!!! BS

  6. Justin says:

    This is awful. FSC’s picture quality is awful.

  7. BillQ says:

    After getting used to HD, I find that watching FSC much like watching Soccer Made in Germany on UHF during the 70’s…

  8. DemonJuice says:

    This seems to imply that FSC will be in HD by next year:

    link to

  9. Ceez says:

    I don’t mind since I already have FSC but I can only imagine how pissed those that don’t have FSC must be (just judging from these responses).

    What I DOO mind is that fact that stupid FSC doesn’t have HD. That KILLLLSS me!

  10. Ceez says:

    Also, I just realized: I’m going to have to put up with f*in Bretos and Miles and the lot.

    Now that I think about it, this blows.

  11. doug says:

    it seems to me that FSC wouldnt have done this without having plans to add an HD channel in time for next seasons CL. It wouldnt make much sense to add the CL without HD so im assumin well see an HD version come the summer break

  12. matt says:

    This is old news. Where have you been Ives?

    Also, this really sucks. I don’t get FSC and I’m not going to pay more to get it. The quality of their broadcast, just like all Fox channels, sucks horribly. I guess this just means watching more games on the internet.

    The worst part of this though, it shows how much lack of commitment to the sport ESPN really has. They didn’t try to beat FSC for english premier league rights and now they’ve lost the champions league rights. I guess after last summers highly successful broadcast of euro2k8, they built on that success by committing to showing less soccer.

  13. WonsanUnited says:

    If they get HD, then it’s okay. But I can’t stand Max Bretos. I just hope that ESPN will go and get Europa League and show a few more matches than FSC has shown with the UEFA Cup.

  14. Chris S says:

    I recall the Original Winger having a link to a story regarding FOX networks switching over to HD feeds by June 2009… so this may ensure FSC will be HD ready.

    Sucks for ESPN, but they’ve been sleepin’ on soccer for a while.

    My only question/concern is the amount of games that one could watch on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and Setanta Sports. I have all 3 channels and on gameday, I was ensured access to all the games… but now with FSC only having 1 channel, does this mean we will just get more tape delayed games?

  15. usa_mag says:


  16. nate says:

    OMFG – if Christian Miles is anywhere near these broadcasts I will fly to California and personally rip out all of their audio wires.

    Most people will come to FSC on Tuesday afternoons and think they are watching Milan classics from the early 90s.

  17. kyle says:

    Miles,Bretos,Sullivan and Warren Barton commentating? I am gonna be sick.

  18. oh danny boy says:

    I love FSC, and hope to get it back one day. I have to say though, this is disappointing. Why is this happening? The ESPN anti-soccer conspiracy continues. Jim Rome has something to do with this doesn’t he… Gosh, he’s a douche!

  19. Lu.M. says:

    I hate the thought of supporting Fox and Friends, but I will have no choice, especially if they do indeed go all HD as the link DemonJuice provided indicates.

    I was really hoping ESPN would win this one out.

  20. Z says:

    FSC laying out the substantial cash for this suggests that they’re going to similarly increase production values. I would hope so, anyways. Hopefully the productions will be less poor.
    On the other hand, this pretty much signals the end of hope for soccer profitability for ESPN. They will make money off the World Cup, but that’s about it, so odds are without the ‘bundling’ that US Soccer did with MLS/World Cup rights, MLS will not be on ESPN.

  21. Aquaman says:

    Does this mean I have to put up with the intermitent FSC “Beep-Boo-Bop-Boop” noise while watching Champions League too?

  22. Rastafari says:

    Although I will be one of many who has terrible vile things to say about ESPN’s coverage .. worse yet is my Cable service doesn’t carry FSC.. although they said they had it in the package when we signed up.

    Honestly I believe ESPN network screwed themselves. They have let down the soccer fans in the USA for years.. dolling out suspect coverage -and very little on Sportcenter– knowing full well fans didn’t have much of a choice.

    IF ESPN is really into Soccer’s growth in the USA then why not pick up a slew of MLS games?

    I bet they just show more golf…

    The best olive branch Fox can manage to do is sign some better talent to call games…their announcers are beyond lame.

  23. jloome says:

    As a Canadian who has to suffer with “Fox Sports World Canada”, a poor knockoff attempt at a soccer network, this has zero impact. We don’t get either channel.

    But the broader consequence is Fox getting more involved in soccer, which can’t be a good thing.

  24. Danny says:

    BIG JOKE…I like FSC but hosting CL games is just a big joke…I mean there’s going to be less viewers, no HD, and besides ESPN2, we can’t even watch other live CL games on ESPN Deportes and…Also no more replays on ESPN Classic …Also Bretos and Sullivan calling games make me sick to my stomach…Can’t believe we are losing quality ESPN commentaing to a bunch of people who nothing about real european football…

    If FSC really wants this to work then they really need to hire some quality commentators, GO HD, and maybe make a new channel called FSC2…

    Also Ives with FSC getting rights to CL games…Do you think in the near future ESPN might take EPL games from FSC?

  25. Adam M. says:

    Hopefully FSC will get better announcers and a better picture. The other worry is that one channel cannot possibly show all Champions League games in real time. At least ESPN’s range of networks could accomodate a couple of live games at a time.

  26. tedhill says:

    FSC is upgrading to high definition soon and I suspect some games will air on Fox Sports Net affiliates for more viewing, it won;t be strictly aired on FSC. Fox won the rights and they will do whatever they can to make it work. I’d rather it be on ESPN, but we will have to live with this. You could always buy the UEFA all access for $10 a month.

  27. Aljarov says:

    Unless FSC does something to dramatically improve their picture quality, distribution and announcers, this will be a very sad day in recent soccer broadcast hsitory. And that’s before I even get to the lost coverage for other games on ESPN”s affiliate channels and

    I’ve been writing to Directtv and FSC for 2 years asking them to go HD – I mean, half the games they braodcast come from HD feeds in other countries, especially the EPL ones. I’d encourage every one of you to do the same….

    Did anyone else notice HDnet doesn’t seem to be carrying MLS in HD anymore either (well, no MLS at all). That was quiet. So we’ve lost two of the best HD sources in the country in quick succession.

  28. Robert Green says:

    i work with fox and am in the FSC building all the time. i’ve had several conversations with people over there about the HD thing and it is a definite go for next season (this deal is going to be part of their promotion of same).

    as for the announcing crew…they are total epic fail. sullivan with his “that’s much better” verbal tic (go ahead, check it next time, we are talking about 2 minutes into any broadcast), miles’s deep hatred of the english language (is he developmentally disabled?), bretos who just is a lousy broadcaster all around…


  29. Felix says:

    Even though the production values, the announcing, and the access to viewers will diminish I still can’t help and be happy for little FSC because it will bring more viewers to this channel – which sorely needs it.

    This says alot about ESPN though, they have appeared to really make an effort to expand the visibility of soccer in this country, and to lose the the UEFA CL is a serious blow to their credibility. They are going to have to try and get English Premier League rights now to increase their visibility. Weekday MLS matches and USMNT games will not be enough.

  30. Forrest says:

    @ Matt

    The EPL rights for the US haven’t been decided yet. ESPN went up against SkySports(another Murdoch network) & Setanta for the UK TV rights. There was no way Sky was going to let the EPL get away. They would have bid almost any amount to beat ESPN, because EPL football is why most people in the UK subscribe to Sky’s satellite service. Its been reported on several other soccer blogs that the US EPL broadcast rights will be decided in the next month or two. Fox, ESPN, and Setanta are all suppose to have made bids. Will this prod ESPN into making a stronger bid for the EPL or provide additional impetus for a buyout of Setanta? I don’t know, but will get to see just how committed to soccer ESPN is over the next few months.

  31. Sushant Rao says:

    Man, this just sucks. Fox Soccer Channel? With ESPN and espn360, I had the option of watching the games live or delayed on my computer.

    Now? Who knows? Very bad move by UEFA!

  32. Ryan says:

    Absolutely devastating…both personally,

    I do not get FSC, and for soccer in America.

    Coverage on ESPN dictates a sports’ mainstream success in America. Case in point,the death of Hockey after it went to Versus. Even non-soccer fans know the Champions League now because of the increased coverage of the event on ESPN in recent years. Say it isn’t so Tommy Smyth…

  33. thierry henry says:


  34. Soto says:

    This is a big loss to me. I don’t have regular cable since I don’t have a need to pay for a plethora of programming I don’t watch. Instead, I have been enjoying the Champions League through As far as I know, FSC does not offer a similar option. I wish they would; I would be willing to pay for it (though I would want better quality than what Setanta Broadband offers, which is not even good enough to justify paying).

    I also agree that the single channel will offer less options than the suite of ESPN channels.

  35. cunta says:

    Dont have fsc cant watch any european matches anymore

  36. ricecloudnine says:

    Well, at least on the plus side no more having to listen to Tommy Smyth…

  37. Ted says:

    Now we all get to live with Sullivan, the worst announcer in almost any sport.

  38. orange315 says:

    I echo everyone else’s thoughts on this.
    1. They better go HD and figure out a way to do something like espn did with 360 so they can show multiple games.
    2. Christian Miles better have no involvement whatsoever with calling any of these games.

    on the plus side we don’t have to put up with that leprechaun Tommy Smyth and his bulging onion bags anymore, but we will have to deal with Max Bretos and his ridiculous goal calls.


  39. DC Josh says:

    I’m happy for FSC and for myself. I feel that ESPN doesn’t do soccer any justice. They botch everything relating to soccer.

    Although they call themself the wideworld leader of sports, there is nothing leading about their soccer coverage, minus HD.

    And although the CL MAY not be in HD, neither are all of the group games, only the high-profile final rounds are in full HD.


    Those who don’t have FSC, we get it for only 5 extra bucks a month with comcast.

    So get comcastic

  40. Ethan says:

    Can we have a vote over which FSC announcer we despise the most?

    It is a tough decision, but I’m going with Max. Ives, does he sound like that all the time? For the sake of those who love him, I hope not.

  41. Artman says:

    I think we have to see if FSC steps up to the table and goes HD and hires more announcers. You have to admit that they have grown (I know sometimes on your nerves) and improved each year since their inception.

  42. GWSmith says:

    Bretos and Sullivan I do not mind.

    But I agree with the masses here – C.Miles should not be allowed in the building on CL days.

    Studio hosts – how about giving the FSR guys some love? Jeremy St.Louis and Bobby McMahon as studio hosts? Anyone? Anyone?

    Gotta be better than Miles right?

  43. Bob says:

    Please follow this up with a APRIL FOOLS!! please, please.

    THis may be worst than last years Bruce Areana coaching for Mexico april fools

  44. Paul says:


    Ever hear of TSN? They have a link with ESPN, ESPN losing the broadcasts will most likely have an impact on TSN. FSC can just put the games on FSWC.

  45. jacobi millionaire says:

    What makes people think Bretos would call the games? They use the standard English announcers for EPL games. It is ESPN’s decision to use its Bristol-based announcers for Uefa games. I assume FSC will stick with whatever announcers are over there, which in my opinion is a welcome change from Tommy “I only have a job because of my foreign accent” Smyth.

    Derek Rae, I do like.

  46. Andre says:

    this isn’t too bad as i don’t have cable at all.

  47. michael says:

    I think they will step things up with this. They will go HD and they will hire some decent commentators for UEFA CL. ESPN won’t keep all those guys on their payroll if they are losing this, so I would expect Fox to up the ante and hire the ones they can get.

    They know the game has changed with this and I hope they recognize everything they have done to this point is peanuts compared to this.

  48. Trex says:


    Please someone tell me there’s a chance this makes more cable companies include FSC in their standard digital packages, not 250+ super expanded package! I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

  49. adam says:

    Bretos or Smyth, choose your poison. This servers ESPN right. As stated above ESPN has been sleepin on soccer for a long time and they deserve to have the CL snatched away from them. Easy for me to say though because I have FSC…

  50. Chris says:

    They have to find someone else to do these games. Bretos’ crap gets old about five minutes into any game. When I hear Derick Rae’s voice I think CL.

    Their picture quality is terrible…HD has to come.

  51. Chase says:

    My question:

    Is Setanta retaining their rights? I’m assuming so, but I didn’t see anyone else bring this up.

    This could be a good move, as long as FSC follows the model they use for the Prem and use the Sky announcers. I HIGHLY DOUBT that Bretos, Sullivan, Miles and company will be announcing these games.

    I would love to know the ins and outs of the bidding. Has ESPN decided to scale back its commitment to soccer? Or did FSC/NewsCorp just blow them out of the water with some huge, unexpected bid.

  52. Super Rookie says:

    When will see a post about the USL offering free webcasts for the ’09 season?

    Come on Ives! If you want the mafia to grow you need to give a sliver of info about that HUGE development.

  53. adam says:

    Agree with the comments about Derek Rae’s quality. Would be nice to see him go to FSC.

    I’m not so sure the CL is sold with a commentary package like the ITV produced Premier League games shown of FSC. Setanta uses their own studio commentators for the CL games they show. Maybe someone can correct me if I’m wrong…

  54. usa says:

    espn blows, screw em.

  55. adam says:

    ESPN, WHAT THE F@&K!!!!!

  56. andrew in tampa says:

    ok guys I am watching the WC Q replay on ESPN 360 and a few thoughts. Beasely didnt look sharp at all. Dempsey had some bad giveaways in the first and second halves. Sasha had turn overs but in the first half he actually looked decent. Donovan had too few touches to really impact the game. And Ching really wasn’t a factor for most of the game. I keep saying it but he is just not an offensive threat going forward. And Bradley was pretty bad with some of his tackles. It is amazing that it took so long to get his yellow card.
    And this is terrible news. I love to watch CL on ESPN360 on my computer in my office. I have FSC at home but they are just not class.

  57. Sterlinho says:

    Fox is going HD on all of their channels within two years.

    link to

  58. Peter says:

    I’m with the later commenters more so than the early ones who apparently have been watching different ESPN broadcasts from the ones I have. Those would be the ones announced from a studio in Bristol and not in HD for about 90% of the Champions League games. I like Bretos and Sullivan but I can see why others don’t. But you can’t tell me they’re worse than Tommy Smyth. I can also say I won’t miss the studio shows with whatever Sportscenter understudy is free that day or the in-game break-ins telling me the score of the game I’ve been unable to ignore on the crawl for the entire game anyway. I think it’s good for ESPN to have some competition here and to bring more broadcasters into it.

  59. Coop says:

    This isn’t good….The biggest thing soccer has going for it is that the top line soccer like CL and world cup gets good ratings on a channel that everyone (soccer fans and non soccer fans) watches. Now; however, the best soccer played year after year can only be seen on a soccer channel.

    This is a loss for soccer in America not Espn. I like FSC but it has no power to make the sport grown in the U.S. like Espn does

  60. E In D.C. says:

    This is really bad. I pay about $140 for my TV service and I don’t get the FSC. This is really pissing me off right now….

  61. golfstrom says:

    um all the people complaining about lack of HD do realize ESPN has shown exactly one CL game in HD and that’s last year’s CL final.

  62. weckenma says:

    the only thing espn does is breed fake euro-snob fans whose only exposure to the game is the two champions league matches a month they watch.

  63. Jersey Scouser says:

    I would think that with the amount of money FSC put up they are not going to show these games in without HD or without respectable commentating. The guys Bretos and crew will continue to call the games they call but for the CL they have to bring another crew in. I think they will bring Derek Rae over unless ESPN pulls in the EPL. Everyone else can call MLS games at ESPN. I will be happy when I can watch a CL game with no scroll at the bottom.

  64. Rekro says:

    Idk why people hate this move, ESPN doesn’t care about our sport.
    They have it up there with World Series of poker re runs and weightlifting competitions. I’d rather see it go to an actual soccer channel.

  65. Erick says:

    “ESPN and ESPN2 are available in 98 million homes and have broadcast Champions League matches in high-definition this season, while FSC reaches 34 million households and has not yet started hi-def telecasts. Also, FSC allows many top Premier League games to be telecast by Setanta Sports, which is not available on many cable systems.”

    That’s from Yahoo Sports. Think about that for a second. 98 Million vs. 34… for those of you idiots who still think that’s a great move why don’t you just get a hold of yourselves and realize this is bad for American soccer. This is like if Fox and CBS lost the broadcasting rights to the NFL Network.

  66. sread says:

    Why does ESPN have to be soooooooooo asenine??!!! It makes me sick to turn on ESPN or ESPN2 during the week and moreso on the weekend and see bowling,birls basketball or some form of racecar driving. Its disgusting how antisoccer they have become. What drives me the most crazy is how they will stick a random soccer highlight in their top 10 plays and they’ll just smirk, mispronounce the club & players’ names and just scoff at it and move on as i it was some sort of a clever joke. This bites cause I’m not sure if I’d pay more to watch FSC. It’s not great. ESPN 360 has just become obsolete for all of us. (A white flag slowly raises…)

  67. Tom from Syracuse says:

    espn dropped the ball… they dont get it.

  68. Todd Marsch says:

    This discussion is very reminiscent of the discussion hockey fans had concerning the NHL’s move to Versus. At the time, some people said “Screw ESPN. Move hockey to a network that will prioritize it, even if that network is smaller and not a part of basic cable.” That hasn’t really worked out for the NHL. The situation in this case is different because it’s not like the CL depends on its exposure in the US, but I don’t think it helps the overall aim of popularizes the sport in the US one bit.

  69. A.S. says:

    Not a huge Tommy Smyth fan, but Smyth >>> Sullivan/Bretos/Miles.

    Derek Rae is probably the best soccer PbP man available to a US audience. If he’s not involved any more, it will be a big, big loss.

  70. Gerald says:

    E in DC – please tell me that includes internet access. I pay $106 with Verizon FIOS including internet but I don’t have a movie package yet and I can’t get MLS Direct Kick

  71. Blondie says:

    Just a guess here but is this possibly a trickle down effect of what has happened with Mr. Becks and the bad taste in the mouth of ESPN with what has happened with MLS? I think ESPN really wanted to help develop MLS and it needed star power which equals viewer ship, which is the bottom line to ESPN, i think long term ESPN might have wanted more European Stars to turn the MLS into The money making machine that the EPL is. I maybe be wrong but it’s a thought. Maybe if ESPN Had been arounf during NSAL days it might have been what the EPL is today.

  72. northzax says:

    well, so much for working from home. there’s no way I am paying for FoxSoccer (yes, I refuse to pay for anything owned by Rupert Murdoch)

  73. Andrew says:

    Max Bretos is horrendous. At least Christopher Sullivan knows what he is talking about.

  74. Nate says:

    If I hear Christian Miles say team so and so has “two wins on the bounce” or Chirstopher Sullivan say “collective movement” during a Champions League broadcast, I am going to gogue my eardrums out. Those guys are bush league.

  75. Jamesey says:

    fsc & goltv with hd on directv is $45 a month. not bad.

    I have no problem with this as long as FSC gets HD. Also, FSE will carry matches too so we’ll have multiple choice of which match to watch instead of being forced to watch whatever EPL team is playing.

  76. Nick says:

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! I don’t have FSC, nor do I want to pay through the roof for a big package that includes a HD-less FSC. Not cool. As much as I hate ESPN’s coverage, atleast it’s in HD and all that jazz. My day just got a whole lot worse.

  77. Pico says:

    This is what ESPN gets for giving preferential treatment to junk like poker tournaments and bowling in their main channel.

    I’m really going to miss the ESPN Deportes coverage though. I found it to be much better than the English version.

    As per Fox Sports, their Fox Sports en Espanol coverage is fine. That and GolTV got me covered.


  78. E In D.C. says:

    To Gerald:

    Yes it includes internet, but it’s by Dish Network which means no phoneline and internet speed SUCKS!!!! It takes forever to load and get this. I have a limit for what I get to download. Great right? and btw, just incase I want faster internet, I get the pleasure to pay 100$ just for internet and %50 for phone and that doesn’t include cable. So yeah I’m all for this move….

    Soccer needs exposure and this doesn’t help the cause.

  79. Thomas says:

    Well, if ESPN is still looking to increase their soccer coverage than this might be good news for MLS. Maybe next year ESPN will start a weekly soccer show to recap everything in the world of soccer and increase their MLS pimping.

  80. Russ says:

    Have you all forgotten that ESPN has almost never broadcasted these games in HD?

    How much more, really, does FSC cost for those of you that don’t have it? I pay an extra $5/month and that includes 20 or more other channels. If that’s too much, and yet you check Ives as compulsively as I do, I’m confused. Let’s not forget how much ya’ll may end up paying in infringement punitives if you keep on streaming. By the way, how have you followed soccer in this country thus far without FSC?

  81. GunneRR says:

    Damn. Not just the FSC/ESPN news, but also Aljarov’s news about no MLS on HDNet. You think the picture on FSC is bad? Try watching the Red Bulls on MSG Network. Maybe wearing 3D glasses will help . . .

  82. MickND says:

    I’m glad for the competition because ultimately it benefits us the consumer. However I am worried about the fact that FSC does not have the platform to work from that ESPN does and as a result many people who are only mildly interested will not get hooked into watching soccer.

    I would have to classify myself in this category. If not for the broadcast of the World Cup in 2006 and the Champions League of 07-08, I definitely would not be as passionate for the sport as I am now.

  83. Jay says:

    I assume FSC paid a lot of money for the rights. With that in mind one would assume they plan to bring HD to the channel and hire better announcers.

  84. Ben says:


  85. Dominghosa says:

    What everyone hates but is entirely true, is that ESPN is THE sports network.
    And not having top level soccer constantly on ESPN hurts the sport’s visibility and growth in the U.S.

    Good for FSC, though. With that contract, it is inevitable that Fox will invest more in its North American soccer channel.
    Expect a drastic change in FSC by the end of summer. It will go HD, programming and shows will be much better. The show’s talent will increase and likely be much better.

    I don’t think this development will change ESPN’s stance on showing soccer on its network. If anything, it will allow the network to focus more on obtaining the rights to broadcast Premiership and Serie A games in America.

  86. Tom says:

    “Coverage on ESPN dictates a sports’ mainstream success in America. Case in point,the death of Hockey after it went to Versus.”

    …no, it doesn’t. And no, it didn’t; in fact the NHL has been making record profits since the end of the strike. It only seems like it died if you assume that ESPN’s stance towards any given sport is identical to the public’s.

  87. Tommy says:

    As a college kid this pisses me off beyond belief

  88. onionsack says:

    I assume they will feed the original broadcasters on the international feed.

    They need to go HD though and get on more cable packages nationwide. That would in many ways increase MLS’s viewership potential as well.

  89. iasthai22 says:

    F. Just F. I love FSC but this is horrible news. I hope this means they’ll go HD and provide better programming.

  90. adam says:

    Screw ESPN. Nothing like missing the 1st 15 minutes of a MNT game because girls softball went over its expected end time.

    If ESPN really cared about buildig a soccer portfolio they would have stepped up and made sure they kept the CL.

  91. Tom says:

    Also, Tommy Smyth is an ugly, liver-spotted, bespeckled troll. I imagine he spends his time during commercial breaks filing his teeth down to a point so he can eat Russian children when he gets back to his chicken-legged house.

  92. Reid says:

    i’m fine with it as long as Bretos will announce the english & scottish players by their name with their respective accents.
    I’m sick of this dou-che only doing spanish, italian and portuguese pronunciations…. do all accents or dont do any at all

  93. giggsylou says:

    I’m surprised at all of the anti-Bretos comments. I’d much rather hear him than Smyth. How Smyth has kept his job all these years is beyond me.

  94. Chris says:

    I don’t get all the people complaining except those who don’t get FSC. For those people, yeah this sucks. But complaints about no HD? How many CL matches has ESPN shown in HD? The final once? I don’t remember any this season being in HD. It’s on ESPN2 but in SD with the ESPN bars on the side. No problem there.

    As for the commentators, for most matches FSC air they’ll use Brettos, Miles & Co to intro the match, but then had over the commentary to the original feed. Why is everyone expecting that they’ll use Max & Co rather than do what they do for most EPL and Serie A matches?

    Then there’re the comments that ESPN was able to show more matches because they can show a match on ESPN2 and also on ESPNCL. Well so far they only show 2 matches that way. ESPN2’s live and ESPNCL delayed right the match is over. What’s different from that and FSC showing a second game after the first is over. And more, maybe they’ll show a 3rd after that, and maybe a 4th. ESPN doesn’t show more matches because they have other sports to show after the CL match is over. FSC’s got nothing so they might actually show more matches. Fox does have more channels themselves. They’ve got FSE so they might show 2 matches at the same time (and then have them both air other matches after). They also have Fox Sports Net. Hey, they even have Fox on over the air broadcast. Maybe now Best Damn Sports Show will talk about soccer as well.

    Do I know all these things are going to work out this way? No, but nobody here knows they’re not going to work out this way either. We’ll see how it all shakes out when it’s closer to time, but the way everyone is saying how this is horrible and Fox will ruin the broadcasts of these matches and not show as many, etc just seems odd.

    Except for those of you who actually don’t get FSC and the related channels, for which, yeah this pretty much sucks. But nowadays most cable services do have it.

  95. Ethan says:

    Smyth is at least hysterical. Who else refers to players as being werewolves?

  96. alundis says:

    I am utterly displeased by this news. I hope UEFA considered the long-term effects on soccer viewership in the USA when awarding this contract.

  97. Tom says:

    Airing live or tape-delayed games on ESPN Classic is essentially the same thing as the game not being broadcast at all.

    For God’s sake, at least re-brand it ESPN3 so people might actually turn to the channel with the expectation of seeing a live event.

  98. matt says:

    this ruined my day.

  99. Marshall says:

    This is very disappointing. Very. From so many perspectives, not least of which is the nicheifying of soccer.

  100. Tom says:

    I never understood why ESPN would broadcast soccer games and then go and hire a stable of talking heads and pundits that are irrationally hostile to it.

    Do they not like money or something?

  101. Tom says:

    “This is very disappointing. Very. From so many perspectives, not least of which is the nicheifying of soccer.”

    Oh come on, being broadcast in the middle of a weekday on ESPN2 somehow gave the champs league a mass-based audience?

  102. Robert says:

    I don’t mind Bretos. He’s more excited about the MLS than anyone else on TV by far. Is it just me or are the games in ESPN2HD not really in HD? I keep on getting the sidecurtains saying ESPN2HD… meaning no HD!
    I would think FSC can get a few more color commentators that matter. How’s that for a change?

  103. Paul says:

    Does FSC get Derrick Rae and the boys w/ this deal?

  104. Josh says:

    I think it would be very interesting if the put the big games, like semis and the final on regular FOX. That could make a huge impact on exposure for Americans.

  105. adam says:

    Good point Josh, and hopefully it happens. But I doubt it. ESPN could have done the same thing with their ABC affiliation and that would have made more sense with ABC’s Wide World of Sports heritage.

  106. Joe says:

    Tommy smyth is just as bad as Bretos. Its just no more Derick Rae that makes me upset. I cant wait to see the EPL in HD. That is gonna be soooo nice. Maybe FSC can go after Rae and Smyth. They wont have much to do anymore, Right?!

  107. Jason says:

    I hate ESPN like it was Sarah Palin, so it’s a win in my book.

    As for the announcers, I suspect they’re just going to pick up the Sky Sports feed so they can have synergies with their Premiership rights.

  108. Jason says:

    And FWIW, Street and Smith’s Sports Business Daily says there’s a possibility of Fox spreading CL games across FSC, FX and the local Fox Sports Nets.

  109. Leonardo says:

    i agree with the comments about ESPN not deserving it – they disrespected soccer fans long enough. i mean, c’mon, who actually cuts into a match to update us on some NBA injury? i can’t believe they did that.

    plus FSC won’t have the annoying ticker at the bottom… i hope

  110. Homey Boehme says:

    I have a feeling that ESPN is going to score the rights to the EPL games and decided to sacrifice the Champion’s League games in order to afford them. While I am upset, I will await the announcement regarding who won the EPL rights to the USA.

    I think ESPN just got really sick of trying to find room in their sports network for an actual sport. Because, ya know, poker is super athletic. As is the dog show that was on the other day. I could go on, but I will stop.

  111. fenel says:

    you need digigal cable to get fsc. with espn, i could even watch the games on espn 360. This is bad for growth of soccer in the usa.

  112. KB says:

    I have to ask those of you who are complaining about HD…do you realize that exactly 1 game (the final) was broadcast in HD last season. Its going to be the same this season. Maybe the picture quality is better but it is certainly not HD.

    Secondly, I have warmed to ESPN coverage. I like Rae a lot. Smyth ehh…but he doesn’t ruin the game for me. They also added the shows on classic like press-pass which was nice. Overall in terms of coverage, I think ESPN had improved.

    This is where FSC worries me. I just hope FSC takes notice and hires some good announcers or gets the international feed. If I ever have to listen to Bretos, Miles, or Sullivan broadcast a game ever, I may have to cut my ears off. (Sullivan makes a game unlistenable).

    I think there is potential here. If FSC is willing to commit, and given what I imagine they will pay, they better commit to delivering a good product. I think this could be a good thing for those of us with the channel. And lets hope they work out a deal with Setanta for an additional 2 games per week.

    Another note…Does this mean we never have to hear an ESPN anchor on Sportscenter say Steve GerRARD? That would be a good thing.

  113. Tom P says:

    “Love FSC, but the lack of HD and the thought of Bretos makes me want to puke.”

    Posted by: Byron

    DIDO 100% Byron and you can add Christopher Sullivan and Cohen and Webster and almost anyone on FSC not based in Winnipeg. Actually- I love everyone that broadcast from Winnipeg and hate virtually everyone that broadcast from Los Angeles for FSC.

    This, being an American, is sad to admit.

  114. Rageman says:

    Damn, Ives

    I had no idea you had so many whiny bi-@tches posting on your forum. ESPN never gave a crap about soccer and tried to hide it in the basement like it was the elephant man or something.

    For those of you that can’t get FSC, I’m sorry. It’s a great channel and now that it looks like they’re trying to expand their viewership, maybe there will be a push to add it to more cable providers.

  115. Jon says:

    Maybe I missed something, but why wouldnt the champions league games be announced by the English guys (i.e. the Sky Sports feed I think) that do the EPL games on saturday and Sunday mornings. There is a reason why FSC has Sky Sports newscast on three times a day (both Murdoch owned companies) – I bet that the Champions League coverage will be the same as EPL on saturday and sundays – intros by miles or bretos but with English announcers for the games – If thats the case – fine by me.

  116. cam says:

    crappy announcers, no HD, and 1/10th the viewers. whats there to like?

  117. marksonm says:

    lol i watched the streams anyhow as i dont has a tv, so this is like a noneffect for me, as i normally dont see the espn streams anyhow, mostly foreign english streams.

    sucks tho that less people will see em now tho.


  118. billy says:

    I H.A.T.E. the following facts:
    2)FSC not being in HD
    3)Not having espn 360.

  119. Steve B says:

    I thought this was terrible until the idea of putting big games on local Fox (over-the-ar) was raised. A long shot, but an awesome goal.

  120. JP says:

    This blows. I hate FSC. That’s saying a lot coming from someone who worships football as if it were a religion.

  121. Zack says:

    How bout we start complaining when we actually see what FSC does with CL coverage. No use of speculating.

  122. Mike says:

    I`m amazed at how many people are mad at FSC when ESPN is the one who let everyone down. Instead of whining, how about writing some letters to ESPN. For that matter, increased quality of programming will only help FSC grow and you can bet that this and the upgrade to HD will be a big part of that.

  123. David says:

    They need to hire quality announcers and go to HD or this will suck.

  124. Cody says:


  125. adam says:

    well said Mike.

  126. Turtle says:

    The only thing I will mis is ESPN360 because I watch it at work. But alas, by the time this takes affect I’ll be working for myself.

    I’m sure Bretos and co will not be calling the games. Everyone pull your knickers out of your fannies.

    As stated about 40 times on this thread (i read the whole thing). ESPN only broadcast ONE SINGLE game in HD. Take your knickers out of your fannies.

    Fox has more platforms to show games that ESPN. FSC, FoxSport net, FSE, FX. Take your knickers out of your fannies.

    You don’t get FSC. That sucks for you. I’m sorry. Really. I don’t have a TV at all but I do feel you.

    I do have the feeling that there’s something to the idea that ESPN will have the EPL rights in the US and therefore let CL go. The rights have to be pricey for both. I think the weekly advertising revenue will bring in more money than the intermittant CL games. I would make the same decision If I were running ESPN.

  127. MikeK says:

    People have mentioned hockey on here, and while no hockey on ESPN has hurt the league, ESPN really left the league no choice. Basically, they didn’t make an offer to the league.

    They think that they can get away with more American football, basketball, and baseball coverage, and if that’s their thing whatever, they’re just going to start losing market share.

  128. Mike says:

    If it means FSC will be broadcasting CL in HD then I’ll love it. Fox Regional HD kicks the hell out of ESPN HD. Also it might mean that EPL and Serie A games could also be in HD.

  129. JB says:

    I really like Bretos as an announcer, so I must be in the minority. He calls the games in the South American style with flair and excitement. Some of the talking voices on the Serie A and EPL feeds are so unenthusiastic they sound like they are reporting the weather rather than a sporting event.

    I’m withholding judgement on ESPN until I see whether they pick up the EPL. CL is nice, but EPL on Saturday morning is where the ratings are at.

  130. Colin Ferguson says:

    If you can find one person that’s happy about this that doesn’t work for FOX and isn’t Jim Rome, I think I’ll donkey punch them and their entire family.

  131. joey says:

    Tell FSC to become part of Regular Cable offering.

  132. dabes2 says:

    Sorry, but I think this is awesome.

    This is what is going to pushes FSC to High Def and that’s great news not just for the CL but for all the soccer games they show.

    And I don’t get to watch live, so I’ll just tape two games and watch them when I get home.

    This is great news.

  133. Neuwerld says:


    I guess I should get FSC some day…

  134. jloome says:

    Paul: Eek. Hadn’t thought of that.

    I’m of mixed opinion there, as TFC gets almost no coverage from TSN, even though it’s based in Toronto.

    But FSWC just…blows.

  135. ThaDeuce says:

    Bad for Soccer, Bad for America, and Bad for Soccer in America.

    I predict that the viewership of the Champions League will decrease by 50 percent in America with this deal. Who the heck has FSC? I do, but I pay out the wazoo for it, and I don’t know anyone else who does in my town.

    Also it was nice to have ESPN commentators forced to talk about and acknowledge soccer as a sport. I do a double take every time I see UEFA on ESPN in the background of a public place. Then I chuckle. I am just not used to seeing that and it is super awesome.

    Boo Boo FSC

  136. Doug says:

    Just because its on ESPNHD doesn’t mean its in HD. ESPN has never broadcast UEFA Champions League in true high definition, they’ve only done World Cups.

    I’m glad for FSC. HD or not, we’ll probably get to watch ALL of the games (not live but oh well) and not have to have ESPN 8 or ESPN Deportes to see the game you want to watch the most.

    Don’t like Bretos, turn the volume down.

  137. joey says:

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  138. Colin H says:

    to Doug: Yeah cause its so much easier to get fsc as part of a package than espn classic or deportes.

  139. ThaDeuce says:

    Okay, its like this. Because it was on ESPN, all of my friends who are not soccer players and never have been, got hugely into EURO 2008 last summer. They hosted soccer viewing parties cooked out and it was great. I enjoyed my sport being transmitted to my friends and having them catch futbol fever. I would hope that they would have more opportunities to watch soccer and get into so that by the time the World Cup comes around they will be ready for the maginitude of it all and we can celebrate in style.

    If all the soccer is on specialty channels, I’m in 7th grade again watching in my room alone, or not watching because we don’t have the channel.

  140. ThaDeuce says:

    Also, where I live there are no “Soccer bars.” I like being able to go to a regular bar and make them put on the game. Unfortunate. As long as ESPN covers EURO 2008 and the world cup then I will survive though…and keeps covering qualifying. so in the end, no biggie.

  141. ThaDeuce says:

    I had to talk myself through it. Ha

  142. Fumar says:

    Is it just me or did ESPN not offer any champions league soccer in HD last year. Even the final was in standard definition. So I don’t think that’s a loss. But I’m not a big fan of Max Brestos.

    Are the final rounds supposed to be in HD this year? Because they certainly weren’t last year.

  143. rorymiller says:

    damn. If ESPN doesn’t get the rights to the Prem League then you can write off soccer in America for another decade.

  144. jonathan says:

    I think this is fantastic news. I feel confident that I’m going to get to watch every single knockout round game now instead of whoever the hell MANU is playing.

    The FSC guys love the sport and will SHOW ALL THE GAMES. Total win.

  145. sean monaghan says:

    so much for ESPN trying to promote Soccer in the country….

  146. Romanov says:

    whatever. Rupert v. Mickey. A void is filled. Agreements were made. Money. Find the channel and quit whining. They’re corporations and cash powers the motor.

  147. John says:

    Very disappointing on many levels. Not only is the FSC video quality not good but their presentation is just cheap. The score boxes look like something you would see on a highschool sports telecast and I don’t even want to talk about the commentating. This just sucks

  148. Alexander says:

    GODDAMN! FSC is great, but ESPN has Tommy Smyth and the other guy! (I have no problem with Bretos or any of the other FSC guys, but… prefer Tommy and Derek Rae for CL matches… AND NO HD???? WTF????

  149. rickr says:

    Bretos is the worst and I will miss seeing the games in HD.

  150. royce says:

    forget HD

    forget the announcers

    this is terrible because now access to soccer in this country will be extremely limited. plus, FSC has got to be the worst “soccer” channel. i used to have both FSC and Gol TV. when Gol TV plays matches from a league, they don’t just blackout the good matches and put them on pay-per-view. you receive a range of high quality matches (e.g., Bayern-Stuttgart, Atletico-Barca, Barca-Real etc.) and also some of the bad ones. but ask yourself, when’s the last time you’ve seen Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, or Arsenal play each other on FSC? these guys don’t care about soccer, they just know that those of us who do will pay for it.

  151. Big Z says:

    Hey FSC! Can you please get a freakin’ HD channel. I won’t watch the Champion’s league in Low-def while having those filthy Candian accents lilting and slurring all over the broadcast.

  152. BayernRevsSpurs says:

    imo, this is a huge plus for soccer growth in America. The highest quality football in the world just reduced in audience here. Don’t get me wrong, I love FSC, but it doesn’t carry the sports mainstream weight of an ESPN2. On the other hand, US Nats in the world cup and MLS now become the largest soccer franchises on the network, when UEFA CL was obviously top dog before.

  153. Tom says:

    Goddamn, do you really think Fox is going to buy the rights to the CL and let it whither on a third tier cable channel? They’ll either significantly overhaul FSC or spread coverage across several fox-owned networks.

  154. Tom says:

    “but ask yourself, when’s the last time you’ve seen Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, or Arsenal play each other on FSC?”

    Are you for real?

    Like, for serious?

  155. Mike Toole says:

    I’m pretty pleased to hear this. The bellyaching about HD is moot, since ESPN never showed the CL games in HD anyway. I also think that the moaning about the commentators is hilarious. I don’t think Max Bretos is any more or less annoying than Ian Darke. I would like FSC to import some more talent to the booth since Bretos, Miles, etc. are working pretty hard at this point with EPL, MLS, Seria A, etc. Are they still doing Argentine league as well?

    This is also good news because it will allow FSC to attract more and better advertisers, which means more revenue, which makes it easier for them to jump up the pecking order with cable providers, and round and round we go. It’s only unilaterally bad news for people who are stuck with limited cable access, like college kids with lousy dorm systems.

    The only downside I’m seeing is that we’ll probably still get the majority of games on tape delay. I wish the rights could be evenly divied up, with ESPN getting the ‘tier 1′ game (ManU/Real Madrid/Inter/Barca/Liverpool, etc.), FSC getting ‘tier 2′ (Roma/Chelsea/FC Bayern/Porto/Celtic) and Setanta or GolTV doing ‘tier 3′ (Panathanaikos, Schalke, Villareal Fenerbahce… all of the quality Euro sides that have big support at home but little visibility abroad). That way fans would have a much broader choice. The only sticky stuff would be once it got down to quarterfinals.

    At any rate, I’m all for FSC adding more games. I want more! I want the premiership and serie A on weekend mornings, I want USL Fridays and MLS Saturdays. I also want the Bundesliga and La Liga and French Ligue 1 back. I want to keep seeing the Argentine leagues. I would love to see the A-League and J-League. Even Mexican soccer would be welcome. I already watch some of the games on Telefutura (every US fan should watch a few games a year, we need to recognize and understand our rivals!) but having it all in one place would be unbelievable.

    It also might kinda put too many eggs in one basket. We’ll see, I guess!

  156. JWM says:

    My biggest beef is with the loss of Adrian Healey and Derek Rae. Tommy Smyth I can live without. I hope we will outgrow the likes of Bretos, Della Camera, Harkes, etc. soon.

    ESPN has never believed in soccer. Witness their tendency to cut away from the game to bring you items that they feel are of more interest, like a 3rd inning score or a NASCAR driver’s DUI arrest.

  157. Bill says:

    I’m surprised so few mentioned Bobby McMahon and the Fox Soccer Report team. I would love to see Bobby calling these games!!

    Bretos is a total goofball and cannot be taken seriously and let anywhere near CL.

    And the color scheme of the report is vomit inducing pea green…

    Hopefully if they are going HD and have secured the CL then they’ll put some $$$ in and get some better announcers. Bretos, Sullivan and Miles are very Junior Varsity…

  158. Jack says:

    Hay you may hate their annoucers – but FSC is the best channel on my TV – All I can think is they will be able to rerun all the CL matches during the week that weren’t live. Face it ESPN would rather show re-runs of gladiators or strong man competition then soccer. I get to see soccer from all over the globe on this channel and I love it. Are the studio and annoucers lame maybe – just turn the volume off. Also now I don’t have to worry about which ESPN channel to record during a CL match – because they can’t decide which world baseball classic game to show….

  159. afc says:

    I get FSC but can’t stand Bretos however, Miles is the worst of the worst. If he is commentating I can’t watch. I cringe when he does the introductions on FSC, hoping he isn’t commentating the whole game.

  160. Kyle says:

    This sucks. Besides not having FSC, even if I did, I would be able to wattch the archived games online!

  161. Scott C from Buff says:

    This is awesome; now we will the whole world of European football, not just ManU, Chelsea and Liverpool. You know that teams like Real Madrid and AC Milan actually play each other, not just English teams? 😉

    ESPNs coverage of soccer sucks; they put more air time and advertising into poker than soccer.

    Plus, these games will now be on prime time, which is great for those that work. I wonder how a prime time FSC audience will compare to a daytime ESPN2 audience? Is there really a big group of soccer fans that can stay home during the day and watch games on ESPN2? Or can afford a DVR but can’t get FSC?

    I can’t believe that many people can’t get FSC. I’m in Buffalo, pretty much the dregs of soccer world, and we get FSC…

  162. Frank says:

    More competition. This is good news.

  163. pfk1968 says:

    This stinks since FSC isn’t found on most basic cable packages.

  164. Drew-ROC says:

    This is a big problem for A LOT of college students who are fans. Very very few college dorms and campus housing units have FSC readily available.

  165. Scott C from Buff says:

    “I really like Bretos as an announcer, so I must be in the minority. He calls the games in the South American style with flair and excitement. Some of the talking voices on the Serie A and EPL feeds are so unenthusiastic they sound like they are reporting the weather rather than a sporting event.”

    I totally agree JB, so your not the only one. I don’t care for a monotone announcer telling me who is passing to who; I can see that. Or spouting off useless statistics. I enjoy Bretos’s commentary, he’s as passionate about the sport as I am…

  166. MVK says:

    The Fox has a bushy tale

    And Bush tells lies and foxtrots

    So, I don’t know what’s real

    Watching any sport in non-HD is now painful, step it up and get an HD channel FSC

  167. arsenfan says:

    The business folks at ESPN are not dummies. I guess they calculated that they would not earn enough of a profit on the champions league games.

    One good thing about FSC is that they will re-air the games. That’s great for those of us that can’t sit and watch tv on a weekday.

    Suddenly no one can watch tv unless it’s in HD?? You bunch of pussies.

  168. MVK says:

    “Suddenly no one can watch tv unless it’s in HD?? You bunch of pussies.”

    its like when I used to drink Nat Light my freshman year, once you realize what decent beer is you cant go back to drinking piss water

  169. dc1819 says:

    I don’t understand all the negativity about this. All I ever hear is bitching and moaning about ESPN/ESPN2 soccer broadcasts, announcers, lack of soccer understanding, etc. Also, the majority of ESPN CL broadcasts might be on the HD channels, but not actually broadcast in Hi Def (If I recall, it’s only the Final, maybe the semi’s). So the lack of HD argument is bogus, especially considering the recent information that FSC will be transitioned to HD in the near future.

    Also, you have to assume that if FSC outbid ESPN, then it was a monster bid. If they are going to pump significant dollars into the CL, then why wouldn’t they raise the bar with respect to commentating, production quality, graphics, etc? UEFA would not have awarded the rights to FSC without assurances that the games would be given proper coverage.

    I remember the days when I was a soccer-loving kid, and all the soccer I could find was “Soccer Made in Germany” on a jumbled UHF channel, so to have a dedicated soccer channel to watch EPL, MLS, Serie A and now Champions League… what more could a die-hard ask for? I understand the argument about less casual fans having viewing access to CL games, but I’ve always thought capturing casual fans has been less crucial than catering to the existing fan base. IMO, ESPN was too focused on drawing the casual fan, at the expense of alienating the hard core fans.

  170. Joe says:

    This is absolutely terrible news. I actually enjoy ESPN’s champions league coverage … say what you will about Tommy Symth, but there is no denying that Adrian Healy and Derrick Rae are class match commentators. For all the bashing that Stephen and Kenny of WSD do of soccer broadcasting in this country they are gigantic fans of both Healy and Rae, and I think that speaks immensely to their quality. What happens to those two now? There are quality ppl in ESPN’s soccer coverage that will now be out of work.

    EPL games on FSC are tolerable only bc they share the British feeds and we dont have to listen to whatever hack FSC would have calling the game. MLS matches and internationals are literally unwatchable on FSC with their own commentators.

    FSC winning on the Champions League bidding is a gigantic step back for soccer coverage in this country and I am dreading next season.

  171. Roberto says:

    Disgusting… Bretos makes me want to hurt someone and Sullivan is a moronic idiot with his 80’s aesthetic

  172. STX81 says:

    The lack of HD won’t bug me. ESPN didn’t air any of the CL games in HD.

    Now I hope subscriber numbers will increase then FSC will move to HD (then with my luck my local cable network won’t pick up the HD stream anyway.)

  173. rednow.red4ever says:

    First off, this isn’t old news, it’s been speculation for a long time, and Ives was clearly waiting til it went official…this isn’t purely a rumors site.

    Secondly, FSC won’t be the only channel to have it, because I’m positive they will sub-license to Setanta as ESPN was.

    Also, perhaps this will finally fuel streaming. They’ve been streaming delayed matches for a while, perhaps they’ll be able to have live CL matches.

  174. gambit says:

    FSW Canada is owned by Canwest, so that channel may not even exist in a year. They do not show EPL, like FSC does, and their Serie A games are bought from TLN.

    The Score bought the EPL rights then sold them to Setanta, who sells the 10am game americans see on FSC to Sportsnet. The Score kept one Sunday game a week, usually the 11am game shown on FSC.

    TLN owns the Serie A rights and the rights to CL games in spanish and italian. TSN gets first choice of CL and Setanta gets 2nd choice.

    UEFA sells rights to games in USA and Canada separately. FSWC(Canwest) will not outbid TSN, TLN, Setanta, Sportsnet or the Score. Canwest may even have trouble outbidding GolTV if Insight was interested in CL rights. I dont think Canwest is interested in saving FSWC.

  175. EA says:

    I hear a lot of lame complaints here…

    I live DEEP in the heart of SEC football country. For an extra $9 per month (Sports Package + Latin Tier) I have all of the soccer I can watch, and about as much as my fiancee can stomach. On a typical weekend, I watch MLS, EPL and Serie A on FSC, La Liga and Bundesliga on Gol, Copa Libertadores, and CONCACAF CL on Fox Soccer Espanol, Mexican La Liga on Telemundo and ESPN Deportes. That’s before you get into the Argentinian, Brazilian and Colombian stuff, the one French game per week on TV5, and Dutch soccer on Deportes on Saturday morning.

    There are also 4 bars that I KNOW I can get a game on, if I ask. We had a bar, packed on a Saturday night, with all 10 TVs on US/El Sal.

    In South Louisiana!

    If it’s THAT important to you, why not upgrade from basic cable?

  176. meh says:

    How am I supposed to watch CL at work now? ESPN360 was awesome! Now I’ll be forced to pay for a sports tier on cable and have to TiVo everything. Absolute joke.

  177. Dominick says:

    1.) I’m not concerned about the HD–I think with this investment, FSC will be in HD by the 2009-2010 season. Several posts have provided evidence of this.

    2.) The announcers…eh, we will see. Bretos does do the UEFA Cup Final. Anyway, I’ll wait and see and hope they improve.

    3.) What does concern me is the impact on the growth of soccer in this country. Everyone on this blog will follow the game–either sign up for a cable tier, on-line, bar, etc. But the casual fan? I am not a fan of ESPN’s over-hype machine, but it did provide a lot more availability to see the Final. I recall that last year sportscenter lead off with highlights of the final. The first soccer match I watched was the ’86 World Cup final on NBC because my dad read in the paper that this event was the biggest sporting event in the world. Right now, I feel ESPN provides a better avenue to scoop up new fans who may catch mention of the Champions league and want to check it out. We shall see if that changes.

    4.) I’m surprised ESPN let this happen. Yes, some of their anchors still mock soccer, but with the Euro ratings, the UEFA cup final ratings, and ESPN adding soccer scores to their bottom line ticker, I thought their commitment to soccer would only grow.

  178. This is extraordinarily bad news that absolutely ruined my day. I do not have FSC. I do not like FSC. The only good thing about FSC is that they show soccer.

    There is just so much that ESPN could have done with the Champions League over the next three years. Now FSC has it and…eww. I hope UEFA isn’t looking for the record viewership numbers that ESPN has been posting.

  179. andy in atlanta says:

    Again… way too many morons on here…

    1. Fox Soccer Channel deserves your respect… they are improving the low rent style every year…hd will be coming but there is still a problem with that… more on that below…

    2. No way are they going to have Max (who is not as bad as you all make out to be) doing the games. They will use the English language commentary that is fed to the UK, Rupert will make sure of that)

    3. ESPN never really cared enough to make soccer a priority and only starting offering up more soccer of late when they wanted to show that the EPL belonged with them…sorry boys but you employ Rome and you treat us like $hit…

    4. If you whiners do not pay the extra $10 a month to get FSC then that is your own problem… 34 million reach because that is who pays for it. Very few cables systems still do not have FSC… very few

    NOW..on the HD bit… here is the real issue…they can go to HD all they want but that does not mean that digital cable companies will put carry the HD feed…the digital picture will help but bandwidth for cable is always an issues and expansion is hard to justify for little niche channels like “FSC”… look at Comcast…they won’t add ESPNU out of principle only… here is hoping that FSC is in HD and made available in HD by others like DirecTV, Dish, Comast, Time Warner etc…

  180. Rolland says:

    Happy CL is going to a station that is dedicated to soccer only. No more extraneous sports news running over the screen during the entire game, no more breaks from the game to inform us of other sports breaking news. As for announcers: I’m sure FSC won’t use Bretos and co. that would be absurd and counter-productive. They’ll use the English language feeds and then when they show games on Fox Sports in Español, theý’ll use their Spanish language broadcasters. Probably you’ll be able to watch the games online for free via ESPN2, Classic,360 are not all standard cable channels and can be added or subtracted on satellite packages. I’m no longer interested in football, basketball and will consider removing ESPN stations from my satellite subscription to justify adding other soccer-specific stations like Gol and Setanta. I think this is a great change, no longer having to suffer ESPN’s half-hearted efforts to show us a bare minimum of soccer.

  181. Bob says:

    maybe they will show more than one game on gameday….that would be nice, not everyone wants to watch ManU, Chelski and Liverpool all the time.

  182. Anthony says:

    Even if FSC gets a HD feed, how many homes and bars will have it? I’m disappointed because I think this is a shift down in notoriety.

    Will it allow ESPN to pick up some games? EPL? Another top league? That’s always a possibility, looking for programming (especially top-notch soccer programming).

    But, generally, I am disappointed because of the lesser number of homes that FSC appears in.

  183. MikeD says:

    I agree andy, FSC will just get the feed from the UK. No way they’re letting Bretos/Sullivan/Miles near such an important event.

    It would be great if we could get all the Sky pre and post game coverage.

    The other thing to look at is now FSC will be more attractive to cable companies, so their viewer base should grow.

    Also ESPN has some room in their budget to bid for one of the big 3 Euro Leagues. I wouldn’t mind if they got La Liga or EPL.

  184. Joamiq says:


  185. Rafael says:

    I know a lot of people are ticked by the news. I still don’t know which side to take. From what I read, FSC will be going HD this summer. FSC has a feature where you can watch the matches online. If I recall, you have to pay a fee. Of course, this should change if they really want this deal to succeed.

    But honestly, ESPN has dropped the ball. They have held us hostage in the past waiting for a softball, or WNBA game to finish before we get to see the US TEAM play a qualifying match. That’s what really makes me sick.

    Good luck to FSC and we’ll see if this a rude awakening for ESPN or the last drop of milk needed to fall asleep on the beautiful game.

  186. Jim says:

    Andy brings up a good point: Many cable companies are maxing out the bandwith of their current HD offerings. If Fox Soccer DOES offer an HD channel in the fall, there’s a very good chance the largest cable providers (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Cablevision, etc.) will NOT add it to their line up. They just don’t have the space until they upgrade their networks. Looks like that will be the excuse for me to switch to Verizon FiOS, but I feel for all of you who don’t have options.

    And remember something else: HD feeds from Europe are still very expensive to get to the US. If the ratings don’t justify spending that much, we may not see many games in HD regardless of who has the rights.

  187. bkupp says:

    I have a feeling that this is going to be the event that is going to make FSC (and soccer, to a lesser extent) big-time.

    This is a highly visible deal and you would have to think that FSC will be looking at the potential commercial revenues to raise their game to a new level (with HD to start with).

    If that happens, it would be great for US soccer to have a full-time, highly available HD soccer channel. That’s where I see this going.

  188. hernangeles says:

    HD needs to happen. So much for watching deportes and espn 2 concurrently. How about Andy Grey? He was awesome during the Euros. I think Derick Rae is under contract with ESPN unfortunately. That would be a team though.

  189. daisy says:

    WOW I am so in the minority here. I think Sullivan is the best US based announcer we got. I hate the ESPN announcers and half time correspondents too – Lalas makes me nauseous, Foudy blinks too much, Smyth annoys me. Max just reminds me of a guy that is stuck in a 3×3 room by himself all day watching games. As for Fox and ESPN – thank goodness I no longer have to hate ESPN for ruining all the other matches I have Tivo’ed by their stupid ticker at the bottom of the screen while I am watching a match. Not to mention their programming issues where they cut the games off so you always have to record shows after the game if you want to see the last 5 -10 minutes of a match. As well as not listing their programs correctly so you end up taping different matches than they advertise. They’ve screwed me on several Champions League matches. I don’t have this problem with Fox or Setanta. I guess I must be spoiled more than everyone else. I have ESPN 1,2, Fox Soccer and Setanta Sports on a big screen TV. I feel like you are all a bunch of crybabies over HD. 10 years ago almost no one had HD, big screens, or the option of so much footy on TV. Just cause you don’t want to pay more – sounds like you need to get a better job. Or go to a bar that has a Fox Soccer channel.

  190. Andy says:

    Well i’ve never posted before (love the site though ives) but some of you ripping on people who don’t have the money for an extra sports tier on their satellite bill need to shut the hell up… or do you watch so much football you can’t turn on the news and see all these people losing their jobs and homes? This is a big blow for people like me who can barely afford cable as it is… kinda depressed about this.

  191. CM says:

    I don’t mind it that much. At least FSC won’t cut to a half screen in the middle of a match to get that all important SportsCenter update on a pointless baseball spring training game. That said, I don’t like that ESPN seems to be less and less committed to soccer (changing the MLS schedule and now this).

    It’s a wash between listening to Tommy Smyth vs. Bretos & Sullivan

  192. JDavids says:

    NOOOOO! Porque dios mio!!!!!?????? This is a terrible blow to US soccer! So many non-soccer fans happen by chance to see a champions league game and get drawn in to the wonderful world of futbol, not anymore…..

  193. JB says:

    Well I pay for FSC and Setanta, so if they go HD (which seems likely) and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STICK WITH WHATEVER BRITISH ANNOUNCERS ARE ALREADY THERE, they should be fine.

    I wonder with going HD if they’ll take the HD feeds of all the Premier League games now? Or just do like ESPN does and put the SD feed on the HD channel (which is still better, but it would be awesome if all the games were in HD now.)

    I also wonder if they were able to out bid ESPN because ESPN is lining up a huge Premier League bid. Say what you want about them, but those guys generally do not get things wrong on the business side. With how good Euro did, maybe they’re thinking bigger than Tuesday/Wednesday afternoon soccer matches a couple times a year. Although it would be competing for airtime with College Football, NFL Gameday, etc in the fall/winter.

  194. Chapin says:

    THIS SUCKS! I DONT GET FSC AT SCHOOL! and the champions league was pretty much the only soccer i got to watch…

  195. Jeff C says:

    While ESPN doesn’t broadcast the games in HD (except the final), it still is a much better picture than your standard definition feed on FSC. So if FSC doesn’t go HD then we’re losing out on video quality.

    Like many have said it will be interesting to see FSC adds more on air talent, or uses the international announcers.

  196. Rashid says:

    Today is a sad day for the American Soccer fan… Unless FSC plans stealing all of the Commentating talent away from ESPN… and creating a HD option… Other than that… I’m scared of Bretos getting more camera time than he already does…

  197. Seisco says:

    I am devestated

  198. Greg Y says:

    The good news is that anyone who hasn’t bought a HD TV can save the money and watch FSC on a hand-me-down 19″ analog set for optimal picture quality …

  199. Josh Kaplan says:

    This will damage soccer’s growing popularity in the US. Casual fans don’t tune to FSC. They are, however, exposed to the games on ESPN/ESPN2, which are on most sport followers’ go-to channel list. If it weren’t for the games being on ESPN I never would have watched, and now the next wave of fans will be lost as they’ll never stumble upon a competitive match.

    This is terrible news for the future of soccer in the United States.

  200. Bryce Anderson says:

    This sucks. My cable provider won’t carry FSC.

  201. Tom P says:

    “there is no denying that Adrian Healy and Derrick Rae are class match commentators”

    Now who can say the same thing about any of the Fox match commentators?

    Send McMahon, St. Louis and Carlos M to cover games and then it will ok with me.

    Also- for anyone who watched HDNET broadcast last year you tell me that HD doessn’t make a huge diffrence and I would respond you either blind or a liar.

    (Of course HDNET’S broadcast had to be watched on Mute because of big mouth, empty head Balboa)

  202. aristotle says:

    Under normal circumstances I would say this is great news. I hate ESPN and their pretense at supporting American soccer. FSC is a soccer channel. The problem is how does a channel that is now big enough to get the premier league, Serie A, and now the EUFA Champions League, have the worst picture quality and announcers in the world! Surely they have now attained a status that will enable them to upgrade their picture quality and their announcers! They also need to expand their availability.

  203. SG says:

    not many public places carry FSC as opposed to ESPN.

  204. SG says:

    Now the places to watch Champions League games will be limited because not many public establishments carry FSC as opposed to ESPN. FSC needs to improve

  205. me says:

    what will tommy smythe do now?

  206. brad says:

    FSC is a great channel… but they need to upgrade to HD its freakin 2009…get with the times!!!