Fox Soccer Channel’s new era begins today

So today is the day.

The day UEFA Champions League coverage begins on Fox Soccer Channel. It starts with a live match at 2:30 p.m. (eastern) featuring Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Olympiakos (kickoff is 2:45) and then a tape-delayed airing of Celtic vs. Arsenal. I don’t know how the rights breakdown in such a way that the Celtic-Arsenal game is on tape delay here in the States on FSC, but that’s the deal. There is a pregame show that begins at 2 p.m.

FSC will also be showing all the other games and programming from today in later time slots:

* A 30-minute highlights show airs at midnight and 1:30 a.m.

* Delayed broadcasts of Sporting Lisbon vs. Fiorentina (2 a.m.) and Politehnica Timisoara vs. Stuttgart (4 a.m.).

* At 11 a.m. tomorrow, FSC will show the last of today’s five matches, featuring FC Copenhagen vs. Apoel Nicosia.

I will be interested to see how FSC handles this coverage. Their pregame work is going to have to be a massive step up from their usual duo of talking heads in the run-up to Premier League matches. It’s one thing to sit in a studio and discuss Everton’s forwards. It’s very much another to be in the know about Sheriff Tiraspol and their favored formation, top defender, and usual tactics. Given what we hear from their announcers and summarizers at times regarding MLS teams and players, this might be an adventure.

There is also the matter of which announcers are used. I think it was everyone’s nightmare when this was first announced that Max Bretos would be doing PBP on a match like Celtic-Arsenal. “Arshavin runs on, danger here! … Chance for 2-1 … YEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!”

God help us.

There are going to be bugs and slip ups – this is a massive undertaking for FSC and it all won’t be perfect the very first day. It’s good that they are showing these qualifying rounds, which we didn’t get previously from ESPN. And for a few, it won’t matter how well FSC does with its coverage, because some people are simply never satisfied.

I’m willing to give it a chance and see how it goes. In the end, I’m going to be watching these games anyway, whether they were on ESPN, FSC, or the Billy Mays Memorial Infomercial Channel.

NOTE: FSN regional networks will have live coverage of Celtic-Arsenal at 2:30. Check your local listings for what channel that is in your area/provider.

For folks in the DC/Baltimore area, Comcast SportsNet has the game, with a pregame beginning at 2 p.m. – probably the same as what airs on FSC.

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17 thoughts on “Fox Soccer Channel’s new era begins today

  1. You forgot to mention Fox Sports Espanol is showing games. The Stuttgart game is on at 2:30 and with SAP, the game will be broadcast in English.

  2. You know, Bretos isn’t my cuppa tea either, but I appreciate that he at least shows some passion. Too many US soccer announcers are so bland and boring; at least he gets pumped up.

    And where can I get the Billy Mays Memorial Infomercial Channel??? I gotta subscribe to that!!

  3. Sorry, Max Bretos’ goal call is great. I look forward to every game he commentates on just because of it.

    He does like to ramble a bit otherwise, but you take the good with the bad.

  4. I guess I compare Max to young Max – mangled briticisms, bedhead, Brian “cha-Ching.” He’s better now.

    Now if we could just get Stoner to act his age, but that is not an FSC problem.

    I just hope this doesn’t interfere with coverage of the real Champions League.

  5. I do like that a lot of CL games will also be shown on the regional Fox Sports Affiliates. In a lot of markets, FSC is on another tier of cable package, while the Fox Sports Midwest/Southwest/Detroit/Oklahoma/Pacifics are on the basic package.

    Perhaps, Perhaps…the CL Final, live on Fox? With a major marketing push?

  6. Just to follow-up, full credit for giving me three live games to choose from today (though I hear DirecTV users have it better). CSN had Arsenal-Celtic; FSC had Olympiakos, and FSE had Stuttgart. They all ended up about the same, but having the options was nice.

    FSE is showing Fio-Sporting now.

  7. Bretos and Sullivan-perhaps the only two sports annoucers in the US with a vocabulary that is college level. I love the richness and depth of the commentary and their rhetorical eccentricites. They are the best pair in sport.

  8. Arsenal-Celtic was in glorious HD. It looked excellent at the beginning but they weren’t getting the audio for some reason for a while and their studio guy tried to cover it. But there was a subtle shift to the picture at one point early in the match which seemed to diminish the picture slightly.

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