Fox Soccer Channel is no more. The last remnant of Fox's total rebranding said goodbye earlier this week, replaced by the entertainment channel FXX. And in the early stages, Fox has to consider the move a success. FXX's ratings more than doubled Fox Soccer's primetime numbers on its first day by doing nothing more than airing a Parks & Rec marathon. With the season debuts of The League and Always Sunny, those ratings should continue to rise and make FXX a relevant cable channel moving forward.
But spare a thought for Fox Soccer, the forgotten network in Fox's grand shuffle. Well, unless you count Fuel, but I don't think anyone is heartbroken about its demise. We've chronicled how Speed fans are angry about their network giving way to Fox Sports 1, but what about the loss of a dedicated soccer channel?
I have a special place in my sports fandom heart for Fox Soccer, or Fox Sports World as I once knew it. This is a channel with a rich heritage in bringing international sports to our attention in the states. Before I became a soccer fan, I spent hours growing up watching sports from all around the globe. As a huge sports fan already, I was immediately drawn to international sports and all of these strange, new, exciting sports other countries called their own. I watched everything from Aussie Rules football to rugby union and rugby league to cricket, hurling, and darts. I took in as much as I could, trying to teach myself the rules to these sports so I could develop a greater appreciation for them, largely succeeding in AFL and rugby and utterly failing in cricket. I still have no idea what smashing a yorker to deep mid-wicket is all about.
And Fox Sports World was my guide. Sure this production looks like it was from 1983 instead of 2003, but the mysterious element of Romania and Namibia playing rugby was more captivating than another Yanks/Sawx highlight. I always wondered what happened to favorites from Championship Rugby like Matt Brown:
Some of my fondest memories from my high school weren't from trying to fit my life into an MTV pilot, they were watching Canterbury and Auckland play for the Ranfurly Shield or staying up to some forsaken hour to watch the Brisbane Lions vs Collingwood.
Alas, Fox Sports World gave way to Fox Soccer Channel in 2005 and I had to funnel this thirst for international sports into soccer, a sport I had viewed the same way Hank Hill did at one time. But as I watched soccer from around the globe I grew to appreciate it over time. I slowly learned it wasn't necessarily about scores in double figures, but about the continuous action that took place and those single moments that could change a game. The turning point for me was the 2006 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and West Ham, a game I watched on tape delay on Fox Soccer that still resides in my personal pantheon of favorite games. After this Steven Gerrard goal, I was hooked and I began following the EPL on Fox Soccer Channel the next year.
Over the next several years Fox Soccer continued to move forward with the EPL as its anchor. As soccer grew in America after the 2006 and more importantly, 2010 World Cups, Fox Soccer became a destination point for many new soccer fans thanks to its coverage of the EPL, MLS, and then the Champions League.
But as other soccer networks like GolTV and beIn Sport emerged and NBC stunned the sporting landscape by winning EPL rights, Fox Soccer no longer had enough inventory in which to operate a dedicated 24/7 soccer channel. Fox Soccer's last days were spent reairing Being: Liverpool marathons and classic games.
The truth is that the sports landscape, and specifically Fox, outgrew the need for Fox Soccer at the present time. With NBC snatching away the EPL, ESPN's focus on international soccer, and FS1 and FS2 being able to house what was left of Fox's soccer portfolio, the dedicated channel no longer made sense for Fox and its sports department.
However, this isn't necessarily a Speed situation where the racing fan doesn't feel like they have a home with the oppressive regime of stick and ball sports. There are still dedicated, largely 24/7 soccer channels at the moment with GolTV and beIn Sport housing many rights to international leagues. ESPN3 also offers an incredible amount of soccer coverage from leagues around the world. However, Fox made the decision to fold what was left of its soccer coverage into Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 like they would with any other major sport.
The dedicated channel that was Fox Soccer has given way to multiple channels dedicated to the growth of soccer coverage. Soccer fans have never had it better with ESPN buying into the World Cup, UEFA tournaments, and MLS. NBC airs the domestic league too along with their excellent coverage of the EPL. And Fox maintains a strong position with both the UEFA and CONCACAF Champions Leagues ahead of their turn on the international stage after Brazil 2014. There are more high quality soccer viewing options than ever before and the sport is still gaining momentum.
With the rise of globalization and our shrinking world, fans can now follow the EPL as closely as they would the NFL or NBA. They can become connected to a league and players an ocean away like never before and those sports once considered "foreign" are now a part of our everyday lives. Perhaps that's the greatest legacy of Fox Soccer and Fox Sports World. Perhaps it was ahead of its time.
Fox is missing an opportunity by not at least continuing its great Fox Soccer News hour on one of its channels.
I guess I am living under a rock.
Just found out through this article that FOX-Soccer
no longer exist. To bad, it was a place in the summer
to watch games of the past.
I will miss it.
Wishing they would broadcast the
As a SCHALKER fan it would make sense to me.
They should have shown English Championship, Football League, League Cup and FA Cup games after they lost the EPL rights.
I COACHED SOCCER FOR 25 YEARS UP TO THE ODP LEVEL AND COACHED SOME MEXICAN ADULT LEAGUES IN TX. LOVE SOCCER. WILL NEVER WATCH FOX XX-TRADERS
I am really angry, WTF is wrong these idiots. There is nothing on FS1 or 2 neither NBC sports , no real news after the matches at 10 or GOAL on Sunday, we can't see anything on FS1 it is all about boring baseball or American wussball , if I wanted to watch that garbage I would just stick with all the crapy ESPN's stations.
With no warning what so ever, no respect for subscribers and fans of the sport.
I am with COMCAST in WA, they don't have Fox Soccer Plus and I checked with Direct TV it is not sure if they have it or not. I am really angry and trying to remain calm.
This Sucks!! I sat back to watch some late summer re-run of soccer somewhere in the World, didn't matter where....its Soccer. Worst part was the Time Warner guy trying to explain/justify the change....idiots! They killed my escape. Yes perhaps they will regroup! Apparently others are ahead according to the article above. They'll come back and now charge those fanatical soocer people...cause "They'll Pay!!" I wish you can go to a company ie WC or Direct...and order just what I want....no extra stations I have to pay for....ala carte...same with phone service...Just what I want...Mark my words this will be the future. We are oversold in this world with pre package garabage....Sorry lost my Way.....Just wanted to watch some Soccer....won't be typing if a Game was on!!
Watched FSW/FSC from the beginning. Lots of Euro leagues over the years. Ashamed they couldn't pick up Bundesliga, Eredivisie, etc after losing EPL. Soccer was teed up for Fox Sports but they made a hash of it. Never put the resources and effort into it. Sad.
@awfulannouncing will be missed
@awfulannouncing great channel I miss it already
@awfulannouncing I wish they still had parts of Sky Sports News on Fox Soccer Plus,it was nice getting a UK P.O.V on sports.
@awfulannouncing That Steven Gerrard goal is one of my favorite sports memories. Got excited when you mentioned it! Call was great too
@awfulannouncing Hopefully FoxSports1 cripples arrogant ESPN.
@awfulannouncing I miss it
I'll echo these sentiments also. There is plenty of channels with soccer...losing FSC doesn't kill me.
Maybe if FSC hadn't done such a piss-poor job covering the sport outside of live events they'd still be around. That NBCSN has taken the Prem and is boosting the old ratings speaks volumes.
I have no complaints with the end of Fox Soccer Channel since Soccer is more widespread than ever before in the United States. Too bad the Speed Channel are still whining crybabies that needs the "WAH-bulance".
Channel surfing and wishing FSC was still available... Who gives a crap about How I met your mother....
Actually the Scottish Premier League is still on Fox Soccer Plus, and UEFA and CONCACAF matches are airing mostly on Fox Soccer Plus before Fox Sports 2. Basically Fox Sports 2 and Fox Soccer Plus are splitting Fox Soccer Plus's inventory of games, minus the Scottish Premier League which is solely on FOXSOCP.
@awfulannouncing great piece
@MinDRioT Does Gol TV have exclusive rights to the Bundelisga?
@gr44 Then I guess you won't be watching the World Cup after next year, considering that Fox has the rights beginning in 2016.
@AngryFootballFan You might want to read the news. There was plenty of advance warning considering they announced the changes back on March 29. Heck, there's even an article about it here at AA.
@DanielOrmsby Fox Soccer Plus is still in business?
@msenger Yes. The plan all along by FOX was to keep Fox Soccer Plus since it has multiple rugby contracts, Australian Rules Football, and the Scottish League games. While the NRL, Australian Rules Football, UEFA, and CONCACAF are being split between Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Sports 1, and Fox Sports 2, FOXSOCP still has a few exclusive rugby leagues and the Scottish League games. It actually is airing more sporting events than Fox Sports 2 and tends to be in more homes than Fox Sports 2.