I wrote how Fox Sports choice to show Barclay's Premier League games on tape delay was a brilliant idea. Two weekends ago, Fox took it the next level by showing Manchester United vs. Arsenal live as a lead into the NFL Conference Championship Games. Sure the rating where not great. According to ESPN, the match was seen by 1.3 million views.
This week Fox is at it again as they show Manchester United vs. Chelsea on Super Bowl Sunday at 11 a.m. I personally expect the numbers to increase and this to be more of a rating success. I would not be surprised if there was a couple of more Premier League games show on Fox before the end of the year.
Fox has to stay committed to showing top flight soccer over the next couple of years. In October, Fox won the English-language U.S. television rights for the 2018 and
2022 World Cups, outbidding incumbent ESPN and NBC for soccer's
showpiece tournament. Fox agreed to pay around $425 million for
the two-tournament package, a person familiar with the bidding told The
Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the figure
was not made public. It also secured English-language radio rights. If they are going to make these tournaments work they are going to have to continue to show soccer to gain the respect of fans.
Fox should have learned a lesson from doing the BCS Bowl games a couple of years ago. During that time, Fox just did the bowl games and did not do any regular season games. During the BCS games Fox had people who had no real college experience doing the games and it made for a terrible TV product. They have to stay connected to soccer before these events to ensure fans that they are committed to doing things right.