I was in high school when I started seeing advertisements for Fox Sports World and was so excited for the ability to see Soccer games from all of the world that I immediately went home and told my parents about it. Thankfully my Dad loved his sons and his wife so he called our cable provider at the time and obtained the channel. We have had Fox Sports World/Fox Soccer Channel ever since. I have watched countless games on FSC and in the early days even recorded some of the games on VHS to give to my HS soccer teammates so they could watch Man U fall to a league 2 side or even Arsenal vs Liverpool.
With NBC, ESPN and BEin Sports winning the rights to the most popular soccer leagues around the world in 2012 you knew FSC was going to struggle to find enough content to support a 24 hour soccer network. With the announcement from News Corp that Fox soccer will be rebranded as FX2, a general entertainment channel, it looks like the executives at News Corp felt that the struggle was not going to be worth it.
Here is what the Sports Business Journal had to say about the rebrand:
News Corporation will convert the Fuel cable network into general sports channel ‘Fox Sports 2′ this August. The launch of Fox Sports 2 will coincide with the conversion of Speed Channel to Fox Sports 1.
Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 will be the chief outlets for News Corp. sports programming. FX, which aired college football coverage the past two seasons and previously televised baseball and NASCAR, will no longer carry sporting events.
Fox Soccer is expected to be converted into a general entertainment channel.
Currently, Fuel is in 37.6 million television homes - over 43 million fewer than Speed Channel (81.0M). Fox Soccer (42.3M) is actually in more homes than Fuel.
While this might be sad because of my own personal nostalgia this might be the best thing for MLS. With NBC taking over MLS rights from FSC last year went from an average of 71k viewers (29 games) to 119k viewers (40 games) on NBC Sports. The more eyeballs on the games the better money will be when MLS renegotiates all TV contracts just after the 2014 World Cup.
(For a better discussion on TV ratings go here.)
John Strong might be the only casualty we here in Stumptown care about as he just joined FSC for their broadcasts within the last year. He may be moved over to Fox Sports 2 or may not but I hope he lands on his feet and continues to move up the ladder.
What do you think of the news?