Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fox Soccer Plus: Here's my fuss

We're coming up on the one month anniversary of the demise of Setanta U.S. and the birth of Fox Soccer Plus(FSC+). The initial reports suggested that other than losing the Scottish Premier League and some fringe programming like hurling and Gaelic football, the content would roughly remain the same as Setanta. And in fact, the English Premier League, Coca-Cola Championship, Magners League Rugby, and various rugby tournaments have made their way to FSC+. But what has also made it's way to FSC+ is much of the same content that is also being broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel, i.e. Sky Sports News, Serie A Weekly, Fox Soccer Report, UEFA Champions League(both matches and review shows), The Contenders, Premier League Archives, The Greatest, and others. If I wasn't paying $15 a month I wouldn't have a problem with it. Other sports networks such ESPN/ESPN2 do similar things...but they are not subscription channels.

Now Fox executives will tell you that FSC+ has no commercials and therefore a monthly fee is required to make ends meet. That sounds very similar to Steven Cohen and the World Football Daily bunch. They had a nice little daily football call-in show on Sirius Radio called World Soccer Daily. I won't get in to all the details, mainly because where the truth lies regarding the cancellation of the show is a bit of a mystery...a big he said/she said sort of affair. A few weeks later World Football Daily appeared on the scene. It was available by live web feed and podcast and commercials were no longer a part of the show, though they still had "breaks". Not long after the "re-launch", it was announced that in order to receive "premium content", which is roughly 75% of the show, a monthly fee was being introduced. Now this show was part of my daily routine for 5+ years, but I am not paying money for a podcast. I'm just not.

Ultimately my point is, I'll take the commercials over a monthly fee. There is still a break in programming regardless of whether it's a commercial or some sort of pre-produced product, and the filler material FSC+ uses between programming is very limited. I appreciate the history lesson the snippets provide, and friendly voice of Issy Clarke as narrator, but the variety numbers wise is severely lacking.

I also feel like for $15 I should be getting an HD quality signal. The quality of the picture during EPL games is ridiculously bad. Now in fairness, it wasn't any better on the Setanta feed. But now that Fox Soccer Channel is in HD, I'm hoping FSC+ won't be far behind.

Since FSC+ is only a month old, I'll give it some more time before I gripe anymore. And who knows, next season could hold a whole host of changes for the channel. Keep your fingers crossed.

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