Soccer goes premium in US with new Fox footie HD channel
Football, sorry, soccer has never quite been a big money maker for the U.S. cable TV industry. But Fox Networks has long wagered that the popularity of the game with the little leaguers and the changing demographic of the country will eventually translate into the kind of big bucks that parent News Corp is used to in the U.K. with Sky Sports.
Fox said today it’s launching a new high definition soccer channel called Fox Soccer Plus, which is being offered to cable and satellite distributors as a premium channel for a selected tier or as a standalone channel for a monthly fee.
No deals have been struck yet with distributors but one hopes that the Fox programming team included Fox Soccer Plus as part of its long negotiations with Time Warner Cable into the New Year. But as a premium channel it’s unlikely to reach as many as the 35 million households of its flagship sister network Fox Soccer Channel.
The new channel will kick off on March 1, 2010 and will feature English Premier League and UEFA Champions League games, which Fox had previously sub-licensed to Setanta Sports USA, as well as a bit of calcio from Italy’s Serie A.