MediaFile

Soccer goes premium in US with new Fox footie HD channel

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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.

(Photo: Reuters)

Fox vs Time Warner Cable: Soccer channels go dark for a bit, coincidence?

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We were not completely surprised when Fox Soccer Channel went dark on Sunday afternoon while we were watching West Ham take on Chelsea. (It’s not that the cable bills hadn’t been paid). Seemed the most likely cause was the  really bad snowstorm here in New York and the rest of the U.S. northeast.

But when we noticed that Fox Soccer Espanol, Speed Channel and, for a short while, FX were also down…  well, we couldn’t help wonder if the ruckus between Time Warner Cable and Fox Networks had come to a head and that the great dark screen battle of 2010 had started early.  (Adding to our conspiracy theory: Fox’s news channels were unaffected yesterday, and neither Fox News nor Fox Business are part of the current carriage fisticuffs between TWC and Fox. Hmmmm).

After all, Fox said last week that TWC might pull its broadcast network and entertainment channels because they’ve been unable to reach agreement on fees. TWC for its part thinks Fox wants too much money. And both sides are running marketing campaigns slamming the other. So the idea that everything went black because of a their dispute wasn’t all that farfetched.