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FSC To Televise Champions League Games

We mentioned it a week or so ago, but it is now official that Fox Soccer Channel has won the right to televise the Champions League games in the U.S. starting next season.

“We are delighted to bring unprecedented coverage of this prestigious competition to American soccer fans,” said David Sternberg, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Fox Sports International. “The UEFA Champions League is the ultimate club soccer competition, both in terms of its history and global popularity, and our family of networks will offer viewers in the U.S. and Caribbean more of the action than has ever been made available before.” 

More details about the deal came on a conference call today. The deal is for three years and Fox Soccer Channel will deliver 110 live and delayed UEFA Champions League matches per season starting this August.The games will be on FSC as well as FSN and Fox Sports en Español.  Fox will broadcast 31 live and 79 delayed matches on FSC next season. Sixteen games will air on Fox Sports Net on Tuesday. In addition, Fox Sports en Espanol will broadcast 31 matches live and 63 on delay. Its coverage will start with the new playoff round on Aug. 18-19 and Aug. 25-26.

The UEFA Champions League Final will air each season on FX, reaching over 95 million homes nationwide.  Next season, the final will be staged on a Saturday for the first time in its history, with the match kicking off at 2:45 p.m. Eastern Time on May 22, 2010 at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The reason that the game is in FX is so that the game can viewed on HD as FSC is not available on HD yet. One of the big news from the conference call was that FSC plans to launch its network in HD at the end of this calendar year.

Under the new arrangement FSC will produce its own pregame and post game show out of its LA office. There has been no decision on who will call the games but I got the impression that FSC is seriously looking to use the official UEFA feed and their announcers. This will be a step up over the ESPN crew.

Also, video highlights of all the games will be availble on Fox Soccer while Setanta Sports will offer online access to all games via their web site.
 What do you think about this move from ESPN to FSC.?