The 2013 Champions League Final will be airing on the FOX network this Saturday, May 25. I believe that all soccer fans should boycott FOX’s coverage of the UCL Final.
I know that earlier in the week I had posted about Saturday’s Champions League Final being aired on network television through FOX. While this is another major step forward for soccer in America, I am proposing a boycott of watching the match on FOX.
Here are my three reasons why all fans should NOT watch the final on FOX.
3) Gus Johnson is NOT the American voice of soccer:
While not everyeon will be familiar with who Gus Johnson is, suffice it to say that he is not going to be the future of American commentary for soccer. At least, I hope he isn’t. Thus far he has worked on commentating for some massive matches on both FOX Soccer and FOX including the 2013 FA Cup Final a few ago.
The first match that I heard him on, I cringed through what little bit I heard before muting him and putting on TalkSport. Since then I’ve mostly muted the games he’s worked and listened through TalkSport, or kept it on for some unintentional comedy.
I do not like what he has to offer to the viewing “experience” during soccer matches he is calling. He is loud, obnoxious, in your face, and worst of all, not intelligent about the sport he is commentating on. I get that FOX wants to have this great experience set up for the viewer, but I don’t like it, and it doesn’t fit in well with soccer commentary.
I don’t need someone telling me the names of every player touching the ball with some random statistic thrown in repeatedly throughout a match. This isn’t radio, I can see what’s going on in front of me, and it would help to actually know how to pronounce the player’s names as well.
Perhaps the most important thing to note in this experiment by FOX is that Gus Johnson is not a soccer commentator. He fits in well with the college basketball vibe and perhaps even the college football vibe as well, but he is not a soccer commentator.
FOX’s decision to add Ian Wright as Gus Johnson’s ex-player, color commentary partner is equally baffling. His cockney accent is bad enough, but when you add some of his insane comments with it, he becomes incoherent at the best of times. Perhaps FOX thought they could make Johnson look better by throwing Ian Wright in.
2) FOX doesn’t care about soccer fans:
FOX network executives have made it perfectly clear that they don’t really care about soccer fans. The thing they actually care about is getting your money. If you look at ESPN’s coverage of soccer over the years, you can see a progression. Their coverage of EPL matches has really worked out well with a fine pairing of Ian Darke and Steve McManaman. I’ll admit that it did take time for them to really click, but they haven’t had as much time to do it as FOX has. FOX has been in the business of providing soccer coverage for the better part of a decade and they have barely shown any progress.
Look at some of their recent choices such as hiring Gus Johnson, their coverage of the 2013 FA Cup Final, and their choice of hosts for programming. Other than Gus Johnson their coverage of the FA Cup Final was perhaps their biggest fail. They decided to only go on air 15 minutes before kickoff. This meant that they spent about 5 minutes of pre-match buildup for the oldest cup competition in the world. The FA Cup has had its own difficulties in remaining relevant, but it remains the most prestigious cup competition as rated by many pundits. So, what does FOX do? They completely cut out the players walking out onto the pitch and the traditional singing of Abide With Me at the start of the match.
They should have started 45 minutes before the match which would have given them time to run commercials, have their in-studio talking heads give everyone a brief preview of the match, and show their highlight reel and interviews from the 25th anniversary of Wimbledon’s 1988 FA Cup upset over Liverpool.
FOX doesn’t care about providing quality content for soccer fans. They want to make it as exciting and flamboyant as possible with their own brand of American styled, in your face presentation.
Now, I’m not saying that everything needs to be the way the British do it, but they bring in far too many talking heads that have no real experience in the sport and are only there to be loud and obnoxious. I want some intelligent conversation about the sport not some guy in a studio who needs to point out every American player in the sport or highlight every bit of a match with snappy catch phrases.
1) FOX will only “listen” to viewership numbers:
The only way that FOX will listen to what us, the fans, want is to show them we are not happy. The only way to do this, is to boycott their broadcasts. They want our money and this comes from the viewership numbers for big matches.
I do understand that part of the problem with this idea is that it can backfire. By boycotting the final there is always the chance that the FOX network execs will look at the numbers and decide to keep soccer matches off of network TV.
That is why I’m proposing that you also let FOX know you won’t be watching the Champions League Final on FOX an let them know why. Here is a link for the FOX Sports Customer Feedback. Or you can contact AskFox.
To voice your opinion you can either copy and paste the below message or create your own.
Dear FOX Sports executives:
I will be boycotting the 2013 Champions League Final being aired on FOX this Saturday, May 25. I will not be watching the match despite being an avid soccer fan because of your constant mistakes in broadcasting important soccer matches. Your choice of Gus Johnson as your American voice of soccer is disturbingly out of touch with the soccer fanbase. In addition the choices to continually bring in obnoxious hosts with no right to be broadcasting soccer is equally worrying. I will be looking forward to NBC’s take on EPL coverage next season and hope that you will learn from your mistakes for next year’s broadcasts of Champions League and Europa League soccer.
I do hope that FOX will learn from their mistakes and will make their coverage of soccer much better than it has been. They have had plenty of time to fix these errors over the years, but instead have been bent on only adding to the debacle.
I look forward to NBC’s coverage of the Premier League next season and perhaps FOX will look at their coverage and make changes for the tournaments that they do have the rights to. I will be looking for an alternative method to watching the game live on FOX.
Let me know what you think. Feel free to disagree with my take on FOX’s coverage of soccer, I will gladly answer any comments.