The English Premier League’s season is winding down and as teams fight to stay in the league in an attempt to stave off relegation to lower leagues (I love that concept and would wish MLB and the NHL could do such a thing with its minor leagues), Fox Sports Media Group will pull off an unprecedented multi-platform project.
On Sunday, May 13 as teams hope to gain enough points to remain in the EPL, Fox will utilize the networks in its cable sports empire as well as as online sites to air 9 games that day. ESPN2 will air one game as well.
The usual networks of Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus will air games, but in addition, the networks of FX, Speed, Fuel, Fox Sports Net and Fox Deportes will have contests as well. Fox will also utilize FoxSoccer.com and FoxSoccer2Go as well.
For soccer fans and those who follow the EPL, it will be a day to remember and one to see if Fox attempts this with the first day of the league’s new season in August.
Here’s the Fox Sports press release.
FOX Sports Media Group Presents Nine Live English Premier League Matches Simultaneously on Season’s Final Day Unprecedented Media Event Maximizes FSMG’s Linear & Digital Assets
New York/Los Angeles – Every year, on the final day of England’s Premier League season, all 20 teams from the world’s top domestic soccer competition play each other in a frantic 10-match race for financial survival, hardware and European honors. This year, on May 13, for the first time in American television history, nine of those matches are being carried live simultaneously by one family of outlets.
Led by FX, Fox’s fully-distributed cable powerhouse, FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) networks SPEED, FSN, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes, along with digital platforms FOXSoccer.com and FOX Soccer 2Go, are carrying all nine matches live on Sunday, May 13 at 10:00 AM ET. Pre-match coverage begins at 9:30 AM ET on all networks with the exception of SPEED, with all outlets carrying post-match coverage of this hallmark event. Known to soccer fans as “relegation Sunday” and dubbed Survival Sunday by Fox, this unprecedented programming strategy reaffirms FSMG’s unparalleled commitment to provide the world’s best international soccer competition.
“With so much at stake, there’s nothing like the tension of the Premier League’s final Sunday, and we hope to capture every minute we can using the considerable resources available to the FOX Sports Media Group, including SPEED and FUEL TV, unconventional outlets for soccer,” said FSMG’s Eric Shanks, Co-President and COO. “Our plan is to provide cut-ins and updates from matches as often as necessary, while never taking the viewer away from the game they’re watching.”
FOX Sports Media Group’s commitment to the English Premier League is underlined by airing over 300 matches per season, including 180 live matches across FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus. FOX Sports also aired three encore matches on NFL Sundays last fall and two live matches last winter. Highlights, commentary and analysis from England’s top division are at the center of FOX Soccer’s primary studio shows, Match Day and Goals on Sunday. Additionally, FOX Soccer carries round-by-round English Premier League preview and review shows, as well as a weekly magazine feature and Premier League Fan Zone.
FX, Fox’s flagship general entertainment basic cable network, carried two UEFA Champions League semifinal matches in 2011, and is doing the same this month. FSN, through its 20 owned-and-operated regional networks is the nation’s leading provider of local sports, producing over 5,000 live local events annually, but is no stranger to televising high-caliber soccer. It has aired a national Premier League game-of-the-week since 1998 and has aired UEFA Champions League matches on both a live and delayed basis. FSN also aired a national MLS game-of-the-week last season, Manchester United’s U.S. Summer Tour in 2003 and 2004, WPS matches nationally, a variety of college matches and ancillary programming. Finally, SPEED, the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle, and FUEL TV, FSMG’s dynamic sports network for men, offers soccer as a programming stunt for the first time.
Survival Sunday has serious implications for the teams involved. The centerpiece of this event is the relegation battle. While there can only be one league champion, the remaining 19 clubs jockey for position to determine qualification for European tournament play and Premiership survival. Wins and losses on May 13 carry heavy consequences, and a single point can be the difference between prosperity and financial ruin.
At the end of Survival Sunday, those teams occupying the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth positions are eliminated from the world’s best soccer league and three teams from the second division are promoted to the English Premier League for the 2012-2013 season. Relegated clubs stand to lose upwards of $40 million.
The top four clubs in the English Premier League earn UEFA Champions League qualification, receiving a potential reward of $75 million and the right to play in the world’s most prestigious club tournament. Pending the results of other domestic competitions, the fifth, sixth and seventh places in the Premier League table also carry significance. The holders of those spots at the end of Survival Sunday qualify for the UEFA Europa League, a continent-wide knockout tournament with more than 40 years of history and tradition. Beginning this fall, 2012-2013 Europa League contests are being carried by FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus.
Survival Sunday matchups are listed below. Specific networks and digital platforms will be determined at a later date. ESPN will select one match from the schedule. All games begin at 10:00 AM ET.
MAY 13 Matches Network
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers TBA
Everton v Newcastle United TBA
Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers TBA
Sunderland v Manchester United TBA
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham TBA
Norwich City v Aston Villa TBA
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal TBA
Wigan Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers TBA
Stoke City v Bolton Wanderers TBA
Swansea City v Liverpool TBA
In addition to a full slate of matches on FOX Sports Media Group’s networks, fans can also view and follow real-time scorelines on FOXSoccer.com/SurvivalSunday, as well as FOX Soccer 2Go, FOX Soccer’s subscription-based digital platform available online and via mobile and tablet applications.
What a way to follow Survival Sunday and Fox is pulling off quite the effort to show its commitment to soccer. I also think this could be a preview of how Fox could handle the World Cup in 2018 utilizing the actual Fox network, FX and Fox Soccer.