In a move that certainly surprised many observers including your humble blogger, Fox Sports announced that it will air the UEFA Champions League Final marking the first time the game will be on US network television. It had been the property of ESPN for many years.
Last year, Fox picked up the rights and put the preliminary round games on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports Net affiliates. Now when the final is played on May 22, Fox will air the final at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. Many of you may wonder, now isn’t that a Saturday and what about MLB on Fox which airs at 4 p.m.? Well, if you check your 2010 MLB on Fox schedule, you’ll see that May 22 is a primetime date so Fox needs to fill that slot with something and the Champions League Final is that something. Here’s the press release.
FOX SPORTS BROADCASTSUEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL ON MAY 22Major International Soccer Event Joins Select Few on U.S. Broadcast TVNew York – The 2010 UEFA Champions League Final, the culmination of Europe’s most prestigious annual club soccer competition, airs live and in HD on FOX Sports this May, it was announced today by FOX Sports Chairman David Hill. The event is FOX Sports’ first-ever soccer broadcast, and joins a select few major international soccer championships ever to receive broadcast television exposure in the U.S.This season’s UEFA Champions League Final on May 22 is being held on a Saturday for the first time in its history with a 2:30 PM ET FOX on-air time and 2:45 PM ET match kick-off from Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.Last April Fox Soccer Channel announced a three-year agreement to acquire the U.S. and Caribbean media rights to the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup. The landmark agreement with UEFA – the governing body of soccer in Europe – began with coverage of the UEFA Champions League Playoffs last August and includes the 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons in their entirety. Matches from the UEFA Champions League air on a number of Fox-affiliated networks, including Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus, FSN, and Fox Sports en Español, combining to provide an unprecedented level of live and prime-time coverage.Originally, the UEFA Champions League Final was scheduled to air on FX, Fox’s general entertainment cable channel which is available in more than 95 million U.S. households. FOX is available to all U.S. households, now totaling almost 115 million.“Simply put, the UEFA Champions League Final is one of international soccer’s most prestigious and competitive events,” said Hill. “There’s no doubt that soccer aficionados in the U.S. will welcome the opportunity to see this game live, and we’re excited to work with our colleagues at Fox Sports International to make it available to every household in America via FOX Sports.”“This year, for the first time, the UEFA Champions League Final will be played on a Saturday,” said UEFA President Michel Platini. “This is an important change for European football as it is a strong desire for UEFA to engage with more families and children and to see them attend inside the stadium.”Platini added: “Outside of Europe we also want to allow the greatest number of people possible the chance to follow the showpiece final of the best club football competition in the world. I am delighted that thanks to FOX Sports this will now be possible, as for the first time ever, the UEFA Champions League Final will be live on a nationwide broadcast channel right across the USA.”As the primary outlet for the UEFA Champions League, Fox Soccer Channel delivers 110 live and delayed UEFA Champions League matches per season to its nearly 36 million subscribers. Beginning March 1st, Fox Soccer
Pluswill offer up to 22 additional live matches per year. FSN – reaching up to 83 million homes nationwide through its owned and affiliated regional sports networks – televises 16 live matches per season, while Fox Sports en Español distributes 110 total contests (live and delayed) in Spanish to its 14 million subscribers.UEFA Champions LeagueFormerly known as the European Cup – was first staged in 1955 and features the reigning champion and other top-of-table finishers from each of Europe’s domestic competitions, historically including elite clubs such as Liverpool, FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC, AC Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich. FC Barcelona is the current defending champion, while Real Madrid has won a record nine titles. The 2009 Champions League Final was watched live by over 145.2 million people worldwide. For more information log onto www.championsonfox.com.
One more release to post for you.