In a statement made Tuesday, Major League Soccer broadcasting partner FOX Sports World announced that the cable network will be transitioning to a soccer-based network called FOX Soccer Channel on Feb. 7. The switch will be made at midnight, though viewers will have an opportunity to preview the new channel several hours earlier during the National Football League's Super Bowl XXXIX pregame show on Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. ET on FOX.
FOX Soccer Channel will be the premier destination of televised soccer for the American fan, as the network will feature world-class games and coverage of leagues from around the world, including MLS. In addition to matches from America's top league, FSC will also air games from the United Soccer Leagues, the English Premier League, the English FA Cup, the UEFA Cup, the Toyota Intercontinental Cup and numerous top professional leagues from throughout Europe and South America.
"Soccer has long been the world's game and now it is increasingly America's game as well," said David Steinberg, executive vice president and general manager of FOX Soccer Channel in a statement. "Participation rates and attendance at soccer matches, including MLS games and international exhibitions, have grown dramatically in the past decade, and the United States national teams have excelled in both the men's and women's FIFA World Cups. We at Fox are committed to creating the single best place for American soccer fans, players, professional and amateur associations and business partners to converge and share in the phenomenal success of the sport."
FSC will have regular live coverage of MLS games and will also continue the weekly highlights show dedicated to the league, MLS Wrap. Coverage of the U.S. national teams and youth soccer coverage will be available to all of the network's nearly 20 million cable and satellite subscribers in the U.S. and the Caribbean. A new weekly show set to debut in April, Fox Soccer USA, will focus on the youth and amateur soccer scene in the United States. Coverage of soccer-related sports such as futsal (indoor soccer) and rugby will also receive time on the channel.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.