Search

Out-Foxed

Oct. 31, 2011
Oct. 31, 2011

Table of Contents
Oct. 31, 2011

LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
WORLD SERIES
PRO FOOTBALL
  • Each year San Diego has the look of a Super Bowl contender, only to face an East Coast team and get whacked. Until the Bolts prove it on the field, they'll fight their rep as talented but too soft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
SOCCER
  • In the fifth and final year of his MLS contract, he's back at the top of his game at last. Now, as the 2011 playoffs begin, he and the Galaxy look to stamp his American experiment a success by winning a championship

JAMARCUS RUSSELL
  • The No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft should be out on the field commanding an NFL team this Sunday. JaMarcus Russell, though, is home in Mobile, absorbing shots to his character and resting on what's left of his $39 million. The most maligned figure in football tells his side

Departments

Out-Foxed

Could a TV power shift hurt American soccer?

The U.S. English-language broadcast rights for World Cups 2018 and '22 were up for auction last week and ESPN, which will have aired every Cup from 1994 to 2014 (See Landon Donovan in '10, below), was the heavy favorite, having earned rave reviews for its coverage the past two years. But Fox outbid ESPN with a reported $450 million to $500 million offer. Yes, the heavy competition and a combined U.S. rights fee of some $1 billion (with $600 million from Telemundo; up from $425 million total for the previous two Cups) offers proof that the sport has gone mainstream in the U.S., but less clear are the implications of Fox's victory on the growth of American soccer. As part of its last rights buy, ESPN promised that it would commit to U.S. and Major League Soccer, the latter a ratings vacuum. But now will ESPN care about the sport after 2014, when those deals expire? Or will Fox, which lost MLS rights from '12 to '15 have any interest in MLS?

This is an article from the Oct. 31, 2011 issue

Then there's the actual broadcasts. Based on Fox's handling of the UEFA Champions League final in May, the network has a long way to go to catch ESPN when it comes to smart, high-quality coverage. Fox-owned Sky Sports does, however, provide topflight coverage in Europe, and that should offer American fans some reason for optimism. Plenty can happen in seven years.

PHOTOHOANG DINH NAM/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (DONOVAN)