European soccer is coming to Fox Sports.
The UEFA Champions League Final will be aired May 22, marking the net’s first-ever soccer broadcast. Conglom’s cable outfit Fox Soccer Channel delivers 110 Champions League matches to its 36 million subscribers following a three-year deal signed in April.
Though soccer is not in the consciousness of American sports fans as much as the four major sports — football, baseball, basketball and hockey — Fox is hoping to cash in on World Cup fever. The World Cup, which will be aired by ABC and ESPN, runs June 11-July 11 in South Africa, and the U.S. will play England on June 12 in a highly anticipated contest.
Originally, the Champions League Final was to be aired on FX but will now air on Fox to give it more of a wider reach.
“Simply put, the UEFA Champions League Final is one of international soccer’s most prestigious and competitive events,” said Fox Sports topper David 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 Intl. to make it available to every household in America via Fox Sports.”
The 2009 Champions League final, in which Barcelona defeated defending champ Manchester United, was viewed by 145 million people worldwide.
While the soccer match will air in the afternoon, May 22 also marks the day Fox will telecast Major League Baseball during primetime. Net is set to air regional games, including the Detroit Tigers at the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. vs. the New York Mets. It’s the first primetime regular season game on Fox since 2004.