ESPN to launch daily soccer TV show

ESPNFCLogo (ESPN)

By DAN KARELL

The popularity of soccer in the United States has been noticed by ESPN, and it seems like they are finally catching up with the times.

The sports media giant announced on Tuesday the creation of a daily soccer studio show called ESPNFC on TV, set to begin on August 11 and shown on ESPN2. The show will be 30-minutes long and feature highlights as well as news about soccer from around the world.

“Soccer’s popularity is at an all-time high in the United States as fans are now more familiar with the world’s top players, marquee clubs and national teams.  ESPN FC on TV continues our leadership role in coverage of the sport across all media,” Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president for programming, said in a press release.

The program will also include interviews and features on personalities in world soccer, the use of the journalists who cover soccer on ESPNFC.com, and previews for key matches during the year, like El Clasico, the Manchester derby, and more. In addition Sunday’s the show will extend to a one-hour edition.

What do you make of this news? Do you plan on watching the show?

Share your thoughts below.

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85 Responses to ESPN to launch daily soccer TV show

  1. Tim F. says:

    FINALLY

    • Riggity says:

      Umm, ESPNpresspass is on every night but Saturday at 2 am Eastern on ESPN NEWS and it’s 30 minutes long. So I guess this means they are changing the name and channel. That’s cool, as long as they keep Tommy Smyth and Stevie Nichol I’ll be good.

  2. Toño says:

    Unfortunately it will most likely have minimal MLS coverage. Won’t be watching it.

    • shane says:

      Same sentiment here.

      • Frank says:

        Yes, they’ll be covering too many leagues I don’t care about. I really wish there was a weekly MLS show.

        • jeff says:

          Agreed, but its a begining

          • fischy says:

            Right — and, maybe it would grow to an hour to cover MLS someday…after the deal with NBC expires.

        • V-8 says:

          I have enough outlets for news and commentary as it is right now, as I am sure does most everyone commenting here. ESPN is not going to add anything to this.

          So I hope the format of ESPN’s program is attractive to 13 year old kids who otherwise would be sucking down NBA and NFL highlights on ESPN over and over again.

          My experience is big, flashy, ballin’ out of control is where it’s at. So if they show people getting paid and getting l*id, traveling internationally, being adored, plaing in front of 70k someplace, my guess is some athletic kids are going to be drawn to soccer that otherwise would have gone elsewhere.

          MLS is great and getting better every year. But kids want to play in MSG and Fenway Park and Soldier Field. And in socer that’s elsewhere. The good news is the world is a smaller place than ever before: Madrid is closer to them than it ever was to me growing up.

          Love locally, live globally.

    • WiscFan says:

      That’s why I DVR Press Pass currently and fast forward when the coverage discusses only the top European clubs to ad nauseam. 10-15 minutes each night on the EPL’s Top 4 clubs + some Liverpool is at minium annoying. Also noticing the launch date, it would seem more of the same.

      There is rarely coverage of MLS and then ESPN wonders why the rating aren’t where they could be. There are story lines out there, they are just lazy. Not a Dynamo fan, but no mention this week of their impressive home streak ending by their emerging rival SKC. How they don’t even brakedown their own MLS game of week is beyond me.

    • Chris says:

      An American soccer show not talking about American soccer… how original. We already get that with Fox Soccer News. If somebody really wants my attention then dedicate a half an hour to MLS and the USMNT/WNT.

  3. Jake says:

    But I thought ESPN hated soccer?!
    That’s all I ever read on BigSoccer.

    • Patrick Starr says:

      No ESPN hates hockey.

      • David says:

        How can they hate hockey? They give hockey plenty of coverage and analysis on the main website and Sportscenter.

        • STX81 says:

          ESPN has given the NHL minimal coverage ever since they lost the contract to Versus (now NBC Sports.) It’s really obvious that ESPN uses its programs to promote leagues where they have the big contracts like the NBA and WNBA.

      • CplDaniel says:

        I hate hockey because every time I decide to look for an MLS game to give the domestic league a chance to take my attention from FSC, hockey is all I ever find. They need to change the neme to HBS Sports Channel: Hockey and B.S. Sports.

  4. Asad says:

    THEY BETTER COVER MLS

    • Mike says:

      They will, for like 2 minutes to talk about the Galaxy and Red Bulls and then cover the Championship.

  5. Brant says:

    I’ll probably watch / DVR it, but it won’t become appointment viewing.

    As Fox’s studio show has tried to look more and more like the NFL and less like the old pub/bar setting of the original Super Sunday Plus, I’ve enjoyed Fox’s show less and less. I preferred the “chaps in the pub talking footie” more than the current “we wish we were the NFL” format.

    • CplDaniel says:

      Agreed in part. The low production values didn’t hurt Fox for the majority of my viewing, which was using it as programming that runs all the time in the background, usually while I’m surfing the web, or playing FM-#.

      But that’s why the ESPN program won’t have me for as the kind of repeat viewer that fox gets me for. I leave FSC on all the time, even if it’s recycling the same 30-minute broadcast all the time. ESPN, it will be 30minutes, and then I need to look up from my computer to change the channel. It will mess up my FM or web-surfing rythem.

  6. Freddie Footballer says:

    I’m waiting for a daily ESPN show that focuses on USMNT, youth national teams and MLS. That’ll be the day!

    • shane says:

      Ives soccer blog is the most popular blog in the US is it not? Yet the suits in TV still dont get this what people want. A 30 min show will only have time to cover the same stuff Fox does. They will probably cover the Mexican league more than MLS

      • Josh D says:

        Let’s be honest, being the most popular soccer blog in the US, when compared to sports as a whole in the US, is like talking about the world’s largest midget. There just isn’t enough demand to justify 30 minutes of valuable time (and advertising dollars) to only do MLS or US soccer.

        ESPN does a fair job on covering MLS and US soccer. It’s not much, but for those of us who remember the earlier years, it’s nice to see them mentioned when they do. This will only enhance that.

        ESPN is a money making network, like everyone else. They are giving the people what they want: the majority of soccer loving fans in the US care about soccer abroad.

        Instead of blaming ESPN, let’s see MLS step it up more.

        • slappy joe says:

          Totally agree with you.. instead of always hating on espn, the mls should step it up. Its a well run league but the amount of support espn has given to the league is incredible.

    • shane says:

      Personally I would add college soccer to that list

    • CplDaniel says:

      Daily US MNT, US YNT, WNT, and Yanks Abroad, I would watch, actively search for, and tune in to. Every day would be planned around being able to watch that.

  7. TheDevilBlonde says:

    Hopefully Grant Wahl won’t steal your air time on ESPN FC the same way he did when he went to FOX ! lol

  8. joel says:

    Its about time for ESPN to wake up.

  9. joel says:

    Yeah they better give MLSsome good coverage

    • Sparta Riverside says:

      It’s ESPN, so it will suck. All they will cover is the EPL, the Spanish league when Barca and Real go head to head, and the occasional racism story out of Italy…oh and probably some stuff about El Tri since ESPN seems to care more about Mexico’s national team than the USMNT.

      There is so much great stuff going on in the world of soccer (MLS, Bundesliga, actual games in Italy, etc.), but ESPN will never cover it.

      • V-8 says:

        ESPN is in the business to make as much money as they can broadcasting sports. If they thought they could make more money doing wall-to-wall coverage of The Railhawks v. The Silverbacks they would.

        If you want some entity to purposefully lose money “for the greater good,” you need the Federal Government for that.

        Why doesn’t PBS do a daily MLS show? They once broadcast “Soccer Made in Germany”; an MLS show would be far more beneficial to the US.

        They do subsidize enterprises that need far less financial help than the MLS, like the CTW (which needs no Federal subsidy at all).

        • Gary Page says:

          Somebody else who remembers Soccer Made in Germany. For many years this was the only real outlet on US TV for any foreign soccer. Toby Charles is still alive and well somewhere i read recently.

          • beachbum says:

            Toby Charles was the best back then…we lived for that show once a week!

            as far as espn being in the business to make money, of ocurse that’s true, BUT they are also in the promotion business

        • Sparta Riverside says:

          I had no idea the Bundesliga and Italian league were such charity cases? My point was that ESPN needs better and more diverse coverage of soccer if they want to make more $$$. They give minimal coverage to some of the best soccer being played in the world. And I would figure the top league in the US would get decent coverage in the US. All ESPN does is focus on the EPL and let Alexis Lalas run his mouth non-stop. Giving that guy a job seems like the real “PBS” approach to soccer coverage.

  10. Vic says:

    Considering NBC owns rights to only two leagues: MLS and BPL, I would think there’s a good chance they will show some MLS highlights.

  11. Brett says:

    It needs to be focused, but not on MLS.

    We need a football program that follows the development of Americans in the sport across the globe. Not just Bradley at Roma, Jozy at AZ, Dempsey at Spurs (though these would be regular points of discussion)… but all the young yanks fighting their way in, the Joe Gyaus and Cobi Spans of the world. Introduce us to the dual nationals earlier and keep us aware of their development. And yes, a VITAL part of the show would be the development of the young generation domestically, following young stars through the ranks and looking for those hidden gems in the lower leagues. We need to build a national consciousness within the game, not try to cover whomever we think are the most popular teams or players. The global game needs global coverage, but it needs to be localized to its audience.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      Please, tell us what else you would do while magically controlling the rest of the nation’s hobbies and interests, not to mention all of ESPN’s money.

    • Josh D says:

      This. I’d love a Yanks Abroad section. Get someone in who really knows and really watches these players, get interviews with them. Make it a 3/5 minute moment. Nothing fancy, but an update would be great.

      • NATO says:

        I’m all for it. A weekly series every Sunday. 1 Sunday they cover Bradley, 1 Sunday Dempsey, 1 Sunday Altidore and so on

    • the original jb says:

      Big +1. I think there’s a sizable chunk of American soccer fans that cheer for the USMNT first and besides Ives’ blog, there isn’t really much continuing coverage anywhere. And love the idea of covering the young players coming up thru the youth national system, club teams, college, etc. That could almost be a show in itself. And btw, I think that would only enhance exposure of MLS not harm it.

      • Beto says:

        Absolutley! I would tune into a yanks abroad show! This blog is the best at covering the spectrum of what i care about and while i love reading it, a tv spot would be even better.

        I doubt espn, fox, nbc, bein or anyone gets that or shares our interest but it is slowly coming together.

    • David says:

      That is an awesome idea. I have my doubts ESPN is actually going to do something like that but I would make the show appointment viewing if they did.

  12. Rob says:

    Doesn’t ESPN already have a soccer specific talk show… ESPN FC Presspass. It airs every night on ESPN2… Surprised people didn’t know about it.

    • Gary Page says:

      It’s on so late at night I always forget about it, even if I’m still up. And they rarely promote it.

  13. Support Local Football says:

    I wonder if they’ll ignore MLS as much as SucksCenter does? I’m glad ESPN is FINALLY producing a footy show, but I just hope it’s not 90% the Big 4 in the EPL, 9 % Barca and Madrid, only 1% MLS and domestic soccer in general.

  14. Old School says:

    The key is what time they show it.

    Hopefully they don’t relegate it to a 12 a.m. listing when no one is up/or watching.

  15. MMV says:

    My question is when the show will be aired. I bet it’s some ridiculous time slot like 1-4 pm or 11pm EST. I am all for a 30 minute show — all for it — but in order to reach a widespread audience and to actually make strides, it will have to be shown at a reasonable hour. The show’s success will ultimately determine that time slot but I’m seriously hoping it kicks off with a bang.

  16. Nico C. says:

    Big, fat middle finger to Scott Guglielmino. They should have done this a long time ago (perhaps during the Beckham era?) What “leadership role”? I am wondering who they are going to put on the show.

  17. Gary says:

    Uh oh…. Jim Rome will really be burning now!

  18. A.S. says:

    Do we know what is going to happen to Fox Soccer Report when Fox Soccer Channel dies in a few months?

    (BTW – I still find it odd that SBI hasn’t mentioned Fox Soccer Channel’s demise at all. I know Ives works for Fox and all, but still…)

  19. NCGooner says:

    Finally! Finally! Finally! Have had to DVR ESPNPressPass when its shown at 2:30am on ESPNNews I belive would be nice to have a Soccer show during normal hours

  20. the unmistakeable ronaldinho says:

    There is just no pleasing some of you people. You’re condemning this show months before it even airs. The fact is that there aren’t enough hardcore MLS fans to support a daily MLS show on ESPN. They have to cover some of the more popular subjects for the general ESPN viewer. Yes, that would mean the EPL, Barca/Madrid, racism, FIFA’s incompetence, and probably some terrible Tommy Smyth rant. It is a daily show though. MLS will get some air time.

    The fact of the matter is a daily soccer show on ESPN is great news for the growth of the sport. Just because it isn’t catered specifically for your liking doesn’t make ESPN a terrible network. They have plenty of other reasons be hated on (First Take). This is hopefully just the first step of many towards more soccer coverage in the country. cheer up

    • Old School says:

      What do you mean, “you people”?!

      • the unmistakeable ronaldinho says:

        can’t tell if you’re serious or not…

        In this context, “you people” refers to those who comment on SBI. “some” refers to the people who are impossible to please. They are the proverbial mouse in “if you give a mouse a cookie….”

    • Dimidri says:

      This.

      Hopefully the EPL stuff draws in non-MLS fans and by osmosis they start to like MLS from the small parts they see on the show.

  21. NATO says:

    forget MLS. We need people interested in soccer. Bathing in it. Emerged in it. We need this show.

    MLS is decades away from being the best league on the planet. Let’s focus on the Euro leagues

    • slowleftarm says:

      1. Please explain why we should only focus on “the best leagues on the planet.”
      2. Please explain how ignoring MLS will help it attain this status.

      Thanks!

  22. bottlcaps says:

    In a previous post a few days ago, I made a comment about the ESPN’ “ESPNFC Press Pass”, in that it’s a half an hour of pure punditry centered on the EPL and WHAT they would do next year when they have no EPL rights.

    Well, now you know.

    I expect it will be a host of foreign pundits carrying on about the EPL AND now, maybe a few other leagues, plus the MLS. Expect Tommy Smith,, Steve Nicol and a few other foreigners. Same ol, Same ol!!

    Of course, ESPN still just “doesn’t get it” about American soccer, the MLS etc., etc. despite being the fist network to host it’s games. The problem is, ESPN never paid much for rights fees and doesn’t have a big investment to hype. Hence, very low coverage on their behalf

    I think their is room for a non-ESPN, third party production company to put together an AMERICAN Soccer Daily, to cover all things in US Soccer, from Collegiate,, Women’s, Minor Divisions, Americans Abroad and of course USMNT and the MLS. But it would be all US soccer.

    I’m looking at you Ives!! Partner with a good sports production company that has a track record with ESPN or NBC and produce your own half hour daily.

    If you look at NBC, there is still a lot of filler shows, left over when they were once the “OUTDOOR LIFE Network, then VS and Now NBC sports, so early morning, we still see duck hunting, so we know there is room.

    Affiliate your show with a major soccer sports retailer like Nike or Adidas, and guarantee ad buys from companies that support or have an investment in soccer and you can be sure, any network will go for it.

    Go for it!!!

  23. Brian says:

    Thankfully none of the people posting here will be producing the show. Because if they were, it would probably suck. And I mean that for the people saying the show should focus on just Europe as well as the people say it needs to focus on MLS or needs a Yanks Aboard segment.

    I have 100% confidence that this show will be excellent and will include the appropriate level of news on various subjects including MLS, USMNT and American players. The bottom line is that if it is newsworthy to their audience (which will be a mix of Euro snobs and MLS fans) then it will probably be covered. So just like my local news tells me about wars on foreign soil and the murder down the street, I’m sure this show will inform me about the top leagues abroad and top international star transfer news as well the weekend’s MLS action.

    The bottom line is this is a good start. There will come a day when there will be shows specifically designed to provide indepth coverage a particulary league but now is not the time.

    • beachbum says:

      I hope you’re right because what you said makes sense to me for the program

    • Charles says:

      What MOST are saying is that the see an ESPN show mirroring their website. Pathetic coverage of US soccer.

      Not that they should NOT talk about foreign soccer, but if it is showing the US, the coverage should be US biased. Just like I don’t care about a home invasion in NYC, even if it is the biggest city in the news….I don’t live there.

  24. Kelso says:

    Kind if a surprising move given them losing rights to epl and world cups after 2014.

    NBC needs to rethink this arlo white plan and find a way to snatch up Ian darke and macca

  25. seaoctopus says:

    Wait, how can they take time away from endless baseball highlights and reruns of the World’s strongest man competition. And what about poker? Please someone think of the card players!

  26. roberto johnson says:

    this is a great idea.. but still scared espn will ditch soccer when they lose the world cup rights after 2014… it would be a huge blow to the sport in this country… hopefully i’m wrong

  27. Alabamafutbol says:

    This is pretty much awesome

  28. slowleftarm says:

    The next thing ESPN could do is stop treating soccer like it’s a joke. I appreciate that soccer highlights have finally broken through onto Sportscenter but half the time the anchors cover the highlights in tongue-in-cheek fashion, like it’s hilarious to be discussing soccer in between the serious news – like Mel Kiper segments discussing which steroid adled 350lb tub from the SEC will be picked 83rd in the upcoming draft.

  29. Brain Guy says:

    Look at the ESPN FC web page to see how much coverage MLS will get. The inevitably Eurocentric focus will please existing fans of those leagues, and might also attract MLS fans who just can’t enough coverage of soccer, but as far as making new soccer fans from the rest of ESPN’s viewers, I fear it will just feed the preconceived notion that soccer is a foreign sport that is cool and interesting only when it is played elsewhere by the world’s top players.

  30. Gary Page says:

    The bottom line is that anything that increases soccer visibility to American audiences is to be supported. Maybe it won’t meet your specific interests, but it has been a long battle to get soccer noticed on a national basis. Even the LA Times often gives very short shrift to the Galaxy and this is the team that has won 2 consecutive MLS titles.

    • Charles says:

      To say the LA Times gives the short shrift to the Galaxy is being way to kind. And I don’t even know what a shrift is. It is pathetic. The Seattle Times will have more articles about the Final that LA plays in….guarenteed.

      • Gnarls says:

        No question. The LA Times doesn’t even have a “Soccer” tab on the sports page. But it does have a high school prep school tab.

  31. Mark Seiner says:

    This will bring more fans into soccer. The fans will then go to MLS games or national friendlys. This will increase popularity for the MLS and the U.S. National team. This will indirectly bring people into MLS games.

  32. Mark Seiner says:

    This will bring more fans into soccer. The fans will then go to MLS games or national friendlys. This will increase popularity for the MLS and the U.S. National team. This will indirectly bring people into MLS games.

  33. DC Josh says:

    I have a dream that Fox Soccer or NBC Sports Network will produce a 60-minute MLS review show similar to the Premier League Review that recaps all the weekend’s games, especially with only 1-3 MLS games televised each week.

    This ESPN show is a step in the right direction, but I highly doubt the show will cover any MLS. So, YAAAAAAAAAAAWN.

  34. Charles says:

    This will show ESPN’s true colors. How many minutes out of 30 will they be showing US SOCCER ? MLS included. If they just cater to foreign soccer watchers, that show will not grow and will be gone in a year or two.

  35. SS says:

    Just keep Twellman off my TV and we’ll be good.

  36. Gnarls says:

    NBC is development an MLS-only review/preview show as we speak. I don’t know when it’ll debut, but it’s coming. Soccer is not a zero sum game. The more the better: ESPC FC on TV, The Express on BeIN, Fox Soccer News (soon to be DOA), and forthcoming NBC MLS show.

  37. tim says:

    woooo 30 minutes for a worlds worth of goals and highlights, but they expect to have interviews as well? Nice minimal start….