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TV Party Tonight: answering all your pressing sports media questions

I got nothin' better to do, so let's answer some questions.

Harold Cunningham

There's a lot going on in sports media right now, and it can be very confusing to follow. That's why I figured today -- a day before Fox Sports 1 premieres, three days before new shows on FS1 and NBCSN premiere, and 10 days before Olbermann premiers -- would be a good day to take some of your questions on the topic.


@talisker66 asks: Will FS1 stream any of their events online?

Fox Sports had originally planned to launch Fox Sports Go, their answer to WatchESPN and NBC Sports Live Extra, with Fox Sports 1. I hadn't heard much about it lately, so I reached out to Fox Sports spokesperson Lou D'Ermilio for an answer once you asked this question:

We've put a hold on launching FOX Sports GO for now. Turns out that it's not quite ready yet and we don't want to rush it just to coincide with the channel launch tomorrow. It's a complicated app that will use one-of-a-kind authentication, and it's the first time anyone has tried to put broadcast, regional, and national cable feeds into a live streaming app (230+ feeds total). There's also an intricate approval process to navigate with MVPDs because of the authenticated video. So we'll launch FOX Sports GO when it's ready and it's everything we expect it to be.

@jibblescribbits asks: Is Fox still going to do an hour long Premier League highlight show on Mondays? NBCSports?

Well, that gets into a more complicated answer about Fox and Fox Soccer. The latter of those two channels will cease to exist starting Sept. 2. That's when it'll change over to FXX, a new comedy channel in the style of FX, which will feature It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League, but no soccer. So, there will be no EPL highlight show.

That said, Fox Sports 1 will be launching a new, daily, half-hour soccer show this Monday (Aug. 19) which will likely be very Premier League-heavy. It's called Fox Soccer Daily, and it'll be hosted by Julie Stewart-Binks, and featuring analysis from Eric Wynalda, Brian McBride, Warren Barton and Grant Wahl. That will likely be the closest thing you get to what Fox Soccer used to do.

As for NBC Sports Network, you are in luck. NBCSN will be producing their own version of the BBC show Match of the Day on Saturdays and Sundays (when it'll be presented as Match of the Day 2). Match of the Day airs for two hours every Saturday night at 11 p.m. ET (they tape earlier in the day, after NBCSN's EPL coverage has ended). Match of the Day 2 airs Sundays at 11 p.m. ET for 60 minutes. NBCSN will also do their version of Fox's Goals on Sunday, Premier League Goal Zone on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET after the 11 a.m. ET match.

@StephenNeedham6 asks: I check out Son of the Bronx and noticed the CFL got some decent ratings, beating MLS. Americans like any football?

Well, CFL games didn't draw better than MLS on ESPN2 or ESPN, but they occasionally would on NBC Sports Network. That said, CFL games did pretty well for The Deuce during a five-game run in late June and early July. Here are those numbers:

June 29, Saskatchewan vs. Edmonton (347,000)
July 4, Winnipeg vs. Montreal (220,000)
July 13, BC vs. Edmonton (196,000)
July 20, Montreal vs. Calgary (261,000)
July 25, Edmonton vs. Montreal (273,000)

@jppirk asks: Why are they all so NY-centric? Seems parochial/provincial. Even the new FS1 is starting with a live NY audience. Why not a NY-ESPN/NY-FOX, then 2nd channels for the rest of us? Stop treating every little local NY item like it is a national event

Well, when you say "live NY audience," you're talking about Regis Philbin's show, Crowd Goes W!ld, which will be taping from a studio at Chelsea Piers with an audience. That's correct, but it's really the lone New York-based show Fox will produce. Fox Sports Live and Fox Football Daily tape live from LA, as well as the network's college football pre-game show.

Don't forget, New York (aside from LA) is where most of television is made. They're not intentionally recording in New York to piss you off, that's just where they make TV. Fox Sports 1's game programming is going to be largely based out of the heartland. Big 12 and Pac-12 football, and most of the network's college sports programming is far away from the city. Now, whether or not Fox decides to play favorites with MLB when they show up in 2014, that's another story.

Of course, it's worth remembering that New York is the biggest television market, with more sports teams than any other, and the one that has the most potential viewers. So why wouldn't networks try and get the New York audience interested, when they have the biggest audience you can possibly procure?

@tmarusic asks: Will the Champions League matches be shown on DirecTV overflow channels like the previous few years?

It appears that this will be the case. Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 will take over the main coverage of the Champions League this season, though Fox Soccer Plus (which is somehow sticking around, for now) and FSN will remain involved. For example, here's Fox's schedule for the first day of UCL action on Tuesday, Aug. 20:

Shakhter Karagandy vs Celtic, 11 a.m., FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go
PSV Eindhoven vs AC Milan, 2:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1 and FOX Soccer 2Go
Lyon vs Real Sociedad, 2:30 p.m., FOX Sports 2 and FOX Soccer 2Go
Plzen vs Maribor, FOX Sports Networks and FOX Soccer 2Go
Pacos De Ferreira vs Zenit, FOX Soccer Plus, DirecTV and FOX Soccer 2Go

@Sctvman asks: Do you think CBSSN will be helped by its new channel position on DirecTV?

CBS Sports Network is being moved to channel 221 on DirecTV systems, putting it right next to NBCSN and Fox Sports 1. Do I think it will help? Not really, because CBSSN still doesn't have much programming that anyone wants to watch, outside of college football. But it can't hurt to be right next to two of the bigger sports networks while people are flipping channels.

@InsidetheNumbers asks: Is there any chance FS1 gets picked up in Canada? Have you heard anything about the same issue for NBCSN?

Ah, Canadians. They sure do want to see their pals Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole. That said, there has still been no talk of any Canadian carriers picking up Fox Sports 1, nor could they without a ton of rigmarole to get around. Now, some network paying to syndicate Fox Sports Live and promoting it as "See Jay and Dan!" might be a more workable idea.

NBCSN will likely never come to Canada, as TSN2 has the rights to all of their NHL programming anyway. TSN has extensive EPL rights up north, so that programming would likely be blacked out too.

@LoveUntold asks: Is it true all MLB post-season games save for World Series Fox has rights to will move to FS1 as of 2014?

It's a good question, because Fox has been a bit mixed with how they're going to handle the playoffs with Fox Sports 1. Two of the division series (save for the 1 game MLB Network takes from both them and TBS) will air on FS1 every year. What happens with the annual LCS Fox retains the rights to has remained up in the air for a while. My best guess: Fox Sports 1 will take afternoon League Championship Series, while Fox (Bart Simpson Fox, that is) will take primetime games.

@Wizalters asks: How do you think NHL TV deal will play out in Canada? Will ESPN cover UFC less since it is tied closely to FS-1? Are you surprised FS-1 blinked and settled for 23 cents per sub?

A few good questions here. First of all, the NHL TV rights deals in Canada are a very interesting subject, on whether or not CBC will maintain their 60-year relationship with the league, and whether or not they can afford to. I would bet on CBC keeping Hockey Night in Canada, but ceding a lot more prime playoff action to TSN or Sportsnet as part of the deal.

I think you've seen a rise in UFC coverage over the last few years on ESPN. That said, Fox Sports 1 ate up all the rights to the sport, so ESPN doesn't necessarily have much to cover. Unless the UFC builds a mainstream star, a la Mike Tyson, I don't see ESPN going too far out of their way to cover it more than they already do.

As for the sub fees, I think Fox was really playing wishful thinking about getting up to 80 cents to start, and not waiting for the network's old Speed contracts to run up. Fox wants people to see their network, so they found a way to do that.