> The FXX move seems like an attempt to class-up the FX brand, while
> also raking in lucrative young male ad revenue for FXX. PLUS: Why
> another cable channel?
Over the last couple of years, Fox Soccer has been losing major
properties that are to key to its programming. It first lost the
secondary contract to Major League Soccer to NBC just before last
season. Then last year, it lost the rights to the English Premier
League again to NBC. EPL represents a major portion of Fox Soccer's
schedule. When the EPL goes to NBC in August, Fox Soccer will be
without the league that helped define the specialty channel dating
back to 1997 when it was known as Fox Sports World.
So it comes as no surprise that Fox will kill off Fox Soccer on
September 2 and convert it to an entertainment companion channel to
FX, rebranding it as FXX. Fox Sports had previously announced that
UEFA Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and CONCACAF games will
be moving to Fox Sports 1. The new channel will also air FIFA World
Cup games starting in 2015. Other programming that had been aired on
Fox Soccer and sister channel, Fox Soccer Plus, will also be folded
into Fox Sports 1, the anticipated Fox Sports 2 and FoxSports2Go, an
online app that will be unveiled in conjunction with the August launch
FXX will become the home of FX comedies "It's Always Sunny in
Philadelphia" and "The League" as Fox hopes to attract viewers in the
18-34 demographic. FX will become more adult and continue to air
dramas like "Justified" and "The Americans."
Fox Soccer was launched in 1997 as Fox Sports World and aired not just
soccer, but Australian Rules Football, rugby and various other sports
not available on the major networks. It rebranded as Fox Soccer
Channel in 2005 eventually dropping "Channel" in 2011.
Fox Soccer was a victim of its own success. It provided wall-to-wall
coverage of the sport with shows like Fox Football Fone-In, Fox Soccer
News, Goals on Sunday and the innovative Relegation Sunday when it and
other Fox networks covered every EPL game on the last day of the
2011-12 season. Over the last few years, ratings had gone up and fans
found it as a destination. But as it began losing properties to NBC
and the upstart beIN Sport, sustaining Fox Soccer as a standalone
became more difficult. So Fox Soccer will die a slow death until
September when it changes over. At least Fox is not getting out of the
soccer business, but the channel will be missed.