Fox Soccer Nets Three-Season UEFA Europa League Pact8/24/2011 10:40 PM Eastern
Fox Soccer has reached a multiyear pact with the Union of European Football Associations for its Europa League tournament.
The new deal for The Continent's second-highest club level competition, financial terms of which were not disclosed, kicks in with the 2012-13 season and extends through the 2014-15 tourney. The exclusive contract will make Fox Soccer the only network in the U.S. and the Caribbean to air both the top-flight UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, previously known as the UEFA Cup.
DirecTV and Gol TV currently hold Europa League rights, concluding with the end of this campaign.
The DBS provider, which sublicenses Europa League matches to the bilingual, soccer-centric network, said it made a bid for the 2012-15 rights.
Officials at Gol TV did not respond to queries by press time.
Once both UEFA circuits are on the network in 2012, Fox Soccer, which recently lost Major League Soccer rights to the NBC Sports Group, will carry live match action from the top six-seven qualifying teams from each of Europe's top leagues -- Englands' Barclays Premier League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A, as well as the top five-six clubs from both Germany's Bundesliga and France's Ligue 1, among others. FC Porto of Portugal is the current champions after beating domestic rivals SC Braga in the 2011 final.
Next season, Fox Soccer plans to air 205 Europa League games and 146 Champions League matches across multiple Fox networks. In addition, Champions League and Europa League matches are/will be available on FoxSoccer.tv and FoxSoccer2Go, the programmer's newly branded mobile and tablet platforms.
"The combination of the UEFA Champions and Europa leagues provide viewers with the complete club competition experience at the highest level," said Fox Soccer general manager David Nathanson in announcing the agreement. "The fact that all the leading European teams and players can now be seen on one destination speaks to Fox Soccer's total commitment to showcase the world's best. No other TV network has an elite international soccer schedule that even comes close."
Next year, Fox Soccer's lineup will feature Champions League action on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Europa matches on Thursdays, followed by the Barclays Premier League on the weekends, among other properties.