Fox Soccer Plus Scores Four Distribution Deals


Premium network Fox Soccer Plus will kick off with four affiliates in
its net, when it launches on March 1.
The service, succeeding
Setanta Sports in the premium soccer space
, has inked carriage
deals with DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS TV.
It will
also roll out on Time Warner Cable systems serving some parts of Ohio,
Wisconsin and Hawaii by the end of March. Further, it is expected to
join the No.2 cable operator's lineup in such other markets at New York
City, upstate New York and Kansas City by year-end, according to the
Fox Soccer Plus will feature new exclusive matches from
England's Barclays Premier League, the UEFA Champions League, England's
FA Cup, Carling Cup and Coca-Cola Championship, and Italy's top circuit,
Serie A. The network, which also will showcase an annual selection of
live and exclusive England men's national team matches, also has secured
the rights to an array of rugby programming, notably the Guinness
Premiership, the Heineken Cup, and Magners League.
All told, Fox
Soccer Plus's annual programming package will encompass some 600
exclusive events.
Over the course of the past few weeks, Fox
Soccer Plus secured the rights to many of the properties previously
held by Setanta Sports
. That service, which launched on
DirecTV in 2005, will go dark in the U.S. and the Caribbean on Feb. 28.
It was reported that Fox Soccer Channel was in negotiations to
purchase the premium programmer outright.
In addition to DirecTV,
Dish and FiOS, Setanta's affiliate lineup comprised AT&T U-verse and
RCN, as well as Cox and Comcast in select markets.
Cox officials
said they are currently in talks with the service, while a Comcast
spokesman said the top MSO has had conversations with Fox Soccer Plus.
Soccer Plus is a dynamic new network that will provide our distribution
partners with the ability to profitably reach an extremely passionate
subscriber base," said Mike Hopkins, president affiliate sales and
marketing, Fox Cable Networks, in a statement. "Soccer and
international sports fans will thoroughly enjoy the diverse and
compelling lineup of live events."