"MLS Saturday On FSC" Scores an Awful Own Goal
Tonight, I witnessed the most embarrassing 30 minutes of Fox Soccer Channel on TV since I began watching the channel when it was previously known as Fox Sports World.
“MLS Saturday on FSC,” with hosts Todd Grisham and Christopher Sullivan was meant to be a pre-game show to excite fans and prepare them for the debut of Toronto FC against Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center on the opening day of the 2007 Major League Soccer season. However, as soon as Grisham uttered the opening words “No one does [MLS] bigger, no one does [MLS] better [than Fox Soccer Channel],” the live show completely fell apart and became a train wreck.
For the next few minutes, the screen displayed a graphic showing a list of transfers made during the off-season. However the graphic appeared prematurely and then proceeded to stay on the screen for 2-3 minutes despite the fact that the broadcasting team had Christian Miles talking about late breaking team news when the camera should have been focused on him instead.
It got worse.
Grisham, especially, appeared like a deer caught in headlights as, first, he was confused about which camera to look at and proceeded to aim his eyesight at the wrong one. According to the press release touting “MLS Saturday on FSC,” the channel bragged that they would be using a combination of 13 different cameras for on-site coverage. Sometimes Fox, less is more.
Second, when Sullivan drew his tactics on a new screen device called TrackVision from a company named Orad, Grisham quickly noticed that it wasn’t working correctly. So instead of calmly making Sullivan aware of the situation, Grisham was instead seen gesticulating on screen to the cameras that the system wasn’t working. The problem was we were able to see Grisham’s every move during the live transmission.
Unbeliveably, it got even worse from here.
Wrong graphics were flashed on screen. Different graphics were displayed, but they just showed a big soccer ball with no text. When Max Bretos thought he was off camera, he was on camera. When an interview with Preki was played, the video wasn’t visible and all we could hear was the audio. When they fixed it for a few seconds where we could see the video of the interview, the audio didn’t work. Not surprisingly, Fox broke to a commercial with no warning at all.
I realize live television is extremely difficult to perfect. However, the match was played in Los Angeles, so Fox was on home territory where they could have practised the show over and over again until it was perfected.
Unfortunately, first impressions last forever and tonight’s broadcast was an absolute disaster. It’s hard to believe the show could have been that awful for a span of just 30 minutes. Let’s hope Fox gets their act together and has it perfected by the time Beckham arrives in the summer. Otherwise, this is a poor advertisement for Major League Soccer and Fox Soccer Channel.
Founder and publisher of EPL Talk, The Gaffer (aka Christopher Harris) is a journalist who has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications as well as on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT.
Harris, who lives in Florida, has supported Swansea City since 1979. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005.