Supporting Fulham From America: My Personal Journey
In the United States, it didn’t used to be easy to see your favorite English Premier League team each week. Your team might not be shown on broadcast television each week. You might not be able to find your team online either. These challenges however I believe have made me a more dedicated fan of Fulham. Over the past few years I have had to work hard to follow Fulham.
My journey began with the NFL Network and Comcast. I am a diehard fan of the New England Patriots. Several years back Comcast made subscribers purchase the sports and entertainment package to get the NFL Network. That package also included Fox Soccer Channel. I had been a casual fan of the EPL, but nowhere near the fan I am today. I have Comcast to thank for my push into the EPL. The team I grew to follow was Fulham.
My journey of watching Fulham faithfully started in the 2007 season. Fulham were going through a relegation battle. I was completely involved in the week-to-week situation with Fulham. The problem I was having is I could not watch Fulham each week. They were not on FSC each week. At that point I went online and was frustrated by the options.
Websites like ESPNSoccernet.com and Fulhamfc.com became very valuable to me. I started by following gamecasts on my computer. These were updates every couple of minutes of the game action. I kept thinking to myself this is what baseball fans must have felt listening to games on the radio before television. These gamecasts were good, but I still could not watch every game each week.
The next step was listening to the games online through the Fulhamfc.com website. To be honest, listening to the games with the Fulham announcer were very good. It helped me appreciate the experience of being a fan. All of these frustrations just made me want to get into Fulham even more.
Last season I either listened to or followed updates of the Fulham games that were not on Fox Soccer Channel. I was hoping that soon there would be options to watch all of the Fulham games.
This season began with the improvement of options of watching Fulham each week. First, ESPN2 announced they would be covering a game or two each week of the EPL. This was great news and the coverage has been great. I have watched more than a few Fulham games on ESPN2 this season. Fox Soccer Channel also was putting more Fulham matches on their channel.
However, as we progressed into the middle of the 2009/2010 season I still could not watch Fulham each week. That was about to change with the announcement earlier this year that Fox Soccer Channel would be having a sister station called Fox Soccer Plus. This new channel would be showing more EPL games that they took over from Setanta. I thought this was great news. I would finally be able to see the games each week.
Unfortunately for me I have never seen Fox Soccer Plus. When it launched March 1st, my cable provider had not picked up the channel. It still has not picked up the channel. I have emailed and called Comcast several times. Each time they have thanked me for letting them know about my interest. No representative has been able to tell me if or when they will be adding Fox Soccer Plus. Would my journey of watching Fulham each week be delayed again? The answer to this is absolutely not!
Since Fox Soccer Channel and its sister station were taking over the majority of the EPL games they got from Setanta, another site would be changing. Now, many of these matches were going to be on a revamped version of their online channel, FoxSoccer.tv.
Now I have read all of the problems many people have had on Foxsoccer.tv since its re-launch. All I can talk about is my own personal experience. The very first game that was scheduled after March 1st on Foxsoccer.tv with Fulham for some reason never aired. The day of the game it magically disappeared from its schedule. I was disappointed by this, but I was going to check the following week.
That following week I decided to buy a “day pass”. The first five minutes of the Fulham match had no audio. Eventually after the five minutes the audio and video were together. The rest of the match I had no issues with the service. The next week I again bought a “day pass” and had no problems with the service. After the second match I watched I bought a monthly pass. I have watched several games now from Fulham and other teams. For me, Foxsoccer.tv has provided the games I want to watch with very good streams.
Again I know people have had problems with FoxSoccer.tv. As time goes by and they improve their service hopefully these issues that others are having will be less and less. In my opinion, all fans of the EPL should be able to watch every game of their favorite team in America.
Since Fulham are playing in the Europa League how would I watch these matches? Many Europa League matches have been shown on GolTV. The coverage of these matches have been great. I would recommend GolTV for any fan of football.
However, there have been several Europa League games that were not shown on GolTV. I was alerted to a website on a Fulham fans messageboard that would be showing the Europa League matches. This site was UEFA.com. Let me tell you the streams on this site are excellent. For fans having issues with Foxsoccer.tv watching Champions League matches, you should check out UEFA.com. They have a pricing option for watching each game and a price for replays.
I have come a long way since looking at gamecasts each week on the internet. I am now watching Fulham each week on the Internet and broadcast television. I am hopeful that my journey of watching Fulham each week has been fulfilled.
I now need to watch every game because I report on the team as a blogger. My website Cottagers Confidential launched last month. This is a website for fans of Fulham. It is a part of sbnation.com. It is important that I have the most up to date information on Fulham. My readers deserve that type of coverage. Please feel free to check out www.cottagersconfidential.com .
I wanted to write about my personal journey so fans of other teams know they are not alone in there frustrations of watching the EPL every week. In my opinion, the options are growing to watch matches. Let’s hope it gets to the point that every fan of each team can watch their club with no frustrations in the United States.
Russ Goldman is a Fulham blogger who posts regularly on his website www.cottagersconfidential.com . His website is a part of sbnation. This is a network of 250 sports blogs. There are several soccer related sites and many more to be added soon.