Well the gang at FOX Sports Media Group was thinking of a way to make a statement to their fans of the English Premier League. In a conference call yesterday, it was clear that the concept of Survival Sunday was something they thought was exactly what was needed to satisfy the viewers.
Well they decided that they would telecast all nine games with ESPN2 doing the other. So for the first time in American television history, an entire slate of ELP games is airing in the United States at the same time on a Sunday morning.
During a Thursday afternoon teleconference, I asked FOX Sports Media Group Co-President and Co-COO Eric Shanks, FOX Soccer Executive Vice President & General Manager David Nathanson about their vision for Survival Sunday.
Nathanson: “We take more risk, not just with the Barclays Premier League, but with the UEFA Champions League and a number of our other soccer rights, and as we’ve seen the audience grow across FOX Soccer and the other FOX Sports Media Group platforms, it justifies taking on more risk and trying new things. We’ve done a lot this year with the delayed and live games in conjunction with the NFL on FOX. ‘Survival Sunday’ is an extension of that.
Beyond that, it is the right thing to do for viewers. In the past, people who are a follower of a particular team, and not necessarily the most popular team, are waiting to see where they end up at the end of the season and particularly those that risk relegation. They are some of the most dramatic and interesting stories that are told the entire year. The ability to showcase that across our properties is really unique, and we all couldn’t be more excited to be a part of that.”
Shanks on how viewers will be updated from the games being played simultaneously on Survival Sunday: “As soon as a goal is scored, scores will drop down from the FOX Box and about every ten minutes we will run through all of the scores to keep you up to date on every channel.”
Nathanson added: “This is a first for us and a first for the Premier League in any territory. The goal is to show each game live, and everyone will have the same pregame show that will lead directly into each individual game which will not be carried on any delay.
For the first time we’re going to be able to show highlights in-game. If you tune into Manchester United vs. Sunderland on FX, you’re going to be able to see every single goal that matters. That coverage will be complimented on www.foxsoccer.com/survivalsunday where we will showcase how each team is progressing in near real time, as they vie for the Champions League, the Europa League, relegation or for the league title.”
At 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday, host Rob Stone and analyst Eric Wynalda will anchor the pregame show on all channels with all games kicking off at 10 a.m. ET. Plus there is a big Twitter following expected on Sunday and the hashtag is #SurvivalSunday.
FX, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus, SPEED, FUEL, FOX Sports Regional Networks (check your local regional sports networks, like Comcast and Root who are working with FOX on this project), FOX Soccer.com and FOX Soccer 2go are all part of the coverage. Also ESPN2 will be airing the Manchester City vs. Oueens Park Rangers game.
Here is a list of all ten games and where to watch them.
My personal suggestion is to watch FX where they will be broadcasting the Sunderland vs. Manchester United game. In addition, all of the games will be updated in almost real time and when a goal is scored in any game you will see it as part of the lead telecast.
James Williams is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.