Marshalling its linear and digital resources, Fox Sports Media Group will afford domestic soccer fans for the first time the opportunity to witness most of the madness of "Relegation Sunday" in England's Barclays Premier League.
Fox Sports Media Group, the primary U.S. rights-holder to what is widely viewed as the globe's top fubol circuit, will cover nine of the BPL 10 matches on May 13, the final Sunday of the season, when the battle for financial fortune, hardware, European honors and positioning are at stake during the league's 38th and last round.
On what it's calling "Survival Sunday, FSMG, in addition to its primary U.S. futbol home Fox Soccer, will put eight other matches into play at 10 a.m. on FX, Fox SportsNet, Fuel TV, premium service Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes (which will provide the Spanish-language coverage for one of the top matches), as well as FoxSoccer.com and broadband service Fox Soccer2Go (two matches). Pre-match coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. on all networks, sans Speed. All of the FSMG outlets will carry post-match coverage of this hallmark event. ESPN2, which has the first pick, will carry the other match
"With so much at stake, there's nothing like the tension of the Premier League's final Sunday, and we hope to capture every minute we can using the considerable resources available to the Fox Sports Media Group, including Speed and Fuel TV, unconventional outlets for soccer," said FSMG co-president and COO Eric Shanks in a statement.
Given that it is picking up international feeds, FSMG is still working through the logistics about how it will present scoring and standing updates and other cut-ins, whether via a shrunken screen, crawls or from the studio, according to a FSMG spokesman.
The centerpiece of Survival Sunday is the relegation battle, as the teams occupying the 18th, 19th and 20th positions are eliminated and three teams from the second division are promoted to the Barclays Premier League for the 2012-2013 season. Relegated clubs stand to lose more than $40 million in revenue.
The top four BPL sides earn UEFA Champions League qualification, receiving a potential reward of $75 million and the right to play in the globe's most prestigious club tournament. Pending the results of other domestic competitions, the fifth, sixth and seventh places in the BPL table also carry qualifying significance for the UEFA Europa League, the now 40-year-old continent-wide knockout tournament. Beginning this fall, 2012-2013 Europa League contests will be carried by Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus.
It was unclear at presstime which networks would be carrying what matches. Here is the table heading into this weekend's BPL action:
Club Matches Points
Man Utd 34 82
Man City 34 77
Arsenal 34 64
Newcastle 33 59
Chelsea 33 57
Everton 33 47
Liverpool 33 46
Sunderland 34 43
Fulham 33 43
Norwich 34 43
Swansea 34 42
West Brom 34 42
Stoke 33 42
Aston Villa 33 35
Wigan 34 34
QPR 34 31
Bolton 32 29
Blackburn 34 28
Wolves 34 23
The following fixtures are on tap on May 13
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers
Everton v Newcastle United
Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers
Sunderland v Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham
Norwich City v Aston Villa
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal
Wigan Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Stoke City v Bolton Wanderers
Swansea City v Liverpool
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