Soccer Night in America Buoyed By The Timbers Army

Posted In Features - By Brian Mechanick On Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 With 0 Comments

For years, Fox Soccer Channel was a joke. Terrible camera angles, corny graphics, and subpar announcing ruined watching MLS on the station. When ESPN upped the game on its MLS coverage taking all broadcasts into full HD with sleek broadcasts, FSC instead boasted about its HD channel that nobody got.

But combining new wider-spread availability for its HD channel and its slickly produced new MLS broadcast: Soccer Night in America. Modeled after Canada’s famed Hockey Night in America and the NFL’s successful Football Night in America, FSC seems to be focusing on having a go-to high caliber broadcast weekly. The graphics have been transformed, using the more modern and efficient graphics seen across its many Fox Sports stations. After MLS made strong pushes towards forsaking FSC for the likes of Versus this season, MLS re-upped with the channel for one more season. In upping its quality on its MLS broadcasts, FSC is trying to create the brand equity for its products that will make it hard for MLS to leave the channel.

When it comes to the broadcast, the HD and new graphics leap bounds past the poor MLS broadcasts of the past. The broadcast team is buoyed by a duo of ex-ESPN’ers J.P. Dellacamera and Kyle Martino in the broadcast booth. The pair has a nice report after combining on the Philadelphia Union’s local broadcasts last season and add legitimacy to the broadcast. Former USMNTer Brian Dunseth does a good job as a sideline reporter, giving some legitimate insight from the field rather than reporting fluff.

The key to the broadcast though was the passionate Portland crowd. With some quality noise from the supporters, rainy weather, and passionate atmosphere, the energy of the Portland crowd really translated to the viewer. Transitions were quick and precise, showing some different camera angles on the field and some nice shots of the supporters and Timber Joey in action.

Soccer Night in America had a fantastic debut. The refreshed broadcast made watching a Friday night May game seem like a bigger event than ever before in MLS. The key more than anything though was the great Timbers supporters at Jeld-Wen. FSC would be wise to let the great venues and supporters of MLS be the stars in “SNIA.” Show the league’s best atmospheres: (DC, Philadelphia, New York, the Galaxy, Seattle, and Vancouver), and the audience can stay engaged no matter how low-scoring. And with great fixtures coming up like RSL hosting the Dynamo and Galaxy hosting D.C. United, we might just be heading into a new, great era of televised MLS.

About Brian Mechanick - University of Michigan student, Michigan Daily Writer, ΑΣΦ Brother, Philly Teams/Tottenham/USMNT Supporter, Movie Fiend, Music Aficionado, Generally Affable Guy. Follow me on twitter at

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