Is ESPN Classic Becoming ESPN 3 And Turning Into A Soccer Network?

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I got a few emails last week saying that there was a buzz on Soccer forums about ESPN creating an all Soccer channel. The plan would be that ESPN Classic would become ESPN3 and the network would go strong after the right to air EPL games. Well apparently that idea is gaining traction now through a website that ESPN Soccernet columnist Ives Galarcep writes....

The word I just got from a source at ESPN is that ESPN is definitely interested and the feeling around the network is that a large bid is coming because ESPN has big plans for expanding ESPN Classic into potentially an ESPN3, with the English Premier League as one of the station's marquee draws. That whole scenario may wind up being wishful thinking but what is clear is tht ESPN is interested in the EPL rights.
Obviously the EPL is huge, but I just don't think an entire channel devoted to Soccer in the U.S. would work. ESPN Classic is just sitting there though and with the various countries ESPN is aired in around the world might make the investment worth it. We shall see.

Also, with this news we're also one step closer to ESPN bringing us the "Ocho". Good times.

(Some of ) Your Questions Answered (Soccer By Ives)
Is ESPN Classic About to Become ESPN3? (Fanhouse)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 3:40 PM

23 Comments:

I don't think they could do it with just soccer, but it might work if they added other popular foreign sports, such as rugby.

=M= said...
May 18, 2008, 4:40:00 PM  

There's already GOLTV and FSC, so I don't know what good another soccer channel would do. Sounds like another ESPN move to get as esoteric as possible with their coverage.

Eric said...
May 18, 2008, 4:44:00 PM  

From what I've read, I didn't get the sense that ESPN3 would be all-soccer, but rather have soccer programming as one component of the station's focus. In other words, it'd be another part of the ESPN empire, rather than ESPN's entry into the all-soccer channel (or even all-world sports) market.

Jon Marthaler said...
May 18, 2008, 6:10:00 PM  

still dont think it will happen, would be a terrible move on the FA's part

Mike Georger said...
May 18, 2008, 6:18:00 PM  

IF ESPN broadcast futbol, it would probably mean an edict that their talking heads could no longer make fun of the sport.

odessasteps said...
May 18, 2008, 6:23:00 PM  

"...I just don't think an entire channel devoted to Soccer in the U.S. would work."

See Eric's comment above: there's already two of them. ESPN should buy one of them and turn it into ESPN Futbol. Or ESPN Gol. :)

Morgan Wick said...
May 18, 2008, 6:34:00 PM  

Well if this is true, another reason not to watch the wwl. The only soccer players I care about are the ones that shank game winning field goals or extra points.

@odessa The talking heads make fun of other sports, so why would this be any different ?

@AA

If you count news and ESPNU, they're already at five. Two words:
Job security.

jg said...
May 18, 2008, 6:36:00 PM  

It's those dang illegal immigrants' fault!

Just kidding...or am I?

Anonymous said...
May 18, 2008, 6:49:00 PM  

Wow, that would be big. It's nice to see ESPN this into soccer. Can't wait for Euro 2008!

Anonymous said...
May 18, 2008, 6:55:00 PM  

By my count there are six ESPNs currently. You guys forgot to mention ESPN deportes. I used to love ESPN Classic with all the old games, but the past couple of years it morphed into ESPN Poker and Bowling.

Anonymous said...
May 18, 2008, 7:51:00 PM  

anon 7:51

I forgot about that one.

Thanx

jg said...
May 18, 2008, 7:58:00 PM  

getting EPL rights would probably do wonders for getting them entrenched in most countries around the world.

I know there are ESPN International channels, but not sure of their overall power/importance in those countries in which they're located.

odessasteps said...
May 18, 2008, 8:31:00 PM  

Anon 7:51 has this right: Agreements to show old games of all kinds with a slew of other outlets have greatly reduced ESPN Classic's programming (rarely is there even an 'Instant Classic'), leading them to show live, low level college basketball & football games, along with some soccer matches. It already is ESPN3; this would just make it official.

May 18, 2008, 8:44:00 PM  

Hey, this would be a good place to air CFL and Aussie Rules football games as well.

Daniel said...
May 18, 2008, 9:09:00 PM  

declaring it 'All Soccer' (or all anything) would conflict with ESPN's apparent plans of having ESPN "Classic" handle overflow (both scheduled and unscheduled) from other ESPN/ABC networks. look at your College Football and Basketball schedules to see it used for airing live events. But then I've referred to ESPN Classic as "ESPN3" for a while now. They wouldn't make any official changes without adding an HD version of it anyway. In the meantime, can they please get rid of the bottom line on ESPN Classic? I hate watching a game from 1995 and being distracted by scores from today (or worse when I DVR that game).

Anonymous said...
May 18, 2008, 10:11:00 PM  

Of 68 ad-supported national cable channels measured by Nielsen, only VH1 Classic and Fuse have smaller audiences than ESPN Classic (they trail such powerhouses as BBC America, Style, The N and the Military Channel.

They really have nothing to lose by making a change.

Butterscotch said...
May 18, 2008, 10:49:00 PM  

[maybe if i'd read past the first post once in awhile...]

NOOOOO! That means I'd get to watch less EPL than I do now on FSC. ESPN is starting to behave even more like a monopoly by buying properties and/or getting into sports just to eliminate them and lower the market reach so that their market share increases.

Rowdy Doyle said...
May 19, 2008, 1:26:00 AM  

1. ESPN
2. ESPN 2
3. ESPN Classic (ESPN 3)
4. ESPNEWS
5. ESPN U
6. ESPN Desportes
7. ESPN360.com (since they do show games, and ESPN likes to promote it as a real channel)

It's coming folks, ESPN The Ocho - Summer 2009. I hope I'm wrong. I guess you could count ESPN.com itself as the 8th ESPN.

I could see them at some point trying to do a ESPN On-Demand channel, with archives of PTI, ATH, OTL, Sports Reporters, etc.. and possible some "Instant Classic" games from the previous week.

Classic was great when it first started, but I'm sorry, the World Poker Championship of 2007, just doesn't qualify as ESPN Classic worthy to me. There are honestly some games I've seen on there, they I just don't see what was so classic about them.

There's just so much more they can do with the channel, I mean, they never promote it, other than for a live event. I don't mind the occasional live game having to air due to some overbooking, or weather delay or whatever.

michael said...
May 19, 2008, 2:20:00 AM  

Maybe if there's ESPN3 they can air that cup stacking thing or whatever it was that AA posted a couple of weeks ago.

Anonymous said...
May 19, 2008, 3:01:00 AM  

Since I already don't watch the ESPN Poker channel (formerly known as classic), this soccer channel won't cause my viewing patterns to change.

alan said...
May 19, 2008, 8:03:00 AM  

I have noticed a lot more soccer/football highlights in the Top 10's on SportsCenter lately. I remember Scott Van Pelt mispronouncing "Derby County" a few weeks back.

I think if more Americans actually watched a few games, the sport would catch on. I know I dismissed it for years until I got an HD TV and started watching La Liga games because it looked so damn good. I didn't even know the rules. It just looked great.

Scott said...
May 19, 2008, 11:57:00 PM  

scott, that's what they were saying when I was playing organized youth soccer... in 1987. Not about HD, of course, but "if more people watched it..."

"Oh, we just gotta get these kids more interested in soccer by playing, and soccer'll become huge!"

N. said...
May 20, 2008, 6:30:00 PM  

ESPN "Classic" is the most worthless channel on TV. It used to be great, but now I'd rather watch Jose Canseco on QVC than ESPN Classic. Seriously, since when did a 2003 Rodeo become "Classic." I could care less what ESPN's marketing studies show, because ESPN has absolutely ruined ESPN Classic. I never, ever watch it anymore.

Anonymous said...
May 21, 2008, 2:57:00 PM  

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