Over the last couple of years, Fox Soccer has been losing major properties that are to key to its programming. It first lost the secondary contract to Major League Soccer to NBC just before last season. Then last year, it lost the rights to the English Premier League again to NBC. EPL represents a major portion of Fox Soccer's schedule. When the EPL goes to NBC in August, Fox Soccer will be without the league that helped define the specialty channel dating back to 1997 when it was known as Fox Sports World.
So it comes as no surprise that Fox will kill off Fox Soccer on September 2 and convert it to an entertainment companion channel to FX, rebranding it as FXX. Fox Sports had previously announced that UEFA Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and CONCACAF games will be moving to Fox Sports 1. The new channel will also air FIFA World Cup games starting in 2015. Other programming that had been aired on Fox Soccer and sister channel, Fox Soccer Plus, will also be folded into Fox Sports 1, the anticipated Fox Sports 2 and FoxSports2Go, an online app that will be unveiled in conjunction with the August launch of FS1.
FXX will become the home of FX comedies "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "The League" as Fox hopes to attract viewers in the 18-34 demographic. FX will become more adult and continue to air dramas like "Justified" and "The Americans."
Fox Soccer was launched in 1997 as Fox Sports World and aired not just soccer, but Australian Rules Football, rugby and various other sports not available on the major networks. It rebranded as Fox Soccer Channel in 2005 eventually dropping "Channel" in 2011.
Fox Soccer was a victim of its own success. It provided wall-to-wall coverage of the sport with shows like Fox Football Fone-In, Fox Soccer News, Goals on Sunday and the innovative Relegation Sunday when it and other Fox networks covered every EPL game on the last day of the 2011-12 season. Over the last few years, ratings had gone up and fans found it as a destination. But as it began losing properties to NBC and the upstart beIN Sport, sustaining Fox Soccer as a standalone became more difficult. So Fox Soccer will die a slow death until September when it changes over. At least Fox is not getting out of the soccer business, but the channel will be missed.