Just one day before the start of the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympics Qualifiers, the matches have found a home in the US. Fox Sports announced on Monday that they would be airing the qualifiers for both the women and men, while also retaining the rights for next two Gold Cups and adding rights for the English-language Concacaf Champions League (which were held by, of all places, Yahoo Sports in 2019) over the next three years.
The qualifiers for the women start on Tuesday (January 28th), with the tournament running through Sunday, February 9th. The schedule will not necessarily please soccer fans, though – zero matches will air on Fox’s broadcast network, and just two (USA-Costa Rica on February 3rd and the late semifinals on February 7th) will air on FS1. The rest of the matches will either air on FS2 or Fox Soccer Plus, though you can stream the entire tournament through the Fox Sports website or app with FS1 authentication. Four years ago, the TV rights for the qualifiers were held by NBC.
Here’s the schedule for the USWNT, per Fox’s release (all times Eastern).
- Tuesday, January 28th: USWNT vs Haiti, 8:30 PM, FS2
- Friday, January 31st: USWNT vs Panama, 8:30 PM, Fox Soccer Plus
- Monday, February 3rd: USWNT vs Costa Rica, 8:30 PM, FS1
- Friday, February 7th: Semifinals, 7 PM (Fox Soccer Plus) and 10 PM (FS1)
- Sunday, February 9th: Finals, 6 PM, FS2
In a perfect world, Fox would be airing the whole tournament on FS1, but because of how late a deal got done, the network had plenty of programming conflicts, namely both men’s and women’s college basketball.
The Concacaf men’s qualifiers will air in March, smack in the middle of March Madness. Start times and networks have yet to be announced.
As for the Champions League, the Round of 16 begins the week of February 18th, with the second leg commencing during the week of February 25th. Five MLS teams (including the Montreal Impact, who qualified through the Canadian Championship) and four Liga MX teams are involved. A cursory glance at Fox’s college basketball schedule shows a bunch of FS1 conflicts during the Round of 16, so expect a similar schedule to the Women’s Olympics qualifiers for at least that round, and the first leg of the quarterfinals (which will have to deal with the Big East Tournament on FS1).
Interestingly enough, SI’s Grant Wahl reported last week that Concacaf was trying to pair the Women’s Olympics Qualifiers with other Concacaf events, but that two networks passed on the opportunity.
Sources at two U.S. TV networks told SI that Concacaf had tried to package the rights to the women’s Olympic qualifying tournament with rights to other Concacaf properties, including March’s men’s Olympic qualifying tournament. Those networks refused to bite.
Apparently, one of those networks wasn’t Fox, because that’s exactly the type of deal they agreed to with Concacaf – the women’s qualifiers, along with the men’s qualifiers, Gold Cup, and Champions League, all in a neat little package.