The 2015 Women's World Cup will have more TV coverage than any other Women's World Cup before it. Fox revealed to Sports Illustrated that it is committing to showing every match live, as well as streaming every single match on Fox Sports Go.
Most notably, the Women's World Cup is returning to over-the-air TV. 16 matches, including the final, third place match and one semifinal will be shown on Big Fox, bringing the action to network television again. The last time the Women's World Cup aired on network TV was back in 2003, as ESPN moved both of the last two tournament exclusively to cable.
This is yet another example of Fox committing time, resources and money to soccer, especially women's soccer. They have been doing this for a few years now, bringing in new talent, buying new rights and pushing matches onto bigger platforms across all competitions.
"This is the most extensive coverage of the Women’s World Cup that has ever been permeated in the United States," David Nathanson, the general manager for Fox Sports 1 and 2, told SI. "I think our broadcast commitment is demonstrative of how strongly we believe not only in the women’s game but in soccer in general. I don’t think anyone will question Fox’s commitment to making this the new home field for soccer in the U.S."
Fox has the added benefit of there being more matches in this Women's World Cup than ever before. The field has expanded to 24 teams and Fox is taking advantage by showing them all.
In addition to the 16 matches on Big Fox, 30 matches will be carried by Fox Sports 1. That includes the entire round of 16, two of the quarterfinals and one semifinal. Only six matches will be relegated to Fox Sports 2, which is not yet in many fans' homes, and they are not expected to be any high profile contests.
The problem for Fox in recent years has had nothing to do with commitment, though. It's been clear for years that they value soccer, but they have lacked quality in their broadcasts and studio shows. Whether it is talent, approach or production, fans have been left wanting by the networks. Hopefully their recent hires can help turn things and they can follow it up with an improvement all the way around to make for quality soccer television.
The Women's World Cup is going to be all over the Fox networks in June and July. There will be no shortage of coverage, and fingers crossed that the United States team finds their stride so they can shine with that TV time all the way to the final in Vancouver.