Fox Soccer's short-sighted, pound-foolish decision to ignore Champions League implications by putting Newcastle United's final match Sunday on web only has left many fans without a pub broadcast to call their own. Well, since you'll be on your computers anyway, we've decided to run our very own live chat right here on the blog on matchday. We'll start a half-hour before kickoff, at 9:30 Eastern U.S./2:30 Newcastle time Sunday, and chat our way through the match plus a half-hour postscript afterward. Check out our nervous/snarky/intentionally-or-unintentionally-humorous commentary as the game unfolds, and add your own! It's better and faster than Twitter - everyone follows everyone else instantaneously. (Not that you can't follow Twitter at the same time. Holy overstimulation, Batman!) Our previous live chat on the final day of summer transfer season drew hundreds of fans and was a blast. We think this could be even funner. So we invite all you pub-deprived American Magpies, as well as our friends in England and around the globe, to stop in here and follow Everton-Newcastle with us on Sunday. Howay the Europe-bound lads!
P.S. Thanks to all of you who posted and tweeted and facebooked your support for our screed against the dark forces of News Corp yesterday. As for those who think the decision to televise meaningless Chelsea and Liverpool matches instead represents some sort of ratings or money bonanza for Fox - we're skeptical at best. All the ratings for morning EPL soccer in the U.S. are miniscule at this early stage of popularity, around 100,000 viewers per match according to the latest figures released by Fox, in a nation of 300 million TV viewers. The difference between the most-watched and least-watched Fox Soccer match is pennies to a media conglomerate. Beyond that, Manchester United and Arsenal are the truly large fan bases in the U.S. We'd be surprised if a meaningless Chelsea or Liverpool match would draw more eyes than a critical match not only for Newcastle but for Arsenal, not to mention Tottenham, which has a fast-emerging U.S. following. More pubs and homes are likely to be dividing attention among the meaningful games than focusing on two matches that are essentially friendlies. And even beyond that, the way to grow interest and ratings for the future is to cover the sport, not the same four bandwagons. We. Don't. Get. It. But that's Fox.