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Fox to launch 2nd soccer network

FOX will announce today that it is launching its second all-football channel in the United States on March 1.

The new network, called Fox Soccer Plus, will televise matches of the European Champions League, England's Premier League, the English Football Association Cup and the Italian Serie A.

Fox Soccer Channel began operation in 1997 and changed its name to FSC five years ago.

"As America's interest in the world's game is increasing, the launch of Fox Soccer Plus will complement and enhance our current programming on Fox Soccer Channel," new FSC general manager David Nathanson said.

The new network will draw content from Setanta USA, whose sublicenses with Fox are expiring, a person familiar with the negotiations said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because that detail won't be included in the announcement.

Fox, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, is negotiating with cable carriers to determine whether they want to place it on a select tier or offer it as a monthly subscription service for a fee. The new network will be broadcast in high definition; Fox also has been preparing to start high definition telecasts of FSC.

Fox has been televising the Premier League in the US since 1998 and sublicenses some of the games to Setanta USA and ESPN2, which is televising 48 matches this season.

Also Monday, FSC said it was hiring Andy Gray of News Corp.'s Sky Sports in Britain for its studio show during this year's World Cup. Gray, a former Scotland international, worked for ESPN's US coverage of the 2008 European Championship.

Richard Keys of Sky Sports also will be a part of FSC's World Cup coverage.


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