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ESPN FC (formerly ESPN Soccernet) is a website and television show that provide rolling coverage of world football. The site was re-branded to "ESPN FC" (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network Football Club) in August 2012.
History of ESPN FC
Originally titled Soccernet, the website was established by Greg Hadfield and his then-teenage son Tom in 1995, initially providing live score updates, tables and news articles. Greg at that time worked for the Daily Mail and in order to gain capital effectively rescinded ownership of the site to his bosses in return for £40,000 and a revenue sharing scheme.
In 1999, Buena Vista Internet Group (BVIG) acquired a controlling interest of 60 per cent in Soccernet from the Daily Mail and General Trust for £15m. It has since put additional features such as providing breaking news, match results, statistics and analysis for not only the leagues in England and Scotland but also for the rest of Europe, Latin America and other parts of the world. It is the world's most popular football site with more than 100 million page views per month.
ESPN FC enjoyed record success in 2006, with more than 30% growth in unique users. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the site averaged more than 9.5 million page views per day, peaking with more than 14 million page views on June 22, a new record for daily traffic to the site.
ESPN FC Press Pass is a daily show that wraps up action in the soccer world for the day. The show can be watched on ESPN FC's video player in the top right corner of the site, ESPN FC Press Pass also features on ESPN International's English speaking stations during commercial breaks. ESPN FC Press Pass is produced by ESPN International in Bristol, Connecticut, USA.
Regular TV segments and key online features
The ESPN FC website has numerous columns and forums which try to explain to the public some opinions about different issues in football, as well as providing team and league analysis.
Some of ESPN FC's key online features are a premium fantasy game and a twice weekly podcast hosted by Dan Mason and Jonathan Harris-Bass, as well as video content and features. For the first time ever ESPN FC (in the US and Australia) is offering live coverage of all 125 UEFA Champions League matches via online pay-per-view, with each match available for $9.95 per match.
Hosts and regular contributors
The show features a rotating set of hosts, including Max Bretos and Dan Thomas.
Regular contributors to ESPN FC include Craig Burley, John Crace, Shaka Hislop, Alejandro Moreno, Taylor Twellman, Steve Nicol, Paul Mariner, Raphael Honigstein, Gabriele Marcotti, Ian Darke, Kasey Keller, Tommy Smyth, Frank LeBoeuf, Stewart Robson, Sid Lowe, and Santiago Solari.
On November 21, 2013, Phil Ball was subject to accusations of propaganda on behalf of Qatar's bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ball wrote a piece for ESPNFC, titled 'Inside Doha: Give Qatar A Chance To Shine.' However, the article was later removed from ESPN's website after negative reaction to Ball's in-article claims that he was "invited on an all-expenses paid trip to see the inner workings."  ESPNFC announced in a tweet that they had "carefully re-evaluated ... [their] recent Qatar story and decided to remove it. It did not meet ... [their] journalistic standards. We apologize."
In September 2013, ESPN Latin America launched a ESPN FC-branded Monday-to-Friday television show.
- Welcome to ESPN FC - ESPN FC Blog
- ESPN turns the heat up on Soccer Coverage - Mobile Sports Report
- Fortune Favours the Brave - The Independent
- Manfred, Tony (2013), "Here's The Glowing Story About The Qatar World Cup That ESPN Doesn't Want You To Read", Business Insider
- Ball, Phil (2013), "Inside Doha: Give Qatar a chance to shine", ESPNFC
- ESPNFC, ESPNFC (2013), "Tweet", Twitter
- Official website —domain still exists with ESPN FC content.
- Soccer Times an associate of ESPN
- Buena Vista Acquires, Relaunches Soccernet