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The Fox Box is a digital on-screen graphic used during broadcasts of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL), among other events. Although originated by Fox Sports, almost all sports networks now use a version of these graphics, either in box form, generically known as a "bug", or as a banner along the top or bottom of the screen. The graphic displays real-time information about the current condition of the game, such as the current score, which team has possession of the ball or is at bat, and so forth. The graphic remains superimposed over video during live action, but is not present during video replays of field action, on-camera segments in which the announcers appear, and studio cut-ins or commercials.
The Fox Broadcasting Company (Fox) acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to the NFL in 1994 as a part of the 1994–1996 United States broadcast television realignment. Sometime after Fox acquired the U.S. television broadcast rights to the NFL, producer David Hill suggested that football games always show the score and time. Many like Dick Ebersol of NBC Sports opposed the idea, because they thought that fans would dislike seeing them on the screen, and would change the channel from blowout games. Variety criticized it as an "annoying see-through clock and score graphic" and that there would still be people "who actually watched the beginning of the game and would rather have their screen clear of graphics".
The FoxBox first appeared on August 12, 1994 for an NFL preseason game between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers. Similarly styled score boxes have become common during sporting events on many other networks. In 2001, Fox discontinued the box in favor of a graphic header at the top of the screen, although Fox commentators have continued to refer to the newer graphic header as the FoxBox.
In September 2008, Fox Sports Net (FSN) affiliates introduced a new graphics package. The top header scoreboard was replaced with an updated one and a rectangular box in the top-left for hockey, football and baseball, and a score banner on the bottom for basketball. For the 2009 season, the Fox network's MLB telecasts began using the same graphics package. The network's NFL coverage returned to using a score box during the 2010 NFL season. For MLB and NFL broadcasts, the box has been moved into the far left corner, appearing to be outside of the typical 4:3 safe placement but the picture is letterboxed for 4:3 displays. They later expanded them for college football (similar to the NFL broadcasts but with their team abbreviations above their scores rather than team logos), NBA, NHL, and college basketball broadcasts (using a round score banner on the bottom of the screen). NASCAR (uses one on the top of the screen) but use the bug version of the previous graphics package.
In 2014, the score bug on baseball broadcasts was moved to the bottom left corner; and at the start of the 2016 MLB season, it was moved to the bottom right corner of the screen.
In 2017, Fox changed to a graphics package which utilized a wide and short bottom-screen banner. The scoreboard featured solid background colors in a rectangular, modern design.
In 2020, Fox unveiled a new graphics package starting with the broadcast of Super Bowl LIV, and has continued to use it for its NFL coverage. The new scoreboard has a narrower, symmetric design which emphasizes bright colors and bold animations.
Use outside the U.S.
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- Teti, John (February 7, 2020). "Fox redesigns its NFL graphics for the point-your-phone-at-the-TV era". AVClub.com. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
- Dillon, Dak (February 3, 2020). "Fox Sports illustrates Super Bowl with new graphics package". NewscastStudio.com. Retrieved January 8, 2021.