The Portland Thorns sold out Providence Park for the first time on Wednesday, and every one of the league-record 21,144 fans in attendance will be pleased to know they did not have to stay home and rely on the webstream provided by FOX Sports. The Thorns match against the Seattle Reign was the first of four streamed via the foxsportsgo.com service rather than Youtube.
In the minutes leading up to kickoff, Twitter became abuzz with complaints from users who were unable to access the stream. Issues ranged from constant buffering of the stream to low to non-existent volume to not being able to get the stream at all. Things seemed to progress well from around kickoff until the 40th minute when the stream froze and later returned with the audio and video several minutes apart. Users continued to voice their displeasure throughout the second half and many proclaimed they were not sticking with the FOX stream to the end. (edit: the match was available in full via the league’s Youtube page by the end of business Thursday.)
The NWSL relaesed this statement to The Equalizer on Thursday. “We’re aware some fans had difficulties streaming last night’s match. We apologize to those fans for any inconvenience. We are currently trying to determine the cause of the problems.”
For many the biggest issue was that the foxsportsgo stream was inferior to that of Youtube. And since the stream was an exact replica of what the Thorns normally produce there was no tangible upside to the change in platforms. Additionally there was no immediate archive of the match which ended around midnight on the East Coast. NWSL matches shown on Youtube are instantly available to be watched from any point in the match.
There are three more NWSL matches scheduled to be streamed on foxsportsgo. Next is Wednesday night when the Dash host FC Kansas City. As part of the agreement, FOX Sports 1 will show three regular season games beginning August 9 plus all three playoff games.
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