Champions League Soccer Final to be really 'Broadcast' in HD

On the one hand, high-definition enthusiasts will say it's another step forward for HD programming in a technical genre that hardly seems to need it as much anymore. On the other, soccer fans might conclude that it means the world's most popular sport (outside the United States) is about make its presence known in America (in an event other than the quadrennial World Cup).

So, what's the big news here?

Fox Sports plans to air the Champions League final match from Madrid, Spain, on the Fox broadcast network in the United States. (Yes, home antennas are welcomed.) The Fox decision was apparently helped by the fact that the match will be played on a weekend (Saturday, May 22) for the first time, and with a kick-off time that will coincide nicely with America's Eastern Time Zone (2:45 p.m.).

The match (originally set to have aired on Fox property FX) will be telecast in 720p from Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the home of Real Madrid.

"The UEFA Champions League final is one of international soccer's most prestigious and competitive events…and we're excited to work with our colleagues at Fox Sports International to make it available to every household in America via Fox Sports," Fox said.

In other words, you don't need to be a cable or DBS subscriber to catch this year's match in America. Fox estimates that its broadcast network is available to 25 million more American households (115 million) than its FX cable outlet.

Fox Sports has a three-year agreement to carry Champions League final matches, starting this year.