Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Fox Sports 1

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. will start a national cable sports network in August, joining a field dominated by Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ESPN.

Fox Sports 1 will be available to more than 90 million pay- TV homes, New York-based News Corp. said today in a statement.

The channel’s start coincides with the beginning of the college football season. Fox and other major networks have turned to live programming like sports to bolster ratings and draw in viewers, who can easily record other programs to watch later. That’s created a crowd of competitors that also includes NBC Sports and CBS Sports.

“We’re not trying to beat ESPN,” News Corp. (NWSA) Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said at an investor conference today. “That wouldn’t make sense. Sports is a big huge arena. We’ve proven over the years we can do some interesting and exciting things.”

For News Corp., the challenge will be assembling a lineup of sports events that will draw viewers, and to convince pay-TV systems and advertisers they should pony up for the new network.

The network will sustain losses as Fox tries to increase the subscriber fee, Carey said. Speed, which Fox Sports 1 will replace, collects 31 cents a month per subscriber on average from pay-TV systems, according to SNL Kagan. The researcher estimates Fox will seek $1. ESPN received $5.13 in 2012.

*** [8/16/13]

Can Fox Sports 1 compete with ESPN?  Here's a chart comparing the sports covered by ESPN/ABC vs. Fox Sports vs. NBC vs. CBS vs. TBS/TNT.

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