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FOX SPORTS MEDIA GROUP GIVES RISE TO FOX SPORTS 1, A NEW NATIONAL
Officially Debuts Saturday, Aug. 17 in Over 90 Million Homes;
Biggest Sports Network Launch in History
4,800 Hours of Exclusive Live Event, News & Original Programming
Mega-Stars Terry Bradshaw & Regis Philbin Appear Daily
New York Today, FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) makes television
history, officially unveiling plans to launch a new, national,
multi-sport network called FOX Sports 1. The announcement was made by
FSMG Co-Presidents and COOs Randy Freer and Eric Shanks. Set to debut
on Saturday, Aug. 17, just as FOX Sports kicks off its 20th
anniversary year, FS1 is available in over 90 million homes, making
this the biggest sports cable network launch in history, and one of
the largest network launches ever. At the outset, FS1 boasts nearly
5,000 hours of live event, news and original programming annually.
Our secret, admittedly a very poorly kept one, is now revealed,
said Shanks. Fans are ready for an alternative to the establishment,
and our goal for FS1 is to provide the best in-game experience
possible, complemented by informative news, entertaining studio shows
and provocative original programming.
A robust schedule of live events forms the backbone of FOX Sports 1 s
programming from Day 1, with college basketball, college football,
NASCAR, soccer and UFC all on tap between launch and year s end. In
fact, the schedule on Aug. 17 features live events morning, noon and
night including a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Michigan
and UFC on FS1 1 in prime time. In 2014, FSMG s new rights agreement
with MLB takes effect, bringing regular and postseason games to FS1.
As a company we haven t been afraid to innovate and take
well-calculated risks, added Freer. We ve devoted significant
resources over the last few years to acquire and/or extend
multi-platform rights with a wide variety of leagues and governing
bodies well into the next decade, enough to give us a rich schedule
right out of the box.
More people consume and care about sports than ever before, so to
satisfy that voracious demand FSMG deems the time is now to launch
FS1. For example, when FOX Sports launched in 1994, late Sunday
afternoon NFL on FOX games ranked as the 26th highest-rated program on
television. Today, FOX s national doubleheader games rank No. 1 for
three years running.
FOX Sports 1 Programming Highlights
COLLEGE BASKETBALL Dozens of exclusive prime time games on Monday
and Thursday nights, plus Saturday and Sunday coverage of the Big 12,
Pac-12 and Conference USA.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL Led by Notre Dame at Stanford, the Big Ten
Championship Game and Pac-12 Championship Game (2014) on FOX, dozens
of exclusive, live games from the Pac-12, Big 12 and Conference USA on
Thursday nights and Saturdays; triple- and quadruple-headers on
Saturdays; Saturday pre- and postgame coverage.
MLB Beginning in 2014, select League Championship Series and
Division Series games; regular-season games over 26 Saturdays; live
game-in-progress look-in show.
NASCAR Select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as soon as 2015; NASCAR
Camping World Truck Series races; NASCAR Sprint All-Star race; all
Speedweeks events leading up to the Daytona 500 including: Daytona 500
Qualifying, Sprint Unlimited at Daytona (2014, 2017-22) and the
Budweiser Duel, now in prime time; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NCWTS
Practice and Qualifying sessions; NASCAR RaceDay, providing pre- and
post-race coverage; NASCAR Victory Lane, a weekly wrap-up show; and
Race Hub, a daily mid-day studio show with the latest from drivers,
owners and garages.
SOCCER Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday afternoon coverage of the world s
most prolific club soccer competitions, the UEFA Champions League and
UEFA Europa League, and CONCACAF Champions League featuring many of
the world s greatest and most successful clubs; the world s oldest
soccer competition, the FA Cup; CONCACAF Gold Cup; CONCACAF
Qualifiers, FIFA Women s World Cup coverage in 2015 and 2019; FIFA
Men s World Cup coverage in 2018 and 2022; delayed matches in prime
time; weekly magazine and highlights shows.
UFC Featured on Wednesday nights; live FIGHT NIGHTS through 2014,
the first is scheduled for launch night, Saturday, Aug. 17; FOX event
preliminary cards; UFC Tonight, the weekly authority for UFC news and
information; 14 Saturday pay-per-view preliminary cards; hundreds of
hours of library programs and events.
In addition to live events and studio programs, FS1 introduces FOX
SPORTS LIVE, a 24/7 news franchise providing around-the-clock coverage
through regularly scheduled programs, hourly updates and an
information-rich ticker that provides a network agnostic sports event
television schedule. Thousands of hours of news programming are
expected annually from newly minted sets including a nightly program
at 11:00 PM ET or immediately following events. A morning newscast is
expected to launch in January 2014 in conjunction with FSMG s
expansive coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Building credibility and trust with our audience is paramount, so
naturally we ll provide the staples, like news, scores and highlights,
but we ll do it in a FOX Sports way, offered Shanks. Just as FOX NFL
SUNDAY reinvented the pregame show, FOX SPORTS LIVE breaks new ground
in the way sports news is presented. We already have the home-team
advantage of significant audiences watching local games on our 22
regional sports networks as a platform to launch our new national
Complementing FS1 s live events and news coverage at launch are
several original programs, highlighted by RUSH HOUR, hosted by Regis
Philbin, airing live weekdays (5:00-6:00 PM ET). Originating in New
York City, Regis leads the charge along with a panel of sports
professionals, celebrity guests and die-hard fans in this brand new,
unpredictable, talk show. Following RUSH HOUR live every day is FOX
FOOTBALL DAILY (6:00-7:00 PM ET), an extension of FOX NFL SUNDAY, the
most-watched NFL pregame show for 19 straight years. FOX FOOTBALL
DAILY, hosted by NFL on FOX personalities, including Terry Bradshaw,
Howie Long, Jay Glazer, Gus Johnson, Erin Andrews and Mike Pereira,
provides a daily dose of news, interviews and commentary from pro and
collegiate football worlds. Both shows are expected to premiere at
launch in August. Earlier this year, FSMG unveiled a unique and
groundbreaking documentary franchise titled BEING:, a deep look into
today's greatest athletes, teams and sports icons via unprecedented
access. The first subject to appear this fall on FS1 is BEING: MIKE
TYSON, the most feared man ever to step in a boxing ring. The
multi-episode series is now in production.
FSMG s experimentation with the double box commercial format,
intended to keep viewers engaged throughout breaks, is expected to be
an FS1 staple. Custom commissioned research conducted this year by
Innerscope in concert with FOX Sports advertisers, along with data
from IAG and Nielsen, demonstrates how the double box format adds
value compared to the traditional full-screen break: IAG reported a
62% increase in brand recall; younger viewers are more likely to view
double box commercials, according to Nielsen minute-by-minute
ratings; Innerscope s engagement score for double box commercials
ranked +13% than average; and viewers see advertiser logos more than
three times longer in double box versus standard format.
Launching together with FOX Sports 1 will be FOX Sports GO a
groundbreaking mobile sports experience for iPhone, iPad, Android
devices, and web. FOX Sports Go will offer more than 1,000 live games
and events from across FOX Sports, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 22
regional sports networks, as well as scores, highlights, news, stats,
and analysis. The live games and events will be available to
subscribers of participating cable, satellite, and telco providers at
no additional cost.
The worst kept secret in sports media finally gets pushed from behind
the curtain and will be officially unveiled to advertisers and the
media on Tuesday. Fox Sports officials will be at the Marriott Marquis
Hotel in New York to tell the world what the average fan will see on
the new Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 networks when they launch this
Unlike previous Fox launches when the broadcast company started
completely new channels from scratch, it’s using existing
infrastructure from Speed to form Fox Sports 1 and from Fuel TV to
build Fox Sports 2.
And using existing partnerships with Major League Baseball, NASCAR,
the Big 12 and PAC-12 along with UFC, the channels will have an
extensive inventory of live sports to show. Plus, with an expected
partnership with the breakaway “Catholic 7″ from the old Big East
conference to form a new Big East conference, Fox Sports 1 and 2 will
have live college basketball games in November.
Over the last year, Fox has flown under the radar to bring its new
networks into fruition. While NBC Sports has attempted to add major
sports to its arsenal, Fox has used its relationships to convince its
partners to sign off on shuffling inventory from the Fox Television
Network to its cable channels. As a result, Fox will have 14 MLB games
starting in 2014 compared to 24 this year. Also, several NASCAR Sprint
Cup races will go to Fox Sports 1 after being on Fox for several
While it appears Fox is positioning itself as a bona fide challenger
to ESPN, it still has a long way to go if it truly wants to mount a
fight. Even so, Fox and ESPN have become dance partners in college
sports with the Big 12, the Pac-12 and look to partner with the old
Big East and the Catholic 7. Just last year, ESPN and Fox filed a
joint bid for the English Premier League before losing out to NBC. So
as Fox starts the new sports networks, it’s also forming an Unholy
Alliance with the one network that it along with CBS, NBC and to a
certain extent, Turner Sports are hoping to knock down.
In addition to the live games, Fox Sports 1 will have talk shows.
Regis Philbin announced on “The View” Monday that he will host a show
on the network that will be modeled after “The View” itself. John
Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported last year that Jay Mohr, a
host on Fox Sports Radio, was in talks for his own series on FS1.
With Tuesday’s announcement, Fox Sports 1 and 2 become the New Kids on
the Sports Block. The key for success will be clearance among
increasing militant cable and satellite providers which are balking at
paying high subscriber fees due to sports rights. Richard Sandomir and
Amy Chozick of the New York Times report that Fox is seeking $1 per
subscriber for FS1. After the euphoria of launching a new cable
network comes the reality of gaining cable carriage. We’ve yet to hear
if Fox has been able to get agreements from the major providers like
Bright House, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Suddenlink and
Time Warner among others. If Fox Sports 1 and 2 are cleared throughout
the country, then it will be a major hurdle that will be out of the
And if Fox Sports 1 is able to get an NFL package and NBA games to add
to their other properties, then the road for the networks will be
paved with gold. Right now, the networks will be given a head start
with MLB, NASCAR, college football and basketball, MMA, World Cup
Soccer and additional soccer games coming Fox Soccer. If more
properties can be added, then Fox will be in very good position as it
heads into the next decade.
The journey for the new Fox Sports entities begins on Tuesday. Whether
it will be smooth sailing or a stormy ride will be determined over the
next few years.
David Lieberman of Deadline has a Fox official telling its investors
that Fox Sports 1 and 2 are expected to lose money at first, but it’s
all about the long-term with the new channels.
Georg Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter says Fox is downplaying
expectations about Fox Sports 1 competing with ESPN.
At $ports Biz USA, Mike McCarthy talks with Jay Glazer about his new
Fox Sports 1 show.
Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report says ESPN is reminding Fox about who
has a 33 year head start in the all-sports cable business.
Richard Sandomir and Amy Chozick in the New York Times have an
extensive look at the new Fox Sports venture.
Even with Fox starting a new network to compete with ESPN, it still
has formed an Unholy Alliance with the Alleged Worldwide Leader. John
Ourand of Sports Business Journal has the story.
Addy Dugdale at Fast Company looks at the new Fox Sports 1.- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
No network loves to champion its iconoclastic roots more than Fox --
the scrappy outfit fronted by billionaire Rupert Murdoch -- but in its
upcoming fight against ESPN, the network that brought you Bill
O'Reilly, Homer Simpson and Temptation Island is indeed an underdog.
Last Tuesday, in front of more than 1,000 advertising executives,
media buyers and boldfaced sports names such as Gary Bettman, Ronda
Rousey and Hope Solo, Fox finally unveiled the worst-kept secret in
sports broadcasting: The launch of Fox Sports 1.
The 24/7 cable sports network aims to be a viable competitor for ESPN,
and during a one-hour presentation at the Marriott Marquis hotel in
Times Square, Fox Sports executives promised that Fox Sports 1 would
be revolutionary on the same scale as Fox broadcasting's debut in 1986
and the launch of Fox News a decade later. "Today, there is one
dominant national sports network, and conventional wisdom says there
can only be one 24-hour sports network," a deep-throated narrator
intoned as highlights played of Fox's launch in 1986 and the Fox News
launch a decade later. "But everything is about to change ... again!"
In the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated, I'll examine the uphill
role Fox Sports 1 has in challenging ESPN. Below, we offer the
highlights from the launch presentation, some suggestions for
programming, and Fox Sports executives making the case for why it will
The Noise Report
(SI.com examines some of the more notable sports media stories of the
1. Fox Sports 1 will officially launch on Saturday, Aug. 17, in about
90 million homes, making it the biggest sports cable network launch in
history. Network executives said FS1 will air close to 5,000 hours of
live event, news and studio shows annually (about 55 percent of the
network's overall schedule will be live programming). Fox Sports 1
will be built on seven key pillars -- college basketball, college
football, MLB, NASCAR, NFL, UFC, and world soccer. There will also be
original programming, including a documentary series.
1a. Why is now the right time to launch a new cable sports network?
Fox Sports co-president Randy Freer said the sports rights deals
acquired by the company over the past five years have set the ground
work to be a viable player against ESPN. "We believe we have amassed
enough live events and can package and put programming around it where
we can have scale, significance, and be a major player in the market,"
1b. You'll learn a lot about the editorial ethos of Fox Sports 1 by
how it handles breaking news and newsgathering. The show that will
attempt to siphon viewers from SportsCenter is "Fox Sports Live,"
which will air nightly at 11:00 p.m. Fox Sports co-president Eric
Shanks said no on-air talent has been hired for the show as of yet,
but the network has a rough idea of the format, rundown and structure.
The initial plans are to air a three-hours news and highlight show
from Los Angeles starting at launch; a morning newscast (likely airing
from New York) is expected to launch in January 2014. Shanks said Fox
Sports 1 would make a significant investment in news to provide around-
the-clock coverage. "There is a baseline news investment that you have
to have to be credible in a 24/7 environment," Shanks said. "We want
this to be a place where people can fulfill their needs for
highlights. It's a news-based show, but it is not two people sitting
at a desk reading highlights and then breaking down the X's and O's.
We are going try to have a bit of fun."
1c. Fox Sports executives say they are interested in bidding on the
NBA's broadcast rights for Fox Sports 1 when the league's current deal
with ESPN and Turner Sports concludes at the end of the 2015-16
season. Should the NFL create an additional package of games for
cable, Fox Sports 1 will certainly be a major player in the bidding.
1d. Beginning in 2014, Fox Sports 1 will air at least one League
Championship Series game and select Division Series games from Major
League Baseball. The network will carry regular-season games over 26
Saturdays, and the Fox broadcast network will go from its 26-week
schedule to 12 regular-season games.
1e. The new network will feature plenty of UFC, including 12 live
"Fight Nights" bouts that will air on Wednesdays. There will also be a
weekly studio show (UFC Tonight) and 14 Saturday pay-per-view
preliminary cards. Fox Sports 1 will air a UFC event the night before
Super Bowl XLVIII from the Prudential Center in Newark.
In an interview with SI.com, UFC head Dana White said his organization
had been talking with a number of different networks but Fox moved
quickly to secure the rights. "They have spread us across big Fox, FX
and Fuel, and obviously it has worked out great for both of us," White
said. "This is a work in progress, but we knew the light at the end of
the tunnel is going to be Fox Sports 1."
White said the UFC studio show on Fox Sports 1 will be similar to the
one on Fuel. As for the live bouts, UFC will air 12 fight cards on
Wednesday nights between the network's August launch and a to-be-
determined date in 2014. "We want to make sure that when we deliver
fights, we deliver fights that people want to watch," White said. "I
think you saw in the old days when boxing went away from [over-the-
air] TV, they put crappy boxing on TV that people did not want to
watch. We are doing the exact opposite."
1f. Fox Sports 1 will air a primetime Thursday Night college football
game and a tripleheader on Saturdays. The teams will be drawn from
among the Pac-12, Big 12 and Conference USA.
1g. Prime-time college basketball games will air Monday and Thursday
nights, plus Saturday and Sunday coverage of the Big 12, Pac-12 and
1h. The network will have select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as
soon as 2015 as well as NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races,
NASCAR Sprint All-Star race, and Speedweeks events leading up to the
2. Fox Sports executives repeatedly mentioned soccer as a significant
pillar of its programming and the plan is to air international games
(Champions League and UEFA Europa League, in particular) on Tuesday,
Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. "While our competitors are showing
talking heads [in the afternoon], Fox Sports 1 will be showing live
games with stars like [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo," said
William Wagner, Fox Sports executive vice president of research and
programming. Fox Sports 1 will be the home of the FA Cup, CONCACAF
Gold Cup and CONCACAF qualifiers. Long-range plans include coverage of
the 2015 and 2019 Women's World Cup, men's World Cup coverage in 2018
and 2022, and weekly magazine and highlights shows.
2a. Asked about the future of Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports
executives deflected the answer. "We absolutely want to maintain the
leadership position we have in soccer," Shanks said. "If you are in
the business, you have certain responsibility to help grow the sport
by putting the best games and shoulder programming on Fox Sports 1. We
will continue to have a soccer business no matter what happens to Fox
3. Attempting to expand its NFL presence beyond Sundays, Fox Sports 1
will air "Fox Football Daily" (6:00-7:00 PM ET), featuring NFL on Fox
staffers Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, Gus Johnson, Erin
Andrews and Mike Pereira. Light on specifics at this point, Fox says
the show will "provide a daily dose of news, interviews and commentary
from pro and collegiate football worlds."
3a. The network formally announced that Regis Philbin will host "Rush
Hour" (weekdays 5:00 to 6:00 PM ET), a roundtable talk-show show
originating from New York City. Why is Fox bringing in 81-year-old
with little connection to sports broadcasting outside of his public
love of Notre Dame? Said Shanks: "I honestly think once this show goes
on the air, people will think: 'Why didn't I think of that?' He really
is an amazing sports fan and a likeable person."
3b. Fox Sports executives told USA Today they plan to develop an early-
morning Sunday NFL pregame show to compete against ESPN and the NFL
Network pregame shows.
3c. The Catholic 7 schools - a group of basketball-only institutions
within the former Big East conference - are expected to be a major
part of Fox Sports 1 winter programming. "I am cautiously optimistic
that a deal will be done," Shanks said.
4. Sports analytics is a genre where Fox Sports 1 could create
programming unique to any multi-sport cable network. With the growing
interesting in advanced metrics in the NBA and NFL and major support
for such stats in baseball, Fox could succeed where ESPN ceded the
terrain (Numbers Never Lie, sadly, is nothing more than a watered-down
debate show.) There's a high-income demographic to be had with a long
investment on a smart show, and clearly, there is plenty of talent out
there. The same goes for Fantasy sports, where someone such as ESPN's
Matthew Berry could front an interesting franchise.
4a. Fox's sell to advertisers at its presentation was that Fox Sports
1 will be one of two viable 24-hour sports cable channels, but NBC
Sports Network, which will get a huge boost from the English Premier
League (which it won from Fox) and the Sochi Olympics, will have a
major say in that conversation. The relationship between Fox and ESPN
has certainly captured the attention of NBC Sports executives (who
have referred to the ESPN-Fox combo derisively as "FOSPN"). Sports
Business Daily media writer John Ourand examined the dynamic between
the three networks in this terrific piece.
4b. ESPN executives will be closely watching the August launch of Fox
Sports Go, a mobile app for iPhone, iPad, Android devices and the web
which will stream sports content from Fox Sports, Fox Sports 1 and the
company's 22 regional sports networks. This is Fox's product answer to
ESPN's immensely popular WatchESPN, which allows for mobile viewing of
all of ESPN's live sports on an authenticated basis. Fox said its live
games and events will be available to subscribers of participating
cable, satellite, and telco providers at no additional cost. Fox is
also redesigning Fox Sports.com and will re-launch all of its mobile
apps in April.
4c. Fox Sports executives will not comment publicly on distribution
but there is no way they would launch a new network on this scale
without assurances of being on the basic cable tier of most cable
systems. Keep in mind Speed is on most basic tier packages.
4d. Regarding the possibility of a Fox Sports 2 channel, Shanks said
it was still too early to be definitive. "We have to still figure out
if we want to put a Number 2 out there," Shanks said. Most observers
believe it will happen soon. l
4e. Fox Sports 1 plans to use the "double box" commercial format to
keep viewers engaged throughout breaks during live events. When a game
goes to commercial, a second box will come up showing the ads, with
live video from the event in a smaller box still on the screen. "The
goal will be to get it in all live events," Shanks said.
4f. During Fox's presentation last week, the network mocked ESPN by
showing a robot in a video repeating the phrase "Tim Tebow" over and
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