Fox to launch cable sports channel in August

Posted: March 07, 2013

Fox Sports Media Group, a division of News Corp., is elbowing into the national 24-hour cable sports arena with Fox Sports 1, which will debut Aug. 17.

It had been one of the worst-kept secrets in the media business that Fox was planning a sports cable channel, as it acquired billions of dollars in TV sports rights over the last 16 months.

The company officially disclosed the new channel at a New York media event Tuesday and said it would air NASCAR, Major League Baseball, college football and basketball, soccer, and Ultimate Fighting Championship events. Its college football properties include Pac-12, Big 12, and Conference USA games.

Fox Sports 1 will be distributed to about 90 million homes and could quickly distinguish itself as the No. 2 national sports channel behind ESPN. The competing channels are Comcast Corp.-owned NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network. Comcast agreed, when reaching a new distribution agreement with News Corp. last month, to carry Fox Sports 1 on its cable-TV system, which has about 22 million subscribers.

"Fans are ready for an alternative to the establishment," said Eric Shanks, a Fox Sports executive.


Contact Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or bob.fernandez@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @bobfernandez1.

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