Are you ready for some more sports in your life?
Rupert Murdoch thinks you are. The media mogul will announce today the formation of Fox Sports 1, a new all-sports network that will premiere in August. The network intends to compete with ESPN and will use the existing sports programing contracts to stock up with content.
The new network will air NASCAR races, Major League Baseball games, college football and basketball, soccer and Ultimate Fighting Championship competitions. Additionally, it will air broadcast studio shows, including one to be hosted by Regis Philbin.
Why Murdoch is doing this is obvious - sports are a big business and only going to increase in value. ESPN clears more than $6 billion annually from its subscriber fees, as ESPN and ESPN2 have 98.5 million subscribers each.
The sports market has grown rapidly in the last few years, with NBC and CBS launching sports channels, as well as some of the sports themselves, such as MLB, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League. Even sports conferences have got in on the action, as the Big 10 and the Pac-12 each have their own networks. The Texas Longhorns, a team in the Big 12, have their own network that airs Longhorns programming exclusively.
One of the reasons that sports on TV are so in demand is that the programing is seen as DVR-proof. It is hard to avoid scores and news when you are trying to, as sports are on everywhere people go - for example, if a restaurant has a TV, odds are it is on some athletic competition.
Fox does not intend for the network to become a juggernaut right away, but hopes within 10 years it is breathing down ESPN's neck.