Thursday, March 29, 2012

News Corp. considers national sports cable network

The owner of Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and other properties would enter head-to-head competition with ESPN and the recently rebranded NBC Sports Network, according to the WSJ, which cited a person familiar with the matter.

"The media company has been discussing the idea on and off for several months, though it hasn't made a decision. If it does go ahead, such a venture would not launch any time this year," the newspaper said.

NWS's planning comes as Gannett pours millions into the USA Today Sports Media Group, which would combine all the sports content from USA Today; the company's other 81 U.S. newspapers, plus the broadcasting division and other niche properties.

Corporate has set an ambitious target for the Sports Group, telling Wall Street that the unit could produce an additional $300 million in new revenue by 2015. Under President Tom Beusse, the group recently shook up staffing at USAT's sports department, with Gannett Bloggers saying several top editors were dismissed only yesterday.


  1. Let them have their big fancy TV sports networks. We have BNQT!

  2. Don't they already push national programming through all of the regional Fox Sports Nets?

    Wow....this whole media thing is turning into a race to the bottom.

    Who can make the worst decisions to get us there fastest??

  3. FSNs are, as you noted, REGIONAL nets. The only "national" part comes when there is no local programming.

    As noted in the story, the other networks have their dedicated sports channels. ESPN is probably the most valuable property in all of television. NBC finally figured out what to do with "Versus", and CBS has THEIR sports channel coming along as well, having poached Jim Rome from ESPN.

    Look at how CBS deals with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. IT DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH CHANNELS. It has to lay off some content with TBS. FOX does the same with MLB playoffs. So the idea that there are TOO MANY sports channels is clearly wrong.

    Consider this . . . when each network has a true, nationally dedicated sports channel . . . how do you think the bidding will go for Monday Night Football? Remember, the FOX Network was a joke UNTIL they grabbed the NFL from CBS. NBC went from first to worst when they let CBS take the AFC years ago. And NBC STILL hasn't recovered.

    You may not like Murdoch, but the man is a visionary, and he hires visionaries. What Murdoch understands about sports, is that the US is finally looking overseas for content that the rest of the world has. And if he wants to run NATIONAL US sports on cable, he can't do it piecemeal over a couple dozen channels.

    That's going to require A LOT of spectrum, and you don't want to continually louse up your non-sports channels such as FX (or Tru with CBS, or ABC Family). FOX already pays a price by running the MLB playoffs in the fall, causing a major schedule disruption.

    There's a reason "American Idol" starts in the middle of Winter. That reason is Sports.

  4. I think Hiestand put it well this morning:

    "That Fox might convert its Speed channel, now focused motor sports and in 82 million households, to general sports network would simply create another Lilliputian to tie down the Gulliver-like ESPN. (Google Gulliver if you don't know him — he has it goin' on! ) With channels already for MLB, NBA, NFL, golf, tennis, soccer, college sports and bocci ball — check that, no bocci channel has debuted yet— ESPN's problem isn't a possible mano-a-mano slugfest. It's death by 1,000 cuts."

  5. The MNF deal actually LOSES money. Not to mention, the NFL does like to spread the wealth a little.

    It would be unprecedented for a network to have a Sunday package(AFC or NFC) AND the MNF package.

    As it stands now, CBS-AFC, Fox-NFC, SNF-NBC, MNF-ESPN, various-NFLN.

    Note that there is no overlap, and ABC does not have a package.

    It would take an amount of money that no one is willing to shell out in this economy to pry an additional NFL games package away at this point.

    The "death by 1,000 cuts" analogy seems to be the most accurate at this point, but poaching the NFL is not the way its going to happen.


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