Rupert Murdoch’s "white whale" has been a national cable sports network in the league of ESPN, and he’s now ready to take on the sports media giant with his own network, called Fox Sports 1, reports The New York Times.
Fox will launch the all-sports network in August, with plans to air content such as NASCAR races, Major League Baseball games, college basketball and football, soccer and UFC fights, the story says.
“Two decades after shaking up the sports broadcasting world for the first time by acquiring NFL rights, Murdoch has plans to challenge ESPN head-on and claim some of the lucrative revenue that the sports media giant has had largely to itself for more than three decades,” the report notes.
As previously hinted at by Regis Philbin, the network will broadcast a studio show starring the veteran television host, who is widely known to be a big Notre Dame fan.
Murdoch will have his work cut out for him. As The Times notes: "Fox Sports 1 will join a market that is far more crowded than it was when Murdoch first contemplated squaring off against ESPN. Not only will Fox face the dominance of ESPN, but NBC and CBS have their own sports channels, which are struggling for viewers and identities. The Big Ten and Pacific-12 conferences have created their own networks, and the Southeastern Conference is planning one. And in the past decade, MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL have started their own channels."
But Fox and parent News Corp. are believers that sports will continue as a way to attract viewers, especially young men. The network has tapped David Hill, the former head of Fox Sports Media Group, from another role within News Corp. to head up the new venture, the story says.