A big step up for Randy Freer, who’s considered one of the most influential execs in TV sports. He’ll continue to oversee sports at Fox but with “a broad strategic and operational role across FNG” including Fox Broadcasting, reporting to FNG CEO Peter Rice, the company says. Freer seems to have a halo from the launch of Fox Sports 1 in August. Rice praised Freer’s “impressive skills as both an operator and builder of businesses” and said he’ll be “a key partner for me in overseeing and driving continued growth of our global channels business which spans nearly 400 channels in 200 countries.” Execs who’ll now report to Freer include Michael Biard, President of Distribution at Fox Networks; Toby Byrne, President of National Ad Sales at Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports Media Group; Lou LaTorre, President of Advertising Sales at Fox Cable Entertainment Networks, Fox Hispanic Media Group; and Kyle Sherman, EVP Home Team Sports. FNG finance & business development, corporate communications, legal and human resources functions will report jointly to Rice and Freer.

Here’s the company’s release:

Randy Freer has been elevated to the new position of President and Chief Operating Officer of Fox Networks Group (FNG), it was announced today by Peter Rice, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, to whom he will report. In his new position, Mr. Freer will have a broad strategic and operational role across FNG and directly oversee revenue, distribution and operations while continuing his responsibilities in rights acquisitions and team and league relationships. FNG includes FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX Sports, FX Networks, Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channels. Mr. Freer previously served as Co-President and COO, FOX Sports Media Group.

“Randy is an outstanding executive and having played a key role in growing our powerhouse television sports business, he brings impressive skills as both an operator and builder of businesses,” said Mr. Rice. “He will be a key partner for me in overseeing and driving continued growth of our global channels business which spans nearly 400 channels in 200 countries.”

Mr. Freer commented, “The Fox Networks Group has a portfolio of channels and hit content that is unrivaled and connects with viewers, advertisers and distributors the world over. I’m excited to be able to work with Peter and the incredible team to build on FNG’s global leadership.”

In connection with the appointment, the following executives will now report to Mr. Freer: Michael Biard, President, Distribution, Fox Networks; Toby Byrne, President, National Ad Sales, FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX Sports Media Group; Lou LaTorre, President, Advertising Sales, Fox Cable Entertainment Networks, Fox Hispanic Media Group; and Kyle Sherman, EVP, Home Team Sports. FNG finance & business development, corporate communications, legal and human resources functions will report jointly to Mr. Rice and Mr. Freer.

Eric Shanks, who ran FOX Sports Media Group alongside Mr. Freer, will assume sole responsibility for the Group as its President and COO and report to Mr. Rice. Also continuing to report to Mr. Rice will be John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions; Hernan Lopez, President and CEO, Fox International Channels; David Lyle, CEO, National Geographic Channels US and Global Programming; and Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, FOX Broadcasting Company.

Mr. Freer has held various senior executive positions at Fox since first joining the Company in 1997. Prior being named Co-President and COO of FOX Sports Media Group in 2011, he served as President, and before that COO, of FOX Sports Networks (FSN), the largest regional sports network group in the U.S. Prior to joining Fox, he served as Senior Vice President, Business Affairs at Active Entertainment, an animation syndication firm, and held executive roles at Turner Broadcasting over a nine-year tenure.

In addition to his executive responsibilities, Mr. Freer serves on the board of directors for BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) and the After School All Stars, which provides comprehensive after-school programs that keep children safe and help them succeed in school and life.