News Corp’s COO assured investors this morning that the introduction later today of the Fox Sports 1 cable network is a smart long term strategy, even though it will result in losses for the next few years. The company will convert its Speed channel into a national, general sports channel and has to make a “manageable investment” while it tries to ”ramp up the rate” that cable and satellite companies pay for the existing service, Carey told the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom conference. Pay TV distributors currently shell out about 22 cents per subscriber each month for Speed — and $5.54 for ESPN — research firm SNL Kagan estimates. In the end, Carey says the upgraded sports channel could become “a multibillion dollar franchise.” The service will be “a natural fit” since sports “has been a huge part of the growth of Fox for 15 years….It’s a place where we can bring expertise, synergies and for us is part of growing and adding a new dimension to our business.” Although sports rights are expensive, Fox can “navigate that” and capitalize on programming that’s “ever more valuable and more unique in a world that’s fragmented.” The “key” to the effort, he says, is to “not try to beat ESPN.” It will take advantage of rights it bought for baseball, college football, college basketball and World Cup Soccer that “didn’t reside anywhere in the Fox family.” And Carey says that it’s especially important for Fox Sports to create compelling shows around the games. He notes that the “most important franchise at ESPN is Sports Center.”
What News Corp COO Chase Carey recently called the “world’s worst kept secret” – Fox’s still-unannounced plans to turn its Speed channel into a national general sports network called Fox Sports 1 — just became a little …
UPDATE: Major League Baseball Will Double Annual Rights Fees Following New Deals With Turner And Fox
UPDATE, 12:56 PM: The eight-year agreement with Fox Sports Media Group is the second shoe to drop today in Major League Baseball’s renewal deals, following the one we reported earlier with Turner. When you add these agreements with the one that MLB previously struck with ESPN, the league says that it will see a 100% increase in its annual rights fees compared with its current deals. That jibes with earlier leaks about the terms. In the new arrangement, which begins in 2014, Fox will keep the World Series and All-Star Game and share the League Championship Series and Division series with TBS and MLB Network. Fox will be able to broadcast 52 regular season games nationally on Saturdays, up from 26, and Fox can air 12 of them exclusively. The network also agreed to air a weekly 30-minute show created by Major League Baseball Productions. The pacts include TV Everywhere rights. They also end blackouts that prevented subscribers of MLB Extra Innings and MLB.tv from watching Saturday out-of-market games. Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig says that “the unprecedented and historic commitment these networks have made to televising Major League Baseball for years to come is truly amazing.”
The big question now is whether the networks will be able to pass some of the new costs off to pay TV distributors — and, by extension, consumers who might have to pay higher monthly bills. The deals with Fox and Turner will cost $6.8B over the eight years, Sports Business Daily reports. That comes to an average of $525M a year for Fox, and $325M a year for Turner. “The plain truth is that these MLB deals will send monthly pay-TV bills streaking skyward,” says American Cable Association Matthew Polka. “They will make life hard for families whose incomes, hammered by the recession, can’t keep pace with the greed of broadcasters, cable networks and sports leagues. And these MLB deals follow the announcement of equally harmful deals between the National Football League and CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN worth more than $42 billion.”
Fox Network Group has promoted longtime business and legal affairs executive Karen Brodkin to EVP Business and Legal Affairs at the Fox Sports Media Group. The move continues a restructuring that began in June to bring most of …
It’s Official: UFC Signs Multi-Year Deal With Fox Sports; Fox To Air Live Events, FX Gets ‘Ultimate Fighter’
Los Angeles – Today, Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization and No. 1 Pay-Per-View event provider in the world, finds its perfect media match in FOX, the No. 1 television network in the country. FOX Sports Media Group, the umbrella entity representing FOX Networks Group’s wide array of sports platforms, has reached a multi-year, multi-media rights agreement with Zuffa, LLC, owner of the UFC brand.
The landmark agreement, which puts UFC on par with many of the country’s professional sports organizations, delivers four live events in prime time or late night each year to the FOX broadcast network, home to the country’s biggest sports events, including the Super Bowl, World Series and Daytona 500. The first live event airs Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT. Additional programming on multiple FOX networks launches January 2012 and includes live fights, pre and post shows, countdown shows, UFC Unleashed, UFC Primetime, the UFC Knockout series, Best of Pride, weigh-in specials, and much more original content from extensive Zuffa archives. The agreement also provides for developing robust mobile and authenticated online offerings to exploit a vast array of digital platform rights.
In spring 2012, THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER, UFC’s signature weekly reality show moves to FX, FOX’s general entertainment cable network now in more than 99 million homes. With the move to FX, the show will feature a newly-designed format. FX is also set to televise another four-to six-live UFC events annually, with a mixture of additional events and programs heading to FSMG cable networks including FUEL TV.