In what's become known as the worst-kept secret in broadcasting, Fox will re-brand its auto-racing-themed nets, “Speed” and “Fuel”, into general sports channels named Fox Sports One and Two. And the plan is to compete with ESPN by getting placed on basic lineups and commanding more money per subscriber from cable and satellite systems.
How will Fox do what CBS and NBC haven't been able to? Fox thinks it'll manage the “impossible” by offering more popular sports the others don't have, namely NASCAR, UFC, and baseball.
Fox recently spent a ton of money reversing its position on our national pastime and acquired the rights to air more MLB contests, both regular season and playoffs.
When some Giants games air on Fox Sports One and you can't watch them, you'll grumble a little. But when their entire division series airs there and you can't tune in, you'll be angry. And that's what Fox is counting on.
Fox even has the rights to add MLB matchups from its regional sports networks (RSNs) to these outlets. That's part of the reason it just ponied up $840 million for a stake in the Yankees' YES Network, and is even buying STO, the RSN for the Cleveland Indians.
Will baseball be enough? Well, Fox is also adding college football and basketball to the mix. Football games that had been on FX. Hoops that were distributed under the FSN umbrella. Anything it can get rights to that will help push it down the cable dial where you can watch it.
Will it succeed? Ask ESPN. It'll have a lot to say about who its competition is.
Huh? I'll explain next time.