Last time, we discussed the fact that Giants and A’s fans, Cal and Stanford fans, soccer fans, and NSACAR fans will all be interested in Fox Sports 1, the latest run at ESPN by a rival broadcaster. Here’s the next question.
Will you be able to watch it?
That depends. How much are you willing to pay?
FS1 will replace Speed on August 17, and initially is expected to remain on the same channel position and in the same programing packages where Speed currently resides. For Comcast subscribers, it means upgrading to the Premier package. For Uverse, it’s U200. DirecTV carries it in its Choice pack, while on Dish, it’s part of America’s Top 200. None of those are basic and may require upgrading. Only Astound Cable has Speed in its basic lineup, but very few Bay Areans can get Astound.
So if you want FS1, you may have to shell out more cash to upgrade to a more expensive package. For your increased support, you’ll also get Fox’s version of TV Everywhere, called Fox Sports GO, which will allow you to watch events on other devices a la WatchESPN.
Will FS1 rival ESPN?
Fox COO Chase Carey said that FS1 is not meant to compete with ESPN but to broaden the general sports broadcasting category. Yeah, I know, try to contain your laughter. But here’s why he said that.
From its outset, FS1 will have enough live events to make you want to watch, although maybe not enough to make you willing to pay more. Fox needs you to want FS1 enough to complain to your cable or satellite company that you want it moved to the basic package. Saying that they’re not competing with ESPN theoretically gives them some time to allow that to happen and keep their critics at bay.
Which brings us to the final question: Will it work?
Well, ESPN charges over $7 per subscriber for its two major channels which are part of Comcast’s basic lineup. Speed currently costs 31 cents per sub, and we already discussed where it’s carried. For Fox to make a realistic go of this, it’ll need to improve in both those areas. That’s where you come in.
Do you want to watch the 2014 Giants on Saturdays? How about Stanford and Cal football and hoops? European soccer, I mean “football”? NASCAR?
Fox thinks you do. Are they right?