Rupert Murdoch To Launch Fox Sports 1, A Competitor To ESPN

The channel will be one part NFL, with a dash of Nascar, Major League Baseball, soccer, and college basketball.

Rupert Murdoch is gunning for ESPN. The media magnate is to launch a sports channel in the U.S., in the hope that it will do for his fortunes what Sky Sports has done for it in the U.K.

Broadcasting is to start in August of this year, and the station, named Fox Sports 1, will run NFL games—it's held the TV rights since the start of the 1994 season—as well as Nascar, Major League Baseball, soccer, and college basketball. The media giant already has a sizeable chunk of small screen-shaped motorsport rights.

It owns the Speed channel, with a presence in 80 million U.S. living rooms, as well as Fuel, another motorsport channel. Subscription charges are expected to be between 75 cents and $1. By comparison, ESPN's monthly charges start at $5.15.

News Corp, Fox's parent company, has a huge presence in the worldwide sports arena. In the U.K., it's all about Sky Sports, where Murdoch's firm owns the rights to the sport which can only be described as oxygen for the average British male: Soccer. Last year it bought SIngapore's ESPN Star Sports and it has the broadcast rights over Indian Premier League cricket, which it broadcasts on its Asia-based Star TV network.

[Image by Flickr user Ron Cogswell]

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  • Morgan Wick

    You do realize that no actual NFL games will be airing on Fox Sports 1, at least not in the near future, right? And that Fuel doesn't actually show any motorsports, being a channel for "extreme" sports and the UFC?

  • Tmlc

    Don't forget the recent AUD$2bn purchase of fox sports in Australia last year...

  • BeaversBrother

    The reporting of rumors, yes, just rumors yesterday that ESPN may be considering bringing back Keith Olberman is enough to keep me from ever again tuning into "Sports Center." 

    Just the thought of that guy on television again should be enough to poison any network's ratings.