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.