SBD/21/Sports Media

CRAZY LIKE A FOX: SI PROFILES MURDOCH FORAY INTO TV SPORTS

     "Just 13 months ago Fox had never so much as televised a
live sporting event.  Now the Fox name crops up every time an
event comes up for bid," writes E.M. Swift in this week's issue
of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.  Describing the network as "a major player
in sports since landing the rights to the National Football
Conference in 1993," Swift examines the recent deal with Don King
to broadcast the November 4 Tyson-Mathis bout.  He notes that
"Murdoch, who acts globally while others just talk it," will also
carry the fight in the UK over his Sky TV satellite service.
Swift also cites sources who say the deal stipulates Fox will
also get the rights to a dozen more King-promoted fights.  Fox
Sports President David Hill: "Underpromise, overdeliver.  That's
the sports division's credo."  Swift also writes that Fox's
hockey broadcasts next year will see a computer enhancement of
the televised image of the puck.  In the final stages of
development, the system would make the puck appear slightly
larger and three dimensional.  NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol,
on Fox's NFL approach:  "It's like they decided ESPN is doing
football for football people.  NBC has carved out a niche in news
and information gathering.  So they took the entertainment
angle."  Swift: "Guess what sports fans?  The entertainment angle
is selling" (SI, 9/25 issue).
     LETTERMAN'S TOP TEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT BEING A FOURTH-PLACE
NETWORK:  10) People can't say your show sucks, because they
haven't seen it; 9) You can address all of your viewers by name;
8) Once TV Guide decides to stop listing your shows, the magazine
is lighter and easier to carry; 7) Heartwarming feeling when
canned goods arrive from local grade schools; 6) Get to use
inspiring chant: "We're No. 4"; 5) Fourth ain't so bad -- I mean
imagine you're the fourth handsomest guy in the world   -- you'd
be pretty damn handsome!; 4) Don't get that paranoid feeling that
people are watching you; 3) New slogan: "If networks were
Beatles, we'd be Ringo!; 2) Andy Rooney gets a lot of sympathy
sex; 1) You have reached maximum sucking potential (CBS, 9/20).
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