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MURDOCH'S NEWS CORP. LOOKING AT LIBERTY AS A RIVAL TO ESPN
Published October 25, 1995
TCI Inc. is reportedly in talks with News Corp.'s Fox to join their TV sports operations in creating a "national rival" to ESPN. Terms of a deal "are sketchy," according to the WALL STREET JOURNAL, but sources say that Fox is in discussions to purchase a piece of Liberty Sports Inc., the sports programming division of TCI. The negotiations still have "unresolved issues" and could "fall apart." A deal could allow TCI to "wring more value" from Liberty's 14 regional cable channels, and an agreement could give Fox "a boost" with "attractive local games." A partnership with TCI's John Malone and News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch "would create a potent competitor to any sports programmer, but particularly ESPN" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/25). Fox and TCI may also "try to bring in" Cablevision Systems, which through its programming arm of Rainbow Holdings owns 10 key regional sports networks, including SportsChannel New York and half of MSG (VARIETY, 10/23 issue).