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THE ECONOMIST SAYS WHILE FSN IS GAINING, ESPN WILL SURVIVE
Published August 13, 1998
THE ECONOMIST profiles Fox Sports Net and its "clever" regional approach to sports TV and writes that it "is beginning to inflict some nasty wounds on Disney's ESPN, which has dominated American sports programming for nearly 20 years." But it notes that ESPN "is not about to drift into financial difficulty. As cable TV goes digital, there will be more space for more sports networks, and there is probably still demand for more sports. ESPN has a stunningly successful brand, and Disney's master-marketers are thinking up ways to use it. ... Still, [News Corp.'s Rupert] Murdoch and [Liberty Media's John] Malone look like [they will make] a lot of money out of Fox Sports Net -- money that would, if ESPN had seized its opportunity, have been Disney's" (THE ECONOMIST, 8/8 issue). WILL FOX PASS? In Dallas, Barry Horn writes that if Disney's NHL TV rights bid "is such a bad deal, how come Fox and its own cable brethren are thinking about making their own inflated bid? One thing is certain: whoever gets the NHL won't lose as much money on that deal as the networks will on the" $17.6B NFL TV deal (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/13).