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SBD/March 29, 2012/Media
News Corp. Taking Steps To Form National Sports Net To Challenge ESPN
Published March 29, 2012
BEEN THERE BEFORE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Adams & Stewart note News Corp. has been "down this road before." In the late '90s, the company "launched Fox Sports Net, a national program service that aired across its regional sports channels." The national service "allowed Fox Sports Net to capture national advertising." But "over the years, local programming on the regional channels increasingly took precedent, squeezing the amount of time for national programming." The regionals "still air some national programming but their main focus is on local sports" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/29). In L.A., Joe Flint notes given "how lucrative its regional channels are, Fox and News Corp. executives have for the most part viewed a national network as a luxury item, not a necessity." And "going after ESPN would not be cheap." Sports teams and leagues would "no doubt welcome another competitor to ESPN because it would mean one more bidder for rights, which could lead to even higher prices" (L.A. TIMES, 3/29).