SBD/June 20, 2013/Media

CBS' McManus: Not Changing Strategy Amid Fox Sports 1 Launch

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McManus said CBS Sports Network might do deals with competitors in future
CBS Sports Group Chair Sean McManus yesterday said that he expects the launch of Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 17 “to make a lot of noise, but he's not changing the strategy of his cable competitor CBS Sports Network in light of the crowding field,” according to Andrea Morabito of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. His comments came during the Sports Business & Technology Summit presented by B&C, Multichannel News and TV Technology. McManus said, "There are a lot of competitors in this space. It may very well be that in the future -- and we've done this with Turner -- that we do deals in the future with NBC Sports Network or NBC or Fox Sports 1. We're not directly responding to what they're doing by changing our altering our strategy at the sports network right now." CBSSN has “taken a different tack, opting to pick up smaller properties like Major League Lacrosse and Professional Bull Riders and hiring talent like Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb to helm studio shows.” CBSSN thus far has “grown from 22 million subscribers to 50 million under the watch of" new CBS Sports President David Berson (MULTICHANNEL.com, 6/19). MULTICHANNEL NEWS's Tim Baysinger noted Fox is “59 days out from its much-ballyhooed launch” of FS1. Fox Sports Media Group co-President & co-COO Randy Freer said, "It's a sprint at this point." Coinciding with the FS1 launch “will be the company's first TV Everywhere offering Fox Sports Go.” Freer said of Fox' adoption of second-screen technology, "We've been probably behind in many ways over the years. You want people to be [as] engaged as possible with your content" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 6/19).

HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE: Baysinger noted with the “rise of online and mobile video, TV Everywhere is seen as a way for pay TV programmers to protect their property from being completely usurped.” NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus yesterday said, "The TV Everywhere aspect of our business, specifically around sports and live events, is an important part of protecting the pay TV ecosystem. All the distributors and all the programmers should be moving towards a way to protect the value of that system so we can continue to pay the rights and build our high-quality content." Lazarus also “discussed the prospects of the year-and-a-half old NBC Sports Network, which rebranded from Versus on Jan. 2, 2012.” He said, "We are two years into a five-year process. We've made more progress in some areas than I thought we would and we've made less progress in (other) areas." Meanwhile, Baysinger noted there have been “whispers that the National Football League will look to sell off a portion of its ‘Thursday Night Football’ slate, which is currently televised by the league-owned NFL Network.” But Lazarus said, "At this point the NFL has not come out with any plans of what they're going to do with those games. The scarcity of (NFL football) has been good for the marketplace" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 6/19).
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