SBD/August 9, 2013/Media

Eric Shanks, Randy Freer Confirm Fuel TV Will Be Rebranded As Fox Sports 2

Fox Sports Media Group co-President & co-COO Randy Freer on Thursday "finally let the cat out the bag in regards to the heavily rumored companion net to Fox Sports 1," as Fox Sports 2 will be a "rebrand of Fuel TV," according to Tim Baysinger of BROADCASTING & CABLE. Freer said, "We believe in the value of this approach as it will leverage multiple live events, original and studio programming across both platforms." Freer and FSMG co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks said that they are targeting FS1 "to be profitable by 2016." The two maintained that FS1 will "be available in 90 million homes on the Aug. 17 launch date." However, the net still "has not cut distribution deals with major operators such as Time Warner Cable, Dish or DirecTV." Meanwhile, Shanks added that a main reason for the all sports net was "the ability to leverage it in upcoming rights negotiations" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 8/8). Shanks said, "There is actually limited opportunity to acquire new product until 2017." He added that FS2 programming will include UFC, MLB, NASCAR, Soccer, NFL, USGA, college football and college sports with "more than 4800 hours of live programming planned for the year." Freer said on the RSN side, "We're looking forward to stepping up our interest in YES Network, which we believe will be an excellent addition to our portfolio" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 8/9).

TIME RUNNING OUT: SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass noted NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice sessions and the Aug. 17 Camping World Truck Series race from Michigan Int'l Speedway will "be among the live telecasts on the first day Fox Sports 1 goes on air." It is not surprising that carriage negotiations "go down to the wire, but it’s enough to make NASCAR fans nervous as the channel they know as Speed will cease to exist when Fox Sports 1 is launched in its place in about a week." FS1’s "prerace and postrace shows ... are scheduled for Aug. 18," while the net on Aug. 21 is "scheduled to show both truck practices as well as the truck race that night." All Cup and Nationwide practices, as well as Nationwide qualifying Aug. 23 from Bristol, also are "scheduled for" FS1. That is a "good deal of NASCAR content in the first seven days of the new network -- all of which NASCAR fans are in jeopardy of not seeing" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/8).

LET'S TAKE SOME E: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's A.J. Baime reports Formula E has "further solidified its future," as the nascent series announced an agreement with Fox on a multiyear, international multimedia broadcast deal that may be the electric car racing series' "most important to date." Fox will air races "tentatively scheduled" for the streets of Miami, L.A., Beijing, Rome and Rio de Janeiro. The series is planning to stage its first race in September '14, with its "first world champion to be crowned" in '15. The Fox deal brings the races "into homes in nearly 90 countries" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/9).
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