SBJ/Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2011/Media

Q&A with Fox Sports Chairman David Hill

Fox Sports is preparing to produce its sixth Super Bowl since it picked up its NFL package in 1994, and David Hill has been at the center of each of those productions. SportsBusiness Journal staff writer John Ourand sat down with Hill last week to discuss his plans for the coming game.

TIFFIN WARNOCK
David Hill speaks about Super Bowl strategy.
What’s your production philosophy for a big event like the Super Bowl?
Hill:
The Super Bowl attracts people who are watching the only football game they’re ever going to watch. What we want to do is to sugarcoat the pill. You’ll be seeing stories. You’ll see a little bit about the history. Hopefully, within 10 minutes of us coming on, the group milling around the bar will sit down and watch us. That’s what it’s aimed for. But, having said that, we want the hard-core football fan to sit down and get something out of it, which is when Terry, Howie, Michael and Jimmy break it down. They are going to get the previews and what to look for.

What will we see from your production on Sunday?
Hill:
[Fox Sports Executive Vice President] Scotty Ackerson starts doing his first formats on the pregame show in April. We effectively locked the show in on Sunday night [Jan. 23], while sitting around a big table in a hotel in Chicago at the end of the Steelers game. We know who the teams are. We know who we’re doing profiles on. We know what our stories are now. It’s a mixture of personalities, party and Xs and Os. By personalities, we mean not only football personalities, but personalities in the wider world.

Eric Shanks and Randy Freer recently were named co-presidents of Fox Sports. What will their responsibilities be?
Hill:
It’s quite simple. Randy has been running the RSNs. Eric has been running the network. That will maintain. I expect that the decisions will be made jointly. Randy will become more involved in the network decisions; Eric will become more involved in the RSN decisions.

How did you arrive at that decision?
Hill:
Any business needs to refresh itself. I’ve been here 17 years doing it. I started it. And I think any business needs to get a fresh set of eyes on it. What’s happening is that Randy and Eric have been promoted, and they will assume more of a day-to-day running of the business. I will still be involved, but in a lesser presence than I have been.

What’s the biggest growth opportunity for Fox Sports?
Hill:
All of our cable assets are underdeveloped in that they are not fully distributed. For us, it’s getting all of our assets to a distribution of 100 million, so we have the broadest possible reach. That’s our growth.

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