FOX LOSES WITH FOOTBALL -- OR DOES IT?
In Los Angeles, Steve Weinstein examines Fox's first year of
covereage of the NFL, writing that "the many-pronged payoffs from
that massive investment have been both triumphal and
disappointing." John Mansell, senior analyst for Paul Kagan &
Associates, notes that Fox will lose "as much as half a billion
dollars over the course of the four-year deal with the NFL."
But, Mansell adds that what the network has succeeded in doing is
to "build a major domestic and international network, by
attracting stronger affiliates in major markets all over the
country." Ratings for Fox/NFC games are down 5% from last season
on CBS, while NBC/AFC games are up about 13%. Weinstein writes,
"Part of Fox's problem may be the on-field competition this
season. The AFC has it; the NFC -- though it boasts of pro
football's two best teams -- doesn't." However, Fox has won the
war of the pregame shows "by a wide margin" (L.A. TIMES, 12/22).