FS1 To Take Aim At "SportsCenter" With Three-Hour "Fox Sports Live" Airing Nightly
Fox Sports 1's news program "Fox Sports Live," which will air at 11:00pm ET nightly, will "attempt to siphon viewers” from ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Fox Sports co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks said that “no on-air talent has been hired for the show as of yet, but the network has a rough idea of the format, rundown and structure.” The initial plans are to “air a three-hours news and highlight show from Los Angeles starting at launch; a morning newscast (likely airing from New York) is expected to launch” in January ‘14. Shanks said, "There is a baseline news investment that you have to have to be credible in a 24/7 environment. We want this to be a place where people can fulfill their needs for highlights. It's a news-based show, but it is not two people sitting at a desk reading highlights and then breaking down the X's and O's. We are going [to] try to have a bit of fun." Fox Sports execs said that they are “interested in bidding on the NBA's broadcast rights for Fox Sports 1 when the league's current deal with ESPN and Turner Sports concludes” at the end of the ‘15-16 season. FS1 will air a “primetime Thursday Night college football game and a tripleheader on Saturdays.” Teams will be “drawn from among the Pac-12, Big 12 and Conference USA.” Primetime college basketball games “will air Monday and Thursday nights, plus Saturday and Sunday coverage of the Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA.” Meanwhile, Shanks "deflected" inquiries about the future of Fox Soccer. He said, "We absolutely want to maintain the leadership position we have in soccer.” Regarding the possibility of an FS2 channel, Shanks said that it was “still too early to be definitive.” Shanks: "We have to still figure out if we want to put a Number 2 out there” (SI.com, 3/10). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes Erin Andrews likely will "be a key FS1 figure,” and he predicts FS1 and Keith Olbermann "will work out some sort of a deal” (DENVER POST, 3/11).
NO LARGE LAYOFFS HEADED TO SPEED: In Charlotte, Mark Washburn reported some of the 125 full-time jobs at Speed channel “will change, others will probably move and a few will be lost to redundancies.” But “for now, no large layoffs are expected.” Shows like the Barrett-Jackson car auctions “will continue on Fox Sports 1, but other Speed shows -- such as reality series 'Car Warriors' and 'Hard Parts: South Bronx' -- are likely to disappear” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/9).
THE LEADER LEADS: ESPN Global Customer Marketing & Sales President Ed Erhardt said of how he views competition from FS1 and other cable sports networks, "We sell who we are and will continue to do so. We have a brand that's long-established, a multimedia brand with sizable audience of both men and women. While Fox or the others focus on how they will position themselves to sell against us with their sports networks, we consider our sales competition to be much broader than those all-sports networks." Erhardt added, "We are not an emerging brand like some of these competitors are. We are not focusing on them. We are keeping our eye on the direction we are going in. We are selling commercials for our programming across all screens because viewers are watching sports on all screens. That's our ad focus" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 3/11 issue).