FS1 Ready To Launch In Nearly 90 Million Homes After Deals With All Major Carriers
Fox Sports got through the thorniest part of its FS1 launch, convincing DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to carry the all-sports channel when it launches on Saturday. The deals, which were announced via press release this morning, ensure the new net will achieve its goal to launch in nearly 90 million U.S. homes, something Fox is calling "one of the largest network launches ever." Fox Networks Group President of Distribution Mike Hopkins was quoted in the release as saying, "We are thrilled that virtually all pay-television customers across America will have access to Fox Sports 1." DirecTV, Dish, TWC and Bright House reached agreements late yesterday. Previously, distributors including Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cox, Charter and Cablevision had said they would carry the channel. Fox also is rebranding Fuel into FS2 this Saturday. Those distributors that already had deals for Fuel TV will carry FS2, while those without are unlikely to carry it.
EVERYWHERE BUT HERE: FS1 will launch without its TV Everywhere application, Fox Sports Go. The app, which was widely expected to be available at launch, is not ready. "We're still testing it and working out the bugs," said Fox Sports VP/Communications Chris Bellitti. "It's a very complex app that will use one-of-a-kind authentication for live streaming. We want to make sure it's rock solid before we release it." There is no timeframe for when the app will be available. When it does launch, the app will feature live streaming to authenticated subscribers from FS1, over-the-air affiliates and Fox's RSNs. Network execs have promised about 1,100 live events a year on Fox Sports Go.