VARIETY's Rachel Abrams reported Fox Television Stations Group is "sniffing around acquisition targets in several major markets," including S.F., Seattle and St. Louis. The push is "part of a larger strategy to add to its station holdings in NFL markets, particularly markets with NFC teams," the conference for which Fox has TV rights. Fox currently has deals "in 11 of the 16 NFC markets." Sources said that Fox is "actively looking at stations in the Seattle market, where Tribune owns the existing Fox affiliate, KCPQ-TV." The Seahawks are "seen as an NFL franchise on the rise, which is only fueling Fox’s interest in the market" (VARIETY.com, 8/17).
LATE-NIGHT DRAMA: CBS Sports has acquired the rights to the Mountain West Conference's football championship game starting this season. CBS will carry the annual games as part of a multiyear deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed. This season, CBS will carry the game on Dec. 7 at 10:00pm ET, the same day as CBS' broadcast of the SEC Championship, which kicks off at 4:00pm. CBSSN is the conference's primary television partner and is scheduled to carry 23 regular-season games this fall (John Ourand, Staff Writer).
NEW VISION: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds reported Cablevision's high school sports service MSG Varsity entering its fifth year is "expanding its digital offerings, but will drop its linear channel." MSG Varsity "will offer over 500 professionally filmed games and events during the 2013-14 school year." Shortly after the conclusion of events, encores "will be available on-demand." However, MSG Varsity "will no longer be available" on the Cablevision dial. The MSO said that it will "announce its content plan for the linear channel position over the next few weeks" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 8/16).
TURNING A BLIND EYE: In N.Y., Bob Raissman called CBSSN the "Dweeb Of The Week." As FS1 launches, NBCSN "goes all in" with the EPL and ESPN prepares to launch Keith Olbermann's new show, CBSSN "quietly falls deeper behind its competitors." It is "an afterthought, a collection stop." With "few exceptions, it's a place for CBS Sports to dump excess cargo -- a nonfactor despite its owner's deep pockets and creative whizzes throughout the broadcast network division" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/18).