Rupert Murdoch Admits Launching FS1 Was "Big Bet," Expects Profits After Couple Years
News Corp. Chair & CEO Rupert Murdoch sat for his “first wide-ranging interview with the press” in five years with FORTUNE’s Patricia Sellers and was asked about the debut of FS1 last August. Murdoch said launching the net a “pretty big bet,” and that News Corp. expects to “lose a couple hundred million dollars for a year or two.” However, he said, “Then we expect it to turn, and we’ll gradually make it into a major alternative to ESPN.” Murdoch said FS1 is “not going to put ESPN out of business,” but noted the public “deserves choice.” Murdoch: “ESPN is a very, very good operation, and it’s a gold mine. It’s an even bigger gold mine than Fox News. ... ESPN has managed to ride this ‘Monday Night Football’ to the point where they’re charging every home in America with cable. Over $5 a head. How many people watch ESPN? A third of the public, half the public?” (FORTUNE, 4/28 issue).
NOT A WILD GUESS: Sports media reporter Ed Sherman wrote it is "no surprise" that FS1 has cancelled "Crowd Goes Wild." Using Regis Philbin as the central figure on the show "was a weird move, and the whole thing seemed doomed from the beginning." It was "too much of a hodge-poge of segments that didn't work and too many people on the set." However, there were some "decent pieces" on the show, as viewers can "expect to see more" of co-host Georgie Thompson on other FS1 programming. Sherman also wrote he liked co-hosts Jason Gay and Trevor Pryce (SHERMANREPORT.com, 4/29). SI.com's Richard Deitsch reported Thompson is "headed back to England," where she will cover the UEFA Champions League final next month for FS1. There also is a possibility she "will [be] part of Fox Sports 1's coverage of the Women's World Cup in 2015" (SI.com, 4/28).