Fox formally announced Tuesday that it will launch a channel to compete with the sports network juggernaut ESPN. The Fox Sports 1 channel, like ESPN, will air live events, news shows, talk shows and documentaries.
“Our hope is that we can be equally professional” with ESPN, says David Hill, who headed Fox Sports when it launched 20 years ago and is overseeing the new channel. “It’s going to take us a while. We’re not expecting to knock ESPN off in the first week or two. It’s going to take two to three years. It will be a slog.”
FS1 will create a daily 11pm news show called Fox Sports Live meant to directly compete with SportsCenter, as well as a light comedy show hosted by Regis Philbin called Rush Hour and a daily football show, Fox Football Daily, that will feature appearances by Fox’s various football analyst and announcers including: Terry Bradshaw, Jay Glazer, Howie Long, Erin Andrews, and Mike Pereira.
In an industry where live events are important (73% of ESPN’s programming is live) and ESPN has locked up many to the big TV rights, FS1 will hold its own through new or renewed deals with the MLB, NASCAR, college football and basketball, UFC and other sports. 55% of Fox Sports 1 programming will be live events.
In a response to Fox’s announcement ESPN‘s spokesman said:
“We like our position. We’ve always had vigorous competition so there is really nothing substantially new here. Others are beginning to recognize what we’ve long known – the power of live sports.”
FS1 will replace Fox’s Speed channel and is set to launch August 17th in 90 million homes.