Like any giant empire without the threat of healthy competition, ESPN has parlayed their monopoly into something that, despite providing a service that people want and "need," seems to not necessarily care about putting out a product that does much more than yell TEBOW, and discuss how the Miami Heat are DOOMED because they lost a game on a Tuesday. This past Friday was an egregious example of this sort of poorly executed viral baiting, when SportsCenter decided to devote half the show to the Heat's Harlem shake video, embarassing itself worse than a 46 year-old newly-single uncle who attempts to go out and pick up women with his 20 year-old nephew.
Thankfully, we (may) see the beginnings of something big--if not a changing of the guard, a promising external foe to at least motivate and/or scare the worldwide leader in sports. Via the NYT:
On Tuesday, Fox will announce its intention to start Fox Sports 1, an all-sports network, in August.
The channel will carry Nascar races, Major League Baseball games, college basketball and football, soccer and U.F.C. fights. It will also broadcast studio shows, including one that is to be hosted by Regis Philbin, a celebrated Notre Dame fan.
An 81 year-old host who worships one of the more "lets beat this shit into the ground"-ey sports topics out there? Uhh...
Fox Sports 1 will join a market that is far more crowded than it was when Murdoch first contemplated squaring off against ESPN. Not only will Fox face the dominance of ESPN, but NBC and CBS have their own sports channels, which are struggling for viewers and identities. The Big Ten and Pacific-12 conferences have created their own networks, and the Southeastern Conference is planning one. And in the past decade, M.L.B., the N.F.L., the N.B.A. and the N.H.L. have started their own channels.
Still, Fox and its parent, News Corporation, have a companywide faith in sports as a DVR-proof way to attract viewers — especially young men — and a belief that their new sports channel will differentiate itself from the competition, as the Fox News channel has demonstrated in its successful challenge to CNN and then MSNBC. To ensure that Fox Sports 1 has some of the style and attitude that Fox Sports has had since it began in the mid-1990s, Murdoch and Chase Carey, News Corporation’s president and chief operating officer, brought back one of their favorite executives, David Hill, for its creation and launch. Hill, the former head of the Fox Sports Media Group, left the division last year for another job within News Corporation.
Whatever this ends up being, there is really nothing bad that can happen--at least for us consumers. If it sucks, we simply won't watch it. But if it's good...
Fox Sports 1 is slated to launch on August 17th, in 9 million homes across the country.