Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Under Further Review: Fox Sports 1 Ready For Launch

Fox Sports 1 launches on Saturday and you're probably waiting on the edge of your seat to see what the next 24/7 sports network has to offer, especially with the Evil Empire slipping further from the minds of avid sports fans. Nobody knows exactly what to expect from Fox Sports 1, but there's one thing we know for sure:

Fox Sports 1 will be FUN.

The network's executives will not let you forget that, nor will the network's social media accounts.  They do it under the guise of a simple formula. ESPN = not fun; Fox Sports 1 = fun.  More specifically, Fox Sports is attacking ESPN's Sportscenter by essentially saying that ESPN's show is not fun and what will be Fox Sports 1's version, Fox Sports Live, will be fun.  The network is banking on Canadian duo and former TSN Sportscentre anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole to bring the ol' eff-you-en, which, to their credit, they have done before and can likely continue.
Actually this little dispute as turned into a lot of, well, fun for sports fans even before the network's launch.  There have been a few jabs back and forth between ESPN talent and Fox Sports, but none were more notable than Bill Simmons and the Fox Sports 1 Twitter account.

ESPN talents like John Buccigross and Scott Van Pelt have also weighed in on the topic in their own ways, so it seems that Fox Sports has quickly turned into "He Who Must Not Be Named" at the World Wide Leader.

There is currently at least one major problem with Fox Sports' impending Saturday launch date when it will replace Speed.  The network is not currently in as many houses as they had expected by the time of the launch, and you may not be able to see it.

Are you a subscriber of DirecTV?  You won't be able to see Fox Sports 1 launch pending a Hail Mary deal getting done.

Dish?  Sorry, you too.

Time Warner?  Well, they may have a bigger dispute on their hands.

Fox Sports 1 had initially said that the network would launch in 90 million households; now, that number is only around 45 million.  It's certainly not a small audience, but it's certainly not a big as it could - or should - be either.

According to Awful Announcing, this is an issue that comes done to cold hard cash.  Well, cold hard coins, actually.  The Speed channel currently costs subscribers 23-cents per month.  Fox wants to charge 80-cents per month for Fox Sports 1 with the potential to raise that fee up to $1.50.  It's worth noting that ESPN's subscriber fees are over $5 per month.

The hype surrounding Fox Sports 1 is raucous and growing, but that doesn't mean it is without its issues.  Launching to only half of the initially expected audience is a big blow, and we didn't even touch on the fact that Fox Sports 2 will be launching on a channel that did less than 1000 viewers on Tuesday morning (Fuel).  Fuel will relaunch as Fox Sports 2 on Saturday as well.

Still the excitement builds and we wait for the fun.  The network has been adding talent and rights left and right, so there are plenty of reasons to watch and keep watching.  This is not NBC Sports Network, Fox Sports 1 is the real deal and it's here to stay.  Fox Sports 1 is shooting straight for the top, looking to take a chunk out of ESPN's massive money stash.  Let's just hope Fox Sports 1 delivers the fun.

Fox Sports must improve their web presence to compete with ESPN. (Kevin Rossi)
Fox Sports 1's August 17th launch day lineup is filled with NASCAR, UFC, and Fox Sports Live's debut.(Yahoo!)


Kevin Rossi is a pre-junior Drexel Sport Management major with a minor in Communications. Kevin has worked at Double Eagle Golf where he is now Social Media Coordinator and Comcast-Spectacor as their market research intern. Since joining the SMTSU, Kevin has worked his way up the ladder to Vice President. Currently, Kevin is a staff writer for, and he has joined Temple University Athletics Communications for co-op this spring/summer.  Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Connect with Kevin Rossi on LinkedIn.

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