FX Tackles College Football
Network gives Fox a cable outlet for sports
By Jon Lafayette -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/27/2011 10:00:00 PM
The channel, known for edgy entertainment and movies, is expected to announce Monday it will be airing college football games on Saturdays this fall.
The package of 13 Fox Sports on FX games, some of which will air in primetime, is being carved out of rights deals Fox Sports already has with the Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA. Conference USA's championship game could also air on FX.
Sports have become a bigger priority for News Corp. since COO Chase Carey returned to the company in 2009. Having a strong cable outlet is important if Fox is going to compete for sports rights packages against ESPN, NBC Universal and Turner Broadcasting, all of which generate substantial revenue from subscriber fees as well as advertising sales. FX has 99 million subscribers.
FX has aired sports including Major League Baseball, NASCAR, college football, boxing and NFL Europe in the past, but not since 2006.
Fox Sports will produce the game broadcasts. It plans to announce the first three games on the schedule in June. Remaining games will be picked six to 12 days before they air to ensure exciting matchups for FX.
The network has not yet determined which sportscasters will announce the games and is developing plans for programming to surround the games, including pre- and post-game shows.
A Big 12 and Pac-12 game of the week will continue to air on Fox Sports Net, but FX is likely to get the best games. Other college football games will appear on Fox's regional sports networks. In all, Fox will televise more than 170 college football games on its networks.
So far this year, FX's ratings are up 19% among adults 18 to 49, thanks to a strong movie package and the syndicated Two and a Half Men. The network is also known for acclaimed original series including Sons of Anarchy, Rescue Me, Justified and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
It just makes sense for them to be more well rounded, especially since many of their other shows appeal to men.
Stanford Crane - 3/28/2011 4:53:49 PM EDT
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