The Big Business Behind Sports Entertainment
For the past 34 years, when someone talked about a 24-hour sports programming network, it was a safe bet they were speaking about ESPN. The longest running, most profitable pure sports network has dominated the airwaves since its launch in 1979. As of 2013, however, ESPN isn’t the only game in town for sports networks.
Enter Fox Sports 1, or FS1. In March of 2013, SPEED Channel announced they were changing their programming to include more than just racing. Part of the programming change would include a name change to FS1 for the network. FS1 launched in August 2013 to an estimated 90 million homes.
ESPN has faced challenges from NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network over the years. FS1 is different, though. FS1 has a lineup of premier sports programming, thanks to the money behind the network. FS1 has spent millions in promotion and talent in order to compete with ESPN.
What has FS1 purchased for their hundreds of millions? NASCAR races, Ultimate Fighter events and programming, Major League Baseball games, the PGA Tour Championship, the U.S. Open, and a number of talented former pro-athletes for their sports talk programs.
Both ESPN and FS1 have a deep pool of alternative offerings, online platforms, and mobile applications to support their brand. ESPN has a number of channels including ESPN University, ESPNews, ESPN 2, and ESPN Classic. The FS1 family of networks is already growing. FS1′s family includes NESN, Yes Network, Fox Soccer, and 18 regional Fox Sports networks. These regional Fox Sports networks have provided the flexibility for programming to be tailored for the local market, helping to earn a larger share of the media market for FS1′s family of networks.
In terms of the financials behind each organization, ESPN is a known entity. With a value of $40 billion, ESPN is the big kid on the block. The worth of FS1 is to be determined over the coming years. They could potentially surpass ESPN as the largest sports network organization in North America, but that could take years. For the time being, FS1 is content to find a profitable niche to operate and grow their brand.
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Written by Cowboy on October 26th, 2013 | Tagged as: Popular Culture