/// Fox Sports 1 to Launch August 17

March 5, 2013  |  Media Week

After months of speculation —and 15 years of behind-the-scenes machinations—Fox Sports on Tuesday officially announced plans to launch a national cable sports network. And while the ultimate goal is to topple ESPN from its pedestal, executives were effusive in their praise of the Bristol juggernaut. Speaking to a horde of sports-media reporters gathered in a ballroom in the New York Marriott Marquis, News Corp. svp David Hill said Fox Sports 1 will launch on Tuesday, Aug. 17, with an eye toward offering a viable alternative to ESPN. Hill, who has been an indelible part of the landscape since he spearheaded the creation of Fox Sports 20 years ago, said that FS1 hopes to play in the same sandbox as ESPN, which he characterized as an “absolute world class” organization. “It’s going to take a while. We’re not expecting to knock ESPN off in a week or two,” Hill said, adding that “It’s going to take two to three years” before FS1 can compete with ESPN on equal footing. But make no mistake, FS1 is going to take some early shots at the hegemonic sports brand. Out of the gate, FS1 will televise an 11 p.m. ET news and highlights program that is pretty clearly meant to function as a challenger to SportsCenter. In addition to leveraging Fox Sports’ multiple sports-rights packages, a portfolio that includes Major League Baseball, Nascar, UFC , college football and international soccer, FS1 will also produce a roster of original shoulder programming. TV mainstay Regis Philbin has signed on to host the weekday drive-time chat show Rush Hour, while the Fox NFL Sunday gang will bring their expertise to an evening gridiron show, Fox Football Daily.

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