During the event that introduced US version of Fox Sports 1 to the world (let’s not forget the original Fox Sports 1 in Australia), we learned that the network has been built upon what Fox is calling “7 Sports Pillars,” College Basketball, College Football, MLB, NASCAR, NFL, Soccer and UFC fights.
Let’s go over what each pillar will bring to Fox Sports 1.
While it was not formally announced on Tuesday, we can expect Fox Sports 1 to be the official cable home of the new Big East, those “Catholic 7″ basketball-only schools to be joined by Butler and Xavier from the A-10 and maybe even Creighton from the Missouri Valley. The new Big East will join the Big 12, Conference USA and Pac-12 on Fox Sports 1. Expect to see basketball games in the winter on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Games from C-USA, the Big 12 and Pac-12 will be on Thursday nights as well as triple and quadrupleheaders on Saturdays. In addition, Erin Andrews will host a Saturday morning pregame show on FS1. The Fox Mothership will continue to air college football games on Saturday nights. The 2013 schedule for Fox includes Notre Dame at Stanford as well as the Big Ten Championship and the Cotton Bowl.
In 2014, Fox’s new contract with Major League Baseball kicks in. Fox Sports 1 will air a full schedule of 26 regular season games which will include games from its Fox Sports Net affiliates. Expect to see plenty of the New York Yankees from YES, the Anaheim Angels from Fox Sports West and the Texas Rangers from Fox Sports Southwest. In addition, Fox Sports 1 will carry two League Division Series and a number of League Championship Series. The LCS was the latest development. Fox’s broadcast schedule will reduce from 24 regular season games this year to 12 in 2014. Fox will still carry the All-Star Game, most of the LCS and the entire World Series.
As Speed converts to Fox Sports 1, its NASCAR coverage will carryover to FS1. This will include the entire Camping World Truck Series and the familiar NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane programs from Speed. In 2015, selected Sprint Cup races will move to Fox Sports 1 as will the All-Star race. The Daytona 500 Speedweeks festivities which include the Twin 125′s and the Duel will be aired on FS 1.
While Fox Sports 1 doesn’t have the rights to show games, it will have a daily program, Fox Football Daily which will include the cast of Fox NFL Sunday. The show will air daily at 6 p.m. ET. Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, Gus Johnson, Erin Andrews and Mike Pereira are listed as participants, but as the show evolves, this falls under the category “subject to change.” This show will premiere when Fox Sports 1 launches in August.
It’s expected that Fox will do away with Fox Soccer and convert it to FX2, an all-entertainment channel. With the loss of the English Premier League to NBC, Fox will move the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and CONCACAF events to Fox Sports 1. UEFA Champions League and Europa League will be aired on Tuesday through Thursday afternoons. And when Fox’s contract with FIFA begins in 2015, Fox Sports 1 will air Women’s World Cup games that year and in 2019 and the men in 2018 and 2022. Other soccer leagues that were part of Fox Soccer Plus can be expected to be dispersed to Fox Sports 2 when that channel launches at a later date.
On Fox Sports 1′s launch date in August, a UFC card will be aired. Also, Fox Sports 1 will be the home to UFC programming on Wednesday nights. During Super Bowl XLVIII week, Fox Sports 1 is expected to have a card the night before the Big Game. Super Bowl Saturday normally has a UFC pay per view, but it’s expected to be aired on FS1 in 2014.
The news about Regis Philbin was confirmed on Monday during his appearance on of all places, “The View.” Regis will be host of “Rush Hour” which will have a panel of guests from the media, sports and fandom. This will air at 5 p.m. ET and lead into Fox Football Daily.
At 11 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1 will air Fox Sports Live, the challenger to ESPN’s venerable SportsCenter. According to the Fox Sports executives, the network will invest heavily into a newsgathering operation that will produce a nightly program that will review the day’s events. A morning edition of Fox Sports Live will begin airing in January.
The Fox Sports Net affiliates and local Fox TV stations will be encouraged to contribute reports to Fox Sports Live.
It’s been seen on the Cotton Bowl and on the Daytona 500, the double box that will air commercials and also show live action so viewers don’t miss anything. Reviews on this has been mixed thus far, but I expect this to win fans over during NASCAR coverage.
Fox Sports Go will be an mobile and tablet app that will stream live events from Fox Sports, Fox Sports 1 and the Fox Sports Net affiliates. Subscribers to participating cable and satellite providers will have to authenticate in order to watch the events on their mobile device.
And there in a nutshell is what you’ll see on Fox Sports 1 when it launches on August 17.
The worst kept secret in sports media finally gets pushed from behind the curtain and will be officially unveiled to advertisers and the media on Tuesday. Fox Sports officials will be at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York to tell the world what the average fan will see on the new Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 networks when they launch this summer.
Unlike previous Fox launches when the broadcast company started completely new channels from scratch, it’s using existing infrastructure from Speed to form Fox Sports 1 and from Fuel TV to build Fox Sports 2.
And using existing partnerships with Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the Big 12 and PAC-12 along with UFC, the channels will have an extensive inventory of live sports to show. Plus, with an expected partnership with the breakaway “Catholic 7″ from the old Big East conference to form a new Big East conference, Fox Sports 1 and 2 will have live college basketball games in November.
Over the last year, Fox has flown under the radar to bring its new networks into fruition. While NBC Sports has attempted to add major sports to its arsenal, Fox has used its relationships to convince its partners to sign off on shuffling inventory from the Fox Television Network to its cable channels. As a result, Fox will have 14 MLB games starting in 2014 compared to 24 this year. Also, several NASCAR Sprint Cup races will go to Fox Sports 1 after being on Fox for several years.
While it appears Fox is positioning itself as a bona fide challenger to ESPN, it still has a long way to go if it truly wants to mount a fight. Even so, Fox and ESPN have become dance partners in college sports with the Big 12, the Pac-12 and look to partner with the old Big East and the Catholic 7. Just last year, ESPN and Fox filed a joint bid for the English Premier League before losing out to NBC. So as Fox starts the new sports networks, it’s also forming an Unholy Alliance with the one network that it along with CBS, NBC and to a certain extent, Turner Sports are hoping to knock down.
In addition to the live games, Fox Sports 1 will have talk shows. Regis Philbin announced on “The View” Monday that he will host a show on the network that will be modeled after “The View” itself. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported last year that Jay Mohr, a host on Fox Sports Radio, was in talks for his own series on FS1.
With Tuesday’s announcement, Fox Sports 1 and 2 become the New Kids on the Sports Block. The key for success will be clearance among increasing militant cable and satellite providers which are balking at paying high subscriber fees due to sports rights. Richard Sandomir and Amy Chozick of the New York Times report that Fox is seeking $1 per subscriber for FS1. After the euphoria of launching a new cable network comes the reality of gaining cable carriage. We’ve yet to hear if Fox has been able to get agreements from the major providers like Bright House, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Suddenlink and Time Warner among others. If Fox Sports 1 and 2 are cleared throughout the country, then it will be a major hurdle that will be out of the way.
And if Fox Sports 1 is able to get an NFL package and NBA games to add to their other properties, then the road for the networks will be paved with gold. Right now, the networks will be given a head start with MLB, NASCAR, college football and basketball, MMA, World Cup Soccer and additional soccer games coming Fox Soccer. If more properties can be added, then Fox will be in very good position as it heads into the next decade.
The journey for the new Fox Sports entities begins on Tuesday. Whether it will be smooth sailing or a stormy ride will be determined over the next few years.
In lieu of linkage which has been sorely lacking, my sincere apologies, I give a sports media notebook which includes some links for you. Life has gotten in the way and you’ve responded by not visiting the site. It tells me you want fresh content so I’ll do my best to provide that to you as often as I can.
- John Ourand of Sports Business Journal tweeted on Tuesday that Fox Sports 1 will be unveiled to advertisers in an upfront presentation on March 5. I expect a full press release and perhaps an embeddable video to place on this site. Fox Sports 1 will take over Speed’s infrastructure on many participating cable and satellite providers in August and its companion channel, Fox Sports 2 will bump Fuel TV from existence.
The new Fox Sports networks will certainly change the sports media landscape almost immediately.
- Also from Ourand with Michael Smith in this week’s SBJ, we find the Big East looks like it has deals in place with NBC Sports Network for football and basketball and CBS for basketball as well. ESPN does have the right to match the offers, but for now, let’s assume that NBCSN has its first pickup of a major college conference, content it desperately needs.
I do expect NBCSN to be a major player for the second half of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season and to perhaps take the Nationwide Series. NBCSN does have some summer holes to fill and NASCAR would fit the bill.
- In the Chicago Tribune, Robert Channick reports that the Cubs have exercised a clause to renegotiate its media rights deal with WGN-TV. The Cubs and WGN have been together since 1948 and has had a national following since the 1980′s when ‘GN followed WTBS and became a Superstation on cable. Since then, WGN’s parent company, Tribune Co. has split the station into two feeds, WGN America which is on many cable and satellite providers across the country and WGN, Channel 9 in Chicago.
Earlier this week, Paul Sullivan in the Tribune reported that the Cubs may choose to leave WGN after the 2014 season and opt to go all-cable, however, it appears the two sides will at least discuss a new contract and Tribune Co. says it wants to keep the Cubs. Major factors in these new talks are the recent megadeals by the New York Yankees, Cleveland MLB Team and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs also need money to help offset costs for renovations to Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are also on Comcast SportsNet in a deal forged with the White Sox, Bulls and the Chicago NHL Team.
We’ll be keeping an eye on what transpires. No matter what happens, the Cubs will be getting more money. A whole lot more.
- I’m saddened to hear that Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sara Ganim is being harassed by the Paterno “Truthers”. The Philadelphia Magazine blog, the Philly Post reports that Ganim is being subjected to sexist taunts on Twiiter by the people who refuse to believe the Freeh Report. Ganim did very solid reporting on the Jerry Sandusky case and her stories led to the downfall of the former Penn State football defensive coordinator, coach Joe Paterno and the football program, but it does not allow for people to use Twitter to harass and threaten. C’mon, now.
- A Phoenix Coyote fan who is a pediatrician for an Arizona network of hospitals got angry at Adrian Dater, the Colorado Avalanche beat reporter for the Denver Post and told him on Twitter to “go catch a movie in Aurora” and “join Jessica for all I care.” That is in reference to last year’s movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO that left 12 people dead including Jessica Ghawi and 58 others injured.
After outrage from Dater and others, the pediatrician made his account private and then subsequently deleted his account. In addition, his employer has released a statement saying the actions are under review.
I understand getting emotional over your team, but is it necessary to tell a reporter to get shot and wish him dead? Is this what we have become? The last two stories about trolling reporters through Twitter almost leaves me no hope for humanity. Luckily, I remain an optimist, but stories like these make it tough.
We’re done here for now.
I haven’t done a thoughts post in ages. It’s fine time you’ve been provided one. Lets do this. As usual, they come in bullet form.
- How much is too much? When will the sports rights fee bubble burst? When will there be major blowback from a major cable or satellite provider against one of the major or regional sports networks? I have feeling that the providers are reaching the end of their proverbial ropes on constantly rising subscriber fees from sports programmers. They are a major reason why your pay TV bills are increasing. While sports fans feel the battles have become par for the course, a majority of the country doesn’t follow sports and wonder why they have to subsidize something they don’t watch.With Fox Sports’ purchases involving YES and Sports Time Ohio and creating two all-new sports networks along with Time Warner’s Los Angeles Lakers channel and potentially a Dodgers network, the price for subscriber is only going to go up. And with rights fees growing exponentially, the sports fan who might be living paycheck to paycheck may find him or herself priced out of watching sports on television.With many consumers cutting the cord on cable or satellite and finding alternate ways to watch TV, one wonders if networks and leagues will cut deals directly with YouTube or other online distributors to reach viewers.
- Looking forward to seeing the debut of “The Crossover” with Michelle Beadle and Dave Briggs on NBC Sports Network. While we saw a sneak preview after the Pro Bowl on Sunday night, it certainly looked like an exact clone of her old show, SportsNation. It was only five minutes. We’ll see if it’s any different when it finally airs. Michelle is so funny, that the show will probably work.
- There was a time when network’s only Super Bowl pregame programming came on Super Bowl Sunday. Now with CBS, NBC and soon, Fox developing their cable sports networks, they all need inventory. So CBS Sports Network has 50 hours of programming this week, NBC Sports Network has its share, NFL Network has 140. Because there’s interest in the game, the networks provide the programming. It works because people will watch and it’s the NFL. If the Super Bowl didn’t get the ratings, the networks would not do much, but again, how much is too much? Is there a limit to this too?
- Speaking of Fox, it appears their cable sports strategy is taking shape. Not only will Speed be converted to Fox Sports 1, John Ourand at Sports Business Journal reports that Fuel will be rebranded to Fox Sports 2 with Fox Soccer becoming FX2 and no longer in the sports business. So Fox will have two all-cable sports channels to handle college basketball, college football, MLB, MMA, NASCAR, soccer and other inventory the division will develop. And I would not be surprised to see a lot of Super Bowl programming on both Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 in advance of Super Bowl XLIX in New York/New Jersey next year. And there won’t be any sports on FX once FS1 and 2 come to fruition.
- Quick movie recap: Les Miserables A, Django Unchained A+, Movie 43 C minus and Silver Linings Playbook with A+. SLP was much better than I thought it would be. Very impressed with Jennifer Lawrence’s performance and Bradley Cooper was very good.
Time for the look back at the Year in Sports Media in 2012. Lots of great stuff. The year has been very interesting and we have seen a lot of things.
Just doing a Top Ten is never enough for the Year in Review. It’s always an even dozen with some honorable mentions mixed in.
Let’s go over what were the Sports Media Stories of 2012.
12. Embrace Debate Leads To Rob Parker Suspension
One of the silliest stories in 2012 was ESPN’s commitment to debate programming. Two shows were revamped to accommodate more debate among ESPN personalities, First Take and Numbers Never Lie. Due to outrageous statements made on First Take, mostly by Skip Bayless, the show received lots of attention and increased ratings. But the pressure to stand out may have caught up with Rob Parker who questioned whether DC NFL Team quarterback Robert Griffin III’s authenticity.
It led to Parker’s suspension and allegedly more oversight over the shows. We’ll see if it leads to some more control and fewer outrageous statements.
11. Steve Sabol (1942-2012)
One of the pioneers in sports television passed away in 2012. Steve Sabol’s impact on the National Football League’s popularity through NFL Films cannot be measured. With his father Ed, the Sabols brought fans closer to the game by thinking outside the box. Games weren’t just regular contests, they became movies with Hollywood production values and full orchestrations. Instead of showing games from high in the stadium, NFL Films went to field level and made extreme closeups of the players. In addition, Ed and Steve introduced slow motion photography to sports.
In 2011, Ed Sabol was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It would behoove voters to induct Steve sometime soon to join his dad.
10. Big Media Taps Into New Media
2012 saw Turner Sports purchased the much-criticized and now-improving Bleacher Report, USA Today buying Big Lead Sports and NBC Sports aligned itself with Yahoo! Sports. This is more than getting pageviews and improving comScores, this is about expanding portfolios and attracting younger audiences. According to comScore, Yahoo! has been the most popular sports news site for several years outpacing ESPN.com. Bleacher Report may get criticized for its multiple and questionable slideshows, but its hiring of some respected editors and writers have increased the quality of the site to the point where Turner Sports purchased the site for beaucoup bucks. And I have to make this disclaimer, Fang’s Bites is an independently-owned blog that is affiliated with USA Today Media Group. We will see more purchases in 2013.
9. NASCAR Renews with Fox
Fox Sports was the first of NASCAR’s TV partners to renew its ties with the sport taking the first half of the Sprint Cup season. For an estimated pricetag of over $2.4 billion through 2022, Fox remains with NASCAR in a relationship that dates back to 2002. Fox is expected to put some of its races on its new all-sports channel, but we’ll get to that later. And expect live on-streaming in this new contract. However, NASCAR’s ratings are a question-mark, but bidding for the second half in 2013 is expected to bring even more money. It’s all going to be quite an interesting year for NASCAR.
8. NBC Steals English Premier League and Formula One From Fox
October turned out to be a good month for NBC Sports Group as far as acquisitions were concerned. It first obtained the rights to Formula 1 as Fox gave just a nominal bid. Then a couple of weeks later, it emerged as the frontrunner to the English Premier League and then won out over a concerted combined bid from ESPN/Fox. While NBC Sports Network won’t be known as a college sports destination or for MLB, perhaps it can become an international sports channel with the EPL, Formula 1 and Olympic Sports. NBC Sports Network will have some sports to watch year-round with the English Premier League, Formula 1, MLS and the NHL (when it finally returns).
7. NFL Network Picks Up Its Last Two Holdouts
Since 2010, NFL Network has been gaining momentum in picking up carriage agreements with the major cable providers. It finally was able to sign deals in 2012 with its last two remaining holdouts, first Cablevision in August and then the very last one, Time Warner Cable in September. Thanks to the increased audience, NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football package had record ratings for its new 13 game schedule. It was a struggle for NFL Network to get all eight major cable and satellite providers on board, but after eight years, it finally got it done.
6. MLB New TV Contracts For A Lot of $$$
It started in August when ESPN renewed rights for its three nights of baseball games, a return to postseason and an increased amount of games for a total of $5.6 billion over eight years. Then in October, MLB announced deals with Fox and Turner for a combined $6.8 billion through 2021, providing them with TV Everywhere rights, postseason deals and a package of regular season games. For Fox, it allows the network to put games on its anticipated all-sports cable channel, but again, more on that later.
5. CBS & NBC Announce New Sports Radio Networks
2012 brought two new national networks to the sports talk radio scene. Within two days of each other, NBC Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio were announced by both companies and with respective partners Dial Global and Cumulus Radio. NBC Sports Radio has been airing limited weekend programming since September, however, CBS Sports Radio chose to wait until this month to begin full operation with a 24/7 lineup. Both have a long way to go to match the firepower and the reputation of ESPN Radio that has been on the scene since the early 1990′s, however, CBS has hired familiar names like Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb, John Feinstein, Scott Ferrall and Dana Jacobson. NBC will wait until the NCAA Final Four to finalize its weekday lineup. No matter the case, ESPN Radio finds itself with some formidable competition to join Yahoo! Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio for listeners.
4. ESPN Free Agency
We had some big names leave the ESPN nest, Erin Andrews, Steve Berthiaume, Michelle Beadle, Cindy Brunson, Doug Gottlieb, Dana Jacobson, Michael Yam to name a few, but many stayed including Scott Van Pelt. This seemed to be quite the year for free agency for ESPN. In some cases, the network chose not to renew and wave goodbye to those departing, others decided not to return for other opportunities while in others, ESPN went out of its way to make sure its desired talent stayed. For the first time, ESPN was transparent in making statements about its free agency signings or departures. In the past, it had issued terse statements when media inquiries were made.
3. Fox Spending Spree
As the year-end was approaching, Fox Sports through its parent, News Corp., went on a spending spree unlike any other in sports media. It not only set up an all-sports cable channel for operation in 2013 (again, more on this later), but it bought into the YES Network which will eventually lead into a majority share of the New York Yankees regional sports network and fully purchased Sports Time Ohio for the Cleveland MLB Team. In addition, Fox is reportedly close to signing a long-term deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for its media rights. News Corp. had money to spend with the company splitting off its publishing holdings into a separate company and of course, the proverbial fiscal cliff where tax credits were about to change. Will we see more of Fox’s financial muscle in 2013? I think that’s a safe bet.
2. The Emergence of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2
While NBC Sports Network was attempting to bid for major sports properties, Fox Sports was quietly forming its cable sports strategy for 2013 and beyond. We began hearing rumblings about Fox rebranding Speed into an all-sports channel that would be named “Fox Sports 1″ then at the end of the year, the company’s Fuel channel would also be rebranded as “Fox Sports 2″.
In its new contracts with MLB, NASCAR, the Pac-12, UFC and other sports properties it signed in 2012, Fox had a provision to put games and events on Fox Sports 1. As part of its new contract with Major League Baseball, Fox Sports can place 40 regular season games on cable as well as several postseason games. We should expect a number of NASCAR Sprint Cup races on FS1 and most likely see some UFC events as well.
The strategy is in place. Let’s see how it’s enacted in 2013 and beyond.
1. NBC’s Olympics Both Fail and Succeed
Up until the London Olympics begin in late July, NBCUniversal had been downplaying both ratings and financial expectations stating that it expected to lose money and the ratings for a tape delayed event would not be as good as in 2008 when events were carried live from Communist China. Somewhere along the way, something happened. NBC broke even financially on the Olympics and they became the most watched event in US television history. That was the successful part.
The failure was the tape delayed aspect when many viewers wanted to watch events live. The #NBCFAIL hashtag on Twitter quickly spread like wildfire during the first weekend of the Olympics. In addition, online streaming was sluggish and haggard. But even with the delays and streaming problems, Americans still watched in droves. When the games were said and done, NBCUniversal could pat itself on the back.
Struggles of new regional sports networks to gain carriage agreements.
NHL Does Well; But Shoots Itself in the Foot with the Lockout
Tim Tebow Overload
ESPN Continues Dominance in College Sports
The Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Fox Sports Media Group have announced their broadcast schedule for the upcoming year. There will be four UFC on Fox events, the first one in 2013 to be held in January in Chicago. The other UFC on Fox events take place in April, July and December.
In addition to the Fox cards, there will be several live events on FX and Fuel throughout the year.
And let us not forget another season of The Ultimate Fighter on FX which premieres in January.
Here’s the UFC on Fox press release and a look at some of the schedule highlights for 2013. Check it all out.
Plus, Highlights from FX and FUEL TV and Pay-Per-View Schedule, including JONES vs. SONNEN, a Championship Fight at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Las Vegas, Nev. – The Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) and FOX Sports gear up for an exciting new year of UFC coverage by unveiling the 2013 UFC® on FOX broadcast schedule featuring four live events on FOX. Next year, UFC® on FOX kicks off on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the United Center in Chicago, with additional events planned on April 20, July 27 and Dec. 14.
Other highlights from the 2013 FX, FUEL TV and Pay-Per-View schedule include UFC®: JONES vs. SONNEN, which will be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Saturday, April 27. Charismatic star Chael Sonnen will get a shot at UFC champion Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title on April 27 after the two serve as coaches opposite each other on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter®, which will debut in January 2013 on FX.
“2013 is shaping up to be a huge year for the UFC and we can’t wait to bring more great fights to FOX!” said UFC President Dana White. “We’re going to continue to take the UFC all over the world putting on the biggest and best fights. FOX is an amazing broadcast partner and we’re going to do some big things next year.”
UFC 2013 Schedule Highlights:
Date Location Event Saturday, Jan. 19 Brazil UFC on FX: BELFORT vs. BISPING Saturday, Jan. 26 United Center, Chicago, Ill. UFC on FOX Saturday, Feb. 2 Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nev. UFC 156: ALDO vs. EDGAR** Saturday, Feb. 16 International Event UFC on FUEL TV Saturday, April 20 City to be announced UFC on FOX Saturday, April 27 Prudential Center, Newark, N.J. UFC: JONES vs. SONNEN** Saturday, July 27 City to be announced UFC on FOX Saturday, Dec. 14 City to be announced UFC on FOX
*Please note this is not the full 2013 schedule. Additional FX, FUEL TV and Pay-Per-View events and on-sale dates will be announced at a later time. For more information, visit www.ufc.com/schedule.
**Live on Pay-Per-View
And we’re done here.
As we speed into the last quarter of 2012 and prepare for what’s ahead in 2013, there is one thing that is on the horizon for US sports fans and that is the expected appearance of a new all-sports cable channel. No, it’s not NBC Sports Network, although its trials and tribulations this fall will be the subject of a sports media thoughts post this week.
Sometime over the next two years, Fox Sports will announce that the sometimes all-motorsports, sometimes reality channel SPEED will be converted to an all-sports channel that will air MLB, Big 12 and Pac-12 sports, MMA, some NASCAR and anything else it can its hands on. You’re seeing a little bit of this through Fox’s increased sports programming on FX. Two Saturdays ago, FX had a college football doubleheader followed by a UFC on FX Fight Night.
Imagine that next year on the new SPEED which will in all likelihood be rebranded as Fox Sports 1. Why Fox Sports 1? Because it will be part of a company rebranding of Fox’s other sports channels, Fox Soccer and Fuel as Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 3, respectively. And there is precedence for this. Fox’s Australian channels are called Fox Sports 1, 2 and 3. Each channel serves to carry certain sports and big events like the Olympics or the Australian Open.
For American sports fans, expect the sports properties to line up as follows once the rebranding takes shape:
FOX SPORTS 1 (FORMERLY SPEED)
- College Basketball (Big 12 & Pac-12)
- College Football (Big 12 & Pac-12)
- English Premier League (Survival Sunday)
- Mixed Martial Arts (UFC)
- UEFA Champions League
- World Cup Soccer
FOX SPORTS 2/FOX SPORTS 2 PLUS (FORMERLY FOX SOCCER/FOX SOCCER PLUS)
- English Premier League
- Scottish Premier League
- UEFA Champions League
- UEFA Europa League
- Australian Rules Football
FOX SPORTS 3 (FORMERLY FUEL)
- Extreme Sports
- Australian Rules Football
- Mixed Martial Arts (UFC)
Fox has already signed for 40 MLB games on Fox Sports 1, taking 14 games away from its over the air package and another 13 away from TBS to form the new slate of games on cable. In addition, the new cable channel will air some League Division Series games starting in 2014.
Fox is about to announce a renewal of its NASCAR rights and expect part of its current schedule of 13 races in the early portion of the Sprint Cup calendar to migrate to Fox Sports 1. If Fox keeps the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the races could be split among Fox Sports 1 and 3.
And if Fox manages to hold off Al Jazeera’s expected bid for the US rights to English Premier League games, perhaps Fox Sports 1 could gain a package of early Saturday or Sunday morning matches with the rest going to Fox Sports 2.
There are a lot of possibilities for the Fox Sports channels. It could also be in very good position to gain NBA games when the new set of packages go to bid in 2014. And let us not forget about a potential 8 game Thursday Night NFL package that could cover the first half of the regular beginning in 2014 that Fox would certainly be interested in.
It was thought that NBC was positioning itself to challenge ESPN’s supremacy, but with its acquiring of MLB, NASCAR and college sports plus the World Cup in 2015, Fox just might have leap frogged ahead of the Peacock as ESPN’s main opponent.
Combined with ESPN2, Fox Sports English and Spanish-language platforms, a total of 1.3 million people watched the final day of the English Premier League on Sunday.
According to Fox Sports, ESPN2 had the most viewers with 600,000 for the dramatic Manchester City-Queens Park Rangers game which saw ManCity eke out a win with two goals in stoppage time to win the EPL title.
On Fox Sports platforms which utilized Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Sports Net, Fuel, FX and Speed, the audience registered at 392,000 viewers. The most viewers were on FX which carried Sunderland-Manchester United (161,000).
For Fox Deportes, the channel saw 167,000 viewers while ESPN Deportes which also carried the ManCity-QPR match, it had 189,000.
Overall, the viewership was 72% from the games a year ago.
We have the Fox Sports statement on this.
SURVIVAL SUNDAY IS SMASHING SUCCESS
English & Spanish Language Viewership Tops 1.3 Million; Up 72% vs. 2011
New York — This Mother’s Day edition of Survival Sunday produced the mother of all days for the Barclays Premier League and world-class European soccer in the United States, as nine of the day’s ten games were carried by a FOX Sports Media Group network or platform, a first in U.S. television history.
Manchester City’s dramatic, come-from-behind victory on the season’s final day in extra-time had the feeling of a Hollywood script and delivered the team its first Premier League championship in 44 years. At the same time, their shocking win snatched what looked like a cinch 20th Premier League crown away from perennial powerhouse, Manchester United. The shift in emotion for team supporters was seismic.
Led by FX, FSMG networks SPEED, FSN, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes, along with digital platforms FOXSoccer.com and FOX Soccer 2Go, carried nine matches live at 10:00 AM ET (5/13). The tenth game was televised by ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
According to audience figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research, the English language (FX, SPEED, FOX Soccer, FSN, FUEL TV & ESPN2) and Spanish language (FOX Deportes & ESPN Deportes) viewership in the United States for Survival Sunday came in at 1,348,000, up +72% over the combined viewing on FOX Soccer, FOX Deportes, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes on Survival Sunday 2011 (728,000).
Here are additional highlights from Survival Sunday 2012:
- The English language audience on the FOX-outlets (392,000) and ESPN2 (600,000) combined for 992,000 viewers, up +80% over the combined viewing on ESPN2 and FOX Soccer a year ago (550,000).
- English-language viewership on FOX outlets (392,000) was +160% vs. 2011 (151,000). The breakdown is as follows: FX – 161,000; FOX Soccer – 77,000; SPEED – 53,000; FSN – 59,000; FUEL TV – 42,000.
- FOX Deportes recorded 167,000 viewers Sunday, +120% over a year ago (76,000); ESPN Deportes drew 189,000 viewers.
- *Unique visitors to FOXSoccer.com on Sunday were 420,000, +278% from last Survival Sunday (111,000) and +143% compared to the usual Sunday average during the Barclays Premier League season (173,000).
*Source: Unica NetInsight
- +FOXSoccer.com and FOX Soccer 2Go combined for 41,522 live video streams.
+Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst
Happy Mother’s Day.
It’s been quite the day in sports already. A few thoughts in bullet form.
- Fox promised us unprecedented coverage on the last day of the English Premier League season and it delivered. Using FX, Fox Sports Net, Fuel and Speed in addition to its Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus on online platforms, it provided full coverage of the final day of the EPL season as teams were scrambling for the Title, Champions and Europa League spots and avoiding relegation. With ESPN2 allowed to air the Manchester City-Queens Park Rangers match, Fox focused on the other 9 games of the day. Using FX as its main hub, there were real time updates on the Fox Box as well as cut-ins by Rob Stone showing scores from other games.
If Fox retains the US rights for the English Premier League, I would love to see more of this coverage not only for what was dubbed “Survival Sunday” by Fox, but for the Opening Weekend of the season as well.
I admit I wasn’t a fan of Rob Stone when he was at ESPN, but he’s grown on me as host of the Premier and Champions League on Fox Soccer. And the way Fox utilized its platforms today was excellent. One could argue they should have been doing this all along.
If Fox is going to do this next year, then open up the pay platforms of Fox Soccer Plus, Foxsoccer.com and Fox Soccer2Go for the weekend. Those of us who don’t subscribe to those platforms were shutout today.
- One pet peeve I have about Fox is that it won’t allow online streaming of its sports properties. Whether it be MLB, NASCAR, college football or NFL, the network makes us watch its product on television. If we can’t be in front of a TV, then we’re pure out of luck. Some the online rights are locked with the league as with the case of MLB and the NFL, but ESPN, NBC and CBS have been diligent in getting online rights. Fox remains steadfast in not streaming its events. I hope that changes as the network goes forward with the NFL and any other sports properties it obtains from here on out.
- And Friday’s development that Michelle Beadle is leaving ESPN is not a surprise. While there has been no firm confirmation from neither ESPN, NBC where she’s reportedly heading nor from Michelle herself, she’s about good as gone.
I told you in the past that sports is not what Michelle wants to do full-time. By keeping a hand in special events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl should be enough for her. And by co-hosting Access Hollywood, it gives NBCUniversal a versatile personality.
She’ll do well for NBC.
That’s going to do it for now.
Thursday turned out to be quite the crazy day for those of us who follow the sports media beat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. On any given day, you just don’t know when sports media news will break. We had two stories throw us for a loop. I’ll do the thoughts as always in bullet form.
- We knew the Michelle Beadle story was going to come to a head, we just didn’t know what direction it would take. Finally, we did hear about some movement. And it all moved around 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. Whether Michelle decides to leave ESPN and go to NBC as SportsbyBrooks tweeted on Thursday or remain at the Alleged Worldwide Leader (highly unlikely), she’s going to get paid. I do believe that she will leave, take the job at NBC and be featured on the Olympics this summer, either as a contributor on the Today show, or as a host on one of NBCUniversal’s cable networks, most likely NBC Sports Network.
I’ve said all along that Michelle’s future is not in sports and if SportsbyBrooks’ tweet is correct, then being a co-host on Access Hollywood with Billy Bush would be right up her alley. And Michelle could always return to sports every two years during the Olympics. But as Michelle herself once told me, the truth will come out soon.
- Now the other piece of sports media news from Thursday was the surprising move by Jason La Canfora to leave NFL Network and join CBS in July to become an NFL insider at its dot com site and on television. As Michael Hiestand of USA Today discovered for Friday’s edition, not only will La Canfora replace Charley Casserly on The NFL Today, he’ll also appear on CBS Sports Network which could have its own Sunday morning NFL pregame show plus other NFL-related programming.
I thought La Canfora did a good job on NFL Network especially in replacing Adam Schefter in 2009 after he bolted for ESPN. In regards to replacing Jason, NFL Network has recently hired a trio of on-air reporters who could conceivably take his place or it could fill the insider by committee. Whatever direction NFL Network goes in the Insider position, I’m sure it will be someone solid.
- I watched some of ESPNU’s coverage of the SEC Softball Tournament. Beth Mowins did a very good job on the play-by-play. She’s called college football, the Women’s World Cup in Germany in addition to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and she’s called each sport quite well.
- I’m looking forward to Sunday morning when Fox Sports goes all out for the final day of the English Premier League season. All ten games on Sunday will be aired on ESPN2 and nine Fox platforms including Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Sports Net, Fuel, FX, Speed, Fox Deportes as well as online. It’s going to be bedlam, but in a good way.
That’s going to conclude the thoughts for now.
With teams fighting to stave off relegation to the lower Football League, Sunday is going to be a very interesting day in the English Premier League. We already know that Blackburn and Wolverhampton are going to be out of the EPL next season. Queens Park Rangers and the Bolton Wanderers are fighting for that last spot to stay in.
In addition to relegation, there’s the final standings which determine which teams go to the UEFA Champions League for next season (top four places go) and which teams go to the UEFA Europa League (5th and 6th place teams). It’s all quite interesting and will be a day to behold.
With that said, Fox Sports Media Group is devoting nine of its platforms to nine of the ten games being played on this last day of the English Premier League season. FX, Fuel, Fox Sports Net, Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes, Speed as well as Fox Soccer2Go and Fox Soccer.com will be utilized in this unprecedented day of soccer coverage in the United States.
The only game not covered by Fox will be Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers and that will be aired on ESPN2. All games will begin at 10 a.m. ET with pregame coverage a half-hour earlier.
We have the entire game and network lineups for Sunday. This will be a big day.
LOS ANGELES – Finally, the wait is over – Survival Sunday has arrived. For the first time in U.S. television history, nine live games from the most dramatic day in soccer are being carried on one family of outlets. On Sunday, May 13, the final day of action from the Barclays Premier League, FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) presents the best in international soccer, as England’s top teams compete for financial survival, hardware and European honors.
Led by FX, FOX’s fully-distributed cable powerhouse, FSMG networks SPEED, FSN, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes, along with digital platforms FOXSoccer.com and FOX Soccer 2Go, are carrying all nine matches live at 10:00 AM ET. Pre-match coverage begins at 9:30 AM ET on all networks with the exception of SPEED, with all outlets carrying post-match coverage of this hallmark event. FX anchors halftime coverage. Pre-match, halftime and post-match coverage (English) is hosted by Rob Stone, with analysis from Eric Wynalda, Warren Barton and Brian McBride. All FSMG outlets are showing the Barclays Premier League trophy presentation following the day’s events along with highlights from all 10 Survival Sunday games.
Today FSMG announced its full lineup for Survival Sunday, highlighted by Manchester United’s must-win match at Sunderland to keep its title hopes alive on FX and in Spanish on FOX Deportes. Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle United are currently behind Manchester City and Manchester United in the race for highly lucrative UEFA Champions League positions. All three clubs fight for their place among the elite on Survival Sunday, with Arsenal traveling to West Bromwich Albion on FSN, Tottenham hosting Fulham and American superstar Clint Dempsey on FOX Soccer, and Newcastle battling Everton carried by FOXSoccer.com.
Chelsea faces recently-relegated Blackburn Rovers on SPEED ahead of their 2012 UEFA Champions League Final clash with Bayern Munich (May 19/FOX Sports). Liverpool looks to rebound from FA Cup disappointment at Swansea City on FUEL TV, while Bolton must win at Stoke City to stay alive in the Barclays Premier League (FOX Soccer Plus).
Teams live and die with each goal on Survival Sunday, and fans can follow all of the action at once via FOXSoccer.com/SurvivalSunday with real-time standings updates after every change. Twitter conversations surrounding all games will be streamlined on FOXSoccer.com/SurvivalSunday, allowing fans to follow the day’s events simultaneously (hashtag #SurvivalSunday). There will be live play-by-play for all 10 Survival Sunday matches with FOX Soccer MatchTrax, along with exclusive video highlights from every game throughout the day.
WHAT: Survival Sunday – the final day of England’s Barclays Premier League, where all 20 teams face off at the same time (9:30 AM ET). The bottom three teams are relegated from the BPL (clubs 18-20), while the top four sides ensure passage to the world’s most prestigious (and lucrative) club tournament – the UEFA Champions League. Teams finishing in fifth and sixth place can qualify for the 2012-2013 UEFA Europa League.
WHEN: Sunday, May 13 – 9:30 AM ET (except SPEED, who will join at 10:00 AM ET).
Sunderland v Manchester United — FX & FOX Deportes
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United visits Sunderland needing a win to keep title hopes alive in the race against Manchester City.
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers — SPEED
Chelsea’s midseason revival continues against recently doomed Blackburn. Rovers were relegated following Monday’s defeat to Wigan, and Chelsea needs to win in order to remain in the hunt for European qualification.
Swansea City v Liverpool — FUEL TV
Following FA Cup disappointment against Chelsea, English giant Liverpool and captain Steven Gerrard look to finish their season on a high note against upstart Swansea City.
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal — FSN
In a vital match for Arsenal, the Gunners aim to secure their place in next season’s UEFA Champions League by winning at West Bromwich Albion.
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham — FOX Soccer
Chasing an all-important UEFA Champions League position, Tottenham hosts Fulham and American superstar Clint Dempsey at North London’s White Hart Lane.
Stoke City v Bolton Wanderers — FOX Soccer Plus
At one of the most intimidating venues in English soccer, Stoke City hosts a Bolton team desperately seeking to avoid relegation at the Britannia Stadium. Sitting in the relegation zone in eighteenth place, Bolton must win to avoid dropping into the English second division.
Everton v Newcastle United — FOXSoccer.com
In one of the most important clashes on Survival Sunday, Newcastle looks to secure its place in next season’s UEFA Champions League, while Everton needs to win for a shot at UEFA Europa League qualification.
Norwich City v Aston Villa — FOX Soccer 2GO
In its first season since gaining promotion to the Barclays Premier League, Norwich City has impressed and looks to go out on a high against Aston Villa at Carrow Road.
Wigan Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers — FOX Soccer 2GO
Safe from relegation after defeating Blackburn Rovers on Monday, a resurgent Wigan team celebrates its Barclays Premier League survival at home against last place Wolverhampton.
Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers — ESPN2/MatchTrax
Manchester City seeks to capture its first Barclays Premier League title against a Queens Park Rangers team fighting to avoid relegation.
Let’s do some linkage today. Been doing pretty good in providing links this week and I don’t want to stop.
Starting with Michael Hiestand of USA Today, he talks with ESPN bloviator Chris Berman who compares himself to Ted Williams, then tries not to compare himself to Ted Williams, claims he doesn’t pay attention to criticism when he clearly does and then makes no sense about cameras. Yes, I’m showing my anti-Chris Berman bias.
Tom Weir of USA Today’s Game On writes that Jose Canseco’s Twitter account is back up and running. Oh joy.
At The Sherman Report, Ed Sherman looks at some classic anti-Mel Kiper rants from ESPN’s past coverage of the NFL Draft.
Sports Business Daily notes that Los Angeles Lakers nutjob Metta World Peace was a no-show on Conan O’Brien TBS program after his 7 game suspension for elbowing Oklahoma City Thunder forward James Harden.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal writes about Fox’s deal with Golden Boy Promotions that will put live fights on Fuel and Fox Deportes.
Michael Bradley at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center says NHL ratings are up significantly for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which seemingly condones violence on the rink.
Tim Baysinger at Broadcasting & Cable notes that ABC’s ratings for the NBA are up 10% over last year despite the lockout that wiped out the first month of the season.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says the Stanley Cup Playoffs are good to the NBC Sports Network.
Multichannel News says Speed has renewed the rights to the 24 Hours of LeMans road race.
Tony Manfred of the Business Insider Sports Page has video of Chelsea’s goal that put them in the UEFA Champions League Final, but the best part was Gary Neville’s on-air orgasm for Sky Sports.
Jim Edwards of the Business Insider Sports Page looks into NBC’s reasons for an almost $1 million price tag for a 30 second ad for its Thanksgiving Night NFL game.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has Mike “Doc” Emrick in the latest edition of his podcast.
Matt has great video of some awkward banter between SportsCenter anchors Steve Weissman and Sage Steele. Poor Sage.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell tells us that Shake Shack could be in more MLB parks around the country.
Leah Michaels of GoLocal Providence says ESPN’s Chris Berman was at his alma mater to honor Brown University’s athletic director.
All Access has Fox Sports Radio’s coverage plans for the NFL Draft.
Steven Beardsley of Stars and Stripes says NFL Network will feature cutaways during the NFL Draft to a battalion of troops based in Germany.
Kevin Paul Dupont in the Boston Globe provides a brief history on the greatest tradition in sports, the hockey handshake at the end of every playoff series.
In the New York Post, Phil Mushnick reports that ESPN Radio is close to deal with the New York Yankees that would put the team on FM after ten years of being on WCBS-AM.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks at the ratings for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Newsday’s Neil Best says the ESPN and NFL Network made the right call in not spoiling draft picks before they’re announced.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union says we’re still waiting for the start times for the NHL Games 7 on Thursday.
Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal says he listened to the radio on Saturday over waiting for Fox to switch to Philip Humber’s perfect game.
Glenn Guilbeau in the Monroe (LA) News Star has New Orleans Saints interim coach Joe Vitt blasting ESPN for its latest story on the team.
KBTX in College Station, TX says Fox Sports Southwest received record ratings for the Pudge Rodriguez retirement ceremony before Monday’s Yankees-Rangers game.
George M. Thomas in the Akron Beacon Journal tells us that the networks are all over the NFL Draft.
Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune says swimmer Missy Franklin has become of the face of NBC’s Olympic promotional campaign.
Robert Kurson at Chicagoside Sports explains why after 25 years, he no longer listens to sports radio.
Matt Solinsky of the Desert (CA) Sun writes that Time Warner Cable and Fox Sports San Diego continue carriage talks that would put Padres games back on the provider.
Jamie Sturgeon of the Financial Post has CBC vowing in an increasingly expensive world to keep Hockey Night in Canada.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media talks about NBC Sports Group’s ratings for the NHL Playoffs on Monday.
Sports Media Watch explores ABC’s second straight year for record NBA TV ratings.
Joe Favorito looks at how sports brands can tap into National Train Day next month.
And that will put a wrap on the links.
The English Premier League’s season is winding down and as teams fight to stay in the league in an attempt to stave off relegation to lower leagues (I love that concept and would wish MLB and the NHL could do such a thing with its minor leagues), Fox Sports Media Group will pull off an unprecedented multi-platform project.
On Sunday, May 13 as teams hope to gain enough points to remain in the EPL, Fox will utilize the networks in its cable sports empire as well as as online sites to air 9 games that day. ESPN2 will air one game as well.
The usual networks of Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus will air games, but in addition, the networks of FX, Speed, Fuel, Fox Sports Net and Fox Deportes will have contests as well. Fox will also utilize FoxSoccer.com and FoxSoccer2Go as well.
For soccer fans and those who follow the EPL, it will be a day to remember and one to see if Fox attempts this with the first day of the league’s new season in August.
Here’s the Fox Sports press release.
FOX Sports Media Group Presents Nine Live English Premier League Matches Simultaneously on Season’s Final Day Unprecedented Media Event Maximizes FSMG’s Linear & Digital Assets
New York/Los Angeles – Every year, on the final day of England’s Premier League season, all 20 teams from the world’s top domestic soccer competition play each other in a frantic 10-match race for financial survival, hardware and European honors. This year, on May 13, for the first time in American television history, nine of those matches are being carried live simultaneously by one family of outlets.
Led by FX, Fox’s fully-distributed cable powerhouse, FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) networks SPEED, FSN, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes, along with digital platforms FOXSoccer.com and FOX Soccer 2Go, are carrying all nine matches live on Sunday, May 13 at 10:00 AM ET. Pre-match coverage begins at 9:30 AM ET on all networks with the exception of SPEED, with all outlets carrying post-match coverage of this hallmark event. Known to soccer fans as “relegation Sunday” and dubbed Survival Sunday by Fox, this unprecedented programming strategy reaffirms FSMG’s unparalleled commitment to provide the world’s best international soccer competition.
“With so much at stake, there’s nothing like the tension of the Premier League’s final Sunday, and we hope to capture every minute we can using the considerable resources available to the FOX Sports Media Group, including SPEED and FUEL TV, unconventional outlets for soccer,” said FSMG’s Eric Shanks, Co-President and COO. “Our plan is to provide cut-ins and updates from matches as often as necessary, while never taking the viewer away from the game they’re watching.”
FOX Sports Media Group’s commitment to the English Premier League is underlined by airing over 300 matches per season, including 180 live matches across FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus. FOX Sports also aired three encore matches on NFL Sundays last fall and two live matches last winter. Highlights, commentary and analysis from England’s top division are at the center of FOX Soccer’s primary studio shows, Match Day and Goals on Sunday. Additionally, FOX Soccer carries round-by-round English Premier League preview and review shows, as well as a weekly magazine feature and Premier League Fan Zone.
FX, Fox’s flagship general entertainment basic cable network, carried two UEFA Champions League semifinal matches in 2011, and is doing the same this month. FSN, through its 20 owned-and-operated regional networks is the nation’s leading provider of local sports, producing over 5,000 live local events annually, but is no stranger to televising high-caliber soccer. It has aired a national Premier League game-of-the-week since 1998 and has aired UEFA Champions League matches on both a live and delayed basis. FSN also aired a national MLS game-of-the-week last season, Manchester United’s U.S. Summer Tour in 2003 and 2004, WPS matches nationally, a variety of college matches and ancillary programming. Finally, SPEED, the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle, and FUEL TV, FSMG’s dynamic sports network for men, offers soccer as a programming stunt for the first time.
Survival Sunday has serious implications for the teams involved. The centerpiece of this event is the relegation battle. While there can only be one league champion, the remaining 19 clubs jockey for position to determine qualification for European tournament play and Premiership survival. Wins and losses on May 13 carry heavy consequences, and a single point can be the difference between prosperity and financial ruin.
At the end of Survival Sunday, those teams occupying the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth positions are eliminated from the world’s best soccer league and three teams from the second division are promoted to the English Premier League for the 2012-2013 season. Relegated clubs stand to lose upwards of $40 million.
The top four clubs in the English Premier League earn UEFA Champions League qualification, receiving a potential reward of $75 million and the right to play in the world’s most prestigious club tournament. Pending the results of other domestic competitions, the fifth, sixth and seventh places in the Premier League table also carry significance. The holders of those spots at the end of Survival Sunday qualify for the UEFA Europa League, a continent-wide knockout tournament with more than 40 years of history and tradition. Beginning this fall, 2012-2013 Europa League contests are being carried by FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer Plus.
Survival Sunday matchups are listed below. Specific networks and digital platforms will be determined at a later date. ESPN will select one match from the schedule. All games begin at 10:00 AM ET.
MAY 13 Matches Network
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers TBA
Everton v Newcastle United TBA
Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers TBA
Sunderland v Manchester United TBA
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham TBA
Norwich City v Aston Villa TBA
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal TBA
Wigan Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers TBA
Stoke City v Bolton Wanderers TBA
Swansea City v Liverpool TBA
In addition to a full slate of matches on FOX Sports Media Group’s networks, fans can also view and follow real-time scorelines on FOXSoccer.com/SurvivalSunday, as well as FOX Soccer 2Go, FOX Soccer’s subscription-based digital platform available online and via mobile and tablet applications.
What a way to follow Survival Sunday and Fox is pulling off quite the effort to show its commitment to soccer. I also think this could be a preview of how Fox could handle the World Cup in 2018 utilizing the actual Fox network, FX and Fox Soccer.
Fox had a brief one fight UFC premiere in November, but on Saturday, the partnership between the two parties begins. Three fights will be seen on Fox starting at 9 p.m. ET with the prelims on Fuel at 5. Chicago’s United Center will be the venue.
Curt Menefee will be the host. Randy Couture and current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will join Curt.
As usual, the extremely talkative Mike Goldberg and conspiracy theorist Joe Rogan will be ringside to call the action.
Jay Glazer will be the host for the UFC shows on Fuel.
Light heavyweights Rashad Evans and Phil Davis will be the main event for the night. We have the Fox Sports press release for you.
UFC ON FOX TRIPLEHEADER LIVE FROM CHICAGO SATURDAY NIGHT – UFC on FOX officially kicks off its partnership with a two-hour tripleheader broadcast on Saturday, Jan. 28 (8:00-10:00 PM ET), live from the United Center in Chicago. In the night’s main event, former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (21-1-1) takes on undefeated former national champion wrestler Phil Davis (9-0-0) to determine the next challenger to the 205-pound title currently held by Jon Jones. The co-main event features middleweight contender Chael Sonnen (27-11-1) battling British star Michael Bisping (23-3-0) for the right to fight champion Anderson Silva. The action begins with dangerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Demian Maia (15-3-0) taking on unbeaten Chris Weidman (7-0-0). Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan call all the action inside the Octagon and versatile broadcaster Curt Menefee hosts pre- and postfight coverage with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and the aforementioned Jon Jones offering their insights on the action. During prefight coverage, fans get a special behind-the-scenes look at preparation for their big night in Chicago, including a feature on Rashad Evans as he and his family balance the excitement of being part of the main event in Chicago with the stress and tension of his brother’s impending deployment.
“This is the show that officially starts our deal with FOX and we’re bringing what the fans want – a night packed with great fights,” UFC President Dana White said. “We’re kicking this thing off with an incredible tripleheader. Rashad Evans looked fantastic in his last fight against Tito Ortiz and he wants to get the belt back. But Phil Davis is no joke. He’s undefeated at 9-0 and has stormed through guys like Brian Stann, Alexander Gustafsson and Rogerio Nogueira. He wants the title shot just as bad as Rashad.”
The weekend’s action kicks off Friday, Jan. 27 (5:00 PM ET) with the live “UFC on FUEL TV: Weigh-in.” Jay Glazer hosts the show while UFC veteran and FUEL TV’s “UFC Tonight” host Kenny Florian steps in as the analyst, commenting on all the activities from Chicago. Two-time MMA Journalist of the Year Ariel Helwani interviews fighters backstage. FUEL TV coverage continues Saturday, Jan. 28 (5:00 PM ET) with three hours of live preliminary bouts. Glazer is joined by Florian to introduce the fight, while Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan call the action live inside the Octagon. Helwani will interview fighters live backstage. Following these preliminary matchups on FUEL TV and three main events on FOX Sports, coverage returns to FUEL TV for the post-fight wrap-up show (10:00 PM ET).
History was made in November when the UFC made its broadcast television debut on FOX and a record audience tuned in as challenger Junior dos Santos defeated defending champion Cain Velasquez in a first round knockout to claim the coveted heavyweight crown. More than 5.7 million viewers tuned in to make it the most-watched UFC event ever and the most-watched professional fight of any kind on any network since 2003.
FLORIAN: IT’S TOO EARLY FOR DAVIS TO FIGHT EVANS – FUEL TV’s UFC analyst Kenny Florian doesn’t believe Phil Davis is ready to fight Rashad Evans in the UFC on FOX main event Saturday, Jan. 28 (8:00 PM ET) from the United Center in Chicago. “It’s one or two fights too early for Phil Davis to fight Rashad Evans,” said Florian. “Evans’ experience and his ability to put it all together will be the difference. He’s going to win and face [current Light Heavyweight Champ] Jon Jones later this year.” Florian also picks Chael Sonnen over Michael Bisping and Chris Weidman over Demian Maia in the other main card match-ups.
Follow the talent on Twitter at: @jayglazer; @kennyflorian; @arielhelwani
Friday, Jan. 27
UFC ON FUEL: WEIGH-IN LIVE
Saturday, Jan. 28
UFC ON FUEL: PRELIMINARY MATCHES:
Dunham vs. Lentz/Russow vs. Einemo
Swanson vs. Roop/Oliveira vs. Wisely
Johnson vs. Roller/Beltran vs. Johnson
Saturday, Jan. 28
UFC ON FOX:
Maia vs. Weidman
Sonnen vs. Bisping
Evans vs. Davis
Saturday, Jan. 28
UFC ON FUEL: POST-FIGHT SHOW
*All times Eastern
That will do it.
I’ll provide a quick set of links for you on this New Year’s Day. Because 1/1/2012 falls on a Sunday, it doesn’t feel like a holiday. It’ll feel more like the holiday tomorrow with college football and the NHL Winter Classic. Let’s look at what we have for you.
First, Rich Sands from TV Guide tells us what’s in store for NBC Sports Network when it officially changes from Versus tomorrow. Lots of interesting events including Olympics this year.
The Sports Biz Miss, Kristi Dosh, has a story at ESPN.com on the MSG Network/Time Warner Cable dispute.
John Ourand from Sports Business Journal has Time Warner Cable’s full statement in reaction to its dispute with MSG Network.
Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News has Time Warner Cable’s side of the dispute.
Mike writes about MSG and MSG Plus going dark on TWC as of midnight today.
Multichannel News says Fuel TV is stepping into the UFC Octagon in a big way with a 24 hour marathon today.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times also writes about the MSG/Time Warner Cable dispute.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says 2012 isn’t starting out the right way for Knicks and Rangers fans who subscribe to Time Warner Cable.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union wishes ESPN’s college football announcers would learn the rules.
Pete has a poll on the MSG/Time Warner dispute.
At the Bergen (NJ) Record, Evan Weiner says consumers are the ones holding the bag in the MSG/Time Warner fight.
Over to the Philadelphia Daily News and Les Bowen who wants to know who exactly his colleague Bill Conlin really is. Conlin is accused of molesting several children in the 1970′s.
Jim Williams at the Washington Examiner talks with NBC Sports executive Jon Miller about tomorrow’s launch of NBC Sports Network.
Jeff Moss at the Detroit Sports Rag gives his Best and Worst in Motor City Sports Media in 2011.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks back at St. Louis sports media in 2011.
At the Salt Lake Tribune, Scott D. Pierce says CBS provided its best announcers for the Sun Bowl involving Utah while ESPN gave viewers scrubs on the Armed Forces Bowl with BYU.
To the Toronto Globe and Mail where Bruce Dowbiggin says the NHL labor talks will be a big story in 2012.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog provides its Big Dozen Sports Media Stories in 2011.
Sports Media Watch provides some predictions for 2012.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media has a suggestion to make the NHL Winter Classic better.
And that’s going to do it for today.
Let’s do some linkage on this Sunday morning. Some good stuff to get to.
TVbytheNumbers says World Series Game 3 easily won the primetime ratings last night over college football and repeats on NBC.
The Associated Press has an in-depth story on how Fox and Telemundo won the rights to the 2015-22 World Cups.
Marisa Guthrie and Georg Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter report on NBCUniversal’s all-in bid for Telemundo for the rights to FIFA’s World Cups from 2015 through 2022.
R. Thomas Umstead from Multichannel News writes on the winning bids by Fox and Telemundo for the US media rights to the World Cup.
Todd Spangler of Multichannel says a Cox Cable employee in Arizona has pleaded guilty to inserting a brief clip of a porno movie during the Super Bowl in 2009.
Also from Multichannel, Mike Reynolds writes that Golf Channel is adding five international tournaments to close out 2011.
Oh here we go again. There’s another silly carriage dispute and it involves Fox again. Remember last year’s Cablevision/Fox dispute that left the network off cable systems in New York and Philadelphia? Well, this time Fox is having a dispute with DirecTV and among the channels that could be pulled: FX, Fox Soccer & Fox Soccer Plus, Speed, Fuel and 19 Fox Sports Net regional channels. That’s just great. We get the latest from Alex Weprin from TV Newser.
John Ourand from Sports Business Daily also looks at the Fox/DirecTV dispute.
Phil Swann of TV Predictions has a suggestion on how to prevent these disputes in the future.
Richard Pagliaro of Tennis Magazine writes that ESPN has obtained the online rights of several women’s tennis tournaments.
Glenn Davis from SportsGrid has the video of Michigan State’s amazing Hail Mary pass to win last night’s game against Wisconsin.
At the Sox & Dawgs blog, good friend Ian Bethune has the full page ad former Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein placed thanking Red Sox fans.
Jeré Longman of the New York Times looks at Fox and Telemundo winning the World Cup bids.
Newsday’s Neil Best looks back at the 25th anniversary of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series from NBC’s point of view.
The great Bob Glauber of Newsday has a story on several NFL teams showing concern about being miked up for games and having their signals heard not only on TV, but by opposing teams.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick has the preposterous theory that the World Series is watered down.
Paul Tharp of the Post says the lure of tax breaks led NBC Sports to move its headquarters to Connecticut.
Harvey Zucker of the Jersey Journal reviews ESPN’s documentary on boxer Chuck Wepner, affectionately known as “The Bayonne Bleeder” and one who knocked down Muhammed Ali.
Tracee Hamilton of the Washington Post says the Nationals deserve a better TV deal.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with Navy’s associate athletic director about allowing Showtime to film a year-long documentary on its rivalry with Army.
Mike Mooneyham from the Charleston (SC) Post & Courier looks at E:60′s profile of WWE wrestler Scott Hall.
Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times notes that Florida State and Tampa Bay Bucs radio voice Gene Deckerhoff is pulling off a unique double dip this weekend.
David Knox of the Birmingham (AL) News talks with ESPN college football analyst Ed Cunningham who is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker.
Doug Demmons of the News says ESPN is pleased with its NASCAR Non-Stop Coverage.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says ESPN’s Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge got the job done during last night’s Texas Tech-Oklahoma game.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says CBS has relented and the market will get today’s Oakland-KC game and Carson Palmer’s Raiders debut.
John notes that Joe Morgan’s syndicated radio show has changed from a nightly program to weekends-only.
Kathleen Lavey from the Lansing (MI) State Journal writes about the crowd that showed up for ESPN’s College GameDay on the Michigan State campus yesterday.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks with ESPN College GameDay’s Lee Corso about how elaborate his headgear picks have become.
Dan Caesar from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with MLB Network host and Gateway City native Greg Amsinger.
Dan says Joe Buck’s voice rose to the occasion in last night’s World Series Game 3.
The Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman says some soccer fans fear the Fox cross promotion for the World Cup.
Sports Media Watch says the SEC on CBS fell to near season-low ratings.
SMW says college football on ABC is way up this season.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media says Versus is having an up-and-down start to the NHL season.
Joe Favorito says Dan Wheldon’s death should not halt IRL’s initiatives to be more transparent with the public.
And we’ll end it there for today. The Sunday NFL pregame quotage will be posted throughout the day.
The announcement of the Ultimate Fighting Championships moving to Fox is going on as I’m writing this post. This multi-year deal brings UFC to network television with four events on Fox starting in November of this year. It also moves the popular “The Ultimate Fighter” series from Spike to FX starting in the Spring of next year. Other UFC programming will be spread on other Fox networks such as Fuel TV. It brings the male 18-34 demographic to the Fox networks as UFC is one of the most popular sports with the younger generation.
We have the joint announcement from Fox and UFC.
UFC & FOX PACK PERFECT PUNCH
FOX SPORTS MEDIA GROUP REACHES MULTI-YEAR, MULTI-MEDIA RIGHTS AGREEMENT WITH ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP
FOX to Broadcast Four Fights Annually Beginning November 2011
The Ultimate Fighter, Featuring a New Format, Moves to FX
Los Angeles – Today, Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC), the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization and No. 1 Pay-Per-View event provider in the world, finds its perfect media match in FOX, the No. 1 television network in the country. FOX Sports Media Group, the umbrella entity representing FOX Networks Group’s wide array of sports platforms, has reached a multi-year, multi-media rights agreement with Zuffa, LLC, owner of the UFC brand.
The landmark agreement, which puts UFC on par with many of the country’s professional sports organizations, delivers four live events in prime time or late night each year to the FOX broadcast network, home to the country’s biggest sports events, including the Super Bowl, World Series and Daytona 500. The first live event airs Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT. Additional programming on multiple FOX networks launches January 2012 and includes live fights, pre and post shows, countdown shows, UFC Unleashed, UFC Primetime, the UFC Knockout series, Best of Pride, weigh-in specials, and much more original content from extensive Zuffa archives. The agreement also provides for developing robust mobile and authenticated online offerings to exploit a vast array of digital platform rights.
In spring 2012, THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER, UFC’s signature weekly reality show moves to FX, FOX’s general entertainment cable network now in more than 99 million homes. With the move to FX, the show will feature a newly-designed format. FX is also set to televise another four-to six-live UFC events annually, with a mixture of additional events and programs heading to FSMG cable networks including FUEL TV.
“We’re excited to be part of the FOX family,” says Dana White, UFC President. “The UFC is finally where it belongs on the number one network in the country and aligned with the most prestigious sports properties in the world. I’ve always said that the UFC will be the biggest sport in the world and with this relationship it will become a reality.”
“My brother Frank, Dana and I always believed that our passion for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts would help us to build the UFC into a successful global brand and ultimately make it one of the premier sports properties in the world,” said Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman and CEO of the UFC. “The partnership with FOX is a major step in making this a reality and also builds on the great relationship that we already have established with FOX in Latin America, Australia and Europe.”
“Mixed martial arts is not only the fastest growing sport in the world, but also the world’s most exciting form of man-to-man competition, and the UFC is the world’s premier MMA organization,” said FSMG President & Co-COO Eric Shanks. “Since FOX Sports is America’s No. 1 sports network and FOX is America’s No. 1 network for young adults, the UFC on FOX is a perfect match.”
“UFC’s growth over the past decade is nothing short of phenomenal and it has become one of the marquee sports in this country,” said John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks. “There is a reason for its rising popularity. It features some of the greatest athletes in the world, and we believe it will be a terrific addition to our schedule and look forward to our relationship.”
Founded in 1993, UFC has been on a meteoric rise since 2001 when it was acquired by Zuffa, LLC, owned by Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta III and Dana White. UFC’S first brush with FOX Sports goes back to June 2002, when Fox Sports Net carried UFC’s first non-pay-per-view event on basic cable television, and delivered what was then its largest audience to date. Through cooperation with state athletic commissions, consistent rules were established and refined for competition through officiating, judging, the addition of weight divisions, length of rounds and better equipment. Combined with an unyielding devotion to fighter safety, the UFC has vaulted to mainstream status in the minds of US sports fans attracting major sponsors such as Bud Light, Dodge and Harley Davidson.
UFC has displayed tremendous growth in digital and social media consumption. Unique visitors to UFC.com tripled between 2006 and 2010 (2.1 million to 6.3 million), and UFC established local web sites in 10 countries and Latin America. Using a unique blend of incentives, promotions and original content, including live bouts, UFC has seen its number of Facebook friends increase from 800,000 in 2009 to 6.1 million at present, outpacing the NFL, MLB and the NHL. UFC currently ranks second to the NBA in social media followers among the major sports organizations. Additionally, UFC President Dana White regularly interacts with over 1.5 million fans that follow him on Twitter.
Mixed martial arts skews much younger than more established US sports, which ranged from age 43 for Super Bowl XLIV to 61 for horse racing’s Triple Crown in 2010. Thus far, the median age for UFC on Spike in 2011 is 36 and 56% of UFC fans fall into the adult 18-34 demographic. Live UFC programming performs extremely well in the advertiser attractive, hard-to-reach male 18-34 demographic, with live event programing averaging a 1.53 rating, making it a top-20 cable show this year.
I don’t think I have ever posted a Fuel TV press release. There’s a first time for everything. Fuel TV which is Fox Sports’ action sports channel will air coverage of the US Open of Surfing from Huntington Beach, CA. And the event isn’t just restricted to surfing, it also has BMX and skateboarding. We have the particulars of the coverage which will begin on August 1 and it will all culminate with a three and a half hour show airing the finals of the event.
Let’s take a look at what Fuel has in store.
Live shows cover surf, skate, and BMX contests and more.
LOS ANGELES, CA – FUEL TV, (www.fuel.tv) Fox Sports Media Group’s dynamic entertainment and sports network for young males, announces extensive television coverage of the 2011 US Open of Surfing (USOS). The deal includes three and a half hours live coverage of the surf, skate, and BMX finals on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4:30PM ET/1:30PM PT; plus two live, half-hour “Re-Open” highlight programs on Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6 at 8:00PM ET/5:00PM PT; three “The Daily Habit” shows shot on location in Huntington Beach, and exclusive “FUEL TV Download” news breaks covering each day’s events.
“The 2011 US Open of Surfing is surfing’s biggest and most-watched event,” says Scott Paridon, FUEL TV’s VP of Production and Development. “It’s an honor to be the primary television partner and provide astonishing coverage of the various competitions throughout the entire weekend.”
“The US Open of Surfing has found an incredible television partner with FUEL TV,” said James Leitz, Senior Vice President, IMG, the company who owns the event. “We’re thrilled to have the network broadcasting the finals live from Huntington Beach, taking this amazing event to the masses across the country.”
FUEL TV’s daily variety show “The Daily Habit” plans to dedicate an entire week to the US Open of Surfing Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5, culminating with shows filmed from the beachfront contest venue Wednesday, August 3 through Friday, August 5. Guests for the show include top Nike, Hurley, and Converse athletes, other action sports royalty and surfing legends and notable musical talent providing insight and reflection of the USOS.
In addition, the “FUEL TV Download,” the network’s daily news breaks, will recap each day’s activities and events from Thursday, August 4 through Sunday, August 7.
The US Open of Surfing draws in more than 500,000 people a year to Huntington Beach, California to watch the top surfers in the world compete for more than $100,000 top prize. In addition, other events on the beach include skateboarding’s Converse Coastal Carnage, the Nike 6.0 BMX Pro, the Walk the Walk 2011 National Championship, Nike 6.0, Skullcandy and Invisalign Teen, showcasing the ultimate youth fashion, and a concert series featuring headlining sets by MGMT, Jimmy Eat World and The Sounds. The competition will feature the best of surf, skate, BMX, music, fashion, and art.
That will do it.