03/05/13 Today, FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) makes television history, officially unveiling plans to launch a new, national, multi-sport network called FOX Sports 1. The announcement was made by FSMG Co-Presidents and COOs Randy Freer and Eric Shanks. Set to debut on Saturday, Aug. 17, just as FOX Sports kicks-off its 20th anniversary year, FS 1 is available in over 90 million homes, making this the biggest sports cable network launch in history, and one of the largest network launches ever. At the outset, FS1 boasts nearly 5,000 hours of live event, news and original programming annually.
“Our ‘secret,’ admittedly a very poorly kept one, is now revealed," said Shanks. “Fans are ready for an alternative to the establishment, and our goal for FS1 is to provide the best in-game experience possible, complemented by informative news, entertaining studio shows and provocative original programming."
A robust schedule of live events forms the backbone of FOX Sports 1’s programming from Day 1, with college basketball, college football, NASCAR, soccer and UFC all on tap between launch and year’s end. In fact, the schedule on Aug. 17 features live events morning, noon and night including a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Michigan and “UFC on FS1 1" in prime time. In 2014, FSMG’s new rights agreement with MLB takes effect, bringing regular and postseason games to FS1.
“As a company we haven’t been afraid to innovate and take well-calculated risks, added Freer." “We’ve devoted significant resources over the last few years to acquire and/or extend multi-platform rights with a wide variety of leagues and governing bodies well into the next decade, enough to give us a rich schedule right out of the box."
More people consume and care about sports than ever before, so to satisfy that voracious demand FSMG deems the time is now to launch FS1. For example, when FOX Sports launched in 1994, late Sunday afternoon NFL on FOX games ranked as the 26th highest-rated program on television. Today, FOX’s national doubleheader games rank No. 1 for three years running.
FOX Sports 1 Programming Highlights –
COLLEGE BASKETBALL – Dozens of exclusive prime time games on Monday and Thursday nights, plus Saturday and Sunday coverage of the Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL – Led by Notre Dame at Stanford, the Big Ten Championship Game and Pac-12 Championship Game (2014) on FOX, dozens of exclusive, live games from the Pac-12, Big 12 and Conference USA games on Thursday nights and Saturdays; triple- and quadruple-headers on Saturdays; Saturday pre- and postgame coverage.
MLB – Beginning in 2014, select League Championship Series and Division Series games; regular-season games over 26 Saturdays; live game-in-progress look-in show.
NASCAR – Select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as soon as 2015; NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races; NASCAR Sprint All-Star race; all SpeedWeeks events leading up to the Daytona 500 including: Daytona 500 Qualifying, Sprint Unlimited at Daytona (2014, 2017-22) and the Budweiser Duel, now in prime time; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NCWTS Practice and Qualifying sessions; NASCAR RaceDay, providing pre- and post-race coverage; NASCAR Victory Lane, a weekly wrap-up show; and Race Hub, a daily mid-day studio show with the latest from drivers, owners and garages.
SOCCER – Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday afternoon coverage of the world’s most prolific club soccer competitions, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and CONCACAF Champions League featuring many of the world’s greatest and most successful clubs; the world’s oldest soccer competition, the FA Cup; CONCACAF Gold Cup; CONCACAF Qualifiers, FIFA Women’s World Cup coverage in 2015 and 2019; FIFA Men’s World Cup coverage in 2018 and 2022; delayed matches in prime time; weekly magazine and highlights shows.
UFC – Featured on Wednesday nights; live FIGHT NIGHTS through 2014, the first is scheduled for launch night, Saturday, Aug. 17; FOX event preliminary cards; UFC Tonight, the weekly authority for UFC news and information; 14 Saturday pay-per-view preliminary cards; hundreds of hours of library programs and events.
In addition to live events and studio programs, FS1 introduces FOX SPORTS LIVE, a 24/7 news franchise providing around-the-clock coverage through regularly scheduled programs, hourly updates and an information-rich ticker that provides a network agnostic sports event television schedule. Thousands of hours of news programming are expected annually from newly minted sets including a nightly program at 11:00 PM ET or immediately following events. A morning newscast is expected to launch in January 2014 in conjunction with FSMG’s expansive coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII.