News Corp. is thinking about launching a sports channel to challenge ESPN’s hegemony, Bloomberg reports.
The grand plan: Turn the fledgling Fuel channel into a more general nationwide sports network, out-manoeuvre ESPN for the rights to major live sporting events, and make oodles and oodles of money.
News Corp. outbid Disney (read: ESPN) for the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. They have deals through Fox Sports with the NFL, MLB, and a bunch of major college conferences.
News Corp. also owns the UK sports network Sky Sports, so the infrastructure for an all-sports channel is in place.
Even though they are a long, long way from ESPN, their stable of sports proprieties is way more impressive than NBC’s when they tried to create an “ESPN killer” by turning Versus into NBC Sports in January.
The potential network is only in the planning stages, and no final decision has been made.
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