We're now just five days from the launch of the newest and funnest 24/7 sports channel - Fox Sports 1. With a new day in the sports world upon us, the new kid on the block and the king of the mountain are already publicly trading barbs. Fox Sports 1 is expected to be the strongest challenger to ESPN's throne in well over a decade thanks to their oodles of cash, talent, and live sports rights. And with the way that we've seen ESPN personalities speak out recently, one has to think the folks in Bristol are more wary of FS1 than any other potential challenger that has come before.
Let's start with this Twitter exchange. Bill Simmons vs Fox Sports Live:
Scott Van Pelt had some "fun" at the expense at just how hard Fox is pushing Fox Sports 1 as the "fun" alternative to the stodgy ESPN:
I'm all for fun. Sports should be fun. Hey...some network should co -opt that. I just think the ship has sailed. But yell all you like— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) August 11, 2013
And not to be outdone, John Buccigross promised even more fun on SportsCenter last night:
John Buccigross just exclaimed "We're gonna have fun!" in a SportsCenter tease. Boy, Fox Sports 1 must be a white hot topic in Bristol.— Paulsen (@paulsen_smw) August 12, 2013
Fox Sports 1 host Regis Philbin (still trying to get used to typing that in print, let alone saying it out loud) thinks it's time ESPN's monopoly on the sports world came to an end in the LA Times:
"I think it's time for ESPN to get a little competition, don't you?"
And Fox exec David Hill optimistically says it should only take a couple years for FS1 to become a destination network for sports fans, which is the biggest challenge facing not just FS1, but NBCSN, CBS Sports Network, and every other network not named ESPN:
"It will take us two or three years to create a visible and emotional bookmark in people's minds to say, 'I'm going to switch on Fox Sports 1.'"
FS1's funfair approach to covering sports may or may not succeed. But one's thing for sure, it is fun to see these two companies go back and forth already before FS1 even launches.
Buccigross comes off a bit whipped to me. He's a HUGE hockey fan, and yet continues to defend (and re-sign to work at) a network that could not give a single crap about his favorite sport. Wouldn't surprise me if FS1 gave the NHL more coverage than ESPN, since Fox has a stake in many of the RSNs that televise teams locally.
It's all for naught if FS1 isn't on most of the major carriers soon. Heard they aren't on DirectTV, Dish, Time Warner among others at the start. That would be a horrible way to start. Although I am looking forward to them when I can watch them.
I thought FS1 was simply a conversion from the Speed Channel to it? Every carrier already has Speed. Am I missing something?
@scoknuts same thing happened with the Big Ten Network... first day DISH didn't get it.
@ckeenan22 The contracts for Speed haven't terminated yet, but Fox wants the rate increase for the conversion from Speed to FS1. The carriers (mainly TW and the satellite cos) are balking.
The funny thing about this is that DirecTV's contract (probably TW's and Dish's as well) specifically calls for a channel called Speed with NASCAR at 23 cents/month, so even if DirecTV doesn't carry FS1, Fox will still have to provide a feed of Speed to DirecTV with NASCAR programming (for now DirecTV's program guide shows normal Speed channel programming scheduled for the weekend).
@tks5058 And the Pac 10 Network and Direct TV. I don't think they still have it.