Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox plans to pour $200 million into its sports and entertainment networks in the coming year. The 8/17 launch of the Fox Sports 1 network will include 16.5 hours of live programming, including a morning of Nascar and an evening of Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts fighting.
Although television networks are paying escalating sums for sports rights, the networks should turn a profit in 2016 and serve as a “major profit center” for the media company, The Financial Times reported Chase Carey, 21st Century Fox’s president and COO as saying this week.
The comments came as the media company reported its first results as an independent company since News Corp split in two, spinning off its publishing assets from its 21st Century Fox entertainment business.
For the full year ended 6/30, 21st Century Fox reported income attributable to shareholders of $6.82bn, up from $3.18bn the previous year. The full-year results included $3.76bn of gains as a result of the acquisition of a full ownership stakes in Sky Deutschland and ESPN Star Sports, as well as the sale of the NDS business.
In addition to Fox Sports Net regional channels, Fuel, and Speed, News Corp. owns the Fox Soccer Channel, the Big Ten Network, a partnership with the college sports conference, and Fox College Sports, consisting of Pacific, Central and Atlantic regional networks. News Corp. also shows games on broadcast television through Fox Sports.
RBR-TVBR observation: What will likely happen to make Fox Sports 1 a hit is two things: 1) News Corp. will pick the best of the best from its other sports nets and air them on the new network—either permanently or when it’s a major event. 2) The company will competitively court other sports teams and/or events, offering high-dollar offers and the promise of strong cross-promotion to help these teams make more revenue than they are now.