ESPN may get a new cable challenger
News Corp is thinking about turning one of its cable channels into a national sports network.
Media giant News Corp (NWS) is considering turning one of its cable channels into a national sports network that would compete with ESPN, reports Bloomberg. News Corp is targeting its Speed channel, which is currently devoted to Nascar auto racing.
The Speed channel is already available in 78 million homes in North America, according to its website, and is one of the fastest growing cable networks. News Corp could easily change the channel's format, keep the name that already has broader sports appeal, and start selling it as an alternative to ESPN.
"There's a lot of optionality with Speed, and it could be turned into a broader sports network," Fox Networks' chief operating officer, David Haslingden, said at an investor conference Thursday, according to Bloomberg. "We haven't decided yet whether we’ll do that, but it’s a great option we have."
The move is undoubtedly generating some heartburn at Disney (DIS), which owns ESPN. The sports network is the biggest driver of Disney profits, and has been able to keep and attract new viewers even after raising subscriber fees. ESPN's programming costs have risen as well, but the network has countered that with higher subscriber fees and ad sales.
Cable and other pay-TV companies hand Disney fistfuls of cash for the right to offer ESPN. One research firm estimates that ESPN gets $5.06 per subscriber per month, Bloomberg reports.
ESPN's kingdom will be tough for News Corp to crack. ESPN has long-term contracts with the National Football League, the SEC and the Pac-12, The New York Times reports. And Disney recently signed a deal with Comcast (CMCSA) that gives Comcast's 40 million subscribers online access to an ESPN video app.
Is there room for a second major sports network? The ESPN watchers I know are addicted to the channel and its various programs. Can News Corp turn the Speed channel into a viable competitor?
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ESPN has been able to "keep" subsctribers despite it's high cost? I wouldn't quite describe it that way.
ESPN is dug in like a tick on basic cable pretty much everywhere, forcing people to pay for it whether they want it or not. I also think the majority of cable subscribers are ignorant of the fact the ESPN costs several times what most other channels cost.
It bothers me that ESPN and it's fans are subsidized by millions of viewers who don't want or need it.
A competitor would be great if it was actually different, which is NOT too promising. ESPN is a cesspool of obnoxious, know-it-all, left-wing, third-rate, jock-sniffing, wannabe comedians. They don't seem to grasp that fame / celebrity in and of themselves, are not virtues.
Except for Monday Night Football I never watch ESPN. The ego's of the hosts are waaaaay too big and they always talk down to the viewers. Screw them! I watch NHL/MLB and NFL Networks instead
hopefully they won't show every yankee and red sox game. that's always fun for the rest of the country.
competition for espn would be refreshing.i dont even watch it anymore its just the same old same old,boring..and those mike and mike idiots,i would rather watch static on the tube then listen to those new york homers..lets go newscorp
i'd watch another sports channel in a heartbeat--------ESPN as been the neighborhood bully for far too long already-----in that they are drunk wilh power---they have some people who are utterly disgusting to look at----Hannah Storm is enough to gag you and they seem to just keep pushing her in your face---they even disicplined Tony Kornhieser for his totally honest and accurate discription of how she looked on camera---ESPN doens't want to be policed or to tell the truth if it is not in their opinion---but this is america----what woud you expect----- fairness ? ? ? ?
yeah---right-------------------the whole media is disgusting
DO NOT CHANGE THE SPEED CHANNEL!!
I ALWAYS FEEL THE NEED.. FOR.. SPEED....
Just how much poker can you wach?
Give me Fox Sports or CBS Sports or anything other than ESPN on 93
channels no less.
only ESPN would insult its viewers by selling POKER as a sport----those idiots even call mike and mike a sports show----Chris Berman is likely the most looked up to broadcaster on their channel (at least by the others on that idiot channel) and he sucks big time----any other network that brings footbal anouncers have better ones with the exception of Buck and McCarver---but I dont' really know which channel those two are on
guess they can't all have Madden and Sumerall---trhe greatest -EVER
An unseasoned listener hearing Chris Burman's voice for the first time must wonder if he's:
a) being strangled
b) having a heart attack
c) attempting to speak for the first time after spending years in a coma
d) choking on his 4th helping of Pasta Taglierini
Hacking his way through a broadcast this guy covers more octaves than an opera singer.
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