The word: New sports channel slated for 2013
December 18, 2012
There are more details emerging on the long-rumored News Corp. sports channel.
It finally has a loose launch date, sometime next year. And the company has decided that, rather than rolling out an entirely new channel, a costly and difficult process, it will be turning motor sports network Speed into the new general-interest sports destination.
That information comes courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp. The paper notes that News Corp. has been pursuing a slew of new sports rights deals over the past year, including the renewal of its baseball and NASCAR contracts.
News Corp. also recently bought a stake in YES Network, home of the New York Yankees, and is in talks to renew a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The company, of course, is hoping to increase the amount of money it receives per subscriber for Speed, currently just 22 cents. By comparison, ESPN, the dominant cable sports network, gets a considerable $5 per subscriber, the most for any cable network.
ESPN has been challenged before, to little success. NBC’s NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus, acquired rights to the NHL and pursued several other sports rights deals. Though it has established itself as a niche for hockey and Tour de France fans, it has had trouble attracting a wider audience.
Still, analysts say that there may be room for a second sports network, based on Americans’ nearly insatiable taste for sports. This season nearly every top 10 broadcast on television was NFL related.
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