Can Fox Sports 1 Take a Swing at ESPN?


For at least one generation of sports fans there’s only one Worldwide Leader in Sports, and the rest of the bunch sometimes offers programs when they have exclusive programming deals. However, the analysis, wrap-ups, and best highlight packages will come from Bristol, Connecticut, home of Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) ESPN headquarters. But 21st Century Fox’s (NASDAQ:FOXA) new sports network, which debuted August 17, hopes to change that perception.

Fox Sports 1 is gunning for ESPN, and it isn’t shy about doing so. Viewers of sports coverage in the past weeks have been treated to bold announcements at the bottom of their screens as Fox served notice that its new network was ready to do damage to the almighty ESPN brand. According to estimates reported by Bloomberg, the stakes for sports programming are unbelievably high.

In fact, ESPN posted 70 percent of Disney’s operating income – nearly $4 billion in total – from its cable networks, according to figures Wedge Partners provided for the news outlet. While most viewers of sports networks are unlikely to swiftly shift alliances, Fox has already made some positive moves in its coverage of weekly baseball games on its main network.