News Corp., in a challenge to ESPN, will start its new cable sports network in August, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
Fox Sports 1 will be introduced at an event Tuesday in New York, said the person, who sought to remain anonymous because the network hasn’t been announced.
The sports network’s start is timed for the beginning of the college football season, the person said. Fox and other major networks have turned to live programming like sports to bolster ratings and draw in viewers, who can easily record other programs to watch later. Bloomberg News reported in March 2012 that News Corp. was developing the sports network.
Julie Henderson, a spokeswoman for News Corp., didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside of business hours.
The move comes as New York-based News Corp., led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, prepares to split into two companies — a publishing operation and an entertainment business with television and films.
Murdoch, who built Fox News into a cable-news powerhouse, will be chairman of both companies and CEO of the entertainment company, Fox Group.
The new sports network will have Nascar auto racing, Major League Baseball games, college basketball and football, soccer and UFC fights, the New York Times reported. One program will be hosted by talk-show host Regis Philbin, the newspaper said.
ESPN, the dominant sports-cable channel, also faces competition from NBC and CBS , and regional sports networks from News Corp. and Time Warner Cable.
News Corp. has secured rights to Pac-12 Conference and Big-12 Conference games and owns at least 20 regional sports networks. The company also has TV rights to soccer’s World Cup in 2018 and 2022.
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