By Paul Kennedy
FOX Sports Media Group made official Tuesday what many have known for a long time. It is launching a new all-sports network, FOX Sports 1, on Aug. 17 in 90 million homes, making it the biggest sports cable network launch in history.
Soccer will figure prominently on the network with midweek (Tuesday-Thursday) afternoon coverage of the UEFA Champions League and coverage of FIFA events, beginning in 2015 with the Women's World Cup and including the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Left unsaid was that FS1's launch is expected to coincide with the demise of Fox Soccer.
Other soccer holdings to air on FS1 include Concacaf events and the English FA Cup. Fox Soccer's likely demise was accelerated when Fox lost its various European league properties to beIN Sport (Serie A and Ligue 1) and NBC (Premier League).
FS1 will also include live coverage of college basketball and college football, staples of rival ESPN, as well as Major League Baseball, beginning in 2014.
FOX Sports air the NFL, so FS1 will have a heavy NFL influence on its studio and magazine shows. Regis Philbin's "Rush Hour" will air daily 5-6 p.m. ET, and the hour-long "Fox Football Daily" will follow at 6 p.m.
“As a company we haven’t been afraid to innovate and take well-calculated risks,” FSMG Co-President and COOs Eric Shanks said. “We’ve devoted significant resources over the last few years to acquire and/or extend multi-platform rights with a wide variety of leagues and governing bodies well into the next decade, enough to give us a rich schedule right out of the box.”
PEP RALLY PLANNED FOR DENVER QUALIFIER. More than a game? The USA-Costa Rica World Cup qualifier March 22 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will feature all kinds of activities.
A pep rally -- free to all fans -- will be held the night before the game at famed Paramount Theater in downtown Denver. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and select members of the team will be on hand to pump up the fans.
Those fans who purchase VIP travel or ticket packages will be invited to a “Chalk Talk” luncheon on game day to hear the ESPN crew preview the game. A special tailgate party catered by three of Denver’s finest chefs will be held before the game. All fans will receive a free, special-edition game-specific scarf to wear at the game.
AYSO SNAGS KERRYGOLD. AYSO signed a a one-year sponsorship with Kerrygold, the premium brand of cheeses and butters made with milk of Ireland’s grass-fed cows.
The sponsorship, which will be introduced to over 500,000 AYSO players and their families in early March, was implemented through Kerrygold’s marketing organization, the Irish Dairy Board, whose president Roisin Hennerty has three children in AYSO.
“We are very excited to have Kerrygold on board and hope it’s the beginning of a long relationship,” said Lynn Berling-Manuel, AYSO's chief marketing officer.
WORTH READING. With 2.081 billion euros ($2.72 billion), the Bundesliga's 18 professional clubs broke the 2 billion-euro mark for the first time during the 2011-12 season, marking the eighth straight year of record revenues.
With one of the lowest player salaries/revenues ratio of any league in Europe, the Bundesliga is considered the model for soccer leagues.
Dirk Meyer-Bosse, the Bundesliga's head of business and specialist media, talks to Sports Business Global about the secrets to the Bundesliga's continued success.
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