News Corp.’s new national sports network isn’t trying to beat ESPN but will morph into a multi-billion dollar business in three to five years, said COO Chase Carey Tuesday morning, predicting “very manageable investment” retooling the conglom’s existing Speed channel. He was speaking a media conference in Palm Beach, Fla. as Fox Sports prepares to formally unveil the net to advertisers in Gotham this afternoon.
“We are not trying to beat ESPN. Sports is a big, huge arena. We’ve proven we can do some interesting and exciting things. We can enlarge the category and bring a new dimension to it. The key to success for us is to built an attractive business that resonates with consumers,” Carey said.
He said Fox will pour its resources in developing programming around expanded sports rights in baseball, college football, basketball and World Cup soccer. “And really, it’s about more than rights. You can look at ESPN and say the most value right there is “Sports Center.” The value added is how do you create a 24-7 sports network that is interesting to consumers.”
Launching on Speed is a huge advantage — it’s got national distribution already yet Carey called it “too narrow and too nichey” to get rates that “reflect the value of the opportunity.” He expects the new network to incur losses as it ramps up rates over a few years but considerably less than it would if it had to launch from scratch. “It will be an investment that will be very manageable for what in three to five years down the road is a multi-billion dollar asset.”
“We think Fox Sports has been a huge part, a driving force in the growth of Fox,” he said. The new net “will take it to another level.”