News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWS) is considering the launch of a new national sports network to compete with the 600-pound gorilla, ESPN, owned by Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), and the recently re-branded NBC Sports Network owned by Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and the CBS Sports Network owned by CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS).
News Corp.’s Fox Sports Network already operates 20 regional sports networks that reach 75% of US homes. But a national network, like ESPN’s, could increase News Corp.’s share of the cable subscription pie. ESPN charges the highest per-household subscription fee of any cable network according to SNL Kagan.
Fox’s broadcast network already carries National Football League games and Fox operates a national extreme-sports network named Fuel-TV. An unnamed source told The Wall Street Journal that if a new sports network does materialize it won’t happen until next year and Fox would likely convert one of its existing cable channels to the new network if and when it happens.