Tucked into an article about FOX locking up a new 8 year broadcast deal with Major League Baseball is this interesting reveal on FOX’s future sports ambitions:
The deal also clears the way for Fox to use baseball for a new national sports cable channel it is planning to launch in the summer of 2013. Fox’s pact with baseball allows it to put as many as 40 games on a nationally distributed cable channel starting in 2014. Fox also received broad rights to baseball highlights that could be used for a sports news program similar to ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
While Fox has declined to comment on its planned channel, people familiar with the matter said the company will convert its niche sports channel called Speed into a broad-based sports network.
Besides baseball, Fox will also put NASCAR racing, college football, soccer and Ultimate Fighting on its cable channel. The working name for the channel is Fox Sports 1.
“There will be a lot of things to come in the not too distant future,” said Fox Sports Media Group Co-President Randy Freer.
You don’t call a channel Something Something 1 unless you’re planning on there at least being a 2 sometime in the near future. Is this what’s in store for FUEL? And what kind of UFC content are we going to get on Fox Sports 1? Even if it’s just countdown shows, that would be good for the promotion. The soon to be renamed SPEED channel is already available in 82 million homes, which is just a slight improvement over FUEL’s 37 million reach. In a perfect world, everything on FUEL would shift over to Fox Sports 1. And then people would actually be able to see what’s happening on it! What a crazy concept.