Fox Sports could be planning a new 24-hour sports network to compete with ESPN, though nothing appears imminent.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that News Corporation is “taking steps” to launch a national 24-hour sports network, with one anonymous source telling the publication that the channel could debut by the end of this year.
However, sources told the Los Angeles Times that there were “no immediate plans” for a new channel. The Wall Street Journal, also owned by News Corporation, reported Wednesday that the company “has been discussing the idea on and off for several months” but “hasn’t made a decision.”
News Corporation already owns a wide variety of cable sports networks, including Fox Soccer, Speed Channel, and the various Fox Sports Net regional sports networks. “Given how lucrative its regional channels are,” the Los Angeles Times noted Wednesday, “Fox and News Corp. executives have for the most part viewed a national network as a luxury item, not a necessity.”
Even without a 24-hour sports network, News Corporation does air marquee sporting events on cable on the FX network.
Reports indicated that News Corporation would convert an existing cable outlet to the new network. Bloomberg specifically mentioned the Fuel network, while Sports Business Daily reported Thursday that it could be Speed Channel.