After a year of speculation, News Corporation officially announced the launch of the 24-hour Fox Sports 1 network on Tuesday.
The Fox Sports 1 channel will debut on August 17, Fox Sports Media Group announced Tuesday. The network, which will replace Speed Channel, is set to launch in 90 million television homes.
As had been reported over the past several months, FS1 will televise college football and basketball, NASCAR, various soccer events, the UFC, and Major League Baseball (starting in the 2014 season). Though the move was not announced Tuesday, the FS1 line-up is expected to also include the new Big East (“Catholic 7″) college basketball conference.
Among the highest-profile items on the FS1 schedule will be portions of the MLB Division Series and League Championship Series, an unspecified number of NASCAR Sprint Cup races (starting in 2015), and portions of the World Cup (also starting in 2015).
It should be pointed out that many of the events on the FS1 schedule already aired on a News Corp. cable network — college football on FX, the UFC on FX/Fuel, NASCAR on Speed Channel, and soccer on Fox Soccer. With the launch of Fox Sports 1, News Corp. will not only discontinue Speed Channel, but is also expected to pull the curtain on Fuel and Fox Soccer as well. FX will no longer televise sports.
Beyond live events, Fox Sports also announced several studio shows on Tuesday. The most notable program of these will be “Fox Sports Live” — a FOX version of “SportsCenter” that will air nightly at 11 PM ET. FS1 also plans to launch a morning version of the show in January 2014.
Other FS1 shows include “Rush Hour” (the Regis Philbin-hosted panel show Sports Business Journal first reported on this year) and “Fox Football Daily” (a pro-and-college football themed studio show). As The Sporting News noted, Speed Channel studio shows “NASCAR RaceDay,” “NASCAR Victory Lane” and “Race Hub” will also air on the network. It was not immediately clear what the fate would be for Fox Soccer studio shows.