Fox Sports held an event this afternoon to announce that their new Fox Sports 1 network would launch on August 17th, replacing the Speed Network. The new network will initially be available in 90 million homes, according to Fox, and will launch with BCS college football, college basketball, NASCAR, soccer and UFC fights, drawing largely from rights already owned by Fox Sports and/or it's regional networks. Regis Philbin will reportedly also come out of retirement to host a studio show on the network.
The first day of programming will feature a NASCAR race and a UFC event in prime time. Over half of the programming in the first year of the network will be live; either sporting events or live sports news broadcasts.
In 2014, the network will add Major League Baseball games to it's line-up, including some postseason games from the Division Series and League Championship Series.
The network aims to take on Disney's ESPN family of networks in the sports television space.
Former Fox Sports Media chief David Hill will return to the Fox Sports division to lead the new network. There are also plans to convert the Fuel channel into a companion network, Fox Sports 2.
Funding for the growing rights fees for live sports properties will be at least partially taken from increased subscriber fees that Fox hopes to earn.
Fox is seeking substantially more for Fox Sports 1 than the 31-cent monthly subscriber fee that Speed gets, according to the media research firm SNL Kagan.
Bank estimated that Fox Sports 1 will probably charge cable, satellite and telephone companies 75 cents to $1 a subscriber. "At $1 a sub, it's a massive home run," he said.
By comparison, ESPN charges $5.15 a month and additional fees for its other channels.
The newly-reformed Big East, formed by the departing Catholic 7 group, is expected to sign on with the new network, joining the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences in the Fox college hoops portfolio.