FOX Sports One Celebrates Milestone as Primetime's Fastest Growing Sports Channel
At precisely 6:00 AM ET on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, Fox Sports ushered in a new era of sports television with the official launch of Fox Sports 1 in approximately 90 million homes - the biggest sports cable network launch in history and one of the largest network launches ever - and the first words viewers heard that summer morning was a promise to "always put the fan first."
FOX Sports 1 launched simultaneously with its companion channel Fox Sports 2, both complements to FOX's existing sports assets, including FOX Sports' broadcast coverage, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Big Ten Network, FOX Deportes, Fox Sports Digital Media and Fox Sports Radio, to create one of the most robust portfolios in the sports media industry.
"The last 12 months have been the most successful and eventful in the 20-year history of FOX Sports, with growth and success stories across all our brands," said Fox Sports President & COO Eric Shanks. "None of our channels or digital platforms exists independently, and for the first time we are all truly working together as one. Perfect examples are coordinated theme programming initiatives like Super Bowl Week (90 hours of programming), 10 Days of Thunder (a week-long block of NASCAR, MLB, UFC and originals in May) and Red, White & Fight Week (more than 18 hours of UFC programming in July, including two live fight cards) which were supported throughout the company. There is more collaboration, creativity and resources being shared across our different groups than ever before, and my sincere thanks go out to all who have worked so hard to make that a reality."
In keeping with its commitment to put the fan first, Fox Sports 1 delivered nearly 5,000 hours of live event, news and original programming in its first year, and the formula succeeded in making it the fastest growing sports channel in prime time. Live programming was highlighted by UFC events; regular-season MLB; College Football from the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences; NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Qualifying and Practice events; BIG EAST college basketball; UEFA Champions League soccer; and Golden Boy boxing. Among the channel's many significant first-year undertakings was the establishment of a national sports news organization, providing news highlights throughout the day, including THREE THINGS YOU Need to Know updates; and shows like NASCAR RACE HUB; FOX NFL KICKOFF; America's Pregame and Fox Sports LIVE, the channel's flagship news, highlights and opinion program.
New and dynamic original programs also stocked the schedule including BEING: THE FINEST; BEING: MIKE TYSON; BEING: MARIANO RIVERA; Derek JETER: A TRIBUTE; PECOS LEAGUE; BACK OF THE SHOP; Big Sticks WITH KEN GRIFFEY, JR.; and CLOSER KINGDOM to highlight a few.
"Now that Fox Sports 1's first anniversary is just behind us, we look back with a sense of tremendous pride and accomplishment," added Shanks. "We came out of the shoot a year ago looking long term to become the No. 1 sports channel in the country, and while we realize that ambitious goal is years away, we're working every day to get there. We thank the leagues, conferences and governing bodies which helped us lay a tremendous foundation in Year 1 and the marquee sports and events coming aboard in Year 2, which will lead to more and more sports fans finding us."
The next 12 months are going to be dynamic in terms of programming growth for Fox Sports 1. The channel adds more than 150 events, accounting for over 600 hours of live event programming, including MLB Division and League Championship Series games and Women's World Cup Qualifiers this fall; NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide races coming in February; and FIFA Women's World Cup and USGA championship events next spring.
FOX Sports 1 First Anniversary Highlights
FOX Sports 1 is the fastest growing sports cable channel in prime time, +48% over SPEED a year ago, while key demographics (A18-49 and M18-49) are +62%.
FOX Sports 1 ranked as the No. 1 sports channel in prime time 16 times in the past year, a rarity for any first-year channel.
FOX Sports 1's prime time audience beat ESPN2 75 times.
The total reach of Fox Sports 1 since launch is approaching 100 million fans - 30 million people more than SPEED a year ago (+45%).
FOX Sports 1 is extremely strong on Saturdays (1:00 PM-1:00 AM), posting 41% audience gains over SPEED a year ago, a figure that has improved greatly since adding MLB. Since the 2014 MLB season began, Fox Sports 1 is beating ESPN2 in audience (409,000 vs. 318,000) by 29% (3/31/14-8/3/14).
The Fox Sports 1 audience is more affluent, more diverse and younger than SPEED's.
FOX SPORTS LIVE retains its lead-in audience at approximately the same percentage as SportsCenter (35%).
Weekday daytime programming has evolved since launch to now feature The Mike Francesa Show (1:00-5:00 PM ET), NASCAR Race Hub (5:00-6:00 PM ET) and America's Pregame (6:00-7:00 PM ET), which provides the flexibility to cover topical stories and events, no matter the sport or where it's being played using the vast resources of our national and Fox Sports Regional Networks.
New faces were introduced through national sports TV and digital channels, including Mike Garafolo, Gabe Kapler, Molly McGrath, Randy Moss, Katie Nolan, Jay Onrait, Dan O'Toole and Brian Urlacher.
New opportunities were provided to others, including Jill Arrington, Don Bell, Colleen Dominguez, Mike Hill, Joel Klatt and Charissa Thompson.
Editorial influence was bolstered by adding esteemed journalists, including Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel, to TV and digital coverage.
FOX SPORTS LIVE accomplished the daunting task of building and investing in a national sports news organization providing sports fans a choice. Audience retention for Fox Sports Live has grown from 33% to 42% over the year.
FOX Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 were not launched as stand-alone channels, but as important components in the Fox Sports portfolio that provides the greatest reach and engagement of sports fans in the U.S. Fox Sports continues its commitment to a strong broadcast presence for big events on FOX, making it the No. 1 broadcast sports network for 17 consecutive years. Last season was the NFL on FOX's most-watched ever, capped off by Super Bowl XLVIII, the country's most-watched TV show of all time. The 2013 World Series was +17% year-to-year, while the entire MLB Postseason on FOX was +26%. The 2013 Big Ten Championship Football Game was the most-watched ever, while audience for the MLB All-Star Game in July grew for the third straight year.
It was also a record-setting year for Fox Sports Regional Networks, the unmatched leader in local sports, which posted its highest-rated MLB season ever (2013), its highest-rated NBA season in nine years (2013-14) and its highest-rated NHL season in 10 years (2013-14).
FOX Deportes has clearly established itself as a leading Spanish language cable sports channel, this year becoming the first to televise the Super Bowl, posting record viewership. The network's coverage of the 2014 UEFA Champions League tournament was the most-watched in the history of the tournament's Spanish-language broadcast. The channel is a leader in social audience with 7.5 million fans on Facebook.
The launch of Fox Sports 1 also provided the perfect opportunity to reinvent FOX Sports' digital offerings, first and foremost of which is the critically-acclaimed Fox Sports GO app. Fox Sports GO, which recently surpassed 1 million downloads, offers a high-quality streaming platform for IOS and Android devices, providing users access to live events, like nationally televised MLB games (including jewel events like the 2013 World Series and 2014 All-Star Game for the first time), NASCAR, UEFA Champions League and UFC events. The new partnership between FOXSports.com and Sporting News Media creates an industry leader of video offerings online and via mobile platforms.
Big Ten Network (BTN) remains the standard for college sports channels, and with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland to the Big Ten, the network continues its rapid growth with distribution nationwide. A product of BTN, BTN2Go is a leading mobile app for live streaming with one of the highest levels of authenticated distribution in the sports TV industry.
The last year also saw a renewed commitment to the Fox Sports Radio Network. Fox Sports reached a new long term agreement with Clear Channel/Premier which ensures Fox Sports Radio remains a key component in the Fox Sports portfolio for years to come.
There's no denying that the past 12 months have been the most successful in FOX Sports' history, and on the heels of that success, Year 2 of the Fox Sports 1 era is poised for additional growth among all its national, regional and digital platforms.