With so much anticipation mounting for the launch of the new Fox Sports 1 network, you would think they would have the necessary deals done with three of the nation’s largest pay TV companies. As of now, FS1 has yet to strike deals with DirectTV, Dish Network, and Time Warner Cable That is a total of nearly 46 million subscribers that FS1 is currently missing out on. Why has Fox Sports 1 failed to strike deals with major carriers this close to the network’s launch date?
Fox Sports 1 and carriers haggle over prices
As of now, Fox Sports 1 has made deals with Comcast, Cox Communications, Verizon Communications’ Fios, AT&T’s U-verse, Cablevision, Charter Communications and Suddenlink Communications. These carriers alone represent 45 million subscribers, which is only half of the networks plan to launch in 90 million homes on August 17th.
Deals with Direct TV, Dish Network, and Time Warner Cable are currently in the “haggling” stages. The reason for this is because of FS1’s rising cost to subscribers. The Speed Network currently charges subscribers 31 cents per month. With FS1 slated to take over the Speed Network, those costs are expected to rise to 80 per month for subscribers. From here on out, the situation seems delicate. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said last week:
“Somebody, sometime may decide that sports isn’t something they have to have (referring to pay-TV companies). “They can have a materially lower price per customer. While they’ll lose customers initially, they will gain customers long term.”
ESPN – the competition for FS1 – charges an outstanding $5.50 per month per subscriber. Even so, the network airs in over 98 million households throughout the nation. The fact that Fox Sports 1 may launch at half that number is not a good start to the competition. If a deal is not struck with any of the three carriers, the Speed Channel will continue to air reruns until one can be reached.
Fox Sports spokesperson Lou D’Ermilio said the company is looking to have a wide distribution on launch day. The fact remains the FS1 is still lacking half of the subscribers they are hoping for. Are you looking forward to the launch of Fox Sports 1? Do you think “a la carte pricing” is on the horizon for cable carriers?
Also, take a look at the starting lineup of programs for FS1.
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