For many years, I had the same morning routine: shower, bang a WU-Big-Deathrow mix, and then watch SportsCenter until it was time for me to roll out to work. About four of five years ago, SC & ESPN became unbearable to stomach that early in the day – maybe it was the corny anchors and their clichéd punch lines, or maybe it was the blatant one sided reporting (e.g. inaccurate and biased reporting of Black athletes doing some shady things yet never touching on guys like Matt Jones cutting up coke on his car dash). Then again, maybe I just outgrew them, and have lost the ability to be entertained by such drivel (c’mon man!).
Fast forward to earlier this year – the entertaining (yet scattered) Fox Sports Network announced that they were launching their own 24-hour sports channel dubbed “Fox Network 1.” At first glance, most ESPN fans will denounce this start-up as a cheap and blatant knock-off, but it is not…or rather – it shouldn’t be. Fox has the money, access to talent, and key partnerships (e.g. Bing/Microsoft) to make this a success. (Though it could be argued that Google would have been a better strategic fit given their deep resources, and built in distribution channels via Google +).
Fox Network 1 debuted on August 17th with a string of major UFC fights followed by “Fox Sports Live.” Fox Sports Live is this network’s answer to SportsCenter and is anchored by an interesting cast – Donovan McNabb, Gary Peyton, and Andy Roddick – who aren’t known for being shy and retiring. Just yesterday, McNabb was giving interviews (admittedly on another radio show) on how RGIII is being “brainwashed” by the Redskins, with RGIII responding that “it’s best that Donovan and I don’t speak…[and] he’s (sic) not an idiot.” With a seeming feud, or at the very least a “mentor/mentee” spat in the making – get ya popcorn ready!
Overall this sounds promising, but then again so did Cineamagram before Instagram and Vine jumped them on the playground after-school and left them to limp home to mom. If Fox Network 1 really wants to differentiate themselves, they should look to more diverse sources…for example, the internet (they’ve already proven they can go regional and local). More and more news outlets are utilizing social media as a source of video, clips, and story leads. Outlets such as Black Sports Online and local blogs that cover teams raw and uncut can offer viewers (both TV and online) with a broader perspective, while stroking their egos as they find content related to their hometown.
As a self-described “meat-head” (e.g. one who loves all things sports), I’m hoping that Fox Network 1 is able to scratch my itch for thoughtful, intelligent and most of all entertaining programming. We’ll be watching!