News Corp. is considering morphing its Speed network, currently devoted to NASCAR, into a general interest cable sports destination to take on the ESPN hegemony.
"There’s a lot of optionality with Speed, and it could be turned into a broader sports network," said FOX Networks COO David Haslingden, at an investor conference. "We haven’t decided yet whether we’ll do that, but it’s a great option we have."
Speed is available in more than 80 million homes in North America.
Sources told Bloomberg that FOX would mash up Speed with the more than 20 regional sports networks that it operates in order to create a comprehensive offering.
News Corp. has a long history in the national network side of the house of capitalising on marquee sports carriage deals for everything from American football championships to the English Premier League. A strong cable presence would give pay-TV operators another alternative/complement to ESPN, which has a virtual stranglehold on mainstream cable sports and commands the highest carriage fees of any other cable net.