US network Fox’s new national sports channel Fox Sports 1 will have a less serious “personality” as it prepares to compete against ESPN, according to Fox Sports chief executive officer David Hill.
FS1 will launch on August 17 as Fox transforms its motor sports channel, Speed, into the new multi-sport channel.
The new channel is being lined up as a serious rival to ESPN, and Hill said that it would launch with a “jockularity” concept in a bid to differentiate itself in the market and create a distinct brand.
“What we are fighting is inertia,” Hill told the Bloomberg news agency. “ESPN has a 30-year head start, and they are doing a remarkable job. We are very much the underdog, and we have to convince the sports-viewing public that what we have on offer is better – or as good as – what ESPN has been offering. We have to create a personality.”
Hill has spent 20 years at Fox, but his role within Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation also saw him play a significant role in the launch of UK pay-television broadcaster Sky Sports, while he also worked on the formation of pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport.
Commenting on the challenges ahead for FS1, Hill added: “You don’t think going up against the BBC and ITV with Sky Sports is scary? Every competitor is big and hairy. ESPN is no different.”