On Saturday, Aug. 17, at 8am ET, SPEED will become FOX Sports 1, a new national sports network featuring live college football, auto racing, UFC, soccer, news shows and more. On the same day, FUEL will become FOX Sports 2.
If you’ve watched even a few minutes of sports on FOX or any of its regional sports networks, you’ve no doubt heard the hype about FOX Sports 1. On Aug. 17, SPEED will become FOX Sports 1, a new national general sports network available in close to 90 million homes*. With new sports networks cropping up everywhere, it’s easy to shrug it off — until you discover how much live and original content FS1 will air.
It’s no coincidence that FS1 will launch in time for college football season, as the network airs games from the Pac-12, Big 12 and Conference USA, featuring games in prime time Thursday nights and Saturday games throughout the regular season. The network’s first game is Aug. 29 with Utah State at Utah.
FOX Sports Live is the network’s flagship news and highlights show, hosted by Charissa Thompson and featuring Andy Roddick, Ephraim Salaam, Gary Payton and Donovan McNabb. Crowd Goes Wild (weekdays beginning Aug. 19) talks about the top stories from sports, entertainment and more with special guests and host Regis Philbin, who can presumably talk about more than Notre Dame. Curt Menefee and Jay Glazer host FOX Football Daily weekdays, including appearances from members of the popular FOX NFL Sunday studio show and including input from retired players Brian Urlacher, Ronde Barber, Randy Moss and Scott Fujita.
Many of the auto racing events previously airing on SPEED will still air on FS1, including the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, practice and qualifying, and complementary programming like NASCAR Live. Select NASCAR Sprint Cup races will come to FS1 beginning in 2015.
FOX Sports expands its commitment to UFC, with FOX UFC Wednesday Live in prime time on Wednesdays, plus live coverage of preliminary fights from UFC pay-per-view events. The Ultimate Fighter reality series begins Season 18 on FS1 Sept. 4.
Matches from some of the world’s top soccer leagues air on FS1, including the UEFA Champions League (beginning Aug. 20), the CONCACAF Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, FA Cup and Gold Cup. The FIFA World Cup tournaments air on FS1 with the women’s beginning in 2015 and the men’s beginning in 2018.
Looking ahead, FS1 will air college basketball games from the Pac-12, Big 12, Conference USA and the reconstituted Big East beginning in the fall, with the excitable duo of Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery paired up to call games. Live Major League Baseball games will migrate to FS1 beginning in 2014, including some postseason games. FS1 will also have wall-to-wall Super Bowl week coverage from New York/New Jersey. FOX Sports also acquired the rights for golf’s U.S. Open beginning in 2015.
Will FS1 pose a formidable challenge to the ESPN juggernaut? With its wide distribution, top broadcast talent and rights to major live events, FOX is building the best contender yet.
FS1’s Day 1 schedule is as follows (all times ET; L denotes Live):
8:00-8:30 AM — NASCAR LIVE (L)
8:30-9:30 AM — NASCAR SPRINT CUP PRACTICE (L)
9:30-11:00 AM — NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES QUALIFYING (L)
11:00 AM-12:00 PM — NASCAR SPRINT CUP FINAL PRACTICE (L)
12:00-12:30 PM — NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK RACE PRE-RACE (L)
12:30-2:30 PM — NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES RACE (L)
2:30-3:30 PM — TRACKSIDE LIVE (L)
3:30-4:00 PM — UFC ULTIMATE INSIDER
4:00-5:00 PM — UFC UNLEASHED
5:00-6:00 PM — UFC TONIGHT (L)
6:00-8:00 PM — FOX UFC SATURDAY PRELIMS (L)
8:00-11:00 PM — FOX UFC SATURDAY (L)
11:00 PM-12:00 AM — FOX SPORTS LIVE (L)
12:00 AM-1:00 AM — FOX SPORTS LIVE (L)
1:00-2:00 AM — FOX SPORTS LIVE (L)
*At the time of this writing, FOX Sports 1’s plans to be in 90 million homes will likely fall short, as major TV providers like Time Warner Cable, DISH Network and DirecTV have not agreed to the significantly higher per-subscriber fee FOX is asking for FOX Sports 1. On cable or satellite systems without an agreement to carry FOX Sports 1, the channel will remain as SPEED and air live auto racing and repeats of other original SPEED programming. [UPDATE: FOX Sports announced Thursday that FS1 will be available on all major pay-TV providers on Aug. 17 and will launch in nearly 90 million homes as originally planned.]