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Fox CEO Answers Burning Questions About New Sports Streamer

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Fox has a new playbook for the sports streaming space, and everyone has questions.

On Tuesday, Fox, ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery surprisingly announced they’d come together to release a new combined sports streamer in the fall of 2024. The product will combine 14 linear networks, including Fox and its portfolio of affiliates, ESPN and its products and WBD’s cablers, and could completely change the sports streaming space and rights moving forward.

Now, Lachlan Murdoch, Fox CEO and chief executive chair, is explaining why.

“The inclusion of our networks in the platform is consistent with our strategy, being proudly consumer-first and distribution agnostic across the distribution ecosystem,” Murdoch said during an earnings call on Wednesday.

Though the Fox CEO reiterated that traditional pay TV will remain the company’s dominant customer base, he added, “This unique new platform opens up a new market for us, one that we have not accessed before and that we’re excited to participate in.”

In the Wednesday earnings call, analysts peppered Murdoch with questions about the big sports streaming TV news, and the CEO explained several behind-the-scenes details about the new game plan.

Why now?

Like other broadcasters, Fox enjoyed robust growth from its live sports ratings in 2023-2024, with NFL games averaging 19 million viewers on Fox this season and America’s Game of the Week averaging 25 million, an 8-year high. However, it’s largely remained out of the sports streaming space.

Murdoch explained that Fox had been monitoring the space for years, and—as it was reviewing the space and developing the concept with partners over several months—it became clear that now was the time to launch to reach new consumers.

“It’s a new market where there’s no product serving the sports fans that are not within the cable TV bundle,” Murdoch said. “So it accesses a whole new market and drives a tremendous amount of new reach.”

When it comes to the sports streaming space, Murdoch explained the “opportunity is huge” because the streamer will focus on “cord nevers” as opposed to “cord cutters.”

“You look at the American market, roughly say 125 million households in America, and roughly half of those are not within the traditional bundled cable ecosystem,” Murdoch said. “The target for this product—which is going to be, I think, incredibly innovative when you see it rollout—is really that that universe of, call it, 60 million-odd households that currently don’t participate in the bundled cable and paid pay television ecosystem.”

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