News Corp. to Develop ESPN Rival: Report
By Chris Ciaccia - 03/28/12 - 4:35 PM EDT
NEW YORK (TheStreet
) - The Walt Disney
owned sports-empire ESPN
may soon have a rivalry as big as Yankees-Red Sox to talk about. Media giant News Corp
is said to be planning a sports channel of its own.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is in talks to develop an all-sports network to challenge the ESPN empire, according to Bloomberg
, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.
News Corp. is currently assembling the rights from pay-TV carriers and sports teams, although nothing is final, Bloomberg
reported. The media giant may decide to rebrand its Fuel network, which already caters towards action sports, as a competitor to ESPN. Fuel is available to 36 million homes currently. News Corp. is said to have clearance from DirecTV
, according to two people close to the matter.
ESPN has been a juggernaut for Disney since it acquired Capital Cities/ABC Television
in 1996. In the most recent quarter, ESPN drove an increase of $196 million in operating income for the Cable Network segment of Disney, bringing the quarterly total to $967 million.
Both News Corp. and ESPN did not immediately return calls regarding the matter.
Disney shares closed down 64 cents, or 1.45%, at $43.51 on Wednesday. News Corp.'s stock ended the day down 51 cents, or 2.52%, at $19.74.
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--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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reports that News Corp. is in the planning stages to develop an all sports network, and compete with ESPN.
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