September 25, 2012
By Amy Maclean
News Corp's Chase Carey declined to say whether or not Fox would launch a national sports network, but made it clear that the company likes sports. Really, really likes sports. Speaking at Goldman Sachs' conference Thurs, Carey said Speed and Fuel give Fox "a real opportunity to do some exciting things." Both have been discussed as possible channel flips for an upcoming national sports net. "We think sports content opens an array of opportunities for us," he said. The News Corp COO brushed aside the suggestion of competing with 800lb gorilla ESPN. "ESPN is in a different game...We're going to be prudent," Carey said, explaining that sports is complicated partly because of the associated costs. The upside? "It doesn't get fragmented. There's only 1 NFL, 1 MLB, 1 Pac-12... It becomes more important than ever." He was less cagey about renewals for Fox News: MVPDs are going to pay more. Fox News is in the process of negotiations for its next round of renewals ( Time Warner Cable inked a deal last month). "By the beginning of next calendar year, we will have renegotiated half of that universe," Carey said. "We aim to take that business closer to what we think reflects the value of the channel." And there is room for more Fox Cable growth. "We've got channels that still haven't come close to reaching their potential," he said, calling out Nat Geo (former Fox Reality head David Lyle took over the channel in Aug '11). Carey has spent time on both sides of the negotiating table having previously served as CEO of DirecTV. While he said he understands the economic concerns out there for consumers (and MVPDs worried about increasing their bills), he pointed to his time at DirecTV. "As much as people care about price, if you give them a great experience, they'll pay for a great experience."
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