Calling it "the world's worst kept secret," News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey on Wednesday addressed recent media reports that the company is planning to launch a national sports network in the U.S. to compete with The Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN.
Carey said the company already has TV rights to a number of sports franchises, but declined to elaborate on whether it would need more to make the channel attractive to viewers and distributors.
QUESTION: In terms of the idea of a national cable sports network, do you think if you put together the various rights that you hold for national cable rights right now ... that it's enough for a 24/7 proposition? Or do you think you would need some more? And if so, what could that possibly be?
RESPONSE: (Carey) We believe we have a unique combination of both rights and assets that we can use to potentially build a very attractive business....
If we launch a channel, we're going to launch a channel that we think will excite people and will interest people. Clearly a 24-hour channel is rights as well as programming you create in that content genre. We think we have proven a unique capability in the sports business to really do unique and exciting things that excite people. We certainly greatly expanded the portfolio of rights we've got across an array of sports from NASCAR to baseball to college football, college basketball, soccer, UFC, and the like, so we have a broad array of rights as well as the regionals, as I touched on, to deal with. And we clearly look to create, again, distinctive content that we create that goes with it that would be interesting and valuable to customers, and go out on the set of economics that enables it to be an attractive business for us. And that's the plan we're on and that's what we're planning to execute. And we will provide more details as we go forward.