Fox Moves Up College Kickoff

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Looking to take advantage of the fall college-sports season, Fox Cable Networks Group will now kick off its revamped college-sports networks Sept. 4.

In May, Fox Cable said it would convert the trio of services — Fox College Sports Pacific, Fox College Sports Central and Fox College Sports Atlantic — sometime in late fall. Those services — reaching some 3 million homes, primarily on digital sports tiers — currently operate under the Fox Sports Digital out-of-market banner.

But Fox Sports Net president Bob Thompson said the company was able to get the networks’ infrastructure, on-air look and schedule together to launch several weeks earlier.

“Part of it had to do with the fact that these networks were already on the air, so it wasn’t a complete technical buildup from the ground up,” he said. “The real impetus for us was to have these channels up for college football.”

Thompson said the operators have been informed of the changes, including the addition of two minutes of local ad-avail time not offered under the previous structure. Thompson said the networks have deals with all the major MSOs but Cablevision Systems Corp., and are available to more than 40 million homes. He added he expects more subscribers to come on board prior to the network’s launch next month.

Network officials said FCS will televise 70 live or taped football, soccer and volleyball games this fall, as well as 80 coach’s studio or magazine shows.

FCS is also working to provide HDTV, video-on-demand and ITV extensions to the linear three-channel multiplex.

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