Fox Sports Enrolls in College


Armed with an array of football, soccer and volleyball events, Fox Networks Group will kick off its revamped college-sports networks in early September.

In May, Fox Networks Group 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, operate under the banner of Fox Sports Digital out-of-market services.

Network officials said FCS -- which is looking to broaden its reach as distributors open up more digital-sports tiers -- will televise 70 live or taped football, soccer and volleyball games this fall, as well as 80 coach’s studio or magazine shows in its first months.

Among the games and events on tap for FCS Atlantic’s first month: Patriot League football and Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball. FCS Central will present Big 12, Gateway, Southland and Southern Conference football and ACC women’s volleyball, while Pacific 10 and Western Athletic Conference football and Pac 10 volleyball will air on FCS Pacific.

Additionally, FCS is working to provide advanced delivery services such as HDTV, video-on-demand and interactive-TV extensions to the linear three-channel multiplex.

“When we announced the transition of Fox Sports Digital Nets to Fox College Sports in May, it seemed that the earliest we’d be able to make this happen, from a logistics and technical standpoint, would be in late fall,” Fox Sports Networks president Bob Thompson said in a prepared statement.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of prime college-sports programming, namely college football, being played from September-November, so it would benefit Fox College Sports greatly to capitalize on that,” he added. “We’re moving along at a tremendous pace, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to take programming advantage of the college-football season this year and transition the Digital nets to FCS by Sept. 4.”