(Reuters) – News Corp will unveil its long-rumored national sports channel to advertisers in early March in its drive to siphon viewers and advertisers from sports behemoth ESPN, according to two people with knowledge of the launch.
The Fox Corp unit will soon send advertisers invitations to its first sports “upfront” presentation, the TV industry’s annual unveiling of new shows, for a splashy New York City event, the sources said. It will make sales pitches for both its 22 regional sports channels and its new Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 national channels.
Daytime talk show host Regis Philbin is in talks to host a daily afternoon show with other hosts on Fox Sports 1, according to one of the sources, and could appear at the event.
Fox will convert its motorsports channel Speed into Fox Sports 1. It will convert its extreme sports channel Fuel into Fox Sports 2, the person said, and would also offer subscribers the ability to get the channels on mobile devices.
Read more: Fox to unveil sports channels for ad buyers in challenge to ESPN