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What the Fox television network could look like after the Disney acquisition

NEW YORK — For a good chunk of Monday afternoon at an uptown theater here, a raft of Fox sports broadcast personalities held forth from a stage.

Alex Rodriguez talked about the villainy of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. Michael Strahan and Eli Manning ribbed Terry Bradshaw about the latter’s potential purchase of a (stuffed) eagle. Joe Buck passed around a cellphone photo of his newborn twins.

The occasion was the Fox upfront, where the network made the case to advertisers for all of its 2018-2019 television programming. But sports occupied an unusually large portion of the event, offering a glimpse at how the Fox TV network might look in the very near future, after Disney acquires a key content pipeline.

As Fox prepares to lose its in-house television studio to Disney in the pending acquisition, sports, it is becoming clear, is where it will place its bets. Scripted series? Not so much. In the coming months, the network has World Series rights, World Cup rights, college football rights and, as it emphasized early and often, rights to 11 Thursday Night Football games, for which it is paying more than $550 million a year in a five-year deal earlier this year.

Fox is “the No. 1 Network in live sports, and, as we all know, live sports is king,” said Fox ad sales chief Joe Marchese, alluding to sports’ resistance to time-shifting, the ad industry’s scourge.

Sports tend to be surer ratings bets, and those broadcasts cost, minute-for-minute, less to produce than scripted series (those pesky rights fees aside). And Fox owns some of the major events in the United States (that pesky NBA aside).

But can a network survive by being this lean and mean — by eschewing, in the peak TV era, much

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/05/15/what-the-fox-television-network-could-look-like-after-the-disney-acquisition/

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