In the fall, Saturdays are known for college football, with games taking place all day on ESPN, ABC, and hosts of other networks. ABC nearly always has a primetime game featuring two of the top teams in the country, and ESPN usually supplements that with a lesser, but still sexy looking game. But in the spring and summer, Saturday nights are usually void of national sports coverage. Well, FOX is trying to change that and build up a good head of steam coming into the fall in their attempt to get your eyeballs glued to their station.
During 28 of the next 32 Saturday nights, a schedule that stretches all the way into December, FOX will be airing live, primetime sports coverage as reported by Sports Business Daily. We discussed FOX’s foray into primetime baseball (which will begin on May 19th and continue for ten straight weeks), but FOX has some other things up their sleeve during the summer, including coverage of NASCAR (three races), college football (a whopping 13 games), and FOX’s new sports crown jewel – UFC (three live fight cards on FOX, which doesn’t even take into account the others airing on FX and Fuel).
This is awful news if you’re a diehard fan of COPS or America’s Most Wanted, which normally took up the slot on Saturday nights after FOX’s afternoon MLB broadcasts. But if you’re a sports fan, can this be considered anything other than awesome? Sure, the primetime baseball will have mixed reactions due to blackout rules (another topic we’ve covered in depth on AA), but the expanded college football coverage will provide a nice alternative to ABC, ESPN, and CBS in the fall. It will also provide a bigger platform for Gus Johnson as his first season calling college football on FX was rather underwhelming with bad games and little hype. Expanded primetime sports in the spring and summer will be welcome for fans as well.
The first two UFC shows on FOX had vastly different results, with the first show featuring one fight that lasted just over a minute, and the second show featuring a full slate of decisions. The third UFC on FOX outing, scheduled for May 5th, has a more balanced card. Just by looking at it, only the Josh Koscheck vs Johny Hendricks battle has true disaster potential. A solid outing this time around will give the network and UFC a nice base to build on for future events to draw in more viewers, who could have easily been turned off after the first two shows.
With the diversity FOX is bringing on Saturday nights for the rest of the year, it’s absolutely conceivable to see them threatening ESPN and ABC’s Saturday night supremacy. FOX is changing the schedule up from what we’re used to seeing nationally, and it could be a huge boon for them at the end of the day.
[h/t: Sports Business Daily]