While we have spent much of this month analyzing the launch of Fox Sports 1 from every angle, it’s easy to forget about the channel’s little brother – Fox Sports 2.
The former Fuel TV was a significant part of Fox Sports’ transformational rebranding. Fox was not only launching one 24/7 cable sports channel, but two. And even though FS2 hasn’t seen the original new programming, nor anywhere near the attention that FS1 has in the last year it is still a critical part of the larger Fox Sports empire. Fox Sports 2 needs to be a successful channel to give Fox Sports additional broadcast options, especially as it expands its current rights portfolio, in much the same way ESPN2 has always been there for Bristol. For the Fox Sports rebrand to be a success, FS2 will have to become a destination sports channel.
But right now Fox Sports 2 isn’t a destination at all. In fact, it’s a barren wasteland.
According to the Fox website, FS2 is in only 37 million homes. To put that in perspective, ESPN2 is in almost 100 million homes. Heck, about the only sports channel FS2 beats on the distribution front is ESPN Classic (29 million homes). And to make matters worse, the channel’s HD offerings are limited – I’m just one of many sports fans who doesn’t have access to FS2 in high definition. That’s why when an important game is relegated to FS2, it leads to tweets like this…
How are you watching Arsenal vs Bayern today?! Need suggestions on where to find it please don't have FS2.
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) February 19, 2014
Fox Sports 2 has some decent live events periodically. I’ll always hold a soft spot in my heart for any channel that carries Australian Rules Football. But mostly, the network is a mishmash of FS1 replays and Fuel leftovers like UFC, skateboarding, and air racing. FS2’s social media situation is even more of a folly.
Do you know what the Twitter handle of Fox Sports 2 is? @FuelTV.
More than a year into the network’s existence, and Fox Sports 2 is still going by its former branding on social media. How is that possible?!?!?! FuelTV hasn’t been in existence since last August, yet the ghost of the network exists as a Twitter handle for its new network. The @FuelTV handle has only tweeted once since the launch of Fox Sports 2 – a retweet of UFC Tonight in February. That’s it. Everything you’re not supposed to do on social media, Fox is doing with this Fuel/FS2 identity crisis.
There’s an easy fix here – it took me 2 minutes to find an acceptable, available handle for the network. There’s tons of squatters and vacant accounts that exist at the moment, but Fox can change the handle to @FoxSports_Two in the next thirty minutes and at least finally align their channel’s branding so it makes sense, even if they aren’t going to keep the account active.
It’s not like this FuelTV handle has no value – it has 124,000 followers. If I can channel my inner Darren Rovell for a second, it’s inconceivable to think that Fox Sports could allow this kind of brand confusion to be taking place over a year into the launch of FS1 and FS2. Furthermore, why not use those followers for something? Encourage them to contact their cable and satellite providers to carry the channel in HD. Promote the sports that air on the network. Do… something.
It’s like Fox Sports literally forgot about FS2. And if Fox can’t even remember it has a second cable sports network, why should fans?
UPDATE: Well, it looks like someone is paying attention to what we’re writing because at some point today @FUELTV became Fuel TV once again. A network that was taken off the air over a year ago. I’m not making this up.
No!! That’s the wrong channel! @FoxSports_Two is right there! Why not take that???