He has been with Fox Sports for 18 years, most recently as its head of Business Operations. David Nathanson has announced that he will leave Fox Sports effective October 2.
Nathanson was mainly responsible for bringing the World Cup to Fox in 2011 after it had been on ESPN dating back to 1994. In a statement, Fox Sports President and Chief Operating Officer Eric Shanks said Nathanson had a big impact on the division:
“We are grateful for his commitment to the Fox Sports brand and the enduring relationships he forged with league partners all over the world. David has left an indelible mark on that will be felt for many years to come and has positioned us for significant growth in the future. We wish him the best of luck on his next venture.”
Nathanson was valued so much at Fox Sports, he was offered a new three year contract to stay, but he decided to pursue other opportunities in the industry. Nathanson began working with Fox and its parent company, News Corp in 1999. He was the General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of FS1 and FS2 as well as GM and executive vice president of Fox Soccer.
This is a blow to Fox as it ramps up for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and it’s the second loss of a top executive this year. You know about the firing of Jamie Horowitz back in July. While he didn’t make a splash like Horowitz, Nathanson was key in the development of FS1 and FS2.
In 2014, a year after the launch of FS1 and FS2, Awful Announcing spoke with Nathanson on where hoped the networks would in the future:
I think Fox Sports 1 will be a very different network five years from now. First and foremost, I think more fans will tune into us more often and for a longer period of time and ultimately, I think that a lot of our shows which continue to develop will certainly have found their strides, but beyond that, we’ll continue to evolve. If we’re not, then we’re not doing our job.
Are they there yet? One could say FS1 and FS2 are still finding their niches. But for now, FS1 and FS2 are here to stay. While they have experienced growing pains, Nathanson was there to see the launch of the networks and his legeacy will be the three FIFA World Cup cycles that Fox will broadcast through 2026.