The network wasn’t ready to announce a deal with the new basketball conference formed by breakaway Big East schools, but Fox’s executives were happy to talk up the ratings draw the league will provide. Freer called it an ‘‘iconic basketball brand’’ that will immediately be one of the top hoops conferences in the country.
‘‘They’re very historic, high-profile teams. The Georgetowns of the world and so on, St. John's, Villanova etc.,’’ Wanger said. ‘‘It would be a coup if that deal did happen.’’
Fox is airing the 2014 Super Bowl in the New York area, a valuable opportunity to promote the new network. Its 22 regional channels also will offer regular chances to direct viewers to FS1.
A report by RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank says that while FS1 may not match ESPN right away, it can thrive without doing so. Banks writes that a ‘‘modestly successful’’ venture would more than quadruple Fox’s monthly subscriber fees from what Speed received, and increase ad revenue from $90 million to $460 million.
‘‘It’s going to take us a while, and we’re aware of this fact,’’ Fox Sports Chairman David Hill said. ‘‘We’re not expecting to knock ESPN off in the first week or two. ... It’s going to be a solid slog.’’