MANILA, Philippines – Sports media brand Fox Sports will be launched in the Philippines and other Asian countries starting January 28, Fox International Channels (FIC) announced in a press conference Wednesday.
This, after FIC’s parent company, News Corporation, successfully acquired ESPN’s partnership interest in ESPN Star Sports in November 2012.
All ESPN networks currently on Philippine television will thus be renamed Fox Sports networks, including ESPN, ESPN HD and ESPNews.
“It is exciting to be launching in Asia the leading brand that has changed the sports experience for fans across the world,” FIC senior vice president for sports Peter Hutton said in a statement.
“Moving forward, Fox Sports is committed to further enhancing this experience for sports fans in the Philippines by showcasing even more engaging, localized programming and delivering to them all the best content in the most convenient ways,” he added.
In a press conference at the Sofitel Wednesday, FIC territory head Jude Turcuato explained that the new Fox Sports channel will carry the same content that the ESPN networks did. Fox Sports will also be found on the same channels.
“Wherever you see ESPN now is where you’ll see Fox Sports,” Turcuato said. “All the properties will be similar.”
The SportsCenter program, which airs regularly on ESPN networks, will be replaced by the new program Fox Sports Central, which aims to offer a “comprehensive 36-degree coverage” of sports news.
While the current content of Fox News will be similar to that of ESPN, Turcuato said they are working on bringing games and programs that are more to Filipinos’ tastes.
“We want to be the sports channel on pay-TV for the Filipino audience,” he said, adding that they want to complement the free television channels.
Fox Sports will also spotlight the Asean Basketball League (ABL) through the programming block “ABL Friday Basketball.”
Turcuato said they will give special focus to the San Miguel Beermen, the Philippines’ representative to the ABL. All of the Beermen’s 20 games will be broadcast on Fox Sports as they aim to promote SMB as “the team that people can root for,” according to Turcuato.
Fox Sports channels will also continue showing the sports programs that ESPN did, including two NBA games per week, the ABL, the US NCAA college basketball games, as well as the Barclays Premier League and the La Liga.
They will also show tennis tournaments, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon, the golf majors, and other American sports.
The renaming of ESPN networks to Fox Sports networks will take effect across various cable providers in the Philippines, including Sky Cable, Destiny Cable, Cable Link, PPC, Unicable and local provincial cable operators.