In a feat of heroic last-second deal-making, Fox Sports 1 has indicated today it will debut Saturday, August 17 on virtually every major pay-TV distributor on board, including former holdouts Time Warner Cable, DISH and DIRECTV.

Deadline reports that the cable companies will not pay extra for Fox Sports 1 and 2, for now, but carriage by the big distributors still makes this the biggest launch of a sports cable network in history, and one of the largest network launches period. The launch comes in sync with an additional push by Fox Sports International abroad.

“We are thrilled that virtually all pay-television customers across America will have access to Fox Sports 1,” said Mike Hopkins, president of distribution at Fox Networks, in a statement. “This network launch is a major milestone for Fox and will alter the sports television landscape.”

Read more at Deadline.

Brief Take: Now appearing in 90 million homes, only 8 million fewer than ESPN, Fox Sports 1 is making a bold attempt to challenge ESPN’s self-proclaimed title as “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.”


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