As the Pac-12 and their partners start announcing their TV schedules, there is a new name out there that you may or may not recognize: Fox Sports 1. They already have an impressive line up of games including WSU at USC, Boise State at Washington, the Civil War on Black Friday and a slate of Thursday night games including Arizona at USC, and that's just from the Pac-12. They also have deals with the Big 12 and Conference USA for college basketball and football and are committed to showing live playoff baseball, UFC, NASCAR, and international soccer.
Fox Sports 1, abbreviated to FS1, is poised to challenge ESPN for the cable sports throne and, by the looks of it, it has everything it needs to do just that. It will be a 24 hour network complete with a nightly newscast, a panel show hosted by Regis Philbin, and year-round NFL coverage from the same team that brings you FOX NFL Sundays.
As Pac-12 fans, there is a natural question to ask next: Will I be able to watch it? We are all keenly aware of the struggles the Pac-12 Network has had with DirecTV in trying to gain carriage. The good news for FS1 is that it will be taking over for the spot currently occupied by the Speed Network. If you can watch Speed now, you'll be able to watch FS1 when it launches and, one would assume, many providers would want to move the new network, now with a broader scope and wider appeal, to a better package with more viewers.
Unlike some other networks that have positioned themselves to challenge ESPN, Fox Sports 1 appears to have the best chance to do so. They have the carriage, live programming and resources to do very well. The network launches on August 17, 2013, just in time for the run up to the NFL and college football season. The first Pac-12 game on the network is a Thursday night game on August 29 as Utah State takes on Utah. The Cougs make their debut on the network on September 7 at USC with kick off at 7:30 pm.
For more information, Fox has provided an FAQ here.