Here is how to find that channel for Time Warner cable users. Incredibly, the NFL regular season has come to an end, and after a month of intense competition, the NFL Playoffs are nearly finished. There is only one game left to play, and it is certainly a big one. The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons are the two final teams remaining, as both have had to navigate some rough waters to get to the Super Bowl. The Patriots started the season behind the eight ball, as their star quarterback was forced to miss the first four games of the season due to suspension.
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None of the distributors would comment beyond official statements. The move by Fox could cause major ripples in sports media, as the company chose to give on pricing instead of waging high-profile carriage battles with many of the top distributors at the same time.
Already frustrated by the high cost of sports rights, distributors forcefully resisted tearing up existing deals to pay more for FS1. In fact, just a week before its launch on Saturday, FS1 lacked significant distribution, which posed a major problem for the programmer.
Rather than having these carriage fights with multiple distributors at launch, Fox execs, led by Fox Networks Distribution President Mike Hopkins, decided to establish the channel on cable and satellite systems first.
While those negotiations will occur in an environment where distributors have become more emboldened in their disputes with sports networks, Fox is banking that systems find that it is more disruptive to drop existing channels that have a built-in audience.
Some of those deals could be worked out before the Speed deals expire.
Those negotiations could lead to a new FS1 deal with Cox. But sources did not know the rate that Charter agreed to pay for FS1. The move was vital for Fox, as the flurry of activity days just before FS1 goes live allows it to launch Saturday to around 90 million homes.
That number is important for FS1, as its contracts with some college conferences, like the Big Ten, and leagues, like MLB, stipulate that the channel has to reach a certain number of subscribers to carry its programming, sources said.
In recent months, as Fox was seeking new deals for FS1, it told distributors that they would be provided with a watered-down version of Speed if they did not agree to a new FS1 deal.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Fox gave a programming lineup for such a channel to the Tribune listings service.
The schedule was filled with reruns and infomercials. It is not known if that channel still will be available.