ESPN and FS1 “Clash of the Titans” Sports Business Infographic

ESPN and FS1 “Clash of the Titans” Sports Business Infographic

ESPN and FS1 “Clash of the Titans” Sports Business Infographic

The new sports business “Clash of the Titans” Infographic details the history and some of the significant sports technology created by ESPN and FS1. This may be favorite Infographic I have ever had the pleasure to blog about to our Sports Techie community because it does such a super job of touching on how the cable game has played out up to now.

Cable Wars

This cable sports business, or sportsbiz, game on between these sports technology entrepreneurs has evolved into a competition for global viewers as the world population rapidly upgrades to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to search out sport information and entertainment. Add CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network to the fight and the world suddenly gets a little bit smaller for first to market ESPN, and one percent funded, Fox Sports. All four have enough cash and tech to create a race around the moon, overbid on any sport event, or even cure a disease if they used all those smart Sports Techie who work at each respective company to make it so.

ESPN

Go straight to the bottom of the Infographic and take note of the estimated $40 billion value of ESPN, it makes your jaw drop when you go back to the top and consider the pioneering and humble beginnings that Entertainment Sports Programming Network, Inc. founder, Bill Rasmussen, underwent to bring his brand to life and then grow it. Leveraging a credit card to rent satellite space so his company could broadcast sports outside of regional telecasts was genius and paved the way for other sports properties owned by Fox, CBS and NBC to tweak what they do and call it their own.

The fact that ABC, Inc. had the vision to purchase ESPN in 1984 followed by similar vision in 1995 by the Walt Disney Company to purchase Capital Cities/ABC have turned out to be two of the best investments I can think of in all Industries. It reminds me of the windfall that will soon happen for the Twitter founders and early investors. I imagine an IPO for ESPN will eventually happen.

A $40 billion valuation is enough cash for most brands to be ok with but since ESPN is in are a new age, eyeball and sponsorship battle with FS1, NBCSN and CBSSN, the odds are we will see a public offering someday soon to increase their cash hoards and dominate their opponents’ on the level of the record breaking NFL season like Denver Broncos quarterback Payton Manning is having.

FS1

The good social media people at NFL on Fox were generous a few weeks ago and sent me a wonderful Fox Sports swag t-shirt for a simple retweet by @SportsTechieNET, thank you. Sports Techie is a big fan of them and their competitors. The big break for Fox Sports besides initial funding by Ultra Sports Techie, Robert Murdoch, who owned Sky satellites, was their implementation of a new sportsbiz model that customized broadcast for each market even though ESPN had nearly twice the amount of subscribers at the time. With their network approach in place they surprised everyone and outspent the competition for the NFC rights in 1993 for what now seems like a NFL bargain of $1.58 billion. In August, FS1 was launched on the old Speed Channel giving them a 24 hour sports channel that brings with it an already established lineup up that features NASCAR, UFC and World Cup soccer in addition to crossing over to NFL and college football content, as well as Major League Baseball.

NBC Sports has been busy over paying for Sunday Night Football, NHL hockey, the British Premier league, and perhaps F1 racing and the Tour de France. When I say overpaying it simply means they wanted to sign the free agent property and were willing to pay Cowboys owner Jerry Jones money to have rights to their compelling content for their 24 hour network to broadcast. The same can be said for CBS Sports who over spent to purchase the rights to NFL, Major Golf tournaments, Grand Slam tennis, March Madness college basketball, and college football such as the heavyweight SEC.

The regional strategy for cable distribution by FS1 using networks also sets them apart from ESPN and their worldwide affiliate operating units. FS1 stepped up and purchased 49 percent of the YES Network and also is home to Fox Soccer and Yardbarker. Both have late evening sports recap shows that have become tradition for fans to watch.

Clash of the Titans
Source: Clash of the Titans

Our Sports Techie community gratitude goes out to Sophia Barber from Sports-management-degrees.com for this very insightful and analytical Infographic.

Sports Techie, One thing for sure, no one delivers a broadcast like ESPN does. Monday Night Football, Major Golf tournaments, the NBA and MLB have all become more mainstream because of the original work ESPN does. As much as I respect FS1 during their infancy, and NBC Sports Network who launched in 1995, and CBS Sports Network who launched in 2002, ESPN is in a real class all their own when it comes to the cable wars right now. But just like every modern civilization that has dominated the world, their time on top may eventually fall but I do not see that happening in my generation because ESPN knows what they are doing and have since 1979.

I love the EPSN story best when I compare it to Sports Techie, LLC. What began as an original startup vision has truly grown to be a respected and trusted brand in the sports technology Industry. Sports Tech is said to be $250 billion Industry by the ASTN, making it the third or fourth largest of all and here we are right in the middle of it, all day, every day.

The recent broadcast success of America’s Cup AC72 sports tech centric yacht racing event in San Francisco won by Oracle Team USA and their Ultra Sports Techie owner is one example of 1,000’s that scale into the definition of sports technology. The upcoming 2014 billion dollar winter Olympic games in Sochi will undoubtedly lose money for NBCSN but they don’t care as long as they can keep the rights to this premier event and attempt to turn a profit at the next 2016 Rio summer Olympics.

The cable spend game is not one where the last network standing has all the programming and cable distribution outlets. Ultimately, the overbid model may sink one or two of these networks long-term but when the market is planet earth’s nearly ten billion people, there is probably room for all. I predict there will be a record over spend to have the infrastructure in place to win the space broadcast rights to World Wingsuit League races on Mars in the coming years.

I can certainly relate to the spirit, ingenuity and commitment Bill had when founding ESPN. What Robert did is what it is and today I am a fan of Fox Sports content and their sports tech as a result. I wonder if FS1 has any new World Series sports technology to showcase in the next few weeks. The Sports Techie story will one day be public just like Bill’s and Robert’s and the sacrifices my loving supporters have made for me to be a sports technology company owner is truly the new American dream and the only reason I am able to stay open to curate and blog today. Bravo to Bill and to Robert for not fighting the feeling and going for it, now go make the world a better place with your cash piles instead of overspending on your next bid.

Here to the “Clash of the Titans” and may they keep spending in order to invent more incredible sports technology and eventually help save the world with sport, not war.

I will see ya when I see ya, THE Sports Techie @THESportsTechie – http://twitter.com/THESportsTechie

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