Year two of FOX Sports 1 is going to be a much better year overall for the sports industry’s newest network. Right now the network is embracing a chance to relaunch the network, philosophically, with expanded coverage of Major League Baseball this summer. The network is also stepping up to the plate with a push to improve its standing in the college football world.
The Big Lead let the cat out of the bag but Bruce Feldman, one of the best in the college football media industry, has been hired by FOX Sports 1. Feldman leaves CBS Sports after two years following his bitter divorce from ESPN. For a network that is looking to make a serious push in improving its image in year two, FOX Sports 1 could not have hired a better member of the college football media.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) April 3, 2014
When it came to college football coverage, FOX Sports 1 experienced a number of growing pains in year one, many perhaps expected when attempting to go head-to-head with the mega force that ESPN has grown over time on Saturdays in the fall. Adding a reputable name like Feldman to the mix to not only provide analysis and commentary in the studio during college football season but also add a presence to the writing and reporting side of the operation is significant. FOX Sports 1 is all about having a bit of a light-hearted approach to their coverage and dove in to their college football coverage hoping to build a following off of the polarizing Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage and NBC Sports Radio. Clay has his critics — you either get a kick out of him or are turned off by him — but he knows how to utilize different mediums to build an interactive audience. His presence at FOX Sports 1 was a bit of a gamble. Adding Feldman is not a gamble at all.
Where does this leave CBS Sports? As far as college football coverage online goes, the Eye should be in good shape. Dennis Dodd is still one of the top national reporters out there and Jeremy Fowler has become one of the top insiders since joining CBS. The Eye on College Football blog also features a fantastic staff that stays on top of the buzz and breaking news as well, and the partnership with 247 Sports gives CBS fantastic recruiting coverage to supplement their own content, so CBS is not going to be left behind in the online coverage department any time soon, although Awful Announcing has detailed a cause for concern.
The big difference here may be what FOX Sports 1 is doing with their TV network that CBS is not able to do with theirs. FOX Sports 1 has an advantage of having more of a presence than CBS Sports Network has had and there is no question FS1 will have better offerings for college football coverage as well. FOX Sports 1 will have Big 12 and Pac 12 football compared to Army, Navy and Mountain West Conference options with the occasional Division 2 game you will get on CBS Sports Network.
Nobody has caught up to ESPN yet, and it may be a long time before ESPN is truly threatened in the college football coverage game, but FOX Sports 1 is working hard and making some good moves to become one of the top challengers at some point moving forward.