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Fox touts sports programming performance even as costs rise

A Fox Sports television camera during a game between the Utah Utes and the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Oct. 21, 2023.
Fox Sports drove higher consumption overall for Fox Corporation last quarter, CEO Lachlan Murdoch said Thursday during the company’s quarterly earnings call.
Consumption data showed viewing of all Fox brands was up 2% during the fiscal year first quarter, the company reported.
“FOX Sports was a big driver of that consumption, especially with its broadcast of the Women’s World Cup, where the U.S. versus the Netherlands on Fox with the most watched Women’s World Cup game match ever on U.S. English language television,” Murdoch said.
But as the media giant doubled down on sports programming, it certainly paid the price.
Sports programming costs drove expenses higher, weighing on profit and offsetting revenue growth in the company’s TV segment. The company posted a net income of $415 million in its earnings report, down 33% from the $613 million a year earlier. Fox cited the Women’s World Cup and the renewal of National Football League rights as major costs.
Sports programming is a consistent ratings beast for TV networks. A whopping 113 million viewers tuned into Fox to watch the Super Bowl earlier this year, the third highest of all time. But it comes with a massive price tag, especially as linear networks and streaming services have begun battling it out for programming rights.
Last year, YouTube won the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket after the online streaming giant handed over $2 billion a year. DirecTV had previously paid $1.5 billion annually for the rights.



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