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Weekend Links with Jon Marthaler: Fox Sports 1 can't really challenge ESPN

Posted by: Michael Rand under Television Updated: August 17, 2013 - 10:26 AM

Fox Sports 1 officially launches today, replacing the Speed Channel in your cable or satellite lineup. The network has been heavily promoted in recent days, mostly as an alternative to the monolith that is ESPN - just as the NBC Sports Network was when it rebranded in January 2012.

Of course, neither NBCSN or FS1 will actually challenge ESPN; the folks in Bristol have an enormous head start. To truly catch ESPN, Fox Sports would have to eventually launch at least three more channels, make its website into one of the most-visited on the internet, an emerge as both an important broadcaster and an important source of journalism. This, frankly, seems unlikely from the network that inflicts both Tony Siragusa and Cleatus the FOX Sports Robot on a cowering American public.

This is, of course, not excusing ESPN; the network's myriad faults are on display every day. And so this got me thinking: if I was going to design a sports channel, what would it look like? Here's what I came up with:

  • There would always be a game on. There must be some kind of sporting event going on, somewhere on the Earth, 24 hours a day; surely it'd be possible to be broadcasting something at all hours.
  • All "shoulder" programming - you know the type: preview shows and magazine shows and non-highlight review shows - would be relegated to the internet.
  • Highlights shows would be required to show nothing but highlights, preferably with the announcers and crowd noise from the original broadcast. Anyone attempting to offer pithy commentary would be tackled and dragged off, except in the case of blooper reels, which are always fun.
  • Any show that is based on old sportswriters arguing will be recorded, not live, and the recording will be put in a can, sealed in a shipping container, and dropped into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean or an active volcano.

So there you go, Fox Sports 1. I know you're not interested in following my advice, but hey, a guy can dream.

*On with the links:

*Deadspin has an expansive profile of Michael Bradley, who is not the most famous American soccer player, but may well be the best.

*Parker Hageman - have I mentioned before how much I like Parker's writing? - looks at the mechanical changes at the plate that Brian Dozier made to turn around his season.

*I like to write, but when I read Charlie Pierce writing about Tiger Woods, it turns out instead of writing I am only mashing my fists into the keyboard.

*Education time! Chris Brown at Grantland learns you all about the new option football, which involves running a passing play and a running play at the same time. And while he's at it, he also explains the concept of the "option route," which basically boils down to the "just go down and get open" plays you used to call in the backyard.

*And finally: Let's all just watch Jozy Altidore's free-kick in Sarajevo a hundred more times.

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