Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is looking at launching a national sports channel to rival ESPN, reports Bloomberg. It quotes one insider as saying the owner of Fox News could pull the trigger late this year. The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Murdoch, quotes an anonymous source (maybe one with an Australian accent?) as saying the company has been seriously kicking around the idea for several months. One difference with the Bloomberg report: The Journal says it would not launch this year.
Both reports say News Corp would probably take an existing channel, such as the action-sports network Fuel TV, and convert it into the national channel. The company already has a major player in the field in Fox Sports, but the new channel would be considerably bigger in scope. At the Los Angeles Times, a skeptical Joe Flint says News Corp has been making noises about such a channel for more than a decade, and "there is no guarantee that such an effort will get off the ground."