It is very difficult to talk about anything related to the TV industry without mentioning Fox. As one of the most influential television networks of all time. With a nearly endless roster of shows under their belt – some of which, like Family Guy; The Simpsons; and The Masked Singer (just to name a few) have become cultural phenomena – and a sense of longevity in TV that is not often rivaled by competitor networks, it is hard to overstate the importance that Fox has had on the entertainment landscape.
Fox, however, has also become a very polarizing name in the media circuit. This, of course, has less to do with their entertainment programming and more to do with their news shows. The Fox network as a whole, though, has become synonymous with conservative viewpoints, thanks to pundit shows such as Fox and Friends. In fact, some have compared Fox to the unofficial news network of the Republican party in the United States, with President Trump frequently singing the network’s praises and public figures like Ann Coulter often appearing on Fox News segments.
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, though, one cannot simply boil Fox down to its news broadcasts. Fox is so much bigger than just news and politics. They also have their hands in the creation of films (20th Century Fox … now 21st Century Fox), great TV shows (as I mentioned before), and sports – the great unifier.
Although Fox Sports is, at the end of the day, technically a news outlet, there is not much political bias that can be harnessed when it comes to reporting on something like sports entertainment. Of course, there are political matters that sometimes bleed into sports (kneeling for the anthem, etc.), on the whole, one’s political affiliation usually has little to no bearing on one’s ability to report on what team won a matchup.
Sports is one of those rare things that, for the most part, when it comes to journalism, can come close to being truly objective. A team either wins or loses. Points are either scored or they are not. There isn’t much room for opinion on these matters. So, even if you are a diehard left-winger, if you are also a sports fan, you might just be surprised to find that you can enjoy Fox Sports just as much as a full-fledged member of the GOP. If you were to ignore Fox Sports, you would be missing out on the majority of major NFL, NBA, NASCAR, and WWE broadcasts – as many of them air exclusively on Fox Sports channels.
The brand name “Fox Sports” refers to a whole network of sports channels, broadcast divisions, programming, and commentary all around the world which are fully (or at least partially) owned by the estate of TV magnate, Rupert Murdoch. The majority of the Fox Sports networks are owned and maintained solely by the Fox Corporation, with a few exceptions: Australian operations are overseen by News Corp Australia, and the remaining international Fox Sports entities are owned by the Walt Disney Corporation. In addition to these, regional operations and Fox College Sports are managed by the Diamond Sports Group – a joint venture between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios; Disney sold the rights to these to this pair on August 23rd, 2019.
Disney announced a plan to acquire 21st Century Fox (Fox Sports’ parent company) on December 14th, 2017 for a whopping $52.4 billion. This acquisition was to include many key Fox assets, such as the aforementioned film studio, FX Networks, National Geographic, and its regional sports networks. The remaining Fox networks – Fox News Channel, and non-regional Fox sports networks (the FS1 and FS2 cable channels) – were rolled into an independent operation run by the Murdoch family, which would become the Fox Corporation.
This may sound a little bit counterintuitive, but what I enjoy most about Fox Sports’ site design is how neutral it is. It doesn’t get in its own way. It is sparse and paired down, leaving plenty of room for the actual sports reporting to shine. A lot of sports websites can get a little full of themselves, in my opinion, offering a little too much in the way of a sort of really bold, masculine, or edgy design. Fox Sports, however, does not delude itself about what it is: a news site that happens to cater exclusively to sports journalism.
Generally speaking, I like my news sites to be a little more minimalist in nature. And that’s precisely what Fox Sports has crafted with this site. When I go to a news site, I want to get straight to the information – no-frills, nothing fancy, just sports news. And, furthermore, I want those news stories to be well organized and easily accessible. And Fox Sports is just that. Everything is easy to find, the main stories of the day are prominently featured, and there is a solid blend of text, video, and images.
One of my favorite design aspects of Fox Sports lies in its site menu bar, which is ever-present at the top of the page, no matter what you click into on the site. Here, Fox Sports allows you to browse by the league, and, thus, sport. Looking for a specific sport? Simply click on any of the following to narrow this massive site down NFL, MLB. NCAA Football, NASCAR, Boxing, Soccer, NBA, or NCAA Basketball. Plus, each league comes with a comprehensive and useful dropdown menu for further specification (browse by the team, stats, players, etc.). Seldom have I been to a sports news site that is this well organized, and I give Fox Sports its kudos on that.
Well, we’ve sort of already begun discussing all that Fox Sports has to offer, in terms of specific sports and league coverage. Within each sport that Fox lets you choose from, you can track your favorite teams, players, divisions, scores, playoffs rankings, news, etc. Basically, if there is something relevant about any sport or any team within a given sport, Fox Sports has coverage on it. This is easily one of the most dependable and frequently updated sports news sites on the web.
But that’s not all that Fox Sports has to offer. In addition to breaking sports news, you also have the option to watch original Fox Sports programming, either live or streamed after the fact. Please note that watching live Fox Sports broadcasts (and some of the prerecorded ones) will require you to log in with a cable provider account. That being said, there is some free to stream prerecorded content to enjoy even if you do not have cable. Oh, and if you register as a Fox Sports user, you can customize your experience by tracking all of your favorite teams.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
I’ve already laid out a few of the reasons that I love Fox Sports’ desktop experience. But how does this site fare when it comes to smartphone or tablet access? Well, the site is actually just as well-designed and optimized for smartphone browser access, which is a breath of fresh air. That being said, though, there is no real reason to access Fox Sports through Safari or the Chrome app when Fox Sports has an app of its own.
In fact, you can access Fox Sports content across 3 different apps. Take your pick between Fox Sports, Fox Sports Go, and Fox Now (subscription methods and rates vary). It is always nice when a site offers several different choices for mobile experiences. That being said, I think that the original basic Fox Sports app could be improved a bit. It is a little clunky to navigate and not quite as seamless as cleanly organized and open as the desktop site. Which explains the app’s relatively low average user rating on the Apple App Store of 3.9 stars (out of 5).
Pricing and Plans
In order to make the most of Fox Sports, you’ll want to have a cable provider. This is how you watch Fox Sports live, and it is the only way to do so. This is also going to be the only way to watch full broadcasts after they have aired. This, however, as I’m sure you already know, is a huge hurdle to leap when you take into account the fact that an increasing number of people around the world are doing away with their traditional cable providers, ‘cutting the cord,’ as they say.
Suggestions that I have for Fox Sports
It would be nice to see a Fox-specific subscription option that allows users to, at the very least, watch full episodes after they air (live viewing would be better, of course). I do not want to have to sign up for a cable subscription in order to watch Fox Sports programs.