FX Wants to Get Into Sports. Hey, We’re a Sport!

From Melissa Grego of Broadcasting & Cable:

There is only one thing FX Networks President-General Manager John Landgraf doesn’t have that could afford his network a shot at challenging his basic cable rivals for the top of the ratings chart: sports. 

“I’d love to have a major sports franchise,” Landgraf says. “It’s just a question of which one, and how do you make the economics work? If you look at FX versus TNT to date, we’re up 5%; they’re probably up 4% or 5%. But look at them without sports. Entertainment to entertainment, they’re down 7%; we’re up 5.”

Right now, FX has no plans underway to acquire a major sports property. If one becomes available, the question for the network is whether it can acquire sports in a way that would be profitable, according to Landgraf. “There are a lot of guys at News Corp., from David Hill and Ed Goren to Chase Carey and Tony [Vinciquerra], who know a heck of a lot more about the sports business than I do. So, it’s not going to be my decision,” he says. “It’s a very, very big business decision to go after a major sports package, and it’s not going to be made at my level. I’ll be consulted along the way, but it will be made for big, strategic reasons.”

But he definitely has an opinion. “Am I ambitious for FX—would I like to see us challenge the top three general-entertainment networks in 18-49, and would sports help us do that?” Landgraf adds. “Yeah, it would.”

You might look at this as really lazy writing, but why not?  FOX has been rumored to be interested in the hockey packages as late as this January.  The NHL is likely going to put all of their TV rights up for sale in 2011.  Sell it all to FOX/FX.  It’d be difficult logistically at times, since you’d have to schedule programming on nights where FX doesn’t air it’s various original series, which usually air at 10PM ET.  

But FX does have a history of hockey.  Back in 1996, they won exclusive rights to the World Cup.  Hopefully we’ll have another bidder for hockey rights in 2011 to drive up the action.