The recent US$80 billion bid by 21st Century Fox for Time Warner proves content is everything, but it’s not just the next Game of Thrones and Harry Potter that Rupert Murdoch is after.
Most commentary on the audacious bid has focused on Murdoch’s grab for content from Time Warner’s HBO cable TV network — perhaps the most successful in the world — and the Warner Bros movie studio in Hollywood. But sports programming is another key prong to the Murdoch strategy. Fox runs the most successful TV network in the US but has trailed competitors like Disney’s ESPN in sports programming in the vast north American market. ESPN is considered the most valuable media property in the world — the network broadcasts more than half of all live sports seen in the US — with profit margins approaching 50%.