The launch of Fox's 24/7 sports network, Fox Sports 1, is now less than a month out from its August 17th date. Many experts believe that the new network will be the biggest competition that ESPN empire has ever faced. Fox Sports 1 certainly has the financial backing and the upfront live sports rights to make a splash. They have also been acquiring big name talent, especially some recognizable names to their direct competition to ESPN's Sportscenter in Fox Sports Live.
As much as Fox Sports 1 may be a viable competitor to ESPN, there is one glaring hole that Fox Sports will need to rework to become an even bigger threat. Their website.
Powered MSN, foxsports.com's clear strength is their coverage of Major League Baseball. With respected veterans Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi on the beat, Fox Sports is to keep their name in the news-breaking mix. A close second is their NFL coverage with highly respected NFL insider, Jay Glazer, breaking the news (aka "Sources" if you only follow ESPN coverage).
But that's just about it... The rest of Fox Sports' beat are covered by good journalists, but not names that you will be citing to your friends as the original news-breaker when you share your daily sports musings. Being good is never a bad thing, but if the goal is to keep up with ESPN, coverage will need to improve.
Perhaps the most glaring area that will need improvement is with their national columnists and commentary. ESPN has both Bill Simmons (with Grantland) and Rick Reilly heading this department. As ESPNW continues to grow, more writers will have a chance to showcase their talent. Grantland has an impressive list of contributors with names like Zach Lowe, Brian Philips, Andy Greenwald, and my personal favorite Charles Pierce.
Fox Sports has, er, Jason Whitlock.
We all know my thoughts on Whitlock, who if anything, may be the most polarizing writer in sports. That's worth something right?
And let's not forget the leaps and bounds that ESPN has on all of the competition including Fox Sports in terms of original content, journalism, and just straight stranglehold on the complex sports media industry. When a new opponent enters the ring, it can be easy to overplay their hype. Fox Sports is promising. But is has a damn high mountain to climb if it wants to be at ESPN's level.
For now, it seems that Fox Sports' focus is on the television side with Fox Sports 1 and the preliminary talks of a Fox Sports 2. And that's fine. Just remember that when to comes to taking down an empire, Fox Sports has a long way to go.
Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.