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Fox Sports is taking aim at ESPN in three new ad efforts, including one that promises TV viewers "more physical contact than the Starr report."

In print ads supporting Fox Broadcasting's NFL telecasts, breaking in the Oct. 11 TV Guide, that headline appears accompanied by illustrations of the helmets of two opposing football teams.

The effort from Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, is part of an overall media blitz News Corp. is planning to bolster its Fox sports enterprises against Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN.

Spending on the campaigns wasn't disclosed.


"We are trying to capitalize on the high ratings on local sports programs and leverage them into news," said Thomas Seclow, senior VP-group management supervisor at the agency. "ESPN has virtually gone uncontested for a 17-year run."

Kurt Schneider, VP-marketing at Fox Sports Net, said his company has access to "authentic" news, since Fox Broadcasting covers most home-team games.

"You're not getting it secondhand, you're getting it directly from the source," he said, in a jab at ESPN.

In another campaign, Fox Sports News is touted as the source of sports news by virtue of the number of games Fox broadcasts. In a print ad, boasts of telecasting 3,500 pro games a year over Fox Sports Net's 22 regional cable networks.

The Fox ad compares that to 225 pro games telecast by ESPN.


Six humorous TV spots, running primarily on its own channels, follow a Gen X TV salesman as he requires all sets in his store to be tuned to Fox Sports News.

In one spot, he chases a woman out of the TV section and into the housewares department with a megaphone when she tries to switch the channel. In another, he discusses his guarantee on the Fox Sports News quality-not a guarantee on the set.

Both print and TV advertising are tagged "News directly from the source, because we are the source."

A second series of seven TV spots is touting National Hockey League games. They use metaphors of hockey moves applied to ordinary people in everyday situations.

The tag is "Since you can't do it, watch it."

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