Case | HBS Case Collection | December 2003

Fox Bids for the NFL-1993

by Bharat N. Anand and Catherine M. Conneely

Abstract

The Fox television network, launched in 1987 by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. was in a precarious position in 1993. Although it had met its business plan targets, its ratings in the recently concluded November "sweeps" were indifferent, several of its newly launched shows had failed, and entry of two other networks was imminent. In December 1993, Fox made an outrageous offer to purchase the television rights for the National Football League (NFL) games and, in the process, broke the stranglehold of the major networks on broadcasting these games. Describes the events surrounding Fox's bid and those of the other three networks. Industry sources estimated that Fox could lose several hundred million dollars on the deal, whereas Fox believed that it had purchased the NFL at a discount.

Keywords: Valuation; Competitive Strategy; Financial Reporting; Bids and Bidding; Revenue; Television Entertainment; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

Citation:

Anand, Bharat N., and Catherine M. Conneely. "Fox Bids for the NFL-1993." Harvard Business School Case 704-443, December 2003.