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Cox, Fox Settle Sports Fight

Despite the companies’ shouting match over license fees, Fox Sports secured a six-year renewal of its carriage deal with Cox Communications that includes retransmission consent of Fox Broadcasting stations.

The deal ensures that the 3.3 million Cox subscribers in six Fox Sports markets-Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Oklahoma City; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.; Omaha, Neb.; San Diego; and Macon, Ga.-will continue to receive their regional sports networks. Cox owns systems serving an additional three million subscribers in non-Fox markets.

Fox Sports had initially sought a 35% license fee increase, but scaled that back. The network will get larger step up in 2004, followed by five years of smaller increases. One industry executive said the license fees increased an average of 8% over the life of the deal, but Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen said it could be as high as 10%.