Fox Hopes iPad App Scores During Super Bowl

Fox Sports is expecting its iPad app to score big download numbers as it streams the Super Bowl.

The big game on Feb. 2 is part of a 27-hour free preview of the Fox Sports Go app that will allow all users to check out programming from Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, local Fox broadcast stations and some Fox regional sports networks without authenticating that they subscribe to pay TV.

As expected, this year’s game will mark the first time the Super Bowl, traditionally TV’s biggest attraction, is available via an app. Fox Sports Go will feature two streams of the game, one in English, the other from Fox Deportes in Spanish, another first.

Fox is not providing a number for how many people have downloaded its app. It was introduced in October and usage has picked up recently with the streaming of Fox’s NFL playoff games. Fox says usage reached a high during the NFC Championship Game won by the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday. The Super Bowl may push usage still higher.

“We can’t ask for a bigger platform to promote it with, that’s for sure,” said Clark Pierce, senior VP, mobile and advanced platforms at Fox Sports. “It will be a really good coming out party for the product.”

Pierce says a big part of the preview is creating awareness for the app and the programming  subscribers can access with it. “We want to get people to know it’s there and to sample it.” In addition, “the app experience is much more user friendly, the navigation is faster and the video is much higher quality.”

Normally, Fox Sports programming will be available to app users who establish that they have a subscription to cable or satellite TV with a provider who has made a deal supporting the app.

The Super Bowl will not be available from Fox on mobile phones because Verizon has bought those rights from the NFL.

Fox has sold out the advertising time on its Super Bowl broadcast at prices exceeding $4 million per 30-second spot. A separate ad lineup will appear during the streaming video version of the game, available via the app and online via computer at Pierce says the streaming ad time is nearly sold out as well.

The preview will kickoff at midnight Eastern time Sunday morning, and end when midnight strikes Sunday night on the West Coast.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.