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Eric Peterson, Published August 12 2013

Fox Sports 1 - the channel that will broadcast Bison football opener - ready to launch

FARGO – Bison buzz has local football fans more interested in the launch of a new sports channel.

Fox Sports 1, the channel that will televise the North Dakota State football opener, is set to debut on Saturday. That game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 30 at Kansas State.

“If that game wasn’t on there, most general sports fans wouldn’t think too much of it,” said Mike Monda, who is general manager of Satellite Solutions in Fargo.

“At least not right off the bat. … I think in this area that (game) has driven the want for it.”

When it launches, Fox Sports 1 will be available on Midcontinent Communications and Cable One. That is for subscribers on those providers who get the Speed channel.

Midcontinent is available in West Fargo and Moorhead. Cable One is available in the entire metro area.

“Speed (auto racing channel) is going away and Fox Sports 1 will replace it,” said Tom Simmons, Midcontinent’s senior vice president of public policy.

As of Monday, Fox Sports 1 had yet to make a deal with DirectTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable, reported SportsBusiness Daily.

Satellite Solutions is a Dish Network and DirectTV retailer.

“Right now, I don’t think it’s a worry,” said Monda. “I will get worried when it gets to be about a week before the game.”

Jeremy Jorgenson, the director of sales and broadcasting at NDSU, isn’t worried either. He is confident a deal will get done between Fox and those large distributors before the Bison-Kansas State game is played.

“These things usually go down to the wire,” said Jorgenson.

Lou D’Ermilio, senior vice president of Fox Sports public relations, released the following statement:

“We hope that all major cable, satellite and telephone video services will offer Fox Sports 1 at the time of its launch … giving it wide distribution in over 90 million homes.”

Jorgenson said the quality of the opponent, the Friday night time slot and the hype behind the new Fox Sports 1 channel are among the factors that could make the game historic for NDSU.

“All those factors add up, this could be the most-watched Bison football game ever,” Jorgenson said.

Kansas State is coming off an appearance in a BCS bowl game, while the Bison are the two-time defending FCS national champions.

Scott Geston, Cable One general manager, said Fox Sports 1 will be on Channel 304, which is currently Speed.

“Our subscribers won’t have to do anything if they’ve already got Speed to get Fox Sports 1,” Geston said. “That’s the nice thing.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com