Path cleared for K-State football games on cable in KC

It appears sports fans in the Kansas City area — and Kansas State fans in particular — have dodged a problem with their television dial.

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Time Warner Cable, the dominant distributor in Kansas City, will be on board with Fox Sports 1 when the new network launches Saturday.

Time Warner, DirectTV and Dish Network had been the last major holdouts as Fox Sports 1 bids to air sports programming to some 90 million households on the channel that is now occupied by Speed, a Fox cable channel that features auto racing.

Why is that great news for K-State?

The Wildcats’ first two football games — Aug. 30 against North Dakota State and Sept. 7 against Louisiana-Lafayette — will be broadcast by Fox Sports 1.

Kansas State athletic director John Currie expressed confidence earlier this week that the conflict would be resolved. “Until I hear differently, I expect a deal to happen,” he said.

Fox Sports 1’s first football game is Aug. 29 between Utah State and Utah, and the network is heavy throughout the season with Big 12 and Pac-12 games.

The conflict was about money, naturally.

Fox Sports is asking distributors to pay more for the channel than the station it will replace, Speed. About 23 cents of your cable bill goes to Speed, according to figures from SNL Kagan, a media research company.

Fox is seeking about 80 cents per subscriber for Fox Sports 1, an amount that’s expected to rise over the next few years.

Fox Sports 1 has been open in its desire to cut into ESPN’s sports television empire. ESPN receives more than $5 per month from nearly 100 million cable subscribers.

Studio shows will be big. Fox Sports 1 is launching a daily football talk show.

Saturday’s launch will be heavy on NASCAR and ultimate fighting.

ESPN has taken notice. Recently it rehired former popular anchor Keith Olbermann, and announced it was expanding “College GameDay,” the acclaimed college football pregame show, to three hours.