As president of Fox Sports Regional Networks, Randy Freer oversees a business that generates more than a billion dollars in revenue each year. Fox Sports has a stranglehold on sports rights in Southern California, having cut long-term deals with the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Angels, Ducks and Kings; nationally Fox controls the local television rights to nearly two-thirds of all pro basketball, hockey and baseball teams in the U.S. and has scored big with NFL football and NASCAR. Fox hasn't pitched a perfect game, however, and one of its most notable misses was here in L.A. News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment Group bought the L.A. Dodgers in 1998 from Walter O'Malley and installed Bob Daly, the former head of Warner Bros. as chairman. The seven-year run was neither an artistic or strategic success: the team underachieved, Fox was unable to cash in with its cable net and the team was sold to Frank McCourt. While FSN caught lightning with "Best Damn Sports Show," it's never been able to compete with the Walt Disney Co.'s rival cable network ESPN and its trademark "SportsCenter" reports.


Question: Southern California sports fans are often portrayed as effete, and not nearly as committed as those in say, New York or Philadelphia. What's your take on fans here?

Answer: There are so many more people here that it's just a wider variety of fans in general; there's not one particular type. People here do turn out to watch a lot of sports there are 7 million tickets sold each year to baseball games and that's truly incredible. There are so many other things to do here, though, that people are often out pursuing their own activities rather than being the types to stay inside and watch things on TV. But there are also so many people from other parts of the country that have relocated here those are the hockey fans, which has a solid following out here. The teams in Los Angeles have a rich history and have been successful, so they are easy to adopt.


Q: Anything unique?

A: Something that goes relatively unheralded is the amazing following of the alumni of UCLA and USC. The graduates are so dedicated to those teams and they have some of the best teams in the country. Look at the Rose Bowl or Coliseum or Pauley Pavilion. They're always filled up and it's really amazing the longtime, cultural dedication of those alumni. The blending of the collegiate marketplace and the professional marketplace is something other cities don't have.

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