The option of purchasing cable channels a a la carte is a "fantasy," according to Randy Freer, COO and co-president of Fox Sports Media Group, who spoke Thursday at the Variety Sports Entertainment Summit.

"A la carte is a fantasy," he said. "It doesn't work."

In a keynote Q&A, Freer said the value of the cable channel "bundle" is vastly underestimated.

"The theory that this television bundle has somehow become too complicated or too much for the world to digest is just not accurate," he said.

Freer's comments echoed similar skepticism expressed by News Corp. COO Chase Carey, who made the case for a deep investment in cable programming last week at the conglomerate's investor day.

Freer also did some tubthumping for imminent channel launches Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, which will take the places of Speed and Fuel, on Saturday.

Analysts predict that subscriber fees for FS1 will triple in the short term.

While delay on setting up distribution deals threatened the start date, Fox announced yesterday that they set up deals with Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish. Fox Sports 1 boosts 5,000 hours of sports annually, including live events, news and talk shows.


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