Fox Sports app lands on Vizio smart TVs, adds Fox Weather FAST channel

Fox and Vizio are expanding their distribution relationship under a multi-year deal that brings the Fox Sports app to smart TV viewers and adds the Fox Weather FAST channel to Vizio’s WatchFree+ service.

The Fox Sports app joins other Fox-owned apps on Vizio including free ad-supported streaming TV service Tubi, Fox Nation and Fox Now.

As for Vizio’s own FAST platform, WatchFree+ will now have the Fox Weather free ad-supported channel as part of its lineup, adding to LiveNow and Fox Soul FAST channels. Fox Weather just celebrated it’s one-year anniversary, and has been downloaded more than 2 million times from the Apple App and Google Play stores.

To boost visibility of the newly added Fox Sports, the app will be featured prominently on Vizio smart TV home screens for the weekend of November 12-13, highlighting that weekend’s college football and NFL games. The Fox Sports app offers live and on-demand sports content from Fox, FS1, FS2, and Fox Deportes.

“We are pleased to extend and expand our long-standing relationship with Vizio as we bring Fox Weather and the Fox Sports app to VIZIO users and provide them with greater access to our industry-leading portfolio of news, sports and entertainment,” said BJ Elias, EVP of Distribution Advanced Services at Fox Corporation, in a statement.

The expanded relationship also has implications for advertisers as Vizio Ads will also gain access to Fox’s premium inventory for audience-based ad opportunities.

In October Vizio disclosed scoring more than $200 million in advertising commitments for its upfront season, marking a 100% year over year increase. While advertising commitments span products including sponsorships on Vizio home screens, Adam Bergman, Group VP of Advertising and Data Sales at Vizio, pointed to the value of WatchFree+ as a main highlight.

"WatchFree+ is the crown jewel as one of our most compelling and important assets where advertisers see unique and distinct value," Bergman previously told Fierce.

Buyer demand for data-informed advertising and home screen engagement offerings also helped bolster advertiser commitments, he noted.

In Thursday’s announcement, Katherine Pond, Group VP of Platform Content & Partnerships at Vizio noted that Fox and Vizio have already been working together for several years.

“We are very pleased that our strategic relationship continues to grow, and our expanded agreement means Vizio users can enjoy a wide range of sports, live events, news and lifestyle programming for years to come,” Pond stated.

Vizio is a leading smart TV OEM in the U.S., along with Samsung, Amazon, LG, Roku and Google.

As Parks Associates’ Eric Sorensen pointed out in a recent column for Fierce Video, consumers are moving to the smart TV as their device of choice for streaming video entertainment, with the firm finding 60% of U.S. internet households naming smart TVs as their preferred video consumption device in Q1 2022.

“Similarly, advertisers, measurement companies and other industry players now consider the smart TV as the key video consumption device in the home,” Sorensen wrote.

In an effort to enhance the ad experience for app publishers and users on its smart TV SmartCast platform, Vizio last month started using Magnite’s SpringServe technology to leverage Tiles. SpringServe Tiles allow publishers to create ads for a variety of streaming apps, and enables them to highlight content recommendations or feature non-intrusive display advertising.