Patrick Finley: 'Really special' time for Salpointe grad as Fox Sports 1 readies debut

2013-07-25T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:17:10Z Patrick Finley: 'Really special' time for Salpointe grad as Fox Sports 1 readies debutPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

What happens when you start a network from scratch?

You receive more than 2,000 résumés in six months or so, make 200 hires, from marketing to programming to production, and add a bunch of freelancers.

You come up with shows, concepts and segments.

You don't sleep - especially when you have three daughters, ages 8, 4 and 1, at home.

And you get eager. Really, really eager.

"The hardest part is the wait," said John Entz, Fox Sports Media Group's executive vice president of production and executive producer. "Mentally, we want to get going.

"We've been doing this for so long on pieces of paper, and we're closer and closer to seeing them in person, on the screen.

"We've been doing these maps and grids for years. To have it on in your office or your home, and see the entire thing come together, that's different."

Entz, a Salpointe Catholic High School graduate and former video manager for Lute Olson, is helping to oversee the launch of Fox Sports 1.

The onetime Speed Channel will be rebranded Fox Sports 1, a 24-hour sports station, on Aug. 17.

Entz is in charge of all live events and studio programming for every Fox Sports property - that's a massive deal - save for Fox Sports Live, Fox Sports 1's answer to SportsCenter.

The 42-year-old is only the fifth person to ever hold the title of Fox Sports executive producer. Before returning to Fox - for which he worked from 1996 to 2008 - two years ago, he was the senior vice president of production when MLB Network launched in 2009.

The league-owned station began with one show.

Fox Sports 1 has more, he said with a nervous laugh.

The station will air Pac-12 football and basketball games this year, along with those from other conferences. UFC fights and UEFA Champions League matches are on the schedule, too; Major League Baseball joins next year, with the World Cup in 2015.

In three weeks, the station will debut with studio shows Crowd Goes Wild, hosted by Regis Philbin, plus Fox Football Daily. Fox Sports 1 will air The Ultimate Fighter and a documentary series, in addition to Fox Sports Live.

"The challenge of building something from scratch is really special to be a part of," said Entz, who lives in Manhattan Beach, Calif. "It's what (UA) coach (Rich) Rodriguez is selling his recruits - 'Being part of the first group of people to do something is a pretty awesome opportunity.'"

Entz keeps the Wildcats close to his heart.

His daughters "know what 'Bear Down' means," he said, and he visits his family in Tucson when he can.

Olson and then-assistant Jim Rosborough helped him get his start in television when, 20 years ago this month, an ESPN gig saved Entz from a future as a P.F. Chang's waiter. (He thought he'd be good at taking orders, but wasn't adept at balancing the tray.)

He was living with his grandmother when she called while Entz was training for the opening of the first P.F. Chang's in Scottsdale.

"She called the pay phone," he said, "and said, 'ESPN called, and they want you to start July 19.'"

Twenty years later, he's part of a new launch.

And it has nothing to do with chicken lettuce wraps or banana spring rolls.

"I'm excited," he said, "to see how the entire thing plays out."

Contact reporter Patrick Finley at or 573-4658. On Twitter @PatrickFinley

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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