The Fox Box is a digital on-screen graphic used during broadcasts of Major League Baseball and the National Football League, among other events. Although originated by Fox Sports, almost all sports networks now use a version of these graphics, either in box form, generically known as a "bug", or as a banner along the top or bottom of the screen. The graphic displays real-time information about the current condition of the game, such as the current score, which team has possession of the ball or is at bat, and so forth. The graphic remains superimposed over video during live action, but is not present during video replays of field action, on-camera segments in which the announcers appear, and studio cut-ins or commercials.
After the Fox TV network acquired the rights to NFL games in 1994, producer David Hill suggested that football games always show the score and time. Many like Dick Ebersol of NBC Sports opposed the idea, because they thought that fans would dislike seeing them on the screen, and would change the channel from blowout games.
The FoxBox first appeared on August 12, 1994 for an NFL Preseason game between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers. Similarly-styled score boxes have become common during sporting events on many other networks. In 2001, Fox discontinued the box in favor of a graphic header at the top of the screen, although Fox commentators have continued to refer to the newer graphic header as the FoxBox.
In September 2008, Fox Sports Net (FSN) affiliates introduced a new graphics package. The top header scoreboard was replaced with an updated one and a rectangular box in the top-left for hockey, football and baseball, and a score banner on the bottom for basketball. For the 2009 season, the Fox network's MLB telecasts began using the same graphics package. The network's NFL coverage returned to using a score box during the 2010 NFL season. For MLB and NFL broadcasts, the box has been moved into the far left corner, appearing to be outside of the typical 4:3 safe placement but the picture is letterboxed for 4:3 displays. They later expanded them for college football (similar to the NFL broadcasts but with their team abbreviations above their scores rather than team logos), NBA, NHL, and college basketball broadcasts (using a round score banner on the bottom of the screen). NASCAR (uses one on the top of the screen) but use the bug version of the previous graphics package.
In 2014, the score bug on baseball broadcasts was moved to the bottom left corner; and at the start of the 2016 MLB season, it was moved to the bottom right corner of the screen.
Beginning with the 2017 NFL season, Fox unveiled a new graphics package for its football coverage, now utilizing a bottom-screen banner similar to the ones used on NBC and CBS.
Fox Sports is the programming division of the Fox Broadcasting Company, owned by Fox Corporation, that is responsible for sports broadcasts on the network, and its dedicated regional and national sports cable channels. The flagship entity of Fox Sports Media Group division, it was formed in 1994 with Fox's acquisition of broadcast rights to National Football League (NFL) games. In subsequent years, it has televised the National Hockey League (1994–1999), Major League Baseball (1996–present), NASCAR (2001–present), Bowl Championship Series (2007–2010), Major League Soccer (2015–present), the USGA Championships (2015–present) and NHRA (2016–present).
On December 14, 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to acquire 21st Century Fox (Fox Sports' parent) for $52.4 billion, which included key assets such as 20th Century Fox, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, its regional sports networks, and its international networks. However, under the terms of the proposed acquisition, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel, and the non-regional Fox Sports assets (FS1 and FS2) cable channels, and the broadcast network division were spun off into an independent company owned by 21st Century Fox's current shareholders.