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Fox Sports Net

The Fox Sports Regional Networks, or simply Fox Sports Net (FSN), are a collection of cable TV regional sports networks owned and operated by News Corporation.

Beginnings

At the dawn of the cable television era, many regional sports networks (RSNs) vied to compete with the largest national sports network, ESPN. The most notable were the SportsChannel networks, which went on the air in 1976 with the original SportsChannel (now MSG Plus) and later branched out into Chicago and Florida; Prime Network, which went on the air in 1983 with the charter member being Home Sports and Entertainment (now FSN Southwest) and later branched out onto the West Coast as "Prime Sports"; and SportSouth, the RSN operated by Turner Broadcasting.

In 1996, News Corporation, which launched the over-the-air general-interest Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986, took over the Prime Network affiliates and renamed them all "Fox Sports Net." In 1996, Fox bought SportSouth and renamed it "FSN South." In 1998, SportsChannel America joined the Fox Sports Net family (except for the Florida affiliate, which joined in 2000).

Starting in September 2004, Fox Sports Net became known simply as FSN, but the name Fox Sports Net is also still in common use.

Programming strategy

The programming strategy that most FSN networks have adopted is to acquire play-by-play broadcast rights to major teams in their regional market, which can then be marketed to advantage against the nationally broadcast feeds from ESPN. The strategy is also meant to encourage non-cable subscribers to subscribe in order to watch their favorite teams play.

Besides play-by-play, a common set of FSN programming is available to all its regional sports networks, most notably The Best Damn Sports Show Period. In some of its regions, the competing Comcast SportsNet carries FSN programming on their channels.

Headquarters

Fox Sports Net is headquartered in Los Angeles' Westwood area. Its master control facilities are based in both Los Angeles and Houston. In February 2005, News Corporation (Fox's parent company) became 100 percent owner of FSN, after swapping assets with Cablevision Corporation, but is still identified in its copyright tag as "Fox Sports Net/National Sports Partners." Fox Sports Net also utilizes Stage 19 at Universal Studios Florida, after Nickelodeon Studios closed in 2005.

National prime time programming

In addition to regional programming, Fox Sports Net has some national prime time programming such as The Best Damn Sports Show Period and Chris Myers Interviews. FSN has tried to compete with ESPN in original programming, most notably in 1996, when FSN debuted the Fox Sports National Sports Report, a 30-minute sports news program designed to compete with ESPN's SportsCenter. The program originally began as a two hour program, but was steadily cut back as ratings dropped and costs increased. FSN hired popular former SportsCenter anchor Keith Olbermann and used him to promote the show heavily, but ratings continued to slide. The last edition of the National Sports Report aired in February 2002. In some markets, FSN airs the Regional Sports Report, usually headlined with the name of the region covered, such as the Midwest Sports Report or Detroit Sports Report. The regional reports began in 2000 to complement the national sports report, but many regional reports were cut in 2002 due to increasing costs.

Regional FSN networks

Name Region served Home to Former Name Notes
FSN Arizona Arizona, New Mexico and southern Nevada. Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), local coverage of the Pacific 10, Western Athletic, Big Sky, and Mountain West conferences. PRIME Sports Arizona New LIVE shows follow Diamondbacks, Coyotes, and Suns games each evening, either from their respective sites or the FOX Sports Grill in North Scottsdale.
FSN Detroit Michigan (statewide), northwestern Ohio, northeastern Indiana, and some portions of northeast Wisconsin along the Upper Michigan border. Detroit Tigers (MLB), Detroit Pistons (NBA), Detroit Red Wings (NHL), Detroit Shock (WNBA), local coverage of the Big Ten, Horizon League, CCHA and the MAC athletic conferences, as well as the MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletics Assotiation) None Tigers Live, Red Wings Live, and Pistons Live are produced by FSN Detroit. Fox Sports Net Detroit put Pro-Am Sports System (PASS Sports), which was owned by Post-Newsweek, out of business in 1997 when FOX acquired the TV rights to all the pro sports teams in Detroit.
FSN Florida Florida (statewide), and parts of southern Alabama (not including Mobile) and southern Georgia. Tampa Bay Rays (MLB), Orlando Magic (NBA), Florida Marlins (MLB), Florida Panthers (NHL), plus local coverage of the Big East, Atlantic Sun, Conference USA, and Atlantic Coast athletic conferences. SportsChannel Florida Shares broadcast rights with co-owned Sun Sports. Last FSN network to discontinue the SportsChannel name.
FSN Houston Southern Half of Texas and Southern Louisiana Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Comets (WNBA), Houston Texans programming (NFL), Big 12, high school, and local collegiate sports. FSN Southwest Will launch 24 hours a day in early 2009.
FSN Indiana Central Indiana Indiana Pacers (NBA), Indiana Fever (WNBA), Cincinnati Reds (MLB) and local coverage of minor league baseball and collegiate sports featuring the Big 12, Conference USA, Southeastern, Western Athletic, Missouri Valley, and Horizon League conferences. Formerly part of FSN Midwest; Was Prime Sports Network prior to that FSN Indiana became a channel after FSN became the primary network for the Indiana Pacers. It is still a part of FSN Midwest in some markets.
FSN Kansas City Kansas City region Kansas City Royals (MLB), Kansas City Brigade (AFL), and local coverage of collegiate sports featuring the Big 12 and Missouri Valley. Formerly part of FSN Midwest; Was Prime Sports Network prior to that FSN Kansas City became a channel after Royals Sports Television Network was shut down and FSN signed a long-term deal for the Kansas City Royals. Having 2 networks eliminates conflicts with St. Louis Cardinals coverage on FSN Midwest. Some programming is produced by FSN Midwest.
FSN Midwest Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, western Kentucky and northern Arkansas. St. Louis Cardinals (MLB), St. Louis Blues (NHL), and local coverage of minor league baseball and collegiate sports featuring the Big 12, Conference USA, Southeastern, Western Athletic, Missouri Valley, and Horizon League conferences. Prime Sports Midwest FSN Midwest also airs Cardinals games in West Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Royals broadcasts returned to FSN Midwest in the Kansas City market beginning in 2008, after Royals Sports Television Network was shut down. As a result, the network has been re-branded in the Kansas City market as FSN Kansas City to avoid conflicts with St. Louis Cardinals coverage.
Fox Sports North Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Milwaukee Brewers (MLB), Milwaukee Bucks (NBA), Minnesota Twins (MLB), Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), Minnesota Wild (NHL), Minnesota Swarm (NLL) and Minnesota Lynx (WNBA), plus local coverage of the Big Ten, Big East, and Horizon League athletic conferences. WCCO II, Wisconsin Sports Network, Midwest Sports Channel Regional subfeeds for the Minnesota/Dakotas region, and for the state of Wisconsin not included in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market. The Wisconsin feed is operated under FSN Wisconsin as of April 2007 and originates from the Twin Cities also.
FSN Northwest Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, parts of Wyoming, and parts of northern Nevada. Seattle Mariners (MLB), Seattle Storm (WNBA), plus local coverage of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Oregon State University, Portland State University and Gonzaga University Northwest Cable Sports, Prime Sports Northwest Acquired by Liberty Media as part of its purchase of DirecTV. FSN Northwest lost coverage of the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) to Comcast SportsNet after refusing to come to an agreement with the team on a rights fee. FSN has also lost coverage of the Seattle SuperSonics as a result of the team's recent move to Oklahoma City.
FSN Ohio Ohio (with the exception of the Youngstown-Steubenville region where FSN Pittsburgh is carried), parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Northwestern Pennsylvania (primarily Erie), and extreme Southwestern New York. Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), Cincinnati Reds (MLB), Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL), plus local coverage of the Big East, Southeastern, Atlantic 10, Mid American, Metro Atlantic, Great Midwest, Conference USA, Atlantic Coast, and Missouri Valley athletic conferences. SportsChannel Ohio FSN Ohio airs Reds games in Nashville, Tennessee and its surrounding areas, including western North Carolina. FSN Ohio also broadcasts select Cavaliers games on FSN Pittsburgh. Sometimes, only FSN is listed in the Fox Box rather than the full FSN Ohio name, all other FSN networks list the networks name (the Columbus Blue Jackets telecasts use the FSN Ohio name in the box). The network also produces a call-in show called "Cleveland Rants" that makes it unique to most other FSNs. Also, it should be noted that there are actually two separate feeds, an FSN OHIO Cleveland and an FSN OHIO Cincinnati that are slightly different, mainly on the Reds games and on high school sports. The Columbus market usually receives both feeds, especially in times of conflicting games. For example, when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Cleveland Cavaliers play at the same time, the Blue Jackets will be on the regular FSN Ohio channel, while the Cavaliers are on an alternate channel. Other such conflicts include the Blue Jackets and Cincinnati Reds and the Cavaliers and Reds.
FSN Oklahoma All of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA), local coverage of Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big XII) Football and Basketball games. FSN Southwest Launches with OKC Thunder Opening Game on October 29, 2008. Select Dallas Mavericks (NBA) games will be available in areas of Oklahoma more than 75 miles from Oklahoma City.
FSN Pittsburgh All of Pennsylvania except the Philadelphia metro, all of West Virginia except the two counties in metro DC, western Maryland, eastern Ohio, the extreme northeast of Kentucky and the extreme southwest of New York. Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL), Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA—via FSN Ohio), Washington Wild Things (Frontier League), plus local coverage of the Big East, Big Ten, Atlantic 10, PIAA, WPIAL and Horizon League athletic conferences. KBL Sports, Prime Sports KBL. Produced Midwest Sports Report for FSN Midwest until its move to St. Louis in 2006. Acquired by Liberty Media as part of its purchase of DirecTV.
FSN Rocky Mountain Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, western Kansas, western Nebraska, and parts of Montana, Nevada, and New Mexico. Colorado Rockies (MLB), Colorado Crush and Utah Jazz (NBA) plus local coverage of the Big 12, Big Sky, Western Athletic, Conference USA, and Mountain West athletic conferences. Prime Sports Rocky Mountain, Prime Sports Intermountain West Acquired by Liberty Media as part of its purchase of DirecTV. A sub-feed for Utah (FSN Utah) carries the Utah Jazz (NBA), Phoenix Coyotes (NHL—via FSN Arizona), Real Salt Lake (MLS), and local collegiate sports.
FSN South Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, parts of Kentucky and most of North Carolina. Atlanta Hawks (NBA), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), Carolina Hurricanes (NHL), Atlanta Braves (MLB), Charlotte Bobcats (NBA), Nashville Predators (NHL) plus local coverage of Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, Conference USA, Big South, and Southern athletic conferences. (Original) SportSouth Purchased Turner South in May 2006; name changed to SportSouth; SportSouth carries the Braves, Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers (NHL).
FSN Southwest Northern Texas, Northern Louisiana, Oklahoma, parts of New Mexico, and Arkansas. Dallas Mavericks (NBA), Dallas Stars (NHL), Texas Rangers (MLB), FC Dallas (MLS), San Antonio Spurs (NBA), San Antonio Silver Stars (WNBA), plus local coverage of the Southland, Big 12, and Conference USA athletic conferences. Home Sports Entertainment, Prime Sports Southwest.
FSN West Southern California, southern Nevada, and Hawaii. Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (MLB), Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Anaheim Ducks (NHL), Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS), Chivas USA (MLS), and local coverage of the Pacific 10, West Coast, Mountain West, Western Athletic, and Big West conferences. (Original) Prime Ticket, Prime Sports West Shares programming with FSN Prime Ticket, which serves the same area.
FSN Wisconsin Wisconsin, except for western counties in Minneapolis-St. Paul DMA, and a few counties on the border with Michigan (which show FSN Detroit). Milwaukee Brewers (MLB), Milwaukee Bucks (NBA), Minnesota Wild (NHL; limited schedule), Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA hockey only), WIAA, other local coverage FSN North FSN Wisconsin became a channel after FSN became the primary network for the Milwaukee Brewers. It is still a part of FSN North in some markets.
FSN Prime Ticket Southern California, southern Nevada, and Hawaii. Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (MLB), Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Anaheim Ducks (NHL), Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS), Chivas USA (MLS), and local coverage of the Pacific 10, West Coast, Mountain West, Western Athletic, and Big West conferences. FSN West 2 Shares programming with FSN West, which serves the same area.

Former FSN networks

Name Region served (Former) Home to Former Name Other
Bay Area Northern and central California, Sacramento, northwestern Nevada (including the Lake Tahoe-Reno-Carson City region), and parts of southern Oregon. San Francisco Giants (MLB), Oakland Athletics (MLB), San Jose Sharks (NHL), Golden State Warriors (NBA), San Jose Earthquakes (MLS), San Jose Stealth (NLL), San Jose Sabercats (AFL) and local coverage of the Pacific 10, West Coast, Mountain West, and Western Athletic conferences. Pacific Sports Network (PSN), SportsChannel Bay Area, SportsChannel Pacific 25% owned by Fox, 45% owned by Comcast, and 30% owned by the San Francisco Giants as of December 2007. Managed by Comcast. SportsChannel Pacific was formed when Pacific Sports Network (PSN) merged with SportsChannel Bay Area. Due to Comcast's majority ownership of the network, the network was rebranded as Comcast SportsNet Bay Area on March 31, 2008..
Chicago Northern Illinois, northern Indiana, and eastern Iowa. Chicago Cubs (MLB), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Fire (MLS) Chicago Rush, (AFL), Chicago White Sox (MLB), local and national collegiate sports, including those from FSN Detroit. Sportsvision, SportsChannel Chicago Closed on June 23, 2006. Was the production and origination point of the Chicago, Ohio, and Bay Area Sports Report programs (all 50% owned by Rainbow Sports/Cablevision). Comcast SportsNet Chicago now occupies the former FSN Chicago facility located at 350 North Orleans Street, and has acquired the rights to air the nationally-distributed FSN programs. The old Chicago Sports Report set was purchased (and is now used as the main news set) by WREX in Rockford, IL. Building current home of the Chicago Sun-Times.
New England Massachusetts, eastern and central Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Boston Celtics (NBA), Boston Cannons (MLL), and local college sports. SportsChannel New England As of July 1, 2007, 100% owned by Comcast. Rebranded as Comcast SportsNet on October 1, 2007, and more local programming in the network will be added.
New York New York, northern New Jersey, northeast Pennsylvania, southern Connecticut. New York Islanders (NHL), New Jersey Devils (NHL), Long Island Lizards (MLL), plus local coverage of the Big East, Northeast, and Metro Atlantic athletic conferences. SportsChannel New York Co-owned with MSG, which carries the New York Knicks (NBA), Buffalo Sabres (NHL), New York Rangers (NHL), New York Liberty (WNBA), Red Bull New York (MLS), plus regional collegiate football and basketball. Rebranded as MSG Plus on March 10, 2008 and will continue to air programming from Fox Sports Net. Owned by Cablevision.

Other FSN-owned/affiliated Networks

Name Region served Home to Former Name Other
Sun Sports Florida. Orlando Magic (NBA), Miami Heat (NBA), Florida Marlins (MLB), Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL). Sunshine Network Originally a Prime Network affiliate, it is now owned by Fox Sports Net.
SportSouth Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and parts of North Carolina. Atlanta Braves (MLB), Atlanta Hawks (NBA), Charlotte Bobcats (NBA), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), Atlanta Thrashers (NHL). Turner South Previously owned by Time-Warner as part of the TBS family, sold to News Corporation (parent company of Fox Sports Net) in 2006. Renamed to SportSouth on October 13, 2006.

Fox College Sports (FCS)

FSN also offers Fox College Sports (formerly Fox Sports Digital Networks) for digital cable subscribers. These are three channels (marked Atlantic, Central, and Pacific) that provide programming (primarily colleigate and high school sports, plus minor league sports) that would be carried from each individual FSN network, as well as each affiliate's regional sports reports and individually-produced programming (such as coaches shows, team magazines, and documentaries). More or less, these three networks are condensed versions of the 22 FSN-affiliated networks, including Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, though the channels also show international events that fit too oddly on FSN or Fox Soccer Channel, such as the Commonwealth Games, World University Games, and the FINA World Swimming Championships.

The 3 FCS Channels offer the FSN feeds from the following channels, including live Big 12 Conference football, Pacific 10 Conference football and basketball and Atlantic Coast Conference basketball. They also rerun shows originally produced by and shown on the networks listed:

Fox College Sports also shows Independent Women's Football League games, high school games, college magazine shows, and college coach's shows.

''See Regional sports network for those regional sports channels which are not part of Fox Sports Net.

Fox College Sports' partner channel is Big Ten Network.

FOX Boxes

FSN has often been the testing ground for the innovations that FOX comes up with graphically and the source of inspiration that other networks have for their graphics. They were the first U.S. sports channel to introduce the bar score/time graphic on the top of the screen. Since FSN came up with the top-screen bar graphic, many other major networks have abandoned the corner box graphic in favor of the bar.

2001-mid-2005

FSN first used the scoring banner for most of its broadcasts beginning in 2001. The banner then was simpler than today's. It featured a transparent black rectangle, a baseball diamond graphic for baseball broadcasts on the far left, the team abbreviations in white with their scores in yellow boxes (the white boxes were used on some broadcasts until 2002). Then the quarter or inning, time or number of outs, pitch count/speed (baseball broadcasts), and the FSN logo on the far right. Until sometime in 2004, the logo said FOX SPORTS NET with the "FOX" in a white box, which was later changed to blue. Midway in July 2003, FOX Sports Net adopted new graphics for its baseball broadcasts, then later expanded them to college football, hockey, and basketball broadcasts, despite retaining the banner.

2005-Mid-2008

In the middle of June 2005, the banner was given a cosmetic upgrade, despite the graphics used since July 2003 are still used. The team abbreviations became white or black in the team's main color (depending on color contrast), and the scores are now in white boxes. The scores would flash, making a futuristic computer sound, whenever the scores change. On the baseball broadcasts, the diamond graphic on the far left would flash, circling the bases with a graphic below the banner with the words "HOME RUN" and the team's or player's name shown in electronic lettering. Also with the baseball broadcasts, the diamond graphic changed between 2005 and 2006. Also, the FSN logo on the far right is now in a black oval-like shape with the region in white.

2008-

For the 2008 college football season, the scoring banner became a box on the top-left portion of the screen, featuring text in an athletic-like font, with similarities to the text style of Big Ten Network's and FOX's graphic styling. The box changes to the colors of the team possessing the ball, with down information in the top portion of the box and a text box with information such as punt hangtime extending from the bottom, and the size of the possessing team's scoring area expands with the possession arrow. The box flips over to indicate a score, and no FSN branding is seen onscreen beyond the local FSN network's logo in the top-right corner, displayed in italics as "FS(region)". Voiceovers had also been heard to drop out the "Net".

The new graphical design began being used on NHL telecasts on October 11th, 2008. Logo bugs now use the team's name and colors instead of the FSN region name; such as FSSTARS for FS Southwest's coverage of the Dallas Stars, creating a generic branding that can be used for telecasts shown across multiple FSN affiliates (as is the case with Cincinnati Reds baseball). SportSouth however, still uses their own logo.

Programs broadcast nationwide

Live national play-by-play

Other sports

New shows added in 2008

New shows added in 2007

New shows added in 2006

Other shows seen on FSN across the country are The Best Damn Sports Show Period, The Chris Myers Interview, FSN Pro Football Preview, Totally Football, and FSN Baseball Report. The Sports List and Beyond the Glory are still seen in reruns in most markets.

In addition, FSN airs an extensive lineup of poker shows, including Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament and MansionPoker.net PokerDome Challenge. Recently, it was announced that the World Poker Tour will broadcast it's 7th season on FSN as well.

Defunct programs

These programs once aired on FSN, but have since been cancelled:

  • I, Max: Talk show hosted by Max Kellerman. A combination of poor ratings and the repercussions of the death of Kellerman's brother caused the show's demise.
  • The Last Word: Another talk show. Originally, this had a bicoastal format, with Wallace Matthews hosting in New York City and Jim Rome in Los Angeles. During this show's run, Matthews was removed and Rome hosted by himself.
  • Totally NASCAR: A daily show about NASCAR racing. This program received access to race highlights denied to ESPN2's RPM 2Night. Whether this decision was related to RPM 2Night's cancellation in 2003 remains debatable, but this show was itself cancelled after the 2004 season. A modified version of this show, called Around the Track, now airs on many, but not all, FSN affiliates.
  • Two game shows: The Ultimate Fan League, hosted by Bil Dwyer; and Sports Geniuses, hosted by Matt Vasgersian.
  • You Gotta See This, a compilation of unusual video highlights from the world of sports.
  • FSN Across America, which was a newsmagazine show. When one of its co-hosts, Carolyn Hughes, was revealed to have an affair with Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe in 2004, Hughes was dropped from the show and released by the network. FSN cited a violation of a morals clause in Hughes' contract. The show died shortly after that.
  • Before that, another magazine, Goin' Deep, had aired from 2000 to 2001 with Joe Buck, then Chris Myers, as host. That show resembled Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel with its hour-long format and focus on contentious issues in sports.
  • TNA iMPACT!, a professional wrestling program, aired on FSN for a little more than a year, starting in June 2004 to October 2005, but has since moved to Spike TV.

Pay-per-view

On November 10, 2006, FSN distributed its first pay-per-view event. Evander Holyfield, former heavyweight boxing champion, defeated Fres Oquendo in a unanimous decision at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The fight was also distributed free of charge on the FoxSports.com website outside the United States.

FSN HD

FSN HD is a high definition simulcast of FSN featuring high-definition programming such as live sporting events. Each regional channel has its own separate HD feed, but when the program being shown is only available in SD, the HD feed of the affiliate broadcasting it is deactivated. National FSN shows FSN Final Score and The Baseball Report are shown in HD on all affiliates. Also, live sports that FSN has rights to televise nationally such as Big 12 and Pac 10 football are shown in HD on all affiliates.

Americans in Focus

FSN has launched a public service initiative called Americans in Focus, with the sponsorship support of Farmers Insurance. This initiative consists of one-minute vignettes profiling persons of non-Caucasian ethnicity. Americans in Focus launched in February 2008 for Black History Month and was to continue all through September and October for Hispanic Heritage Month. Over 20 vignettes have aired so far, and FSN aired a related half-hour program in February.

See also

References

External links

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