Definitions

Fox_Sports_North

Fox Sports North

Fox Sports North is a regional sports network serving Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Iowa, Upper Michigan along the Wisconsin border and the eastern parts of North Dakota and South Dakota. Fox Sports North has three separate feeds: the "metro" feed which is broadcast to the Twin Cities and surrounding areas; the "outstate" feed which is seen in the rest of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, extreme western Wisconsin, and DBS subscribers; and the "Wisconsin" feed which serves that state, excepting the western counties within the Twin Cities DMA.

Fox Sports North is an owned and operated affiliate of FOX Sports Net and was previously affiliated with SportsChannel and Prime Sports Network. The FSN Wisconsin sub-network is run out of the studios of Milwaukee's Fox O&O WITI (Channel 6).

History

Fox Sports North started as a cable project by WCCO-TV called WCCO II. Originally intended as a general programming complement to the over-the-air WCCO, it gradually became more sports oriented and relaunched in 1989 as Midwest Sports Channel.

MSC's main draws in its early days were the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota North Stars. It was also affiliated with the SportsChannel America network and filled out its broadcasting day with a mix of SCA programs and tickers and paid programming. MSC was largely considered a "luxury" channel until the early 1990s, and did not even have full metro coverage until Continental Cablevision added it to St. Paul's extended basic cable lineup in 1994. By then, MSC was in financial dire straits, and the CBS Corporation (which had bought WCCO-TV, WCCO-AM and MSC in 1992) sold the troubled network to Liberty Media.

Ownership change and affiliation with FSN

In 1995, MSC expanded its pro sports lineup by landing a cable broadcast deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The following year, LMI acquired the Wisconsin Sports Network (a gametime-only network broadcasting Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks games) from Milwaukee's Time Warner Cable franchise and Group W, and folded it into MSC, giving the network a broader reach in the Midwest, the Brewers and Bucks deals, and a stable of outstanding local outdoors shows. Through its ownership by LMI and affiliations with SCA and PSN, MSC became an affiliate of the fledgling Fox Sports Net in the fall of 1996.

In late 1999, LMI, now under partial ownership of Comcast, swapped its equity in MSC to News Corporation in exchange for a 100% ownership in Baltimore-based RSN Home Team Sports, and MSC was then fully owned by FOX, while HTS became Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.

The autumn of 2000 marked the return of NHL hockey to Minnesota with the debut of the Wild franchise, and MSC broadcast much of the inaugural season. This also marked the first time that FSN-branded graphics were used on a locally produced broadcast, and the announcers made frequent use of the phrase "...live on MSC, Fox Sports Net style." The name change to Fox Sports Net North was made official in April of 2001 to coincide with the start of the new Twins season and the opening of the Brewers' Miller Park, and was called out on the air, on outdoor billboards, and even bus ads. However, the change was not all good; the network lost its local focus, instead airing national FSN programs like National Sports Report and You Gotta See This!

In October 2003, Twins owner Carl Pohlad attempted to launch a competing RSN called Victory Sports One; it would broadcast all Twins games for the foreseeable future, as well as local college and high school sports. VS1 was also to have a number of locally produced sports shows, the centerpiece being Kent Hrbek Outdoors. This effort only lasted six months, as VS1 folded in May and allowed FSN to absorb most of its programming including the Twins. As a result, FSN launched a new "local fans first" initiative, launching the Minnesota Sports Report and the regular airing of prep sports.

In April 2006, still lacking a local news show (the now-defunct Minnesota Sports Report originated from FSN's Westwood, CA, studios), FSN North launched FSN Live, a first-of-its-kind show that served as part local sports news show, part pre- and post-game bumper. FSN Live is usually broadcast live and on location from sporting events, though occasionally it originates from FSN North's new Minneapolis studio.

The Wisconsin version currently airs a minimal amount of local programming beyond Brewers and Bucks pregame, postgame, and fan shows, along with some of WITI's Packer analysis shows and WIAA competitions. A reduced schedule of Wild hockey airs within Wisconsin. For the 2007 baseball season, FSN North will sub-license fifteen Brewers games to air on Milwaukee's WMLW (Channel 41), producing the broadcasts, while WMLW will sell ads on those telecasts

Teams

MSC and Fox Sports North have been the cable television home to several professional and college teams.

Major League Baseball

NBA

NHL

NCAA Division I athletics

WCHA

Personalities

Logos

Trivia

  • In 1998, MSC replaced their translucent "bug" with a full color version of the new logo on a translucent oval. For Brewer and Buck games, though, a silhouette of the state of Wisconsin was used in place of the oval.
  • WCCO's 10pm newscast was repeated every night at 4:30am on both MSC's original and Wisconsin channels until the close of the deal with Fox Sports Net.
  • Often abbreviated as FSNN

See also

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