Regional sports network

Regional sports network

In the United States of America, a regional sports network, or RSN, is a cable television station that presents sports programming to a local market. The most important programming on an RSN consists of live broadcasts of professional and college sporting events, as those games generate an overwhelming percentage of an RSN's advertising income. During the rest of the day, these stations show other sports and recreation programming. These channels are often the source content for out-of-market packages.

Most regional sports networks in the United States are either affiliated with Fox Sports Net or Comcast SportsNet, with supplemental programming from networks such as America One or ESPNEWS.

In Canada, Rogers Sportsnet operates four regional sports networks.

Fox Sports Net

For years, the default RSN for many markets was owned by Fox Sports Net, but an increasing trend is for the teams whose games make up the lucrative programming to own the RSN themselves. This serves two purposes: First, the teams make more money operating an RSN than they would collecting a licensing fee from, for example, Fox Sports Net.

Second, by owning their own RSN, teams that must share revenues with other members of their league can mask its broadcast-related profits. Under the old model, a team collects a large fee for licensing its games to the RSN. That fee would then be disclosed and shared with the other teams in the league. Under the new, team-owned RSN model, the team demands only a nominal fee, so the profits for local broadcasting stay with the team.

Current FSN affiliates

The current FSN affiliates are:

*FSN Arizona
*FSN Detroit
*FSN Florida - sister channel of Sun Sports
*FSN Houston - this is actually a subfeed of FSN Southwest
*FSN Indiana
*FSN Kansas City
*"'FSN Midwest
*FSN North
*FSN Northwest
*FSN Ohio
*FSN Oklahoma - Will launch on October 29, 2008 as a subfeed of FSN Southwest in Oklahoma
*FSN Pittsburgh
*FSN Prime Ticket
*FSN Rocky Mountain
*FSN South - sister channel of SportSouth
*FSN Southwest
*FSN Utah - this is actually a subfeed of FSN Rocky Mountain
*FSN West
*FSN Wisconsin

Former FSN affiliates

Some current networks were once FSN affiliates, and they all still show national FSN programs, since the markets they serve have no FSN affiliate. They are:

*Comcast SportsNet Bay Area - used to be FSN Bay Area
*Comcast SportsNet Chicago - used to be FSN Chicago
*Comcast SportsNet New England - used to be FSN New England
*MSG Plus - used to be FSN New York

FSN sister channels

Some channels split local sports coverage with the FSN affiliate in their market. They are:

* SportSouth - The sister channel of FSN South

* Sun Sports - The sister channel of FSN Florida

FSN in Los Angeles and Southern California

Since The Los Angeles Area and the rest of Southern California have so many sports teams, it has 2 FSN affiliates which split coverage of local sports: FSN Prime Ticket and FSN West.It is the only market that has two 24 hour, full time FSN affiliates. FSN Prime Ticket is also the only FSN affiliate not named after the city, state or region it serves, as well as the only affiliate that contains the name of its old incarnation.

FSN Subfeeds and Alternate feeds

Some FSN affiliates have subfeeds to eliminate conflicts when 2 teams that they have rights to are playing at the same time, so they can air both games at once. They are:

*FSN Rocky Mountain - has the subfeed FSN Utah
*FSN Southwest - has the subfeed FSN Houston

Some FSN affiliates have alternate (or overflow) feeds for the same purpose, named after the host network with "Plus" after it (i.e. FSN Detroit Plus).

Subfeeds and alternate (overflow) feeds are only used during live games, and are turned off the rest of the time.

Comcast SportsNet

Seeing an opportunity to serve sports fans on a more local level and generate profits, cable giant Comcast began creating their own RSN -- Comcast Sportsnet -- in the 1990s.

* Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia in Philadelphia. Formed in the late 1990s to take the place of SportsChannel Philadelphia, which first aired in the late 1980s. Has rights to Phillies, 76ers, and Flyers games.

* Comcast SportsNet Bay Area serves the San Francisco / Oakland area with rights to Oakland Athletics games. Formerly known as FSN Bay Area. Sister channel of Comcast SportsNet West.

* Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, formerly known as Home Team Sports (HTS), based in Washington, D.C.; Fox and Comcast acquired this network from Viacom in 2000 along with Midwest Sports Channel in Minneapolis and Milwaukee. Fox later purchased 100% of MSC in a swap with Comcast for HTS and renamed it FSN North. Has rights to Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals games, many of which are broadcast in High Definition. Also airs many DC United games.

* Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Partner in the network with Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls ownership.

* Comcast SportsNet West, based in Northern California with rights to Sacramento Kings and San Francisco Giants games. Sister channel of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

* Comcast SportsNet Northwest, based in Portland, Oregon Has rights to Portland Trail Blazers games.

* Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS), based in Atlanta with sub-regional feeds available. Airs regional college and high school games and other sports. Owned jointly by Comcast and Charter Communications, and only distributed to cable systems. The Comcast 'crescent C' logo is used for the channel's logo despite Charter's co-ownership.

*Comcast SportsNet New England - formerly FSN New England

* SportsNet New York, owned by the New York Mets, Time Warner and Comcast, which launched on March 16, 2006.

Alternate feeds on Comcast SportsNet

Just like FSN, most Comcast SportsNet affiliates have alternate (or overflow) feeds to avoid conflicts when 2 teams they have rights to are playing at the same time, so they can show both games at once. They are named after the host network with "Plus" after it (i.e. Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus). The alternate (or overflow) feeds are only used during live games and are turned off the rest of the time.

Comcast SportsNet in The San Francisco Bay / Oakland Area

Since The San Francisco Bay / Oakland Area and the rest of Northern California have so many sports teams, it has 2 Comcast SportsNet affiliates which split coverage of local sports: Comcast SportsNet West and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. It is the only market that has two 24 hour, full time Comcast SportsNet affiliates.

Rogers Sportsnet

Rogers Sportsnet, owned by Rogers Communications, is an RSN network serving Canada. It consists of four regional networks, and a national HD network:

*Rogers Sportsnet East, which serves the Ottawa region, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

*Rogers Sportsnet Ontario, which serves all of Ontario excluding the Ottawa region (the HD network for the most part mirrors the Ontario feed).

*Rogers Sportsnet West, which serves Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

*Rogers Sportsnet Pacific, which serves British Columbia and the Yukon.

*Rogers Sportsnet HD, which is a high definition rebroadcast of the Ontario feed with regional variations when necessary.

Other RSNs

Other Current Regional Sports Networks

*Madison Square Garden Network or (MSG) - The first regional sports network in The United States. It was launched in 1969 and serves the New York City Metropolitan Area. Its new sister channel is MSG Plus. The alternate (or overflow) feeds of MSG and MSG Plus are called MSG 2 and MSG Plus 2.

* New England Sports Network (NESN), which is owned by the Boston Red Sox (80%) and Boston Bruins (20%). Broadcasts Red Sox and Bruins games, the Beanpot, Boston College Basketball, Quinnipiac University athletics, and other live programming.

* Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES), which is owned by Yankee Global Enterprises LLC with 40% owned by Goldman Sachs.

* Altitude Sports and Entertainment, owned by Kroenke Sports Enterprises, owned by Stan Kroenke. Airs Colorado Avalanche hockey, Denver Nuggets basketball, Colorado Mammoth lacrosse, Colorado Rapids soccer, Colorado Springs Sky Sox minor league baseball and other Denver and Rocky Mountain area sports & general interest programming. Altitude's alternate (or overflow) feed is called Altitude 2.

* Channel 4 San Diego (4SD), based in San Diego with rights to San Diego Padres and Mountain West and West Coast Conference games. Owned by Cox Communications.

* Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), owned by the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, televises every available game of both teams (320 games annually). Official Network of the Baltimore Ravens, Georgetown Hoyas, George Mason Patriots, UNC Wilmington Seahawks. Partnerships with Big South conference, BB&T Classic. Regional provider of the Big East Game of the Week (football, men's basketball). Televises more than 520 live major sporting events annually. MASN's alternate (or overflow) feed is called MASN2.

* Metro Sports, Kansas City's 24-hour sports network.

* Cox Sports Television, based in New Orleans, airs New Orleans Hornets basketball, New Orleans VooDoo arena football, and regional college action. (Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Arkansas).

* SportsTime Ohio, launched in March 2006 and owned by the Cleveland Indians. Began as a gametime-only network, now broadcasting 24 hours a day.

* Catch 47, Tampa Bay sports area network.

*Columbus Sports Network (CSN), broadcasting events, features, highlights and news on professional, collegiate, scholastic and amateur sports teams in the Columbus, OH area

*Time Warner Sports 26, a regional sports network operated by Time Warner Cable in the upstate New York cities of Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown, Binghamton, and (beginning 11/19/07) Buffalo.

*BCSN, Buckeye Cable Sports Network operated by Block Communications for Toledo, Ohio.

* Fighting Sioux Sports Network (FSSN), which is operated by by WDAZ-TV and Midcontinent Communications for the Grand Forks, North Dakota area.

*ESPN Plus, syndicates college football and college basketball games to over the air broadcast stations. Its games are available on ESPN GamePlan and ESPN Full Court.

One Conference College Networks

* Big Ten Network airs sports involving Big Ten Conference universities exclusively. Joint venture between The Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks (a division of News Corporation). Big Ten Network has 4 overflow feeds for football.

* MountainWest Sports Network, airs sports involving Mountain West Conference universities exclusively. Informally known as the mtn. (short for "the mountain") it is a joint venture of The Mountain West Conference, CBS College Sports Network and Comcast.

The Southeastern Conference explored starting its own network [ [ SEC explores launching its own TV Network] ] , but a recent deal by the University of Florida with Sun Sports, [ [ Florida rights deal may rule out SEC channel] ] and a long term deal between the SEC and the ESPN family of networks [ [ ESPN scores 15 year SEC rights deal] ] have ended its likelihood.

Defunct networks

* Empire Sports Network (Upstate New York). Ceased broadcasting March 7, 2005 upon the collapse of its parent company Adelphia Communications and the sale of their principal customer, the Buffalo Sabres.
* Sports Time, which broadcast home games of the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, and St. Louis Cardinals in 1984 and 1985. Not to be confused with the current SportsTime Ohio.
* Sports View, which was the cable home of the Milwaukee Brewers for three seasons (1984-86).
* Carolinas Sports and Entertainment Television (C-SET), which broadcast Charlotte Bobcats games in the 2004-05 season.
* Arizona Sports Programming Network/"Cox 9": Named for the channel number on which it appeared on local cable systems, ASPN/COX 9 (owned by Cox Communications, the incumbent cable operator for the Phoenix area) aired Phoenix Firebirds baseball games and Phoenix Suns home games throughout its long history. In 2003, the channel removed all of its professional sports and moved to cable channel 7 (which resulted in the renaming of the channel) and FSN Arizona picked up the cable/satellite rights.
* BlazerVision: This network aired Portland Trail Blazers games on pay-per-view as late as 2000. It was then replaced by Action Sports Cable Network, which showed other sports events as well. The channel folded for good in November, 2002.
* SportsChannel Los Angeles: This network, formerly Z Channel, aired Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, and Los Angeles Clippers games from 1989 to 1993. Unlike other SportsChannel affiliates, it did not convert to FSN; instead, it folded outright.
* ESPN West: This network was to have shown games of the Anaheim Angels and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim; both teams and the network were then owned by the Walt Disney Company. It was announced in late 1997, but folded in 1998 without broadcasting a single show.
* Victory Sports One: Owned by the Minnesota Twins, it folded in 2004 after only three months on the air, due to the inability of the Twins to reach deals with any Twin Cities area cable system or satellite service. Twins games immediately returned to FSN North.
* Sportsvision: This network aired Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago Black Hawks games on pay-per-view television in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was once available by converter boxes tuned to channel 60, now WXFT. It then became SportsChannel Chicago and FSN Chicago before it folded in 2006.
* Home Sports and Entertainment: It carried many games of Texas-based baseball and pro basketball teams until it became Prime Sports; it is now FSN Southwest.
* PASS Sports: Detroit-based regional sports channel that presented coverage of professional and college teams in Detroit and Michigan; in 1997, the channel folded after FSN Detroit won the rights to the Detroit Pistons and bought the rights to the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings from PASS. Some current FSN Detroit announcers used to work for PASS.
* SportSouth: Atlanta-based sports channel with professional and college sports coverage from Atlanta and other parts of the South. Originally run in part by Ted Turner, it was sold to Fox and became FSN South in the mid-1990s. As part of the sale, Turner was prohibited from owning another RSN, but used a loophole (by airing some non-sports programming) to launch Turner South, which, on October 13, 2006, was sold to Fox and became a new SportSouth.
* Grizzlies Regional Sports Network: This proposed network for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies folded before its first scheduled game; the team re-signed with FSN South instead.
* Midwest Sports Channel: Became FSN North. See also WCCO-TV.
* PRISM: This Philadelphia-based network was replaced by Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.
* Home Team Sports: Became Comcast Sports Net
* Royals Sports Television Network (Kansas City, western Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Iowa), owned by the Kansas City Royals. After the 2007 MLB season, RSTN ceased operations and all Royals games will be broadcast on FSN Kansas City, a new spinoff of FSN Midwest.
*Comcast Local, also known as CL, aired from 2004–2008. It aired professional, collegiate and high school sports throughout most of Michigan and Indiana. They owned the rights to a number of Big Ten Conference and Mid-American Conference sports telecasts, as well as the Detroit Ignition of the MISL and Canadian Football League games. Merged into a similar channel Comcast Television in Michigan in March 2008.

High Definition

Some RSNs broadcast select content in High Definition. These channels are usually available as part of a cable company's service, however on satellite services such as DirecTV, HD games are available on dedicated channels, most the time free as part of an out of market package. Fox Sports Net affiliates have dedicated HD channels, but since FSN produces very little content in HD (live games, both regional and national, and national shows like FSN Final Score and The Baseball Report are the only thing FSN does produce in HD), the HD channels are left blank when the program being shown is not available in HD.

ee also

*Sports channel
*Raycom Sports

External links

* [ Kaiser's Blog] : Info on RSN history and some regions.


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