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.
Fox Sports NetEdit
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.
- SportSouth (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) Broadcasts Thrashers, Hawks, and Braves games. Fox Cable Networks took over Turner South on May 1, 2006. The name of the network is SportSouth effective Oct 13, 2006.
- Sun Sports (Florida). Broadcasts Orlando Magic and Miami Heat basketball and Tampa Bay Lightning hockey, as well as sporting events from the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the University of Central Florida.
- Madison Square Garden Network (MSG) (New York). Owned by Cablevision as MSG Networks alongside FSN New York, through Rainbow Media Group. Believed to be the first of the regional sports networks in the United States (first went on the air in October, 1969).
Seeing an opportunity to serve sports fans on a more local level and continue to quench their thirst for quality sports programming, 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 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, based out of the now defunct FSN Chicago's former studios at 350 N Orleans Street. Gained rights to Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls from FSN Chicago. Also airs Chicago Fire MLS games via a time-buy agreement.
- Comcast SportsNet Northwest, based in Portland, Oregon, will launch in November 1 ,2007. With rights to Portland Trail Blazers games.
- 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 Local, also known as CL, was launched in 2004. It airs professional, collegiate and high school sports throughout most of Michigan and Indiana. They own 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
- SportsNet New York, owned by the New York Mets, Time Warner and Comcast, which launched on March 16, 2006.
- MountainWest Sports Network, informally known as the mtn. (short for "the mountain") is a joint venture of the Mountain West Conference, CSTV and Comcast.
- 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.
Other RSNs Edit
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 aired Phoenix Suns home games. In 2003, the channel folded and FSN Arizona picked up the cable/satellite rights. ASPN was owned by Cox Communications, current owner of 4SD.
- 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 2001.
- 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: Detroit-based regional sports channel that presented coverage of professional and college teams in Detroit and Michigan; in 1999, the channel folded after FSN Detroit won the rights to the Pistons and bought the rights to the Tigers and Red Wings from 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 replaced with FSN South in the late-1990s. However, Turner would later return into the business with Turner South. On October 13, 2006, this name returned on a FSN-owned network.
- 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 Sports Net.
- 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 Midwest
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.
- Kaiser's Blog: Info on RSN history and some regions.