FSN Chicago

FSN Chicago was an American regional sports network that was headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and was owned by Cablevision for most of its history (from 1987 to 2005). News Corporation acquired a minority ownership interest in the network in 1997, which Cablevision bought out in 2005. The network was affiliated with SportsChannel from 1987 to 1997, when it became an affiliate of Fox Sports Net.

The network carried games from most of the Chicago area's major league sports teams including the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball franchises; the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks; the NBA's Chicago Bulls; the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer; and the Arena Football League's Chicago Rush. The network also aired local and national collegiate sports, including teams sourced from its sister network Fox Sports Detroit.

FSN Chicago
FSN Chicago (2004-2006) logo
FSN Chicago logo, used from 2004 to 2006.
LaunchedApril 1982
ClosedJune 23, 2006
Network
Owned by
Picture format480i (SDTV)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Broadcast area
Headquarters
Formerly called
  • Sportsvision Chicago (1982–1989)
  • SportsChannel Chicago (1989–1997)
  • Fox Sports Chicago (1998–2000)
  • Fox Sports Net Chicago (2000–2004)
Replaced byComcast SportsNet Chicago

History

Early history

FSN Chicago launched in April 1982 as Sportsvision which was a joint venture between: Jerry Reinsdorf (owner of the Chicago White Sox), Eddie Einhorn (television producer and co-owner of White Sox with Reinsdorf), and Fred Eychaner (owner of independent station WPWR-TV).

Due to the fact that Chicago was one of the last major U.S. cities where cable television was still not widely available, Sportsvision initially operated as an over-the-air subscription service. They broadcast over WPWR each weeknight and weekend. Viewers were required to purchase a set-top converter and pay a monthly fee to view the telecasts, which included Bulls, White Sox, and Blackhawks games, as well as college sports events of local interest. Some sports telecasts were also simulcast on ONTV, a co-owned subscription service that broadcast part-time over WSNS (channel 44). The Bulls and White Sox continued to broadcast a number of games on broadcast television locally, while the Blackhawks moved all of their game broadcasts over to Sportsvision, ending a longstanding partnership with WSNS. After the move, some set-top converters which were sold as part of ONTV and Sportsvision subscriptions, began incorporating a switch to allow subscribers to tune to either ONTV or Sportsvision. By 1984, White Sox games began airing on ONTV as well.[1]

The decision to move most of the White Sox broadcasts to paid television led longtime announcer Harry Caray to become the play-by-play voice of the rival Chicago Cubs. He did this due to the limited exposure that the White Sox would experience as a result of having the majority of games on a medium that would limit the reach of the team's televised game broadcasts.[2] Chicago is one of the very few television markets in the United States whose baseball teams made a substantial percentage of their games available over-the-air. Until the mid-1990s, the Cubs still televised all of their games that were not aired nationally on the major broadcast networks: (ABC, NBC, CBS) over WGN-TV (channel 9), and a regional network of television stations throughout parts of the Midwest.

Affiliation with SportsChannel and Fox Sports Net

The WPWR-Sportsvision partnership struggled by January 1984 and as a result, the channel was sold to the Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision Systems Corporation, which later converted Sportsvision into a basic cable service. In 1989, the channel became an affiliate of the SportsChannel America group of regional sports networks, relaunching as SportsChannel Chicago.

On June 30, 1997, News Corporation and Liberty Media – which had created a new group of regional sports networks known as Fox Sports Net in November 1996, purchased a 40% interest in Cablevision's sports properties. Properties included the SportsChannel America networks, Madison Square Garden, and the arena's professional sports franchise tenants: the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.[3][4]

Fox Sports Chicago
Fox Sports Net Chicago logo, used from 2000 to 2004.

Following the purchase, SportsChannel Chicago abruptly cancelled its daily sports news program The SportsChannel Report on August 10, resulting in the layoffs of ten staff members (including the program's veteran anchors Jim Blaney, Steve Kashul and Dyrol Joyner). That October, the channel launched Fox Sports Tonight, a similarly formatted sports news program focusing on local sports, intended to complement Fox Sports Net's national program Fox Sports News.[5][6] During that period, the channel relocated its production and office facilities to a new facility in the Apparel Center, at 350 North Orleans Street in the Near North Side area.[7]

The new joint venture formed between News Corporation, Cablevision, Liberty Media, and National Sports Partners, began a gradual rebranding of the SportsChannel networks that Cablevision had previously controlled into owned-and-operated outlets of Fox Sports Net. As a result, SportsChannel Chicago was rebranded as Fox Sports Chicago in January 1998. The channel was then rebranded as Fox Sports Net Chicago in 2000, as part of a collective brand modification of the FSN networks under the "Fox Sports Net" banner.

Fox Sports Tonight later evolved into the Chicago Sports Report in 2001, as part of a groupwide expansion of regional news programs across the Fox Sports Networks to compliment the National Sports Report. Around that time, Fox Sports Net Chicago also began serving as the production and origination hub for the Ohio Sports Report and Bay Area Sports Report news programs (all of which were 50% owned by Cablevision through its Rainbow Sports subsidiary) for sister networks Fox Sports Ohio and Fox Sports Net Bay Area. In 2004, the channel shortened its name to FSN Chicago, through the networks' de-emphasis of the "Fox Sports Net" brand.

Loss of broadcast rights and decline

In December 2003, Reinsdorf, Bill Wirtz, and the Tribune Company- the owners of the Bulls, White Sox, Blackhawks and Cubs respectively, decided to end their cable television agreement with FSN Chicago. This stripped the network of broadcast rights to all of the professional sports teams in the Chicago area. All three decided to enter into a partnership with Comcast to form a new regional sports network, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which launched on October 1, 2004.[8][9] The move led many cable and satellite providers in northeastern Illinois and northwest Indiana to drop the network. Without any local professional sports coverage remaining, FSN Chicago was left with national programming distributed by Fox Sports Net. The events from some minor local and semi-professional teams and Midwestern outdoors programs had limited interest to Chicago area viewers.

In February 2005, Cablevision acquired full ownership of Fox Sports Chicago and FSN New York, and a 50% interest in Fox Sports New England (with Comcast retaining its existing 50% stake) in an asset swap that also involved the sale of News Corporation's interest in Madison Square Garden and the arena's NBA and NHL team tenants in exchange for Cablevision's interest in FSN Ohio and FSN Florida.[10]

FSN Chicago ceased operations on June 23, 2006;[11] Comcast SportsNet Chicago subsequently moved its operations into the Orleans Street facility formerly occupied by FSN Chicago, and acquired the rights to broadcast FSN's nationally distributed programs. The set formerly used by the Chicago Sports Report was purchased by NBC affiliate WREX-TV in Rockford for use as the station's main news set. The Orleans Street facility has since also become the homebase of the Chicago Sun-Times.

References

  1. ^ WMAQ, 67 (November 30, 2012). "White Sox History: The story of SportsVision". South Side Sox. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  2. ^ Liptak, Mark (July 28, 2015). "Biggest What Ifs in White Sox History, Part 2". Chicago Now. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  3. ^ "Fox putting together national Sports Net // Changes ahead for SportsChannel". Chicago Sun-Times. June 24, 1997. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  4. ^ Higgins, John (June 30, 1997). "National net keys regional deal. (Fox Sports, Liberty Media Corp. challenge ESPN with stake in SportsChannel)". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Feder, Robert (August 12, 1997). "With demise of 'Report', SportsChannel cuts staff". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  6. ^ Cox, Ted (August 12, 1997). "Local SportsChannel Report first victim in Fox Network takeover". Daily Herald. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  7. ^ Cox, Ted (July 24, 1997). "New SportsChannel Studios Are State-of-Art". Daily Herald. Retrieved April 9, 2015 – via Questia Online Library.
  8. ^ "Comcast To Launch New Sports Net Along With Chicago Teams". Sports Business Journal. December 2, 2003. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  9. ^ "CSN Chicago Is Born; New Net To Launch In 1.5 Million HHs". Sports Business Journal. December 3, 2003. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  10. ^ Leon Lazaroff (February 23, 2005). "News Corp. exits Chicago Fox sports station". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  11. ^ "No need for FSN Chicago". The Daily Journal. June 27, 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2015.

External links

2001 Chicago Cubs season

The 2001 Chicago Cubs season was the 130th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 126th in the National League and the 86th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished third in the National League Central with a record of 88–74.

2002 Chicago Cubs season

The 2002 Chicago Cubs season was the 131st season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 127th in the National League and the 87th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fifth in the National League Central with a record of 67–95.

2004 Chicago Cubs season

The 2004 Chicago Cubs season was the 133rd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 129th in the National League and the 89th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished 89-73, good for 3rd in the NL Central. Despite the strong record, the Cubs faltered down the stretch and missed the playoffs, and the season is largely viewed as a disappointment as a result.

AFL on FSN

The Arena Football League had a regional-cable deal with Fox Sports Net (beginning in 2004), where FSN regional affiliates in AFL markets carried local team games. In some areas Fox Sports affiliates still carry the games.

Chicago Rush

The Chicago Rush were a professional arena football team based in Rosemont, Illinois. The team played at the Allstate Arena from 2001 to 2013. They were a member of the Central Division of the National Conference of the Arena Football League (AFL). Founded in 2001, the team qualified for the playoffs 11 out of 12 seasons and won one AFL championship, ArenaBowl XX in 2006. During their history, the Rush won five divisional titles and competed in the AFL Conference Championship six times, including four consecutive appearances from 2004 to 2007. They also had the largest market in the AFL.After the 2013 season, the Rush announced that their operations were suspended and are currently not part of the Arena Football League. The team's roster was liquidated in a dispersal draft.

Chip Caray

Harry Christopher "Chip" Caray III (born February 27, 1965) is a television broadcaster for Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast's coverage of the Atlanta Braves baseball and Southeastern Conference basketball, and is an occasional radio broadcaster and co-host of the pre-game and post-game shows on the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. Chip is also known from his time as a broadcaster for the Fox Saturday Game of the Week and as the television play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs from 1998 to 2004. He is the son of broadcaster Skip Caray, the grandson of broadcaster Harry Caray and the older half-brother of broadcaster Josh Caray.

Fox Sports Networks

Fox Sports Networks (FSN), formerly known as Fox Sports Net, is the collective name for a group of regional sports channels in the United States. Formed in 1996 by News Corporation, the group was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in March 2019 following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. A condition of that acquisition imposed by the U.S. Department of Justice required Disney to sell FSN by June 18, 2019, 90 days after the completion of its acquisition. Disney subsequently agreed to sell the networks (excluding the YES Network, being reacquired by Yankee Global Enterprises) to Sinclair Broadcast Group.Each of the channels in the group carries regional broadcasts of sporting events from various professional, collegiate and high school sports teams (with broadcasts typically exclusive to each individual channel, although some are shown on multiple FSN channels within a particular team's designated market area), along with regional and national sports discussion, documentary and analysis programs.

Depending on their individual team rights, some Fox Sports Networks maintain overflow feeds available via digital cable, telco and satellite providers in their home markets, which may provide alternate programming when not used to carry game broadcasts that the main feed cannot carry due to scheduling conflicts. Fox Sports Networks is headquartered in Houston, Texas, with master control facilities based in both Houston and Los Angeles; FSN also maintains production facilities at Stage 19 at Universal Studios Florida (which formerly served as home of Nickelodeon Studios until its closure in 2005).

List of Chicago Bulls broadcasters

Broadcasters for the Chicago Bulls National Basketball Association team.

List of television stations in Illinois

This is a list of broadcast television stations in the U.S. state of Illinois.

Major League Baseball on NBC Sports

Major League Baseball on NBC Sports refers to Major League Baseball television coverage on the chain of NBC Sports regional networks.

Major League Baseball on SportsChannel

Major League Baseball on SportsChannel refers to the now defunct SportsChannel's television coverage of Major League Baseball on its respective regional sports networks.

Major League Baseball on regional sports networks

Major League Baseball games not broadcast exclusively by its media partners are televised by regional sports networks, which present sports programming of interest to their respective region. Most MLB broadcasters are members of chains such as NBC Sports Regional Networks, Fox Sports Networks, and AT&T SportsNet, although several teams are broadcast by regional networks that are independent of these chains. Some teams own partial or majority stakes in their regional broadcaster.

Regionally broadcast MLB games are subject to blackouts; games from outside of a viewer's designated market are blacked out to protect the local team.

NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago is an American regional sports network. The channel broadcasts regional coverage of professional sports teams in the Chicago metropolitan area, as well as college sports events and original sports-related news, discussion and entertainment programming.

NBC Sports Chicago is owned by the NBC Sports Group unit of NBCUniversal (which owns 20%, and is itself owned by Comcast, the primary cable provider in the Chicago market), the family of Chicago Cubs owner J. Joseph Ricketts (who own 20%), Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf (who owns a 40% majority interest), and Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz (who owns 20%).

The channel is available on cable and fiber optic television providers in most of Illinois, and throughout northern Indiana, Iowa, Kenosha County, Wisconsin and southwest Michigan and nationwide on satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network. The network maintains main studios and offices located at 350 North Orleans Street, inside the River North Point Center in the Near North Side area.

NBC Sports Regional Networks

NBC Sports Regional Networks is the collective name for a group of regional sports networks in the United States that are primarily owned and operated by the NBCUniversal division of the cable television company Comcast. The networks were originally established as Comcast SportsNet (CSN), a unit of Comcast's cable television business, beginning with a network in Philadelphia which launched in 1997. Their operations were aligned with the national NBC Sports division following the 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast. NBC Sports Regional Networks' business and master control operations are based in New York City.

The group operates seven regional networks; Comcast also has a partial ownership interest in SportsNet New York, which is co-owned with Charter Communications and the New York Mets. Each of the networks carries regional broadcasts of sporting events from various professional, collegiate and high school sports teams (with broadcasts typically exclusive to each individual network, although some are shown on more than one network within a particular team's designated market area), along with regional and national sports discussion, documentary and analysis programs.

After their realignment with NBC Sports, the networks initially continued to operate primarily under the Comcast SportsNet name. Although Comcast originally considered dropping its name from the networks in favor of NBC Sports following the merger, they still operated under the CSN brand for at least more six years. The group's two networks in California were then re-branded under the NBC Sports brand in April 2017, while the remaining networks were renamed on October 2, 2017.

NHL on Fox

NHL on Fox is the branding formerly used for broadcasts of National Hockey League games that were produced by Fox Sports, and televised on the Fox network from the 1994–1995 NHL season until the 1998–1999 NHL season. Although the Fox broadcast network no longer airs league telecasts, NHL games currently air on the Fox Sports Networks in the form of game telecasts that air on a regional basis, featuring local NHL teams that each of the regional networks have respective broadcast rights to air in their designated market.

SportsChannel

SportsChannel is the collective name for a former group of regional sports networks in the United States that was owned by Cablevision, which from 1988 until the group's demise, operated it as a joint venture with NBC.

Operating from March 1, 1979 to January 27, 1998, it was the country's first regional sports network, and along with Prime Network, was an important ancestor to many of the regional sports outlets in the U.S., particularly Fox Sports Networks and Comcast SportsNet. At its peak, SportsChannel operated nine networks serving several of the nation's largest cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Trey Bender

Trey Bender is a sportscaster for ESPNU, ESPN Plus, American Sports Network, and a part-time host for Yahoo! Sports Radio.

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