Fox Sports North

Fox Sports North is an American regional sports network owned by The Walt Disney Company, and operates as a Fox Sports Networks affiliate. The channel broadcasts coverage of sporting events involving teams located in the Upper Midwest region, with a focus on professional and collegiate sports teams based in Minnesota.

The network maintains production studios and offices located in downtown Minneapolis, which are shared with production and office operations of Fox Sports Wisconsin, which formerly served as a subfeed of Fox Sports North until it was spun off into a separate channel in 2006.

Fox Sports North maintains two separate feeds: a "metro" feed (which is broadcast to the Twin Cities and surrounding areas) and the "outstate" feed (which is seen elsewhere throughout Minnesota, as well as North and South Dakota, Iowa and extreme western Wisconsin).

Fox Sports North is available on cable providers throughout Minnesota, western Wisconsin, northern Iowa, Upper Michigan along the Wisconsin border and the eastern parts of North Dakota and South Dakota; the "outstate" feed of the channel is also available on satellite via DirecTV and Dish Network.

Fox Sports North
Fox Sports North 2012 logo
Launched1986
NetworkFox Sports Networks
Owned byThe Walt Disney Company
(sale pending to Sinclair Broadcast Group)[1]
Picture format720p (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Broadcast areaMinnesota
Wisconsin
Iowa
North Dakota
South Dakota
HeadquartersMinneapolis, Minnesota
Formerly calledWCCO II (1986–1989)
Midwest Sports Channel (1989–2001)
Fox Sports Net North (2001–2004)
FSN North (2004–2008)
Websitewww.foxsports.com/north
Availability
(some events may air on overflow feed Fox Sports North Plus due to event conflicts)
Satellite
DirecTV668 (SD/HD)
Dish Network436 (SD/HD)
Cable
Available on most cable systems in designated broadcast areaConsult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability
Streaming media
Fox Sports Gowww.foxsportsgo.com/
(U.S. cable internet subscribers only; requires login from participating providers to stream content; some events may not be available due to league rights restrictions)
Sling TVInternet Protocol television

History

Origins

The channel originated in 1986 as WCCO II, a local cable channel owned by Midwest Radio and Television, and created as a project by CBS affiliate WCCO-TV (channel 4, now an owned-and-operated station of the network) that was originally intended to complement to the over-the-air WCCO with its own slate of local and general entertainment programming. Over the course of the three years that followed, though, it gradually focused more on sports programming. It formally became a regional sports network in 1989, when it was relaunched as the Midwest Sports Channel. It was also the same year that the network would acquire rights to Twins broadcasts.[2]

MSC's main draws in its early days were games from the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota North Stars. The channel also served as an affiliate of SportsChannel America, filling much of its broadcast day with a mix of national programs and paid programming from the channel, and incorporated sports news tickers provided by the channel. MSC was largely considered a premium channel until the early 1990s, and did not even have full cable coverage in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area until it was added by Continental Cablevision's St. Paul system on its expanded basic cable lineup in 1994.

Ownership changes and affiliation with FSN

In 1992, CBS acquired the Midwest Sports Channel, through its purchase of WCCO-TV and WCCO radio. The following year in 1993, the channel lost the broadcast rights to the Minnesota North Stars (which it had been airing since 1989), as a result of the team's relocation to Dallas. MSC expanded its lineup of professional sports events in 1995, after it landed a television contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves to hold the regional cable rights to the team's games. By this time, the channel became an affiliate of the Prime Network.

The following year, the Wisconsin Sports Network (a gametime-only network broadcasting Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks games), which had been owned by Time Warner Cable's Milwaukee franchise and Group W (whose corporate parent, Westinghouse, had just merged with CBS), was folded into MSC, giving the network a broader reach throughout the Midwest, in addition to the rights to the Brewers and Bucks contracts, and a sizeable stable of local outdoor programs. In 1997, the Midwest Sports Channel became an affiliate of the recently created Fox Sports Net.

Shortly after completing its merger with CBS, on June 10, 2000, Viacom announced that it would sell the Midwest Sports Channel and Baltimore-based regional sports network Home Team Sports.[3] On July 11, 2000, Comcast acquired the Midwest Sports Channel from CBS. News Corporation, which was a minority owner in the network and wanted to acquire the channel outright, attempted to block the deal, filing a lawsuit on July 21 to stop the sale of MSC and Home Team Sports.[4][5] On September 7, 2000, as part of a settlement between the two companies, Comcast traded its equity interest in Midwest Sports Channel to News Corporation in exchange for exclusive ownership of Home Team Sports (which subsequently joined Comcast SportsNet as Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic).[6] Through its existing content agreement with the channel, WCCO continued to broadcast a replay of its 10:00 p.m. newscast daily at 4:30 a.m. until the sale to Fox was finalized.

In 2000, MSC acquired the television rights to the Minnesota Wild, an NHL expansion team which began play that year; the deal was struck by Fox in May shortly before the lawsuit against Comcast was filed as part of its plans to start a Minnesota-based regional sports network.[7] With the acquisition of the Wild broadcasts, MSC adopted FSN-branded graphics, with announcers frequently using the phrase "...live on MSC, Fox Sports Net style" during its game broadcasts.

This culminated in the channel's official rebranding as Fox Sports Net North in April 2001, coinciding with the start of that year's Minnesota Twins season and the opening of Miller Park as the home stadium of the Milwaukee Brewers; the new branding was heavily promoted on-air, on billboards and on bus advertisements. One side effect to the rebranding were resulting reductions to the network's budget; Fox also let the contracts to some events expire, forcing the network to depend more on programming from FSN's national schedule (such as the National Sports Report and You Gotta See This!).

In October 2003, Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad attempted to launch a competing regional sports network, to be named Victory Sports One, which would broadcast all Twins games as well as local college and high school sport events. The channel was also expected to carry a number of locally produced sports shows, the centerpiece of which would be Kent Hrbek Outdoors. Victory Sports One launched in November 2003, however the effort folded in May 2004 after six months due to financial and cable carriage issues; after VS1 ceased operations, Fox Sports Net North absorbed most of the channel's programming including the television rights to the Twins. As a result, Fox Sports Net launched a new "local fans first" initiative, launching the daily regional news program Minnesota Sports Report and adding regular broadcasts of high school sport events.

In April 2006, still lacking a local news program (the now-defunct Minnesota Sports Report originated from Fox Sports Net's studios in Los Angeles' Westwood district), FSN North launched FSN Live, a first-of-its-kind program serving as both a sports news show, and a pre-game and post-game analysis program for the channel's game broadcasts. FSN Live is usually broadcast live and on-location from sports events televised by the channel, though it occasionally originates from the FSN North studios in Minneapolis.

On April 4, 2007, FSN North spun off its Wisconsin subfeed into FSN Wisconsin (now Fox Sports Wisconsin), a separate channel carrying Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks games as well as other events sourced from its former parent channel. In 2009, FSN North rebranded as Fox Sports North as part of a network-wide rebranding of the Fox Sports regional networks.

On December 14, 2017, as part of a merger between both companies, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to acquire all 22 regional Fox Sports networks from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Sports North. However, on June 27, 2018, the Justice Department ordered their divestment under antitrust grounds, citing Disney's ownership of ESPN. On May 3, 2019, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios (through their joint venture, Diamond Holdings) bought Fox Sports Networks from The Walt Disney Company for $10.6 billion. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.[8] The deal will also place Fox Sports North in common ownership with neighboring Sinclair station WUCW in Minneapolis.

Programming

Fox Sports North holds the exclusive regional cable television rights to Major League Baseball from the Minnesota Twins (having aired the team's games since 1989, and exclusive rights since 2011),[9] NBA games from the Minnesota Timberwolves (since 1995), NHL games from the Minnesota Wild (since 2000), and Major League Soccer games from Minnesota United FC (beginning in 2018). They also air WNBA games from the Minnesota Lynx as well. The channel also broadcasts NCAA Division I collegiate sporting events from the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, as well as college hockey games from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference schools the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs and the St. Cloud State Huskies.

Fox Sports North also distributes some of its programming to Fox Sports Wisconsin, including a reduced schedule of Minnesota Wild games, most NCHC hockey games and competitions sanctioned by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA). Due to blackout restrictions imposed by Major League Baseball and the NBA, Fox Sports North is not permitted to broadcast Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks games televised by Fox Sports Wisconsin.

On-air staff

Current

Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Twins

  • Dick Bremer – play-by-play announcer
  • Bert Blyleven – analyst
  • Jack Morris – analyst
  • Justin Morneau — analyst
  • LaTroy Hawkins — analyst
  • Roy Smalley – pre-game/postgame analyst
  • Marney Gellner - on-field reporter
  • Audra Martin - on-field reporter

Minnesota Wild

University of Minnesota Hockey

  • Doug McLeod - play-by-play announcer
  • Katie Emmer - rinkside analyst

Minnesota Lynx

  • Marney Gellner - Play-by-Play announcer
  • Lea B Olson - analyst

Minnesota United FC

Other

  • Ann Carroll – host/reporter
  • Doug Woog – Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey specialist (desk analyst)

Former

References

  1. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (June 27, 2018). "Justice Department Approves Disney's Acquisition of 21st Century Fox With Divestiture of Regional Sports Networks". Variety. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  2. ^ Shea, Stuart (2015). Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present. Phoenix, AZ: Society for American Baseball Research, Inc. pp. 151–152. ISBN 978-1-933599-40-3. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  3. ^ Judd Zulgad (May 12, 2000). "BROADCAST SPORTS; Local teams could be interested in buying MSC.(SPORTS)". Star Tribune. The Star Tribune Company. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  4. ^ Judd Zulgad (July 12, 2000). "Comcast agrees to buy MSC; Announced deal appears to be a setback for Fox Sports Net.(SPORTS)". Star Tribune. The Star Tribune Company. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  5. ^ Linda Moss; R. Thomas Umstead (July 24, 2000). "Fox Sports Net Suing to Block HTS Sell-Off.(Home Team Sports)(Brief Article)". Multichannel News. Cathers Business Information. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  6. ^ Judd Zulgad (September 8, 2000). "BROADCAST SPORTS; Fox Sports' agreement to acquire MSC now final.(SPORTS)". Star Tribune. The Star Tribune Company. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  7. ^ Judd Zulgad (July 28, 2000). "BROADCAST SPORTS; Fox Sports Net plans regional network in state.(SPORTS)". Star Tribune. The Star Tribune Company. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  8. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. "Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner". Variety. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  9. ^ "FS-North, Twins announce TV schedule". Fox Sports North. February 16, 2011.

External links

Anthony LaPanta

Anthony LaPanta is a sports personality with Fox Sports North.

Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven (born Rik Aalbert Blijleven, April 6, 1951) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1970 to 1992 and was best known for his curveball. Blyleven was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. Currently, he is the color commentator for the Minnesota Twins on Fox Sports North.

Dick Bremer

Richard James Bremer (born March 1, 1956) is a sports broadcaster for Fox Sports North. He has been the lead television announcer for the Minnesota Twins since 1983. He has also called Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball and Minnesota Golden Gophers football and hockey. He previously called Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball and Minnesota North Stars games during his tenure. He partners up with, for home games, Bert Blyleven, and for road games, works with Jack Morris, Roy Smalley III, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, or LaTroy Hawkins for the Minnesota Twins television broadcasts.

Fox College Sports

Fox College Sports is a group of three United States digital cable networks, FCS Atlantic, FCS Central, and FCS Pacific owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, that specialize primarily in showing collegiate programming, live events, coaches shows & various DI, DII, & DIII content surrounding college athletics. The channels show a wide array of all collegiate sports licensed by the NCAA as well as club sports. FCS also produces a number of exclusive original programs.

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 sold 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).

Fox Sports Wisconsin

Fox Sports Wisconsin is an American regional sports network that is owned by The Walt Disney Company, and operates as an affiliate of Fox Sports Networks. Operating as the "Wisconsin" sub-feed of Fox Sports North until 2007, the channel broadcasts regional coverage of sports events throughout the state of Wisconsin, with a focus on professional sports teams based in Milwaukee. It primarily operates from a studio/office facility in downtown Milwaukee, with secondary offices and production studio/office hub based in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Fox Sports Wisconsin is available on cable providers throughout Wisconsin, extreme eastern Minnesota, the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northwestern Illinois, and Iowa; it is also available nationwide on satellite via DirecTV.

Fox Sports Wisconsin broadcasts 2,600 hours of locally produced programming per year and reaches more than 1.7 million homes.

Hockey Day Minnesota

Hockey Day Minnesota is a day in Minnesota run in cooperation with the Minnesota Wild and Fox Sports North that features boys Minnesota High School hockey games, a Minnesota College Hockey game, and a Minnesota Wild NHL game. Currently the girls High School games have only been broadcast as a replay.

Jenny Taft

Jenny Taft (born September 5, 1987) is an American sports television personality, serving as the moderator on Fox Sports 1's Skip and Shannon: Undisputed. Taft additionally works as a lead college football sideline reporter on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) broadcasts. Her broadcasting career began with the Fox Sports North (FSN) regional affiliate.

List of Minnesota Twins broadcasters

The Minnesota Twins baseball team have had many broadcasters in their history in Minnesota. Here is a list of the people who have been a part of bringing the Twins to the people of Minnesota.

List of current Women's National Basketball Association broadcasters

The following is a list of current (entering the 2018 WNBA season) Women's National Basketball Association broadcasters for each individual team. The announcers whom call the television broadcasts also call the WNBA League Pass Production broadcasts unless noted otherwise.

Midwest Radio and Television

Midwest Radio and Television was a broadcasting company based in the Upper Midwest United States.

Its history dates back to August 1952, when the original owners of WTCN-AM-FM-TV decided to sell the stations. While the radio stations went to a separate owner, WTCN-TV was sold to the owners of WCCO Radio (which CBS held a minority ownership stake in), and became WCCO-TV. The company expanded over the years, launching WCCO-FM (now KMNB) in the 1970s.

In the 1980s, Midwest Radio and Television bought ABC affiliate WFRV-TV in Green Bay and its satellite in Escanaba, Michigan, WJMN-TV (CBS did not initially take an ownership stake in either of those two stations at the time as they had good relations with then-CBS affiliate WBAY-TV). Midwest Radio and Television also bought KCMT in Alexandria, Minnesota and its satellite in Walker, Minnesota, KNMT. The stations' calls became KCCO and KCCW respectively, and the stations became satellites of WCCO-TV.

In 1992, the company merged with CBS, and WFRV/WJMN as well as WCCO became CBS owned-and-operated stations. Today, only the Minneapolis stations are retained by CBS Corporation (WFRV/WJMN was sold to Liberty Media in 2007, then to Nexstar Broadcasting Group in 2011).

Midwest also owned the Midwest Sports Channel, which was originally associated with WCCO-TV. MSC became a CBS owned and operated network following its acquisition of WCCO. In 1999, shortly after CBS was acquired by Viacom, MSC was sold to Fox Sports Net, eventually becoming the current day Fox Sports North, along with later sister network Fox Sports Wisconsin.

Midwest Radio and Television was not associated with Midwest Television, owners of KFMB, KFMB-FM, and KFMB-TV in San Diego, California, nor Midwest Communications, which also has broadcasting interests in Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, North Dakota and Tennessee.

Minnesota United FC

Minnesota United FC is an American professional soccer club based in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area that plays in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer. The club began play in 2017 as the league's 22nd club, and replaced the North American Soccer League (NASL) franchise of the same name.

The club played its home games at TCF Bank Stadium, on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, for its first two seasons in MLS play. The club began playing in Saint Paul (becoming the city's fourth professional sports team, joining the Minnesota Wild, the St. Paul Saints, and Minnesota Whitecaps), at Allianz Field in the Midway neighborhood starting in the spring of 2019. Minnesota United FC's ownership is led by Bill McGuire, former CEO of UnitedHealth Group, and includes other Minnesota sports owners: the Pohlad family, owners of the Twins; Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor; former Wild investor Glen Nelson, and his daughter Wendy Carlson Nelson of the Carlson hospitality company.

Quincy Lewis

Quincy Lavell Lewis (born June 26, 1977) is an American former professional basketball player who last played with the pro club Iurbentia Bilbao Basket in Spain. He currently works as an analyst for Fox Sports North, covering the Minnesota Timberwolves, one of Lewis's former NBA teams.

Sanford Pentagon

The Sanford Pentagon (colloquially known as The Pentagon) is an indoor arena located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Pentagon opened in September 2013 and has a seating capacity of 3,250 spectators. It hosts the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA G League. The facility is known for hosting a wide range of sporting events including: regional youth basketball tournaments, NCAA Division I basketball games, NCAA Division II basketball games and tournaments, Mixed martial arts events, and occasional concerts.

Telly Hughes

Telly Hughes is an American television sports personality formerly with Fox Sports Wisconsin and Fox Sports North.

This Town (O.A.R. song)

"This Town" is a song by American rock band O.A.R.. It was released as a single from their 2009 album All Sides. It is the unofficial song of the 2010 Atlanta Braves, and all true kings played before and after every game on Fox Sports South, as well as the theme song for the all 2010 and 2011 Chicago Cubs broadcasts on the Chicago Cubs Radio Network. It was also used as a theme song of Fox Sports' NASCAR coverage.

Fox Sports North also uses this song after the 8th inning of every Minnesota Twins game accompanying a montage of scoring plays and key outs from the game.

The NCAA Men's College World Series used this song to accompany clips from games played at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska.

Fox Sports Houston uses this song in commercials for the Houston Astros.

Daniel Murphy (baseball) of the New York Mets uses this song as his walk up music for his second at-bat during home games.

Tom Chorske

Thomas Patrick Chorske (born September 18, 1966) is an American retired professional ice hockey player. A forward, he played for eleven seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). In September, 2006, he was named color commentator for New Jersey Devils radio broadcasts, a position he only held for one season before resigning. He was replaced with former team color commentator Sherry Ross (who called games from 1992–1995). Chorske returned to Minnesota and now works in business and is hockey analyst for Fox Sports North covering The NHL Minnesota Wild and University of Minnesota Golden Gopher NCAA hockey games.

Tom Hanneman

Tom Hanneman is the former play-by-play television announcer for the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and has been with the franchise since its inception in 1989. Prior to that, Hanneman was a sports and general assignment reporter for CBS affiliate WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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