Pro-Am Sports System

The Pro-Am Sports System (better known as PASS Sports or simply PASS) was an American regional sports network that operated from 1982 to 1997. It also served as an affiliate of the Prime Network from 1988 to 1996. Based in Detroit, Michigan, the channel broadcast regional coverage of sports events throughout Michigan, mainly covering professional, collegiate and high school sports in the Metro Detroit area and throughout Michigan.

Pro-Am Sports System
ClosedNovember 1, 1997
NetworkPrime Network
Owned byWilliam Wischman (1982–1984)
Tom Monaghan (1984–1992)
Post-Newsweek Stations (1992–1997)
Picture format480i (SDTV)
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaMichigan
Northwest Ohio
Nationwide (via satellite)
HeadquartersTroy, Michigan (1982–1984)
Ann Arbor, Michigan (1984–1992)
Detroit, Michigan (1992–1997)
Replaced byFox Sports Detroit
Sister channel(s)Broadcast:
WDIV-TV (1992–1997)


The network launched in 1982, as one of the first regional sports networks in the United States. Originally headquartered in Troy, PASS was owned by William Wischman, who at the time also owned independent station WXON (channel 20, now MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD). When the network (which operated as a premium service) launched, PASS initially included some Major League Baseball games involving the Detroit Tigers, NBA games featuring the Detroit Pistons, and hockey games from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. In 1984, Wischman sold the network to then-Tigers owner Tom Monaghan, who subsequently moved its operations into offices located in Ann Arbor at the headquarters of Domino's Pizza.

In 1985, Detroit Red Wings games were added to the network's sports programming slate, with the remainder of the team's games being shown on independent station WKBD (channel 50, now a CW owned-and-operated station). In 1988, PASS became an early charter affiliate of the Prime Network group of regional sports networks.

In 1992, Monaghan sold the Tigers to Mike Ilitch and sold PASS to Post-Newsweek Stations. PASS merged its operations with NBC affiliate WDIV-TV (channel 4), which is still owned by what is now Graham Media Group. Following the purchase, PASS moved its studios and offices from Ann Arbor to WDIV-TV's studios in Detroit. Post-Newsweek also changed it from an evening-only premium cable channel to a basic cable channel and expanded it to 24 hours a day..

In the fall of 1995, PASS expanded its coverage area, adding providers such as C-TEC and Cable Plus. By April 1996, the network had reached 25% (or 22,700) of all cable television households in Metro Detroit and 80% (or 174,000 households) in other parts of its primary coverage area through expanded basic tiers.[1][2]

Decline and shutdown

On October 31, 1995, Liberty Media, owner of the Prime Network and most of its affiliates, sold a 50% ownership interest in the group to News Corporation. That company would immediately assume operational control of Prime following the purchase's closure, with plans to launch its own slate of regional sports networks as an outgrowth of its fledgling Fox Sports division[3] later announcing on July 3, 1996, that the Prime networks would be rebranded as Fox Sports Net beginning that November.[4][5]

In 1997, Fox/Liberty Networks – a newly formed joint venture between News Corporation and Liberty – made a surprise bid for the local cable television rights to NHL games involving the Detroit Red Wings. News Corporation announced plans to launch its own regional sports network for Michigan to serve as a competitor to PASS. The new channel, later named Fox Sports Detroit, was originally targeted for a 1998 launch. As the respective broadcast rights to the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Tigers came up for renewal, Fox/Liberty made a joint bid with PASS for the contracts and was awarded the regional television rights to both teams on August 26, 1997.[6]

Post-Newsweek concluded that its coverage area was not large enough to support two regional sports networks. As a result, on August 30, 1997, it chose to sell the remainder of the Tigers and Pistons contracts for the 1998 season and the contract of sportscaster John Keating to Fox Sports Detroit.[7][8] Fox/Liberty Networks ultimately decided to accelerate the launch date of the new channel in time for the 1997–98 NHL season and 1998 Major League Baseball season, the respective seasons in which the Red Wings and Tigers contracts began. Post-Newsweek then announced that it would shut down PASS.[9] The last program to air on the network was Trackside at Ladbroke DRC. The Pro-Am Sports System ceased operations at 12:00 a.m. on November 1, 1997, following a public service announcement for the National Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, a slide of the PASS logo was shown for two hours after the network formally shut down. In addition to Keating (who still works for Fox Sports Detroit), several other announcers and hosts that have worked for PASS moved over to Fox Sports Detroit, some of whom remain with that network to this day.

On-air staff

Former on-air staff

  • Marty Adler – Live on PASS host
  • Pat CaputoLive on PASS host (1990–1992)
  • Bill Freehan – Tigers analyst (1984–1985)
  • Steve Garagiola – Live on PASS host (1993–1996)
  • Ernie Harwell – Tigers play-by-play announcer (1994–1996)
  • John KeatingLive on PASS host (1993–1996)
  • Greg Kelser – Pistons analyst (1993–1996)
  • Fred McLeod – Pistons play-by-play announcer (1984–1996)
  • Jim Northrup – Tigers analyst (1985–1994)
  • Larry Osterman – Tigers and CCHA Hockey play-by-play announcer (1984–1992)
  • Jim Price – Tigers analyst (1993–1996)
  • Mickey Redmond – Red Wings analyst (1985–1996)
  • Jack Riggs – horse racing play-by-play announcer and trackside host
  • Dave Strader – Red Wings play-by-play announcer, CCHA play-by-play announcer (1985–1996)
  • Kelly Tripucka – Pistons analyst (1993–1996)
  • Eli Zaret – Tigers reporter


  1. ^ Rich Brown (April 15, 1996). "Sports nets make move to basic". Broadcasting & Cable. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  2. ^ "The move for PASS". Broadcasting & Cable. Cathers Business Information. August 19, 1996. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  3. ^ "FOX AND LIBERTY OUTLINE PLANS FOR NEW CABLE VENTURE". Sports Business Journal. Advance Publications. November 1, 1995. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "FOX GIVES NEW NAME TO SPORTS ALLIANCE: FOX SPORTS NET". Sports Business Journal. Advance Publications. July 3, 1996. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  5. ^ "FOX SPORTS NET ANNOUNCES DEBUT FOR NOVEMBER 1". Sports Business Journal. Advance Publications. September 13, 1996. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "Fox Sports Inks Deal with PASS for Rights to Tigers/Pistons". Sports Business Daily. Advance Publications. August 27, 1997. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  7. ^ "Fox Sports buying Tigers, Pistons rights". Broadcasting & Cable. Cathers Business Information. September 1, 1997. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  8. ^ R. Thomas Umstead (September 1, 1997). "Fox Sports secures Detroit franchise". Multichannel News. Cathers Business Information. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  9. ^ "Broadcast Giants Vie for Control of Regional Sports Markets". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. September 1, 1997.
Fox Sports Detroit

Fox Sports Detroit is an American regional sports network owned by The Walt Disney Company that operates as a Fox Sports Networks affiliate. It provides coverage of local sports teams in the state of Michigan, primarily focusing on those in Metro Detroit. The network airs exclusive broadcasts of games involving the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and repeats of Detroit Lions preseason games, as well as some state college and high school sports.Fox Sports Detroit is available on cable television throughout Michigan, as well as in northeastern Indiana, northwest Ohio and some portions of northeastern Wisconsin and nationwide on satellite via DirecTV and Dish Network. The network's production facilities and offices are based in Southfield, Michigan, with master control operations based at the headquarters of Fox Sports Networks in Houston, Texas. The network also maintains dedicated remote sets in the concourses of Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena.

Regional sports network

In the United States and Canada, a regional sports network (RSN) is a cable television channel (many of which are also distributed on direct broadcast satellite services) that presents sports programming to a local market or geographical region.

Historically, some RSNs originated as premium channels; since the 1990s, however, they have commonly been distributed through the expanded basic-programming tiers of cable and IPTV services, packaged alongside other national basic cable networks, and local broadcast stations and public, educational, and government access channels. Satellite providers often require subscribers to purchase a higher programming tier or a specialized sports tier to receive local and out-of-market regional sports networks.

This Week in Baseball

This Week in Baseball (abbreviated as TWiB, pronounced phonetically) was an American syndicated television series which focused on Major League Baseball highlights. Broadcast weekly during baseball season (and in its second incarnation, prior to marquee MLB games and during rain-delays) the program featured highlights of recent games, interviews with players, and other regular features. The popularity of the program, best known for its original host, New York Yankees play-by-play commentator Mel Allen, also helped influence the creation of other sports highlight programs, including ESPN's SportsCenter.

After its original syndicated run from 1977 to 1998, and gaining a revival in 2000 (which moved to Fox as a lead-in to its Saturday MLB coverage), TWiB was discontinued at the end of the 2011 Major League Baseball season, replaced by the new program MLB Player Poll.

Metro Detroit and
Southeast Michigan
Defunct channels
Occasional coverage
Related television networks
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