|Network||NBC Sports Group|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Broadcast area||Regional through several affiliates|
|Sister channel(s)||NBC Sports
Comcast SportsNet (CSN), also known as the NBC Sports Regional Networks or Comcast Sports Group, is a chain of regional sports networks that are owned by cable television provider Comcast, and operated through the NBC Sports Group unit of NBCUniversal.
As part of the chain, Comcast operates eight CSN-branded sports networks, along with stakes in SportsNet New York (alongside Time Warner Cable and the New York Mets), and Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (in a joint venture with Charter Communications).
The first Comcast SportsNet network was formed in Philadelphia, after Comcast acquired a majority stake in Spectacor, the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers. Comcast used their ownership in the teams to take over their broadcast rights and move them to a new basic cable channel known as Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. The launch of the new network effectively shuttered the two local premium services that had formerly carried their games: PRISM – which carried movies in addition to sports events, and the all-sports network SportsChannel Philadelphia.
CSN began to expand with a series of acquisitions and new establishments: in 2000, Comcast acquired a majority stake in Baltimore-area network Home Team Sports from Viacom, and relaunched it as Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic the following year. In June 2007, Comcast purchased a controlling interest in FSN Bay Area, and rebranded it as Comcast SportsNet Bay Area on March 31, 2008. The newest CSN affiliate, Comcast SportsNet Houston, launched in October 2012 as part of a new joint venture between the Houston Astros and Rockets – who vacated Fox Sports Houston.
As the result of the acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast in February 2011, the operations of CSN, along with sister national sports channels Versus and Golf Channel, were assumed by the NBC Sports division. Plans were made to eventually incorporate NBC-related branding into CSN, although plans to drop the Comcast SportsNet name entirely in favor of NBC Sports were shelved in favor of keeping the CSN brand. In late 2012, the CSN networks began adopting the current NBC Sports graphics design, and the CSN logo was updated to incorporate the NBC peacock.
In April 2012, NBC Owned Television Stations began to sell national advertising on behalf of several CSN networks (New England, Mid-Atlantic, Northwest and Philadelphia). For "unwired sales", the Group will be continue to be represented by Home Team Sports. The arrangement is an extension of one it had established with New England Cable News in 2011.
In markets that did not have an affiliate, CSN also carried the national programming of competing regional sports network chain FSN (which included various college sports and UEFA Champions League soccer). However, CSN quietly dropped all FSN programming on August 1, 2012, claiming that it could no longer reach an agreement with Fox. In the Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C./Baltimore markets, FSN programming airs on local broadcast stations.
- Comcast SportsNet Bay Area: Comcast acquired a majority share from Cablevision in April 2007. Comcast owns 45%, the Giants own 25%, and Fox owns 25%. While previously branded as an FSN affiliate, it switched to the Comcast SportsNet branding in March 2008.
- Comcast SportsNet California: It was created in conjunction with Maloof Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Kings and Monarchs, after the company did not renew their previous contract with FSN Bay Area. Originally launching as CSN West, the channel was renamed CSN California on September 4, 2008 to serve as a compliment to CSN Bay Area.
- Comcast SportsNet Chicago: It was created in conjunction with the Bulls, Blackhawks, White Sox, and Cubs (who own 20% each) in order to effectively replace FSN Chicago by giving them better editorial control over their broadcasts.
- Comcast SportsNet Houston: It only reaches 40% of Houston market.
- Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic: It carried the Baltimore Orioles through 2006. Online coverage is split into Comcast SportsNet Baltimore and Comcast SportsNet Washington.
- Comcast SportsNet New England: Comcast acquired a majority share from Cablevision in April 2007. Renamed CSN New England in October 2007. It does not air ACC programming, as rights to ACC games are sold regionally within its area.
- Comcast SportsNet Northwest: It was created in conjunction with the Trail Blazers after the team was unable to come to an agreement to stay on FSN Northwest (now Root Sports Northwest). It is currently available mostly to Comcast customers. The channel is not carried by Dish Network nor DirecTV. Canby Telcom has accused Comcast of being inflexible in its negotiations. The Oregonian newspaper reported in 2007 that CSN Northwest was seeking $2 per month per subscriber, more than what was being paid to the well-established FSN Northwest.
- Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia : It is the flagship of the Comcast regional sports networks. Originally a joint venture between Comcast, the Phillies, and Spectacor (owner of the Flyers and 76ers), Comcast bought a controlling interest in Spectacor in 1996. Due to its re-use of the infrastructure from PRISM (which does not use any satellite uplinks to distribute programming to providers), it was legally exempt from requirements to offer its programming to satellite broadcasters. Despite the FCC regulation closing the terrestrial loophole in 2010, CSN Philadelphia is still exclusive to Comcast and Verizon FiOS. The approval of Comcast's majority shareholder purchase of NBCUniversal by the FCC in 2011 contained provisions requiring Comcast to make regional sports programming available to competing satellite providers. Comcast blacked out NBC-branded nationally televised Round 1 playoff games between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins for Philadelphia area DirecTV and Dish Network subscribers (in lieu of the game being broadcast on the [unavailable] CSN Philadelphia) during the 2012 NHL Playoffs. As of February 2013, CSN Philadelphia remains unavailable to DirecTV or Dish Network subscribers.
- SportsNet New York: It is owned jointly by the New York Mets, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast SportsNet.
- Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast: It was launched in a joint venture with Charter Communications and is only available over terrestrial cable. CSS carries primarily collegiate and high school sports in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Although not branded as Comcast SportsNet, CSS is treated as a sister network to the CSN networks.
- Comcast Network: It is based in the Philadelphia and Baltimore-Washington metropolitan areas. The network is aired on most Comcast cable systems along the East Coast Philadelphia to Richmond, Virginia, and is also carried on other cable operators. The channels served as primarily local news/information channels, but carry some regional sports programming, including Eastern League baseball, CAA football, and some Phillies games within the Phillies' designated market. Originally expanded into the Boston market, the New England operations ceased in 2009.
- Comcast Sports Southwest: It closed in fall 2012 when CSN Houston was launched. The network was home to the Houston Cougars and Rice Owls and also covered Houston-area high school sports.
- MountainWest Sports Network It was launched on September 1, 2006 as a joint-venture of the Mountain West Conference (MWC), CBS Sports (through the former CSTV) and Comcast. The network was shut down on June 1, 2012 due to the Mountain West Conference's ongoing realignment.
Comcast also co-owns (with Fox Entertainment Group) the Orlando, Florida regional sports network Sun Sports (Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida are operated and programmed together by Fox, the latter channel being entirely Fox-owned). In April 2007, Comcast bought 60 percent of FSN Bay Area and 50 percent of FSN New England from Rainbow Media, then a subsidiary of Cablevision (now the independent company AMC Networks) who had partnered with Fox to create FSN. As a result, Comcast took over the network and realigned it with CSN instead. Also, with Comcast having assumed full management control, FSN Bay Area was renamed CSN Bay Area on March 31, 2008 (though Fox still owns a 25% stake in the network) and is being run alongside the already-launched CSN West.
New England Cable News, a regional news channel owned by Comcast, was operated as a part of Comcast Sports Group and CSN prior to Comcast's purchase of NBC Universal. In July 2013, NECN was moved into NBC Owned Television Stations (the division responsible for NBC and Telemundo's owned-and-operated stations) as part of a corporate re-organization.
Comcast also owned a local sports network in Detroit and available across Michigan and central Indiana, Comcast Local (CL). CL carried collegiate and high school sports from their area, as well as minor league sports throughout its broadcast area. CL ceased operations at the end of February 2008 as every major professional or college team in the region had its programming tied to FSN Detroit and/or the Big Ten Network.
Comcast SportsNet HD
Comcast SportsNet HD is a high definition simulcast of select programs from Comcast SportsNet including live sports and series. Each regional channel has its own separate HD feed (many also have an alternate HD feed as well) and decides what will be broadcast in HD. Comcast SportsNet HD is not available in the Seattle area.
References and footnotes
- "Local Tv Sports Fans To See A Change, In Cost Sportschannel And Prism Are Going, Going. . . . A New Basic Cable Channel Takes Over.". The Inquirer. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- Guidera, Mark. "Comcast to buy HTS sports channel," The Baltimore Sun, Wednesday, July 12, 2000.
- Henry, Kristine. "Nevins leaves PR post for presidency of HTS," The Baltimore Sun, Saturday, March 3, 2001.
- "HTS now Comcast SportsNet, adding sports news coverage," The Baltimore Sun, Wednesday, April 4, 2001.
- FitzGerald, Tom (August 20, 2010). "Same channel, but new name for local telecasts / Comcast SportsNet BA replaces FSNBA". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- Comcast SportsNet Houston plans October launch Houston Chronicle March 7, 2012 (retrieved April 6, 2012)
- Goetzl, David (May 4, 2011). "NBC Sports Brand Going Local". MediaPost Publications. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
- Friedman, Wayne (May 9, 2011). "NBC Steps Up Branding For Comcast Sports Nets". MediaPost Publications. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- Ourand, John. "SBJ: Exit Versus, enter the NBC Sports Network". The Sporting News. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- Rubino, Lindsay (April 16, 2012). "NBC Owned Stations, Comcast Sports Group Strike Ad Sales Partnership". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "NBC Sports Group Drops FSN Programming From Comcast RSNs". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- TV-radio notebook: CSN Houston lands C-USA football games Houston Chronicle July 5, 2012 (retrieved April 14, 2013)
- http://www.telegram.com/article/20070920/COLUMN08/709200699/1009/SPORTS September 20, 2007 news articles from Worcester Telegram & Gazette Bill Doyle (Must scroll down about half a page for citation)
- Comcast Sportsnet and NFL Network (Canby Telcom)[dead link]
- "Comcast's sports channels fuel bidding war". The Oregonian. May 29, 2007.
- Comcast adds more Houston-area sports programming
- Worcester Telegram & Gazette Bill Doyle
- Reed, Keith (June 6, 2007). "Comcast plans to beef up Fox Sports New England". The Boston Globe.
- "NBC's Owned Stations Reorganize". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- NBC Sports Website
- NBC Sports Regional Networks Website
- CSN Bay Area
- CSN California
- CSN Chicago
- CSN New England
- CSN Northwest
- CSN Philadelphia
- CSN Washington
- CSS (Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast)
- Comcast Network (Chicago)
- Comcast Network Philadelphia
- SportsNet New York