TFN, The Football Network was founded in August 1996 by Jantonio Turner, when he wanted to find more football highlights and he discovered that no other all-football channel existed. He was first mentored by Sheldon Altfeld who had launched his own channel and who by then was giving seminars to entrepreneurs who wished to begin their own networks.
In 1998, Jantonio hired investment banker Stan Medley to take The Football Network public. This was achieved in October on 1998 when The Football Network began trading on the OTC Pink Sheets under the stock symbol TFNK to help it attract the funding necessary to launch. Over the next few years the company laid the groundwork for the establishment of a channel from extensive qualitative and quantitative market research, to hiring Newberger Greenberg and Associates, the media consulting firm who did the business plans for The Golf Channel.
TFN would go on to create a national radio show distributed by Sportsbyline USA, other football programming distributed by local television stations, and a conditional carriage agreement with the NCTC, representing 8.5 million cable subscribers in the nation's smaller cable systems.
After the groundwork was complete, the company's key shareholders thought it best to turn the company over to sports executive Jerry Solomon. Turner's role was reduced to the figurehead of founder. Solomon negotiated a deal with the State of Louisiana to move the channel's headquarters to Baton Rouge, a conditional carriage agreement with Time Warner, and programming for SpikeTV and USA Network. Unfortunately, the ultimate success of the company would be judged by the full-time launch of the channel and that required funding in the neighborhood of $100 million. In the unknown financial market right before the eventual collapse of the global financial market, TFN found sources of such funding lessening and even had negotiations which would never come to fruition.
Headquarters and "soft launch"
The network's headquarters was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the network had a "soft launch" in August 2003 in a few markets even without the major funding secured. In its first year, TFN covered college games on the Division I-AA and lower levels, plus a few high school games.
Mounting costs and very low distribution, combined with the NFL launching their network, Fox Sports Net launching their College Sports suite, and the higher profile launch of CSTV, made lasting on the air difficult, and the network stopped broadcasting in the spring of 2004.
Turner was given back control of the company in 2006 and has been taking the steps necessary to effect a turnaround, and now having simplified the business strategy to what TFN was able to do before, and with the industry's insatiable need for programming and the American public's insatiable desire for football, TFN announced on August 4, 2009 the reorganization revitalization plan for TFNK.
- Jon Chelesnik
- Paul Crane
- D'Marco Farr
- Jerry Glanville
- Kathleen Murphy
- Jack Ripplemeyer
- Danny Sheridan
- Pat Summerall