Fox Sports Florida
|Fox Sports Florida|
|Launched||July 1, 1987 (as SportsChannel Florida)|
|Network||Fox Sports Networks|
|Owned by||News Corporation|
Nationwide via satellite
|Formerly called||SportsChannel Florida (1987-2000)
Fox Sports Net Florida (2000-2004)
FSN Florida (2004-2008)
|Sister channel(s)||Sun Sports
Fox Sports 1
|DirecTV||654 Fox Sports Florida (SD/HD)
655 Fox Sports Florida Plus (SD)
655-1 Fox Sports Florida Plus HD
|Dish Network||423 (SD)
|Available on select cable systems||Check local listings for channels|
Fox Sports Florida, formerly FSN Florida, Fox Sports Net Florida, and SportsChannel Florida, is a regional sports network that shows local sports coverage in the state of Florida. It is owned by News Corp along with Sun Sports and is a member of Fox Sports Networks.
Fox Sports Florida was launched on July 1, 1987, as SportsChannel Florida by Rainbow Media (owned by Cablevision), becoming the fourth SportsChannel America network. The network originally featured coverage of local college teams. It had contracts to show select games from Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, and Jacksonville.
Sarting with the 1988–89 season, SportsChannel Florida televised Miami Heat games. In 1992, SportsChannel lost the contract to then rival Sunshine Network. Heat games would return years later when both networks came under the ownership of Fox.
In 1996, Wayne Huizenga purchased a 70% controlling interest in SportsChannel Florida from Rainbow Media (by that time a joint venture between Cablevision and NBC). That led to SportsChannel gaining rights to Huizenga's Florida Panthers for the 1996–97 season. Huizenga's Florida Marlins would also leave the Sunshine Network in favor of SportsChannel in 1997.
In 1998, SportsChannel Florida gained rights to MLB expansion team Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Unlike the rest of SportsChannel America, Huizenga's control of SportsChannel Florida prevented it from joining Fox Sports Net in early 1998. Cablevision finally bought back Huizenga's share of the network in 2000. The network was relaunched as Fox Sports Net Florida on March 1, 2000, making it the last SportsChannel Network to do so.
In a 2005 deal involving several other shared assets of Fox and Cablevision (see Fox Sports Networks), Fox gained full ownership of FSN Florida.
The channel has the rights to the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB), Miami Marlins (MLB), Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), Florida Panthers (NHL), Miami Heat and Orlando Magic (NBA) plus local coverage of the following college sports conferences: Big East, Atlantic Sun, Conference USA, and Atlantic Coast. Parts of southern Alabama and Georgia receive the channel, in addition to all of Florida.
For the first 21 years of its existence, the channel was not available to most cable customers in the Orlando area due to the largest cable system in central Florida, Bright House Networks, refusing to air the channel. The conflict began when the cable outlet was called Cablevision (not affiliated with the modern Cablevision), and continued through acquisition by Time Warner Cable and, later, Bright House. This issue did not change when Sun Sports, which is carried by Bright House Networks, was acquired by Fox Sports. Although the Orlando Magic moved half their schedule from WRBW to FS Florida in 2007, this still did not change the situation.
On January 1, 2009, the Bright House Networks affiliate in Orlando finally began airing Fox Sports Florida as part of the regular Digital Cable package on channel 50.
It was also not available to Comcast cable subscribers in the Sarasota and Tallahassee areas until it was added in 2006. While it is available to Jacksonville subscribers, Magic games are not shown on its feed either. Comcast in Lake County also does not carry the channel.
Had FSN's parent company, News Corporation, and Bright House not come to a retransmission agreement on January 1, 2010, both Fox Sports Florida and Sun Sports would have been dropped from the Bright House lineup.
Through Sun Sports, South Florida can view Miami Heat basketball, as Central and Northern Florida can view Orlando Magic basketball. Ultimately however, Sun Sports and FS Florida are sister channels, and games can air on either channel depending on who is playing at what time (particularly with the Marlins and Rays, since both teams routinely play at the same time). The two channels do not focus on one region of Florida, but simply distribute games in accordance with each team's territorial rights so that the Lightning, Heat, Marlins, Rays, Magic, and Florida Panthers are all cable-exclusive.
Fox Sports Florida HD
- Rich Waltz - Miami Marlins Play-by-Play
- Tommy Hutton - Miami Marlins Analyst
- Craig Minervini - Miami Marlins & Florida Panthers Pre-Game and In-Game Reporter
- Dewayne Staats - Tampa Bay Rays Play-by-Play
- Todd Kalas - Tampa Bay Rays Pre-Game and In-Game Reporter
- Brian Anderson - Tampa Bay Rays Analyst
- Steve Goldstein — Florida Panthers Play-by-Play
- Bill Lindsay - Florida Panthers Analyst
- Eric Reid - Miami Heat Play-by-Play
- Tony Fiorentino - Miami Heat Analyst
- David Steele - Orlando Magic Play-by-Play
- Matt Guokas - Orlando Magic Analyst
- Raul Striker, Jr. - Miami Marlins Play-by-Play (SAP)
- Cookie Rojas - Miami Marlins Analyst (SAP)
- Jill Arrington - Host
- FSN Florida/Sun Sports Personality Biography Page[dead link]
- Kevin Kennedy - Tampa Bay Rays analyst (2009-2010)
- Joe Magrane - Tampa Bay Rays analyst (1998-2009) Now with MLB Network
- Dave Wirth - USF Bulls Basketball Play-by-Play and Tampa Bay Rays show host (1991-2002)