Pro-Am Sports System
|Pro-Am Sports System|
|Closed||November 1, 1997|
|Owned by||William Wischman (1982-1984)
Tom Monaghan (1984-1992)
Post-Newsweek Stations (1992-1997)
|Headquarters||Troy, Michigan (1982-1984)
Ann Arbor, Michigan (1984-1992)
Detroit, Michigan (1992-1997)
|Replaced by||Fox Sports Detroit (unconnected)|
The Pro-Am Sports System, better known as PASS Sports or just PASS, was a regional sports network in Detroit, Michigan that lasted from 1984-1997. It mainly covered professional Detroit sports and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). It was started by Tom Monaghan and later sold to Post-Newsweek Stations, and was also an affiliate of Prime Network.
PASS was launched by William Wischman in 1982, who at the time also owned WXON. It was one of the first regional sports networks in the country. When the network launched, some Tigers and Detroit Pistons games were put on the schedule, and in 1985, Detroit Red Wings games were added, with the remainder of those games being shown on WKBD. PASS was sold to Tom Monaghan in 1984 and moved to the Domino's World Headquarters.
In 1992, Monaghan sold the Tigers to Mike Ilitch and sold PASS to Post-Newsweek Stations. PASS merged with WDIV-TV, Detroit's NBC affiliate, which is still owned by Post-Newsweek. Following the purchase, PASS moved its studios and offices from Ann Arbor, Michigan to WDIV-TV's studios in Detroit. Post-Newsweek also moved the channel to basic cable and expanded it to 24 hours a day; under Monaghan's ownership it had been a premium channel that only aired in the evening and on weekends.
Decline of the network
PASS had been an early affiliate of the Prime Network group of regional sports networks. However, in 1996, Liberty Media, owner of Prime Network and most of its affiliates, sold a half-interest to News Corporation. News Corporation immediately took operating control of Prime Network and renamed it Fox Sports Net. It also announced plans to launch its own regional sports network for Michigan, Fox Sports Detroit, as a competitor to PASS. After a surprise bid in 1996 to pick up the rights to the Pistons, Fox began planning to launch its network two years later.
In 1997, Fox Sports Detroit won the rights to Red Wings games (beginning with the 1997–98 season) and Tigers games (beginning in 1998), and decided to accelerate their launch date by bidding with PASS. However, Post-Newsweek concluded that its coverage area was not big enough to support two regional sports networks. Hence, it sold the remaining year (1998) of its Tigers and Pistons contracts and the contract of sportscaster John Keating to Fox Sports Detroit and folded PASS.
PASS signed off the air at midnight on October 31, 1997, its last show being "Trackside at Ladbroke DRC", and the final commercial being a public service announcement for the "National Ski Hall of Fame" in Ishpeming, Michigan, before going to a slide of the PASS logo for the next couple hours.
Several PASS announcers and hosts moved to Fox Sports Detroit, and some remain there today.
- Marty Adler: Live on PASS
- Pat Caputo: Live 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 (1994–1996)
- John Keating: Live on Pass (1993–1996)
- Greg Kelser: Pistons Analyst (1993–1996)
- Fred McLeod: Pistons Play-by-Play (1984–1996)
- Jim Northrup: Tigers Analyst (1985–1994)
- Larry Osterman: Tigers and CCHA Hockey Play-by-Play (1984–1992)
- Jim Price: Tigers Analyst (1993–1996)
- Mickey Redmond: Red Wings Analyst (1985–1997)
- Jack Riggs: Horse Racing Play-by-Play and Trackside Host
- Dave Strader: Red Wings Play-by-Play, CCHA Play-by-Play (1985–1997)
- Kelly Tripucka: Pistons Analyst (1993–1996)
- Eli Zaret: Tigers Reporter
- Broadcast Giants Vie for Control of Regional Sports Markets New York Times September 1, 1997