|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2015)|
|Network||Fox Sports Networks|
|Owned by||Fox Entertainment Group
(21st Century Fox)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)
National (via satellite)
|Formerly called||Sunshine Network (1988–2004)|
Fox Sports Florida
(Some events may air on overflow feed Sun Sports Plus due to event conflicts)
Sun Sports Plus:
|Dish Network||422 (SD)
|Available on most Florida cable systems and some Alabama cable systems||Consult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability|
Sun Sports (sometimes referred to on-air as Fox's Sun Sports) is an American regional sports network that is owned by Fox Cable Networks, a unit of the Fox Entertainment Group division of 21st Century Fox, and operates as an affiliate of Fox Sports Networks. The channel broadcasts local coverage of professional, collegiate and high school sporting events in the state of Florida, with a focus on professional sports teams based in Miami, Tampa and Orlando. Sun Sports and sister regional sports network Fox Sports Florida are headquartered in Orlando, Florida.
The channel launched in 1988 as the Sunshine Network, originally serving an affiliate of Prime Sports Networks. In 1996, News Corporation, which formed a sports division for the Fox Broadcasting Company in 1994 with the acquisition of the television rights to the National Football Conference of the National Football League, entered into a joint venture with TCI's Liberty Media and rebranded that company's Prime Network affiliates under the "Fox Sports Net" banner.
Sunshine Network was the only Fox Sports Net owned-and-operated charter outlet that did rebrand under that name, when it and its sister Prime Network outlets became part of the new regional sports network group on November 1, 1996.
In 1997, Cablevision acquired an interest in Sunshine Network and the Fox Sports Net branded networks after News Corporation and Liberty Media purchased a 40% interest in the Charles Dolan-owned company's sports properties including the SportsChannel America networks (as well as Madison Square Garden and its NBA and NHL team tenants, the New York Knicks and New York Rangers) in a deal worth $850 million, forming the venture National Sports Partners to run the owned-and-operated regional networks.
Sunshine Network changed its name to Sun Sports in 2004, in order to reflect its sports-focused programming. Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida were spun off with the rest of the Fox Sports Networks and most of News Corporation's other U.S. entertainment properties into 21st Century Fox in July 2013.
Sun Sports holds the regional cable television rights to the NBA's Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. In addition, Sun Sports offers basketball, football, baseball and other sanctioned sporting events from University of Florida, Florida State University and the Southeastern Conference. Sun Sports has long maintained a partnership with the University of Florida and Florida State, producing all regular season football game telecasts for both universities and airing them statewide on the channel on a day-behind basis. The network also has the rights to the Florida High School Athletic Association's football and basketball state finals.
Sun Sports maintains separate feeds for individual regions of the state, with feeds for Miami (covering South Florida), Tampa (covering western Florida) and Orlando (covering northern and central Florida). The separation of broadcast zones for the channel is mostly due to the defined broadcast territories set by the National Basketball Association for the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, and by the National Hockey League for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Programming seen in each broadcasting zone is common in most areas, and includes a mix of programs supplied by Fox Sports Networks and some original programming exclusive to Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida.
Programming rights with Fox Sports Florida
Sun Sports shares the broadcast rights to the aforementioned professional sports teams with Fox Sports Florida. As the two regional networks are commonly owned, events from any team/conference in which Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida broadcasts are able to air on either channel depending on the start time of each team's respective games (particularly with the Marlins and Rays, since both teams routinely play at concurring start times).
The two channels do not focus on one region of Florida (although it was long rumored since the two came under common ownership that Sun Sports would carry only teams from the Orlando and Tampa Bay areas, while Fox Sports Florida would carry Miami-area teams), but simply distribute games in accordance with each team's territorial rights, with both cable channels maintaining joint exclusivity over regional broadcasts of Lightning, Heat, Marlins, Rays and the Magic, while Fox Sports Florida maintains exclusive regional rights to NHL games involving the Miami-based Florida Panthers.
In 2010, the Miami Marlins moved all of its Major League Baseball games to Fox Sports Florida, while the Tampa Bay Rays began carrying all their games on Sun Sports. Prior to 2009, some Rays games were available on broadcast television stations in the state.
Current on-air staff
Tampa Bay Rays
- Brian Anderson – analyst
- Todd Kalas – pre-game host and in-game reporter
- Dewayne Staats – play-by-play announcer
Tampa Bay Lightning
- Paul Kennedy – host and in-game reporter
- Rick Peckham – play-by-play announcer
- Bobby Taylor – analyst
- Tony Fiorentino – analyst
- Jason Jackson – post-game host and in-game reporter
- Eric Reid – play-by-play announcer
- Matt Guokas – analyst
- Paul Kennedy – host and in-game reporter
- David Steele – play-by-play announcer
- R. Thomas Umstead (July 8, 1996). "Liberty Sports regionals will become Fox Sports net". Multichannel News. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved April 9, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
- "FOX SPORTS NET DEBUTS ON NOV. 1". The Columbian (Columbian Publishing Company). Associated Press. September 13, 1996. Retrieved April 9, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
- "Fox putting together national Sports Net // Changes ahead for SportsChannel". Chicago Sun-Times (Sun-Times Media Group). June 24, 1997. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
- John M. Higgins (June 30, 1997). "National net keys regional deal. (Fox Sports, Liberty Media Corp. challenge ESPN with stake in SportsChannel)". Broadcasting & Cable (Reed Business Information). Retrieved April 9, 2015.
- "Magic to move 35 games to FSN Florida". Capefish. August 2007.