Fox Sports Florida
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|Fox Sports Florida|
|Launched||July 1, 1987|
|Network||Fox Sports Networks|
|Owned by||The Walt Disney Company|
(sale pending to a third party)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)|
Spanish (via SAP)
|Headquarters||Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|Formerly called||SportsChannel Florida (1987–2000)|
Fox Sports Net Florida (2000–2004)
FSN Florida (2004–2008)
|Sister channel(s)||Fox Sports Sun|
(Some events may air on overflow feed Fox Sports Florida Plus due to event conflicts)
|DirecTV||654 Fox Sports Florida (SD/HD)|
655 Fox Sports Florida Plus (SD)
654-1 Fox Sports Florida Plus HD
|Dish Network||423 (SD)|
|Available on all Florida cable systems||Consult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability|
|Fox Sports Go||www.foxsportsgo.com/|
(U.S. cable internet subscribers only; requires login from participating providers to stream content; some events may not be available due to league rights restrictions)
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
Fox Sports Florida is an American regional sports network that is owned by The Walt Disney Company, and operates as an affiliate of Fox Sports Networks. The channel broadcasts local sports coverage in the state of Florida, with a focus on professional sports teams based in Miami, Tampa and Orlando.
Fox Sports Florida maintains production facilities and offices located in Fort Lauderdale, alongside sister network Fox Sports Sun. The channel is available on cable television providers throughout Florida, and in parts of southern Alabama and Georgia; it is also available nationwide on satellite via Dish Network and DirecTV.
On December 14, 2017, as part of a merger between both companies, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to acquire all 22 regional Fox Sports networks from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Sports Florida. However, on June 27, 2018, the Justice Department ordered their divestment under antitrust grounds, citing Disney's ownership of ESPN. It is unknown whether the networks will be divested to other parties, or be retained by the proposed "New Fox" (which will consist of the assets excluded from Disney's purchase, including the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and the remainder of the Fox Sports division).
Fox Sports Florida was launched on July 1, 1987 as SportsChannel Florida. It was originally owned by Rainbow Media (a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation), and was the fourth regional network of SportsChannel America. The network originally featured coverage of local college teams, holding the broadcast rights to televise select games from the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Miami, University of South Florida and Jacksonville University. In addition to national SportsChannel programming, the channel also showed select New York Yankees and New York Mets games from SportsChannel New York, and select Chicago White Sox games broadcast by SportsChannel Chicago.
In the spring of 1988, SportsChannel Florida obtained the regional cable television rights to broadcast NBA games from the Miami Heat, effective with the 1988–89 season. In 1992, SportsChannel lost the television contract to the Heat to then-rival Sunshine Network. Heat games would return to the channel in the late 1990s when both networks came under the ownership of Fox Sports parent News Corporation.
In 1996, Florida Panthers owner Wayne Huizenga purchased a 70% controlling interest in SportsChannel Florida, with Rainbow Media (by that time, a joint venture between Cablevision and NBC) retaining a minority 30% interest. That led Huizenga to move the NHL franchise's game telecasts from Sunshine Network to SportsChannel Florida for the 1996–97 season. The following year in 1997, SportsChannel Florida obtained the rights to the Florida Marlins – also owned by Huizenga – which moved its broadcasts from the Sunshine Network starting with that year's Major League Baseball season. In 1998, SportsChannel Florida gained the regional cable rights to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Major League Baseball expansion team.
Unlike the other networks that were members of the SportsChannel America chain, Huizenga's control of SportsChannel Florida prevented the channel from joining Fox Sports Net in early 1998. Cablevision finally repurchased Huizenga's share of the network in November 1999. The network was relaunched as Fox Sports Net Florida on March 1, 2000, making it the last SportsChannel Network to adopt the Fox Sports Net brand. In February 2005, News Corporation acquired Cablevision's ownership stakes in Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports Ohio, following an asset trade in which Fox sold its interest in Madison Square Garden and the arena's NBA and NHL team tenants, the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, to Cablevision, in exchange for acquiring sole ownership of the two Fox Sports regional networks. News Corporation spun off most of its entertainment properties into 21st Century Fox in July 2013.
FOX Sports Florida holds the regional cable television rights to the NBA's Orlando Magic, the NHL's Florida Panthers, and the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball. It also carries coverage of college sports events from the Big East, Big 12, Conference USA and Atlantic Coast Conferences.
Fox Sports Florida shares the broadcast rights to the aforementioned professional sports teams with Fox Sports Sun (with Miami Heat games transmitted to cable providers in South Florida, and Orlando Magic games aired exclusively on Fox Sports Florida  in Central and Northern Florida. The two channels do not focus on one region of Florida, but simply distribute games in accordance with each team's territorial rights, with both cable channels maintaining exclusivity over regional broadcasts of Lightning, Heat, Marlins, Rays, Magic and Panthers games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, Miami Heat and Tampa Bay Rays are televised on Fox Sports Sun, while the Orlando Magic, Miami Marlins and Florida Panthers are televised on Fox Sports Florida. Additionally, each network televises exclusive shoulder programming highlighting the team, players and coaches on the corresponding network.
Fox Sports Florida HD
Fox Sports Florida HD is a high definition simulcast of Fox Sports Florida, which broadcasts in the 720p format. The simulcast feed broadcasts most games from the professional teams and conferences to which the channel holds the regional broadcast rights, as well as programs broadcast nationally by FSN in HD.
Notable on-air staff
- Orestes Destrade - Tampa Bay Rays analyst
- Brian Anderson – Tampa Bay Rays analyst
- Tricia Whitaker – Tampa Bay Rays pre and post-game reporter
- John Crotty – Miami Heat analyst
- Eric Reid – Miami Heat play-by-play
- Jason Jackson – Miami Heat pre-game and in-game reporter
- Paul Severino – Miami Marlins play-by-play
- Todd Hollandsworth - Miami Marlins analyst
- Craig Minervini – Miami Marlins pre-game and in-game reporter
- Jessica Blaylock - Miami Marlins in-game reporter
- Dewayne Staats – Tampa Bay Rays play-by-play
- Denis Potvin – Florida Panthers analyst
- Steve Goldstein – Florida Panthers play-by-play
- Jeff Turner – Orlando Magic analyst
- David Steele – Orlando Magic play-by-play
- Rick Peckham – Tampa Bay Lightning play-by-play
- Dave Andreychuk – Tampa Bay Lightning pre and post-game analyst
- Bobby Taylor – Tampa Bay Lightning pre and post-game analyst
- Paul Kennedy – Tampa Bay Lightning pre and post-game host
- Alex Chappell - Tampa Bay Rays pre and post-game reporter now with ESPN and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
- Laura Rutledge - Tampa Bay Rays pre and post-game reporter now with ESPN/SEC Network
- Allison Williams (reporter) - Miami Marlins in-game reporter now with ESPN
- Joe Magrane - Tampa Bay Rays analyst now with MLB Network
- Kevin Kennedy (baseball) - Tampa Bay Rays analyst
- Kelly Nash - Tampa Bay Rays pre and post-game reporter now with MLB Network
For its first 21 years of existence, the channel was not available to most cable subscribers in the Orlando area, as Bright House Networks, the largest cable system in central Florida, refused to carry the channel. The conflict stemmed from the system's previous existence as Cablevision (a brand unaffiliated with the Bethpage, New York-based cable provider of the same name), and continued through its acquisition by Time Warner Cable and, later, Bright House. This issue did not change following Fox Sports' acquisition of Sun Sports, now known as Fox Sports Sun, which Bright House already carried on its Orlando area lineup, and continued even after the Orlando Magic moved half of the televised games in its schedule from MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station WRBW (channel 65) to Fox Sports Florida in 2007.
Fox Sports Net's sister subsidiary Fox Television Stations had earlier purchased WRBW (then a UPN affiliate) in Orlando in 2001, followed by its purchase of Fox affiliate WOFL (channel 35) in 2002. On paper, this gave News Corporation – the corporate parent of the Fox Sports Networks at the time – the right to require Bright House to carry Fox Sports Florida as part of its retransmission consent compensation agreement for carriage of WOFL and WRBW, but Fox chose not to exercise that right. Bright House would agree to carry Fox Sports Florida on its Orlando system, with the channel being added on digital cable channel 50 on January 1, 2009. News Corporation and Bright House reached a new retransmission agreement on January 1, 2010, preventing both Fox Sports Florida and Sun Sports from being dropped from the provider's central Florida system.
Fox Sports Florida was also not available on Comcast systems in the Sarasota and Tallahassee markets until 2006, and remains unavailable on Comcast's Lake County systems. Orlando Magic games aired on the channel are blacked out by Comcast in the Jacksonville market.
- Littleton, Cynthia (June 27, 2018). "Justice Department Approves Disney's Acquisition of 21st Century Fox With Divestiture of Regional Sports Networks". Variety. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
- Fox Sports (2013-01-01). "Contact Us". FOX Sports. Retrieved 2015-07-20.
- "Disney can buy Fox if it sells 22 regional sports networks, Justice Dept. says". USA Today. June 28, 2018.
- Steve Donohue (November 15, 1999). "Rainbow, Fox Deal for Florida Net". Multichannel News. Cahners Business Information. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
- Fox Sports (2014-10-21). "Florida to air all 82 Orlando Magic games in 2014-15". FOX Sports. Retrieved 2015-07-20.
- Fox Sports (2014-01-01). "About FOX Sports Florida and Sun Sports". FOX Sports. Retrieved 2015-07-20.