- SportsChannel America
Infobox TV channel
name = SportsChannel America
logofile = Mid_1990's_SportsChannel_Logo.gif
logoalt = SportsChannel logo from 1995 to 2000.
launch = 1976
closed date = 2000
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replaced by names =
Fox Sports Net Comcast SportsNet
sister names =
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SportsChannel America was a
cable televisionnetwork operated by Cablevision. While the network did not survive, its basic gameplan (a sports cable network with national programming, but that let each local market get the rights to show their own local teams in their market) survives on in the form of Fox Sports Net, and more recently Comcast SportsNet. SportsChannel New Yorkwas the first of these networks and was launched in 1976. Cablevision later partned with Fox and Liberty Media to rebrand these networks as FSN in early 1998.
Former SportsChannel Networks
SportsChannel New York(1976, now MSG+) SportsChannel New England(acquired as PRISM New England and rebranded in 1983, now CSN New England) SportsChannel Chicago(acquired as SportsVision in 1984 and rebranded in 1989, became the now defunct FSN Chicago) SportsChannel Florida(1987, now FSN Florida) SportsChannel Los Angeles(1989, now defunct) SportsChannel Ohio(1989, now FSN Ohio) SportsChannel Bay Area(1990, now CSN Bay Area) SportsChannel Philadelphia(1990, now defunct)
Notable SportsChannel America programming
Canadian Football League
*Extreme Championship Wrestling
*National Hockey League
NewSport Talk" - A two hour sports talk show produced by the Chicago-based SportsChannel and syndicated to most of the other ones. It was an original show on NewSport.
World Basketball League
National Hockey League
The network is probably most notable for getting the National Hockey League rights from
ESPNin 1988, by offering almost triple the amount of money that ESPN was offering at the time for the NHL (a move not unlike the 2005 NHL rights grab by Comcast/OLN over ESPN). Much like the Comcast deal as well, SportsChannel America was only in a few major markets, and reached only a 1/3 of the households that ESPN did at the time. After 4 seasons, the NHL got out of the deal and went back to ESPN, leaving SportsChannel America with little more than outdoors shows and Canadian Football Leaguegames.
Although SportsChannel America wasn't showing NHL games, the NHL continued to show games on their local SportsChannel station (Two examples were the
Chicago Blackhawksand the Hartford Whalersas they had local SportsChannels stations in their respective areas). But this wasn't the case for all NHL teams, as teams showed games on non-SportsChannel stations (such as Prime Ticketfor the Los Angeles Kingsand KBL (later Prime Network) for the Pittsburgh Penguins).
Prime SportsChannel Networks
In 1993, Cablevision partned with
Liberty Mediaand NBCto form Prime SportsChannel Networks combining SportsChannel America with Liberty's Prime Network. This partnership would produce NewSport, which replaced the national version of SportsChannel America.
NewSport was a 24 hour sports news channel that was a sister station of SportsChannel. NewSport debuted in 1993, but its growth was slow as it was picked up by few cable systems besides Cablevision, which owned part of both SportsChannel and NewSport. Ironically even Cablevision didn't give the network full-time coverage as it shared a channel with The Weather Channel on at least one of their New Jersey systems. NewSport was the first 24-hour sports-news channel, predating
ESPNEWSwhich debuted in 1996. Eventually, NewSport's slow growth and lack of viewers, combined with the wide distribution and success of ESPNEWS, resulted in the shutdown of NewSport on July 9, 1997.
NewSport developed a unique sports ticker in 1995, which appeared in the lower corner of the screen, and aired original shows like "
NewSport Talk", "NewSport Journal", and "Scoreboard Watch". After being shut down, NewSport was replaced in December 1997 by American Sports Classics.
American Sports Classics
American Sports Classics was a short-lived 24 hour sports nostalgia service channel that replaced Newsport in the SportsChannel/Fox Sports Net family of networks. Like Newsport, ASC was unable to stand up to competitors, and specifically Classic Sports Network (which later became
ESPN Classic). ASC featured more biographical and magazine type shows, in contrast to Classic Sports Network, which at the time showed mostly classic games and events. ASC ceased operations in mid-1998.
Fox Sports rebranding
In 1998, Cablevision partnered with
Fox Sportsand Liberty Mediato rebrand most of the SportsChannel America networks as Fox Sports Netstations. The first network to rebrand itself was SportsChannel New York (currently MSG+) when it became Fox Sports New York on January 27, 1998. The others networks (except SportsChannel Florida) were rebranded later that week. The last network to rebrand itself was SportsChannel Florida, which became Fox Sports Net Florida (now FSN Florida) in March 2000.
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