Fox Sports North

Fox Sports North
Fox Sports North logo
Launched 1986 (as WCCO II)
Network Fox Sports Net
Owned by News Corporation
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Minnesota
Wisconsin
Iowa
Upper Michigan
North Dakota
South Dakota
Formerly called WCCO II (1986-1989)
Midwest Sports Channel (1989–2001)
Sister channel(s) Fox Sports Wisconsin
Website foxsportsnorth.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV 668 (SD/HD)
Dish Network 436 (SD)
386 (HD)
Cable
Available on select cable systems Check local listings for channels

Fox Sports North (stylized as FS NORTH) is a regional sports network serving Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Iowa, Upper Michigan along the Wisconsin border and the eastern parts of North Dakota and South Dakota. Fox Sports North has three separate feeds: the "metro" feed which is broadcast to the Twin Cities and surrounding areas; the "outstate" feed which is seen in the rest of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, extreme western Wisconsin, and DBS subscribers; and the "Wisconsin" feed which serves that state.

Fox Sports North is an owned and operated affiliate of Fox Sports Net and was previously affiliated with SportsChannel and Prime Sports Network. The Fox Sports Wisconsin network is run from both a studio/office facility in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and out of a studio/office hub based in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Contents

History

Fox Sports North started as a cable project by WCCO-TV called WCCO II. Originally intended as a general programming complement to the over-the-air WCCO, it gradually became more sports oriented and relaunched in 1989 as Midwest Sports Channel.

MSC's main draws in its early days were the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota North Stars. It was also affiliated with the SportsChannel America network and filled out its broadcasting day with a mix of SCA programs and tickers and paid programming. MSC was largely considered a "luxury" channel until the early 1990s, and did not even have full metro coverage until Continental Cablevision added it to St. Paul's extended basic cable lineup in 1994. By then, MSC was in financial dire straits, and the CBS Corporation (which had bought WCCO-TV, WCCO-AM and MSC in 1992) sold the troubled network to Liberty Media, while continuing to share programming with MSC.

Ownership change and affiliation with FSN

In 1995, MSC expanded its pro sports lineup by landing a cable broadcast deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The following year, LMI acquired the Wisconsin Sports Network (a gametime-only network broadcasting Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks games) from Milwaukee's Time Warner Cable franchise and Group W, and folded it into MSC, giving the network a broader reach in the Midwest, the Brewers and Bucks deals, and a stable of outstanding local outdoors shows. Through its ownership by LMI and affiliations with SCA and PSN, MSC became an affiliate of the fledgling Fox Sports Net in the fall of 1996.

In late 1999, LMI, now under partial ownership of Comcast, swapped its equity in MSC to News Corporation in exchange for a 100% ownership in Baltimore-based RSN Home Team Sports, and MSC was then fully owned by Fox, while HTS became Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. WCCO continued to provide MSC with a 4:30am replay of their 10pm newscast until the sale to Fox went through.

The autumn of 2000 marked the return of NHL hockey to Minnesota with the debut of the Wild franchise, and MSC broadcast much of the inaugural season. This also marked the first time that FSN-branded graphics were used on a locally produced broadcast, and the announcers made frequent use of the phrase "...live on MSC, Fox Sports Net style." The name change to Fox Sports Net North was made official in April 2001 to coincide with the start of the new Twins season and the opening of the Brewers' Miller Park, and was called out on the air, on outdoor billboards, and even bus ads. However, the change was not all good; the network lost its local focus, instead airing national FSN programs like National Sports Report and You Gotta See This!

In October 2003, Twins owner Carl Pohlad attempted to launch a competing RSN called Victory Sports One; it would broadcast all Twins games for the foreseeable future, as well as local college and high school sports. VS1 was also to have a number of locally produced sports shows, the centerpiece being Kent Hrbek Outdoors. This effort only lasted six months, as VS1 folded in May and allowed FSN to absorb most of its programming including the Twins. As a result, FSN launched a new "local fans first" initiative, launching the Minnesota Sports Report and the regular airing of prep sports.

In April 2006, still lacking a local news show (the now-defunct Minnesota Sports Report originated from FSN's Westwood, CA, studios), FSN North launched FSN Live, a first-of-its-kind show that served as part local sports news show, part pre- and post-game bumper. FSN Live is usually broadcast live and on location from sporting events, though occasionally it originates from FSN North's new Minneapolis studio.

In 2009, FSN North's name was changed to Fox Sports North after the nationwide switch to make FSN a more syndicated channel.

The Wisconsin version, since spun off of Fox Sports North to create Fox Sports Wisconsin, currently airs Brewers and Bucks events, pregame, postgame, and fan shows, along with some Minnesota Wild events and WIAA competitions. A reduced schedule of Wild hockey airs within Wisconsin, and a package of Brewers games is sub-licensed to Milwaukee's WMLW (Channel 41), with FSN producing the telecasts and WMLW owner Weigel Broadcasting selling ads. These games also air on FSN Wisconsin outside of the Milwaukee area.

Teams

MSC and Fox Sports North have been the cable television home to several professional and college teams.

Major League Baseball

NBA

NHL

NCAA Division I athletics

Personalities

Branding

For most shows and nationally-televised sports broadcasts, a small logo bug appears in the top right corner of the screen which reads FSNORTH; the FS in the logo has a light blue color to it. However, the logo changes whenever local sports teams are shown on Fox Sports North. For Twins baseball games and Twins Live, the logo reads FSTWINS (with the FS shown in red). During Wild hockey games and Wild Live, the FS is also colored red, with the logo displaying FSWILD. And for Timberwolves basketball games (as well as Timberwolves Live), the logo will read FSWOLVES with the FS shown in green. During Gopher hockey games, however, the logo remains the usual FSNORTH.

Logos

See also

References

  1. ^ FS-North, Twins announce TV schedule Fox Sports North February 16, 2011

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