American Sports Network (ASN) was the sports division of the U.S. television station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group through its Sinclair Networks subsidiary.[2] Formed in July 2014, ASN produces broadcasts of sporting events that are aired primarily across stations owned by Sinclair (in particular, The CW and MyNetworkTV stations owned and/or operated by the company, or, in some markets, on a digital subchannel of a Sinclair station), and syndicated to non-Sinclair stations and regional sports networks.

ASN primarily dealt in college sports from NCAA Division I conferences, including live football and basketball games from the Atlantic 10 Conference, Big South Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, Mid-American Conference, Ohio Valley Conference, Patriot League, Southern Conference, Southland Conference, and Western Athletic Conference, as well as a limited number of professional sports events. In 2015, ASN acquired regional rights to Real Salt Lake and D.C. United of Major League Soccer, with games airing on Sinclair stations in the teams' market area, as well as television rights to the newly established Arizona Bowl.

In 2017, Sinclair announced that it would fold ASN into a new joint venture with Silver Chalice known as Stadium, which would combine ASN's broadcast distribution platforms with content from Silver Chalice's digital outlets 120 Sports and Campus Insiders. ASN formally dissolved on August 23, 2017, although ASN programming continued on-air until September 6, when the network formally transitioned on-air to Stadium.[58]

History

Sinclair Broadcast Group formally announced the launch of the American Sports Network on July 17, 2014; the service was led by Doron Gorshein, who joined the company in January 2014 in the role of chief operating officer of Sinclair Networks. ASN carries live broadcasts of mainly collegiate sporting events, along with ancillary programming focusing on colleges, their students and student-athletes. ASN's content would air primarily on Sinclair-owned-or-operated affiliates of The CW and MyNetworkTV or on secondary digital subchannels of other stations run by the company (some of which had carried content from competing syndicated sports distributors ESPN Regional Television and Raycom Sports until ASN's launch), the latter especially the case for its stations that have primary affiliations with one of the Big Four networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox) which would not pre-empt the higher-tier sports coverage provided by their network partners. Sinclair opened ASN up for distribution by other broadcast outlets interested in carrying the service's content, and announced plans to expand ASN onto digital platforms.[3][21][6]

ASN planned to initially broadcast college football, men's and women's college basketball, women's college soccer, and college baseball events, beginning with the 2014 NCAA Division I FBS and FCS football seasons. Prior to the service's formal launch, Sinclair reached broadcast rights agreements with five NCAA Division I conferences, including Conference USA,[7] the Colonial Athletic Association, Big South Conference, Southern Conference,[8] and the Patriot League.[9]

ASN's first broadcasts took place on August 30, 2014, featuring two football games involving Conference USA teams (Old Dominion University vs. Hampton University and Florida International University hosting Bethune-Cookman University).[10]

In September 2014, Sinclair reached a two-year deal with the International Motor Sports Association to syndicate broadcasts of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series through ASN beginning that year, with a renewal option that could be exercised in 2016. Its first race broadcast on September 13, 2014 was shown on Sinclair stations in at least 36 markets, marking the first non-college sporting event to be syndicated by ASN.[11]

On September 29, 2014, Sinclair announced a multi-year deal with the Western Athletic Conference to broadcast its games through ASN – marking the sixth conference to partner with the service. Sinclair also announced that it had reached syndication deals with stations in 67 markets where the company does not have a station in its portfolio to carry ASN's programming, expanding its total potential audience to 83 million viewers.[12][13]

On October 16, 2014, Jonathan B. LeCrone announced the Horizon League had entered into a deal with the American Sports Network to broadcast select games; subsequently on November 10, ASN entered into a broadcast contract with the Ohio Valley Conference.[14]

On December 2, 2014, ASN entered into the collegiate hockey field through an agreement that gave it the rights to air six Penn State Nittany Lions home games.[15] ASN later added two other men's ice hockey contests from the Big Ten Conference, featuring the Wisconsin Badgers and Ohio State Buckeyes.[16]

On January 23, 2015, Sinclair announced that it had acquired regional television rights to Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer beginning in the 2015 season, with ASN handling production of the telecasts. KMYU and KUTV will air the games locally, and they will be syndicated to Sinclair stations in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada as well as in Boise, Idaho. Stations in Arizona and New Mexico would also be able to bid for the local rights to telecast the matches in their markets.[17]

On May 19, 2015, ASN announced that it had reached an agreement with Minor League Baseball (MiLB) to televise a weekly game during the 2015 season. ASN was scheduled to air a weekly game live from different individual leagues on Sunday nights, and would also air the all-star games for the Florida State League and the Midwest League.[2]

On June 24, 2015 the Southland Conference announced that ASN would televise select matches from their conference beginning with the 2015 fall football season. The ASN package would replace the Southland Conference TV Network syndication package.[18]

In September 2015, ASN reached a deal with the Mid-American Conference, sub-licensed through ESPN, to broadcast selected games. In the 2015–16 academic season, ASN will broadcast 10 football games, 10 men's basketball games, and 5 women's basketball games.[11] ASN also reached deals with the NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, including the Big Ten, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East, National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, to broadcast games as part of a Friday night package.[20]

In November 2015, it was announced that ASN had acquired broadcast rights to the inaugural Arizona Bowl.[21]

On December 18, 2015, D.C. United of Major League Soccer announced that Sinclair had acquired rights to the team. ASN-produced coverage is aired by News Channel 8 and WJLA-TV.[59] Matches are also syndicated to digital subchannels of WUTB Baltimore, WRLH Richmond, WTVZ Norfolk, and WSET Roanoke.[60]

On January 8, 2016, Sinclair announced a dedicated American Sports Network channel, offered as an affiliation for digital subchannels of stations in Baltimore, Charleston, Cincinnati, Columbus, Greensboro, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Raleigh-Durham. The service launched on January 11, 2016.[24]

2017: Stadium

In March 2017, unconfirmed reports speculated that Sinclair was planning to shutter ASN and give its remaining sports rights to Campus Insiders. The Charleston Gazette-Mail, however, citing ASN employees, reported that the rumors of a complete shuttering were false, but that the division was planning to re-locate its headquarters, restructure its operations, and achieve "stronger, more diversified distribution." The original rumors were based upon reports of layoffs from ASN's current headquarters in West Palm Beach, connected to the planned re-location.[56]

On April 13, 2017, Sinclair officially announced that ASN would be re-launched later in the year as part of a joint venture with Silver Chalice (owner of Campus Insiders) and its online sports video service 120 Sports. The new operation will be operated as linear and digital offerings; the linear service would utilize the syndication and broadcast network built out for ASN, while the digital platform will stream full-time online and through Twitter. 120 Sports will provide original studio and long-form programming to the venture.[61][62] On May 1, 2017, it was announced that the new joint venture would be known as Stadium.[63] On June 1, 2017, it was reported that Stadium would officially launch around late-July 2017.[64] After a soft launch in July 2017, the service officially launched on August 24, with ASN's over-the-air network formally joining Stadium on September 6.[65][58]

Programming

NCAA sports

2014–15

During the 2014–15 season, ASN televised live events from the following NCAA Division I conferences:

LeaguefootballMen'sbasketballWomen'sbasketballMen'sice hockeyMen'ssoccerWomen'ssoccerBaseballSoftballWomen'svolleyballMen'slacrosseWomen'slacrosse
Atlantic 10 Conference[67]YesYes
Big South ConferenceYesYesYesYesYes
Big Ten ConferenceYes
Colonial Athletic Association[32]YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Conference USAYesYesYesYes
Horizon LeagueYes
Ivy League[33]YesYesYes
Ohio Valley ConferenceYes
Patriot LeagueYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Southern ConferenceYesYesYesYesYes
Western Athletic ConferenceYesYes

2015–16

During the 2015–16 season, ASN televised live events from the following NCAA Division I conferences:

LeaguefootballMen'sbasketballWomen'sbasketballMen'sice hockeyWomen'sice hockeyMen'ssoccerWomen'ssoccerBaseballSoftballWomen'svolleyballMen'slacrosseWomen'slacrosse
American Athletic Conference[34]Yes
Atlantic 10 Conference[35]YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Big South Conference[36]YesYesYes
Big Ten Conference[37]Yes
Colonial Athletic Association[38]YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Conference USA[39]YesYesYesYesYes
ECAC Hockey[40]Yes
Hockey East[41]YesYes
Horizon League[42]Yes
Ivy League[43]YesYesYesYes
Mid-American Conference[11]YesYesYes
National Collegiate Hockey Conference[44]Yes
Ohio Valley Conference[45]YesYesYes
Patriot League[46]YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Southern Conference[47]YesYesYes
Southland ConferenceYesYes
Western Athletic Conference[13]YesYesYes
Western Collegiate Hockey Association[40]Yes

ASN also acquired the D2 Game of the Week rights and televised NCAA Division II football and men's and women's basketball on their network during 2015–16. The D2 package was formerly on CBS Sports Network.

2016–17

During the 2016-17 season, ASN will televise live events from the following NCAA Division I conferences:

LeagueFootballMen'sbasketballWomen'sbasketballMen'sice hockeyWomen'sice hockeyMen'ssoccerWomen'ssoccerWomen'svolleyballBaseballSoftballMen'slacrosseWomen'slacrosseBeachvolleyball
American Athletic Conference[68]Yes
Atlantic Hockey[69]Yes
Atlantic Sun Conference[70]YesYes
Atlantic 10 Conference[71]YesYesYesYesYesYes
Big South Conference[6]YesYesYesYesYes
Big Ten Conference[6]Yes
Colonial Athletic Association[6]YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Conference USA[6]YesYesYes
ECAC Hockey[40]Yes
Hockey East[6]YesYes
Horizon League[6]Yes
Ivy League[6]YesYesYesYes
Mid-American Conference[6]YesYesYes
National Collegiate Hockey Conference[6]Yes
Ohio Valley Conference[6]YesYes
Patriot League[81]YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Southern Conference[82]YesYesYesYesYes
Southland Conference[83]YesYes
Sunbelt Conference[84]YesYes
Western Athletic Conference[85]YesYes
Western Collegiate Hockey Association[86]Yes

In addition to the above conferences, ASN acquired the rights to University of Massachusetts Minutemen football games for the 2016 season.[87] ASN also had the rights to the D2 Game of the Week and televised NCAA Division II football and men's and women's basketball on their network during 2016-17.[88]

List of affiliates

American Sports Network telecasts primarily aired on stations owned or managed by Sinclair Broadcast Group; this includes stations operated by the firm under local marketing agreements or similar pacts, which itself includes stations owned by companies such as Cunningham Broadcasting, Deerfield Media, and Howard Stirk Holdings among others.[3] These telecasts were not always scheduled to appear on a station's main digital subchannel nor on a fixed single station where Sinclair owns and/or manages more than one station. In addition to the Sinclair stations, ASN's events (and Stadium after that), were also been syndicated to other broadcasters.

Other broadcast affiliates

City of license/marketStation[4]VirtualchannelOwnerPrimary affiliation

Alabama

BirminghamWBMA58.3Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN[50]
HuntsvilleDecaturWZDX54.2Nexstar Media GroupMyNetworkTV

Arkansas

FayettevilleKAJL-LD [89]16.1DTV America CorporationTelemundo

California

Los AngelesKHIZ-LD8.4 [89]DTV America CorporationThe Country Network
SacramentoKAHC-LD43.1ASN

Connecticut

HartfordNew HavenWCTX59.1Media GeneralMyNetworkTV

Georgia

AtlantaWATL36.1Tegna, Inc.MyNetworkTV
Cleveland (Atlanta)WDWW-LP28.1 [89]DTV America CorporationDrTV
MaconWMUB-LD38.1Mercer UniversityFrance 24

Illinois

SpringfieldDecaturChampaignWBUI23.1GOCOM Media
(operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
The CW

Indiana

IndianapolisWHMB-TV40.3LeSEA Broadcasting CorporationLeSEA

Iowa

Fort Dodge (Des Moines)KCYM-LD45.4DTV America Corporation ?

Kansas

Topeka (Kansas City, KS-MO)KCMN-LD42.4 [89]DTV America CorporationDecades

Kentucky

Bowling GreenWKYU-TV24.1[51]Western Kentucky UniversityPBS
LouisvilleWAVE-TV3.1Raycom MediaNBC
WBNA-DT421.4 [90][91]Evangel World Prayer CenterRTV

Louisiana

AlexandriaKBCA41.1[52]Wilderness CommunicationsHeroes & Icons
LafayetteKXKW-LD32.1Delta Media CorporationASN (Launched July 1, 2016 replacing This TV)
Monroe-El Dorado, ARKNOE-TV8.3[52]Gray TelevisionThe CW
New OrleansWQDT-LD36.3DTV America CorporationBuzzr
Shreveport-Texarkana, ARKPXJ21.1[52]KTBS, LLC (Wray family)The CW

Maine

PortlandWGME-TV13.3Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN[24]

Maryland

BaltimoreWUTB24.3Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN[24]

Michigan

DetroitWMYD20.1E. W. Scripps CompanyMyNetworkTV

North Carolina

CharlotteWCCB18.1Bahakel CommunicationsThe CW
Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High PointWXLV-TV45.2Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN[24]
Raleigh/Durham/Chapel HillWLFL22.2ASN[24]
WilmingtonWILM-LD10.3Capitol Broadcasting CompanyIndependent

New York

BuffaloWNYO-TV49.2Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN[50]
New York CityWDVB-CD23.2LocusPoint NetworksIndependent
WRNN48.2WRNN License Company, LLCASN[50]

Ohio

Akron (Cleveland)WQDI-LD20.4 [89]DTV America CorporationEstrella TV
CincinnatiWKRC-TV12.3[24]Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN
ColumbusWTTE28.3[24]
DaytonWKEF22.2
ToledoWNWO24.2

Oklahoma

Enid/Oklahoma CityKBZC-LD42.1DTV America CorporationASN

Pennsylvania

PittsburghWPNT22.2Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN[24]
Wilkes BarreWSWB38.4MPS Media, LLCASN[50]

Puerto Rico

San JuanWAPA-TV4.2Hemisphere Media Group
(InterMedia Partners 73%, Azteca Acquisition Corporation 27%)
Independent
PonceWTIN-TV
MayagüezWNJX-TV
ViequesW34DY-D34.2TV Red de Puerto Rico, Inc.ASN
VillalbaW16CW-D16.2
RinconW28DV-D28.1

South Carolina

Florence/Myrtle Beach, SCWWMB21.3Howard Stirk Holdings
(operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
ASN[24]
ColumbiaWACH57.2Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN

Tennessee

JacksonWNBJ-LD39.1[53]Jackson TV, LLCNBC
KnoxvilleWATE-TV6.2 [53]Media GeneralGetTV
NashvilleWNAB58.2Tennessee Broadcasting
(Operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
ASN[24]
WKUW-LD40.3DTV America CorporationASN

Texas

Corpus ChristiKRIS-TV6.2Cordillera CommunicationsThe CW
DallasFort WorthKTXD-TV47.1[52]London Broadcasting CompanyIndependent
El PasoLas Cruces, NMKVIA-TV7.2News-Press & Gazette CompanyThe CW
TylerLongviewKLPN-LD/KTPN-LD48.1/22.1White Knight Broadcasting
(operated by Nexstar Media Group)
MyNetworkTV

US Virgin Islands

ChristianstedWCVI-TV23.1LeSEA Broadcasting CorporationLeSEA

Virginia

NorfolkWTVZ-TV33.2Sinclair Broadcast GroupASN
Lynchburg/RoanokeWSET-TV13.2

West Virginia

ClarksburgWestonWDTV5.1Gray TelevisionCBS
Charleston/HuntingtonWVAH-TV11.2Cunningham Broadcasting
(operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
ASN[24]

Wisconsin

Madison (Janesville)WIFS57.4Byrne Acquisition Group, LLCASN
Madison/MiddletonWZCK-LD8.4DTV America Corporation

Regional sports networks

NetworkRegion servedOwner
YurView CaliforniaSan DiegoCox Communications
Altitude Sports and EntertainmentColorado, Utah, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska,
New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming
Stan Kroenke
Comcast SportsNet ChicagoIllinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, MichiganNBCUniversal (20%)
J. Joseph Ricketts Family (20%)
Jerry Reinsdorf (40%)
Rocky Wirtz (20%)
Comcast SportsNet Mid-AtlanticMaryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Southern Pennsylvania, Eastern West Virginia, Southern Delaware, Hampton Roads MSA, Outer BanksNBCUniversal
Comcast SportsNet PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia metropolitan area, Eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, DelawareNBCUniversal
Philadelphia Phillies
Cox Sports TelevisionLouisiana, WacoTempleBryan, TexasCox Communications
Mid-Atlantic Sports NetworkMaryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware,
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals
NBC Sports Bay AreaSan Francisco Bay Area, Northern California, Central California, Southern Oregon, NevadaNBCUniversal (45%)
San Francisco Giants (30%)
21st Century Fox (25%)
New England Sports NetworkHartford-New Haven, Connecticut,
Massachusetts,
Providence, Rhode IslandNew Bedford, Massachusetts
Fenway Sports Group (80%)
Root Sports Southwest[54]Houston, TexasAT&T Sports Networks
Spectrum Sports (Texas)TexasCharter Communications
American Forces NetworkUnited States Armed ForcesArmed Forces Radio and Television Service

See also