Fox Sports Sun, formerly Sun Sports and originally Sunshine Network, is an American regional sports network that is owned by Diamond Sports Group, a joint venture between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios, and operates as an affiliate of Fox Sports Networks. The channel broadcasts local coverage of professional, collegiate and sporting events in the state of Florida, with a focus on professional sports teams based in Miami, Tampa and Orlando. Fox Sports Sun and sister regional sports network Fox Sports Florida are headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Fox Sports Sun is available on cable providers throughout Florida; it is also available nationwide on satellite via DirecTV and Dish Network.
History[edit | edit source]
The channel launched in March 1988 as Sunshine Network, originally serving as an affiliate of Prime Network. 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 spinoff 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 not rebrand under that name when it and the other Prime outlets relaunched as Fox Sports Net 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 on January 18, 2005, 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. On October 4, 2015, Sun Sports changed its name to Fox Sports Sun.
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 Sun and sister network Fox Sports Florida. However, on June 27, 2018, the Justice Department ordered their divestment under antitrust grounds, citing Disney's ownership of ESPN. On May 3, 2019, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios (through their joint venture, Diamond Holdings) bought Fox Sports Networks from The Walt Disney Company for $10.6 billion. The deal closed on August 22, 2019.
Programming[edit | edit source]
Fox Sports Sun holds the regional cable television rights to the NBA's Miami Heat, the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. In addition, Fox Sports Sun offers basketball, football, baseball and other sanctioned sporting events from Florida State University. Fox Sports Sun 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. However, with the launch of the SEC Network, University of Florida programming now consists of GatorZone and coaches shows.
Fox Sports Sun 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 Fox Sports Sun and Fox Sports Florida.
Programming rights with Fox Sports Florida[edit | edit source]
FOX Sports Sun 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 Fox Sports Sun 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 Fox Sports Sun 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.
On-air staff[edit | edit source]
Current on-air staff[edit | edit source]
Tampa Bay Lightning[edit | edit source]
- TBA – play-by-play announcer
- Brian Engblom – analyst
- Paul Kennedy – host and in-game reporter
- Bobby Taylor – pre, post-game and intermission analyst
- Dave Andreychuk – pre, post-game and intermission analyst
Florida Panthers[edit | edit source]
- Steve Goldstein – play-by-play announcer
- Denis Potvin – analyst
- Bill Lindsay – in game reporter and analyst
References[edit | edit source]
- R. Thomas Umstead (July 8, 1996). Liberty Sports regionals will become Fox Sports net. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved on April 9, 2015.
- "FOX SPORTS NET DEBUTS ON NOV. 1", Columbian Publishing Company, September 13, 1996. Retrieved on April 9, 2015.
- "Fox putting together national Sports Net // Changes ahead for SportsChannel", June 24, 1997. Retrieved on April 9, 2015.
- John M. Higgins. "National net keys regional deal. (Fox Sports, Liberty Media Corp. challenge ESPN with stake in SportsChannel)", June 30, 1997. Retrieved on April 9, 2015.
- @FoxSportsFL (September 24, 2015). New Twitter handle, officially begins our soft launch & transition to new network name. Effective Oct. 4, Sun Sports becomes Fox Sports Sun!.
- Littleton, Cynthia. Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner (en).
- Sinclair completes acquisition of regional sports networks from Disney. Bloomberg (22 August 2019). Retrieved on 23 August 2019.
- Magic to move 35 games to FSN Florida (August 2007).
[edit | edit source]
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