Fox Sports Florida
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (March 2014)|
|Fox Sports Florida|
|Launched||July 1, 1987|
|Network||Fox Sports Networks|
Fox Entertainment Group|
(21st Century Fox)
Spanish (via SAP)
Nationwide (via satellite)
SportsChannel Florida (1987–2000)|
Fox Sports Net Florida (2000–2004)
FSN Florida (2004–2008)
(Some events may air on overflow feed Fox Sports Florida Plus due to event conflicts
654 Fox Sports Florida (SD/HD)|
655 Fox Sports Florida Plus (SD)
654-1 Fox Sports Florida Plus HD
|Available on all Florida cable systems and select Alabama cable systems||Consult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability|
|Fox Sports Go||
(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)
Fox Sports Florida is an American regional sports network that is owned by Fox Cable Networks, a unit of the Fox Entertainment Group division of 21st Century Fox, 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 Orlando, alongside sister network Sun Sports. 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.
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 (which spun off most of its entertainment properties into 21st Century Fox in July 2013) 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.
The channel holds the regional cable television rights to the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins Major League Baseball franchises, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers National Hockey League franchises, and the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic NBA franchises; it also carries local coverage of college sports events from the Big East, Atlantic Sun, Conference USA and Atlantic Coast Conferences.
Fox Sports Florida shares the broadcast rights to the aforementioned professional sports teams with Sun Sports (with Miami Heat games transmitted to cable providers in South Florida, and Orlando Magic games aired in Central and Northern Florida. As the two regional networks are commonly owned, events from any team/conference in which Sun Sports 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, 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.
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
- Brian Anderson – Tampa Bay Rays analyst
- Jill Arrington – host
- Tony Fiorentino – Miami Heat analyst
- Matt Guokas – Orlando Magic analyst
- Tommy Hutton – Miami Marlins analyst
- Todd Kalas – Tampa Bay Rays pre-game and in-game reporter
- Craig Minervini – Miami Marlins and Florida Panthers pre-game and in-game reporter
- Dewayne Staats – Tampa Bay Rays play-by-play
- Denis Potvin – Florida Panthers analyst
- Steve Goldstein – Florida Panthers play-by-play
- Eric Reid – Miami Heat play-by-play
- Cookie Rojas – Miami Marlins analyst (Spanish)
- David Steele – Orlando Magic play-by-play
- Raul Striker, Jr. – Miami Marlins Spanish play-by-play (Spanish)
- Rich Waltz – Miami Marlins play-by-play
- Kevin Kennedy – Tampa Bay Rays analyst (2009–2010)
- Joe Magrane – Tampa Bay Rays analyst (1998–2009; 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, 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.