Sinclair Launches American Sports Network

To be carried on many of Sinclair stations, the new program service has rights deals with various NCAA Division I conferences to offer the live, local games from more than 50 schools. Doron Gorshein heads the efforts.

Sinclair Broadcast Group today unveiled the American Sports Network, a collegiate sports initiative to be broadcast on a number of Sinclair’s television stations, and has entered into comprehensive sports rights agreements with a number of NCAA Division I conferences including Conference USA, the Colonial Athletic Association, Big South Conference, Southern Conference, and Patriot League.

The initiative will be led by Doron Gorshein, chief operating officer of Sinclair Networks, a division of Sinclair, who joined the company in January 2014.

Under these agreements, Sinclair will premiere a slate of live, local sporting events, including football, basketball, soccer, and other sports with the opening of this year’s college football season. The initial launch will include over 50 universities and colleges. These local, live, exclusive games will be broadcast in different regions of the country, including where the conferences are located.

Sinclair’s stations will either be carrying the games and original content as part of the primary program lineup (generally on the Company’s CW and MNT affiliates) or as part of subchannels, complimented by access and distribution on digital platforms.

Sinclair said that “subject, among other things, to successfully securing carriage agreements with distributors in the future, the company’s plans may include potential development of new cable networks and digital platforms focused on these new content initiatives.”

In addition, it added that other television broadcasters have expressed an interest in distributing the games in their markets.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Additional content and distribution elements will include programming that showcases the colleges, students, and student-athletes, focusing on their aspirations and achievements.

Wells Fargo senior analyst Marci Ryvicker viewed the news as positive, writing: “We are encouraged by the company’s initiatives to enhance the value of its non-Big 4 stations. Further, given that SBGI has one of the largest broadcast platforms via M&A, we like the company’s continued investment into original content. Adding sports content (which has proven to be highly desirable) could increase the value of these stations, particularly MNT and CW affiliates. In particular, management expects that this new content will help drive retrans discussions (and rates) with MVPDs.”

“Broadcasters serve and are closely connected to their communities, of which the colleges and universities are an integral part,” said Gorshein. “We believe there is significant value and consumer appeal for live sporting events from these important institutions, and we can offer expanded distribution through our broadcast platforms, as well as on potential new platforms, deepening our connection to our communities.  We’re proud to be working with the Conferences on this initiative, which combines compelling local sports and related content, with enhanced localism, diversity, and positive social purpose.”

“This is another example of our foray into the content creation business,” said David Smith, Sinclair president-CEO. “We have a history of producing large amounts of successful, first-run, original content through our local newscasts, high school sports presentations and Ring of Honor wrestling and have demonstrated our ability to brand content and build audience share. The launch of ASN will provide important and valuable content that is directed at serving our local communities, while improving the value of our CW and MyNet affiliates. We are confident in Doron’s ability to lead this endeavor, given his acumen in this arena.”


Comments (6)

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Meagan Zickuhr says:

July 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

I sure hope that Sinclair makes this new Sports Network available on Low Power Television stations too! This TV News Check article articulates their concern for LPTV…. especially in markets like Salt Lake City where Sinclair where about 30% of Sinclair’s viewers come from low-powered facilities. (http://tvnewscheck.com/article/67562/lowpowers-have-high-anxiety-over-repack/page/2) Most LPTV Operators are in every major market across the nation and sometimes more than one LPTV in college towns! And with Mark Aitkin’s deep involvement with the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance that represents hundreds of LPTV operators…. this new Sinclair Network would be the Saving Grace for Low Power Television! Let’s do the RIGHT THING for LPTV Sinclair! Put your network where your mouth is 🙂

    Joanne McDonald says:

    July 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Sinclair could offer it to markets where the CW or MYNET stations are not owned by Sinclair or has no station there at all or where Sinclair has ABC, CBS, NBC, or FOX but no CW, or MYNET in their markets and offer it to the non Sinclair owned CW or MYNET there as well. Feel the ASN is a better idea for Sinclair to launched then trying to launched a all news channel that people won’t even bother watching at all.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    July 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Stick to playing Monopoly in your home.

    John Murray says:

    July 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Wow. A mercifully brief comment ! This can’t be the same James Cieloha ! What have you done with James, you impostor? : )

Keith ONeal says:

July 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Since Sinclair doesn’t own any stations in the Orlando DMA, any station could pick up their Sports Network if they wish to.

Just Fine says:

July 18, 2014 at 1:17 am

I’m thinking this is more like the Raycom Sports Network weekly ACC sporting block than a full broadcast network, which is pretty good. Guess that means the Sinclair station in my town, WTVZ, is the home of all things ODU now. Not bad.


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