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Fact Sheet: Sun Sports/FSN Florida

Sunday, December 9, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 10:16 PM, under , , ,

Athens, GA (Dec 9, 2007) - This is a fact sheet on Sunsports/FSN Florida as published by the network.

Launched in March 1988, Sun Sports (formerly known as Sunshine Network), a Fox owned and managed regional sports network, currently reaches over 6 million cable and satellite homes throughout the state of Florida and via satellite across the U.S. FSN Florida (launched in 1997 as SportsChannel Florida), another Fox owned and managed network, also serves the state of Florida via cable and satellite and is available in over 5 million homes. While they are unique and separate channels, both Sun Sports and FSN Florida are managed from headquarters in Florida.

Sun Sports and FSN Florida fill a unique niche in sports programming with a strong emphasis on local and regional teams/events. The networks are renowned for its local and regional approach, an approach that resonates across the area as Florida fans know they can tune to Sun Sports & FSN Florida for year-round coverage of their hometown teams and events. Each year hundreds of live telecasts are showcased on the two networks. FSN Florida also provides FSN's national programming to its Florida audiences such as "The Best Damn Sports Show Period," "CMI: The Chris Myers Interview," ACC basketball, Pac-10 and Big 12 football and basketball and much more.

In 2003, Sun Sports opened new Florida-based studios and began developing new original programming targeting Florida sports fans. Among the new Sun Sports series originating from the new studios are "Chevy Tailgate Weekend" college football shows, "Chevy Florida Fishing Report" and "Under The Lights." In addition, Sun Sports and FSN Florida showcase their team partners with original, award-winning series such as "Inside the HEAT," "Inside the Panthers," "Inside the Marlins," "Inside the Lightning," "Inside the Devil Rays" and many more team-related shows and events.

As an added bonus for sports fans in Florida, at present Sun Sports and FSN Florida are combining to offer local viewers over 170 pro games from their various team partners in stunning high definition. The two networks are working with cable and satellite providers statewide to expand these HD offerings in the future.

Regional Programming

The state of Florida is a sports mecca and Sun Sports & FSN Florida cover the gamut of sports activities with their wide selection of Florida-based professional, collegiate, amateur and special events programming.

The charter professional member of Sun Sports' programming properties is the NBA's Orlando Magic. 2007-2008 marks the 19th consecutive year Sun Sports has televised season-long Orlando Magic action to viewers in the Magic's NBA-designated territory of northern and central Florida. It also marks the first season of Magic basketball on FSN Florida with 35 games slated on FSN. Sun Sports/FSN Florida's expert announcing team includes David Steele, Matt Guokas, and host Paul Kennedy.

Sun Sports has been the regional television home of the Miami HEAT since 1993 with 70 games, plus available playoff games slated each season. In addition, Sun Sports originated a new series called INSIDE THE HEAT. Each episode of the acclaimed series goes behind-the-scenes profiling a player or coach and offering fans a unique perspective on their favorite HEAT personality both on and off-the-court. During the HEAT's 2005-06 NBA Championship run, Sun Sports was there with not only game coverage, but also special pre- and post-game shows, live and exclusive coverage of the championship parade, specials and insight from the network's HEAT telecast team of Eric Reid, Tony Fiorentino and Jason Jackson.

As the network of record for NHL Tampa Bay Lightning hockey since the team's inception in 1992, Sun Sports took fans on the exciting ride to the franchise's first Stanley Cup Championship in 2004. Sun Sports is the team's exclusive regional TV partner and as such provides fans with more coverage of the team than any other television outlet and with exclusive access not available to any other stations. 60 games air each season on Sun Sports along with "Lightning Ice Time" pre-game shows and various special presentations, such as the recent championship parade and celebration. After producing games in the first two rounds of the 2003-04 playoffs, the national networks took over game coverage, but Sunshine was still there front and center providing fans exclusive pre- and post-game coverage before and after every Lightning playoff game through the Finals. Sun Sports' Rick Peckham, Bobby "The Chief" Taylor and Paul Kennedy are with the team day-in and day-out all season and are able to provide unparalleled insight and analysis for the hometown fans. Sunshine also offers Lightning fans a unique series, INSIDE THE LIGHTNING which goes behind-the-scenes with Lightning players and coaches to offer fans a look at their careers as well as their lives off the ice. In 2006, Sun Sports' coverage of the Lightning was honored with a regional Emmy Award.

FSN Florida is exclusive regional television outlet for season-long coverage of the Florida Marlins (150 games) with Rich Waltz (play-by-play), Tommy Hutton (analyst) and Craig Minervini (host) providing the commentary. The games air statewide on FSN Florida (some on Sun Sports) and are complemented with live pre- and post-game coverage, enhanced offerings such as players/coaches wearing microphones during select games, innovative episodes of INSIDE THE MARLINS which give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite players and coaches, and much more.

FSN Florida is also the exclusive regional TV home to the NHL's Florida Panthers with 70 regular season game telecasts each season. Dave Strader (play-by-play), Denis Potvin (analyst) and Craig Minervini call the action. INSIDE THE PANTHERS offers fans a look at Panthers players and coaches off the ice as well, giving viewers insight into how their hometown team's players got their start in professional hockey.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are showcased 75 times each season on FSN Florida with Dewayne Staats (play-by-play), Joe Magrane (analyst) and Todd Kalas (host), Rays' broadcasters since the team's inception, providing the expert commentary. INSIDE THE DEVIL RAYS introduces fans to the players, coaches and front office personnel with new episodes each season.

On the collegiate level, Sun Sports & FSN Florida provide exclusive statewide coverage of the Florida State Seminoles in top-ranked football, basketball, baseball and other athletics action. FSU was the first team to sign an agreement with Sun Sports back in 1988 and has remained a partner of the network's each year since. Sun Sports goes beyond just game coverage with specials such as "Under the Lights: FSU Football," numerous specials on legendary Coach Bobby Bowden, coverage of women's sports and much more. As a national cable partner of the ACC, FSN provides FSN Florida viewers with extensive coverage of the Seminoles year-round with "ACC Sunday Night Hoops" and much more.

In 1996, Sun Sports announced a new multi-year rights agreement with the University of Florida, providing Gator fans statewide with more than 100 men's and women's athletic events and games (including football, basketball and baseball) per year. Included in the package is the "Breakfast with the Gators," a time period devoted exclusively to Gator programming each Sunday morning. When the Gators won the 2006 national championship in men's basketball, Sun Sports showcased its unique position as the network of record for the Gators with live coverage of the team's arrival home in Gainesville and the celebrations that followed. "Under the Lights: Urban Meyer" was produced by Sun Sports in 2006 and an episode on Billy Donovan in 2007.

Fans of other Florida-based colleges and universities can tune in to both Sun Sports and FSN Florida for games featuring Miami, UCF, Florida International, South Florida, Florida Atlantic, Stetson and more.

Sun Sports, and sister network FSN Florida, also have programming agreements directly with the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast conferences. These agreements provide Sun Sports and FSN Florida with a wide variety of sports programming including college football, basketball, baseball, tennis, track & field, soccer, golf and other events from SEC and ACC conference schools.

Much of Sun Sports' and FSN Florida's collegiate programming is also available to digital cable customers nationwide on the Fox College Sports digital cable package.

In 2003, Sun Sports introduced CHEVY TAILGATE WEEKEND, one of the network's most ambitious programming initiatives. Debuting from the network's new full-time studios, it includes, for the first time anywhere on television in Florida, live post-game coverage after every FSU and UF football game. So when the network airing the game live leaves, viewers can immediately switch to Sun Sports for live press conferences, player interviews and analysis from site. CHEVY TAILGATE WEEKEND also includes REC WAREHOUSE COLLEGE KICKOFF, a live Friday evening preview show focusing on gridiron action from the Sunshine State (replays Sat. mornings), TAILGATE OVERTIME PRESENTED BY BELLSOUTH, live each Monday evening, and live pre-game shows prior to key games, bowl specials and more. CHEVY TAILGATE WEEKEND is hosted by Whit Watson.

In 2004, Sun Sports introduced a new studio-based series that fans say they've been wanting for a long time. With thousands and thousands of fishing enthusiasts in Florida and miles and miles of coastline, what better than to develop a live television show targeted just for Florida anglers. The Emmy Award-winning CHEVY FLORIDA FISHING REPORT is just that - a 90-minute live television show featuring reports from expert guides in seven different regions across Florida. Viewers get live reports on where fish are biting, the weather conditions in each area, along with expert advice and analysis. Hosted by Sun Sports' Whit Watson and renowned angler and television host Capt. Rick Murphy, CHEVY FLORIDA FISHING REPORT is as entertaining as it is informative with interactive elements and features.

In 2004, Sun Sports introduced a new series, UNDER THE LIGHTS. The acclaimed series draws upon Sun Sports' longstanding television partnerships with many of the state's professional and collegiate teams providing viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at some of Florida's top sports stories and newsmakers away from the playing fields. Given unparalleled access by the schools, coaches and teams, the series allows viewers to witness preparations rarely seen by anyone outside the teams/programs. The network's cameras are at practices and team meetings, among other events, where viewers hear strategy and planning usually reserved for only the participants, plus segments from inside their homes, on campus and in the community. Sun Sports' coverage of Florida high school sports includes, through an agreement with the FHSAA, coverage of all FHSAA Championship events.

Additional programming on Sun Sports includes a wide variety of women's sports at both the collegiate and amateur levels, the network's popular GMC OUTDOORS programming block, GRIDIRON GREATS, NASCAR Classics, celebrity/charity golf and tennis tournaments, horse racing, water sports, soccer, volleyball, boxing, coaches shows and much more.

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