Last month, we told you about Sinclair Broadcast Group pulling the plug on American Sports Network after two years of operation. This week, SBG has announced plans to launch a new linear broadcast sports network, this time with Silver Chalice and 120 Sports as partners. In addition to offering college sports programming to broadcast stations and cable regional sports networks, it will offer online programming.
Sinclair went it alone with American Sports Network offering various college sports including baseball, basketball, football and hockey including the A-10, CAA, Conference USA, Hockey East and other leagues. But in March, it quietly shut ASN down.
Now, Sinclair will work with Silver Chalice’s online Campus Insiders and its college sports contracts as well as the over the top 120 Sports which doesn’t have live sports, but can offer its studio facilities.
The new version of ASN will be rebranded and offered to Sinclair’s digital broadcast channels across the country as well as to various cable networks. But while Sinclair will offer the infrastructure, what will be different is that Silver Chalice’s Campus Insiders and ASN will provide the live college sports while 120 Sports will provide the studio.
West Coast Conference
And while you won’t see the new ASN challenging ESPN’s grip on college sports, it could gain a small foothold with the four aforementioned conferences and potentially expand with more contracts.
Perhaps one huge difference in making this new channel work is the people behind the partners. Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner, is listed as Silver Chalice’s chairman so the company has some money behind it. And 120 Sports has highlight rights to MLB, NBA and the NHL plus plenty of studio programming to add.
So with this three-pronged approach, expect Campus Insiders to produce the games (and hopefully provide a better presentation than ASN), 120 Sports to produce the studio portion and Sinclair to offer the distribution. We’ll see if this can survive longer than American Sports Network.