American Sports Network was created in 2014 by Sinclair Broadcast Group to air college sports and provide local sports coverage to certain areas across the country. It appears that Sinclair is pulling the plug on the network after three years. TV news website FTV Live first reported that staffers were informed that their roles were being cut and the network was ceasing operation.
Not only does ASN have contracts with several conferences, but it also provided local sports coverage to several Sinclair stations.
FTV Live said staffers were informed of the news today:
The staff at “American Sports” based at WPEC in West Palm Beach was called together to a mandatory staff meeting and told their roles were eliminated.
Sinclair will cease operations of the fledgiling sports operation at the end of the month resulting in many questions around the national subchannel as well as their local sports coverage on Sinclair stations. Newsroom, production and master control teams will all be impacted.
American Sports Network has contracts with the Atlantic Hockey, Atlantic 10, Big South, CAA, Conference USA, ECAC, Hockey East, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAC, NCHC, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, SoCon, Southland, Sun Belt, WAC and WCHA conferences. It also had rights to the Arizona Bowl. Just this week, it aired the first round of the A-10 Tournament. ASN also aired NCAA Division II football and basketball in 2016-17.
The operations were based in Florida and games were called off monitors at ASN’s headquarters in attempts to keep costs down. In addition, sports anchors did local sports for a number of Sinclair stations.
As for its college basketball, football and hockey contracts, FTV Live says it appears the over the top Campus Insiders network will take over coverage that ASN will leave behind. Campus Insiders already streams games with several of the leagues that ASN had deals.
For some of the leagues, American Sports Network gave them exposure to a broadcast television audience, but some of the production values were less than network quality.
Not only was ASN offered to Sinclair stations, but games were syndicated on other broadcast groups as well as various cable regional sports networks including Altitude, Comcast SportsNet, MASN and NESN.
Sinclair also owns Tennis Channel and Ring of Honor Wrestling.
It’s a sudden end for a network that in theory should have worked, but the execution and production didn’t quite catch on. The end of American Sports Network won’t leave the conferences in the dark, but it may leave several leagues scratching their proverbial heads.