Nationwide (via satellite)
|Network||NBC Sports Regional Networks|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||NBC Sports Group (80%)|
Boston Celtics (20%)
|Sister channels||New England Cable News|
|Launched||November 6, 1981|
|Former names||PRISM New England (1981–1983)|
SportsChannel New England (1983–1998)
Fox Sports New England (1998–1999)
Fox Sports Net New England (1999–2004)
FSN New England (2004–2007)
Comcast SportsNet New England (2007–2017)
NBC Sports Boston is an American regional sports network owned by the NBC Sports Group unit of NBCUniversal, and operates as an affiliate of NBC Sports Regional Networks. The channel broadcasts regional coverage of professional sports events throughout New England with a major focus on Boston area teams, as well as several original analysis, magazine and entertainment programs. It is available on cable providers throughout Massachusetts, eastern and central Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island; it is also available nationwide on satellite via DirecTV.
NBC Sports Boston, along with NBC owned and operated WBTS-CD (channel 15), Telemundo O&O WNEU (channel 60), and New England Cable News (NECN), are all based at the NBCU Boston Media Center on B Street in Needham.
NBC Sports Boston originally launched on November 6, 1981 as PRISM New England. A spin-off of the Philadelphia-based film and sports-oriented premium service PRISM, it was founded by that channel's parent company, Spectacor. Along with carrying entertainment programming, the network also served as the cable television home for the NHL's Hartford Whalers and the NBA's Boston Celtics, as well as various college sports teams.
In late 1982, Spectacor sold PRISM New England to Cablevision Systems Corporation. On January 1, 1983, the network was rebranded as SportsChannel New England, becoming the second network of what would become the SportsChannel group (after SportsChannel New York). In addition, to the Celtics and Whalers, Cablevision added select New York area sports telecasts to the network which were produced by SportsChannel New York.
On June 30, 1997, News Corporation and Liberty Media – which had created a new group of regional sports networks, branded as Fox Sports Net, in November 1996, through News Corporation's partial acquisition of the Liberty-owned Prime Network – purchased a 40% interest in Cablevision's sports properties including the SportsChannel networks (as part of a deal that included partial ownership of Madison Square Garden and its NBA and NHL team tenants, the New York Knicks and New York Rangers). Cablevision, News Corporation and Liberty Media formed the venture National Sports Partners to run the owned-and-operated regional networks.
As part of a gradual rebranding of most of the SportsChannel networks that began that month (the lone exception being SportsChannel Florida, which did not become an owned-and-operated outlet until 2000), SportsChannel New England officially rebranding as Fox Sports New England on January 28, 1998. That month, MediaOne acquired a 50% interest in the network. However, despite the new name, it did not become an FSN affiliate at that time. The competing New England Sports Network had been an affiliate of FSN since it launched and still had two years left in its affiliation agreement, blocking Fox Sports New England from actually carrying any FSN programming. While Fox had hoped to negotiate an early termination of this agreement, this did not happen. Instead Fox Sports New England did not become an FSN affiliate until January 1, 2000. Later that year, the channel was rebranded as Fox Sports Net New England, as part of a collective brand modification of the FSN networks under the "Fox Sports Net" banner. That year, AT&T Corp. bought MediaOne, including its stake in the network; in January 2001, AT&T proposed to sell the stake, along with its interest in seven other cable networks, in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. Comcast acquired the stake in November 2002 as part of its merger with AT&T Broadband.
The network's name was shortened to FSN New England in 2004, through the de-emphasis of the "Fox Sports Net" brand by the regional networks. In later years, the network carried selected New York Mets games in parts of Connecticut that were not served by MSG or FSN New York (now MSG Plus), which then produced the games.
In February 2005, Cablevision acquired News Corporation's interest in FSN New England, FSN New York, and FSN Chicago in a trade deal in which Fox sold its interest in Madison Square Garden and the arena's NBA and NHL team tenants in exchange for acquiring sole ownership of FSN Florida, FSN Ohio, and FSN's national programming and advertising division. Comcast retained its 50% stake in FSN New England, at the time, analysts speculated that Comcast would eventually acquire full control of the network for integration into its Comcast SportsNet group of regional sports networks.
On April 30, 2007, Comcast announced that it would purchase Cablevision's stakes in FSN New England and FSN Bay Area from Cablevision, giving it full ownership of FSN New England. The network was rebranded as Comcast SportsNet New England on October 1, 2007. CSN New England, along with the other Comcast SportsNet-branded networks, was revamped with a new logo and graphics package (similar to that first used by sister network Comcast SportsNet Bay Area after it dropped the FSN brand) in August 2008.
With Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011, Comcast SportsNet was also integrated into the new NBC Sports Group, culminating with the addition of the peacock logo and an updated graphics package to mirror that of its parent network. That year, the network reached an extension of their rights deal with the Boston Celtics that saw the team acquire a 20% equity stake in Comcast SportsNet New England. On August 6, 2014, satellite provider Dish Network dropped Comcast SportsNet New England in a dispute over a proposed increase in retransmission consent fees during carriage agreement negotiations.
Comcast rebranded the network as NBC Sports Boston on October 2, 2017, as part of a larger rebranding of the Comcast SportsNet networks under the NBC Sports brand.
NBC Sports Boston holds the regional cable television rights to the NBA's Boston Celtics (the only remaining sports property that has aired its games on the network since its launch in 1981), the New England Free Jacks of the Major League Rugby, the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse and the Maine Celtics of the NBA G League (which have aired its games on the network since the team's formation in 2011).
Until 2012, Comcast SportsNet New England also carried programming distributed nationally by Fox Sports Networks in lieu of a regional FSN affiliate. This includes access to a variety of college sports, notably Pac-12 Conference basketball games on various nights, as well as Saturday telecasts of football games from the Pac-12 and Big 12 Conferences during their respective seasons. The channel also aired studio shows produced by Fox Sports Networks (such as The Best Damn Sports Show Period and FSN Final Score), prior to the premiere of the network's own sports news program, SportsNet Central, in December 2009. Comcast SportsNet New England, along with four other CSN networks, dropped FSN programming on August 1, 2012, after the NBC Sports Group could not reach a deal to continue carrying FSN programming.
The network formerly carried games from the NHL's Hartford Whalers from its launch in 1981 until the team's relocation to North Carolina (as the Carolina Hurricanes) in 1997. The network also served as the television home of the Boston Breakers of the United States Football League, broadcasting the team's games that were not nationally televised by ABC or ESPN for one season in 1983. The network also carried select Hartford Wolf Pack games from 1997 to 2006.
The network formerly aired games for the New England Revolution first in the 2000's and became its exclusive television provider in 2010 until the pandemic shortened 2020 season when the Revolution moved it's brodcats in Boston on both CBS Affiliate WBZ-TV on select games and MyNetworkTV Affiliate WSBK-TV on most games. For people in Rhode Island they will be offered by also MyNetworkTV WPRI-TV.
NBC Sports Boston HD is a high definition simulcast feed of NBC Sports Boston, which transmits in the 1080i resolution format. The simulcast feed broadcasts live Boston Celtics games, studio shows and original programming in high definition.
In January 1998, Media One, Inc. purchased a 50% interest in Fox Sports New England for approximately $19 million.