New England Sports Network
TypeRegional sports network
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNew England (except Fairfield County, CT)
Nationwide (via satellite)
HeadquartersWatertown, Massachusetts
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
2160p (4K UHD)
Ownership
OwnerFenway Sports Group (80%)
Delaware North (20%)
Sister channelsSportsNet Pittsburgh
History
LaunchedApril 4, 1984 (1984-04-04)
Links
Websitenesn.com
Availability
Terrestrial
DirecTV628
628-1 (NESN+)
Streaming media
NESN 360nesn.com/nesn360/
DirecTV StreamInternet Protocol television
FuboTVInternet Protocol television

New England Sports Network, popularly known as NESN /nɛs.ɛn/, is an American regional sports cable and satellite television network owned by a joint venture of Fenway Sports Group (which owns a controlling 80% interest, and is the owner of the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, and the Pittsburgh Penguins) and Delaware North (which owns the remaining 20% interest in the network as well as the Boston Bruins and TD Garden, home of the Bruins and the Boston Celtics). Headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts, the network is primarily carried on cable providers throughout New England (except in Fairfield County, Connecticut, which is part of the greater New York City media market). NESN is also distributed nationally on satellite providers DirecTV and as NESN National via select cable providers.

NESN is the primary broadcaster of the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins – serving as the exclusive home for all games that are not televised by a national network. NESN also carries minor league baseball games, regional college sports events, various outdoor and sports talk shows. The network has become synonymous with local sports in New England, and is considered a local institution.

History

NESN's logo from 1990 to 2019.

The New England Sports Network launched on April 4, 1984,[1] originally operating as a joint-venture of the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, and Storer Communications (the owner of WSBK-TV). The new service which featured 90 Red Sox and 40 Bruins games during its first year was sold as a premium channel with prices ranging from $7.50 to $10 per month. A number of these games were previously aired on WSBK.[2]

In 1996, NESN became the New England affiliate of Fox Sports Net (FSN), carrying the network's national sports and magazine programs; this lasted until 1999. In January 1998, then-FSN parent News Corporation acquired partial ownership of Cablevision-owned SportsChannel New England (and its sister networks), turning it into Fox Sports Net New England (now NBC Sports Boston). However, despite the name change Fox Sports New England was blocked from carrying any FSN programming due to NESN's existing affiliation agreement.[3] Fox had hoped to negotiate an early termination of that agreement, but had to wait until it expired on December 31, 1999.[4]

NESN converted into a basic cable service in 2001, a model that has since been copied by other companies through their respective launches of new regional sports networks as well as similar conversions (many of which predate NESN's transition) of those that began as pay services. Afterwards, until early 2006, NESN carried simulcasts of ESPNews during the afternoon and overnight hours. NESN has carried regional Atlantic Coast Conference college basketball games since Boston College joined the conference, including games distributed for national broadcast for and by Fox Sports Networks.

In September 2003, NESN began producing Red Sox games in high definition. In April 2006, NESN launched a full-time HD feed, after having re-located its operations from Fenway Park to a newly-built studio in Watertown with expanded production capabilities.[5][6]

In 2013, NESN (through Fenway Sports Group) placed a bid to acquire the New England Media Group from The New York Times Company, which would have placed it under the common ownership of The Boston Globe; Fenway dropped out of the bidding in July.[7][8]

On August 30, 2014, the network became a charter cable affiliate of the American Sports Network, a sports syndication service founded by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, with its first ASN broadcast being a college football game between the Old Dominion Monarchs and the Hampton Pirates.[9] NESN and NESN National also agreed to carry certain games from the inaugural season of the Fall Experimental Football League in October and November 2014.[10]

On June 1, 2022, NESN became the first U.S. regional sports network to offer its content on a direct-to-consumer basis.[11][12]

On February 24, 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery, owners of AT&T SportsNet, announced that it would leave the RSN business. This included AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, the broadcasting home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, which were purchased by FSG in late 2021. In August 2023, in a move predicted by sportswriters after the initial announcement,[13][14] the Penguins announced that they would acquire the channel and relaunch it as SportsNet Pittsburgh in October 2023, with NESN operating the channel as a sister network.[15]

Sports coverage

Boston Red Sox

NESN has provided coverage of the Boston Red Sox's Major League Baseball games since the network's initial spring training game broadcast upon its March 21, 1984, launch. NESN now carries full coverage of Red Sox games (with the exception of some games nationally broadcast on Fox and ESPN) as well as in-depth pre-game and post-game shows. For its first two decades, NESN split coverage with broadcast television stations in the team's market territory, with an increasing number of games moving to NESN. Since 2006, NESN is the exclusive home of all Red Sox games that are not nationally televised, using the slogan "One Nation, One Network" to signify this. In 2006, NESN became the first regional sports network to broadcast all Major League Baseball games in high definition (however, spring training games continued to be broadcast in standard definition until 2012), through the launch of its simulcast feed NESN HD.

On August 25, 2015, NESN announced that Don Orsillo, a Red Sox announcer since 2001, would not return following the 2015 season, and that his replacement would be Dave O'Brien, who had been a Red Sox Radio Network voice since 2007.[16][17] NESN's decision to replace Orsillo, a fan-favorite and Massachusetts native, was met with considerable outrage and disappointment by Red Sox fans.[18][19][20] Broadcast partner Jerry Remy was emotional following the announcement, calling the previous 15 years "an absolute pleasure [...] I've been very fortunate because I've worked with a lot of good people, and he's right at the top of the list."[21] Fox Sports San Diego subsequently announced that Orsillo had been hired as the new play-by-play voice of the San Diego Padres, succeeding Dick Enberg (who would be retiring after the 2016 season).[22]

For Red Sox game broadcasts, Dave O'Brien currently serves as play-by-play announcer, with Kevin Youkilis as his primary color commentator, and Jahmai Webster serving as the field reporter. Other former Red Sox players such as Lou Merloni, Will Middlebrooks, and Kevin Millar also contribute as color commentators.

In 2021, NESN produced all Red Sox home games in 4K with HDR, making it the second team (behind the Toronto Blue Jays and Sportsnet), and first U.S. team, to produce their home games in 4K.[23]

Post-game

Following each game telecast, NESN airs W.B. Mason's Extra Innings and Red Sox Final, in which Tom Caron and one or more of the studio analysts from the pre-game show deliver a wrap-up of that night's game from the studio. The team presents highlights and statistics from the preceding game and often have a team member of the Red Sox on hand to get their take on the game. This hour of coverage also focuses on the game to be played next on the preseason/seasonal game schedule, as well as news from the league. The post-game is usually not covered if the Red Sox play a game held on the west coast; NESN Sports Today immediately follows the game in those instances. Since 2006, NESN has broadcast the postgame show from its Watertown studios; it had previously been broadcast from its Fenway Park studio.[24]

College sports coverage

NESN was a former affiliate of the ACC on Regional Sports Networks package, which included football, men’s and women’s basketball, and Olympic sporting events from all 15 ACC schools, including Boston College locally. These games have since been moved to The CW as of 2023. Through the late 2010’s, the network served as an affiliate of Fox Sports Networks and the American Sports Network, giving it access to collegiate sports events from the AHA, American Athletic Conference, Atlantic 10, Big 12, Big East, CAA, Conference USA, ECAC, Pac-12, and Patriot League, among other conferences. Additional collegiate programming formerly carried by NESN includes Southern New Hampshire University athletics, UMass football, and the Coaches vs. Cancer annual basketball event held at TD Garden.[29][30]

Other sports events

NESN airs several minor league baseball games from the Worcester Red Sox (a AAA affiliate of the Red Sox) each season, as well as Futures at Fenway, a doubleheader featuring the WooSox and the Portland Sea Dogs. Tom Caron handles the play-by-play with Bob Montgomery as color commentator. Futures at Fenway hasn't been played in 10 years since 2014.

Since 2019, NESN has also aired a package of games involving the Cape Cod Baseball League. [31]

For many years, NESN has aired several minor professional ice hockey games from the Providence Bruins (an AHL affiliate of the Bruins).[citation needed]

From 2008 to 2014, NESN aired the New England Regional Little League Tournament each August. Coverage ended after ESPN acquired the rights to the entirety of the regional tournaments. [32]

From November 2015 to March 2023, NESN aired the home games of the Boston Pride of the National Women's Hockey League.

As of 2024, NESN became the official broadcast partner of the Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL).

NESN also airs various soccer and tennis matches.[citation needed]

Programming

Current

Former

On-air staff

Current on-air staff

Notable former on-air staff

Related services

NESN 360

NESN 360 (formerly NESNgo) is NESN's streaming platform, allowing NESN subscribers to stream live and video on demand content (including classic games and game replays) from the network. It first launched in May 2017.[38]

On June 1, 2022, NESNgo was relaunched as NESN 360, an over-the-top streaming platform allowing viewers to subscribe to NESN as a standalone service. The service made NESN the first U.S. regional sports network to offer its content on a direct-to-consumer basis. The service was priced at $29.99 per-month and $329.99 per-year, with the latter also including eight tickets to Red Sox games as a promotional offer. NESN 360 uses the same architecture previously used by NESNgo,[11][12] and remains available at no additional charge to those who subscribe to NESN through a traditional television provider. Due to regional rights restrictions, the service is only available to users in New England.[11]

NESN+

NESN+, also styled as NESNPlus, is a companion channel to NESN that operates mostly in the event that two sports events NESN has the rights to are subject to scheduling conflicts. Originally, Comcast systems in the region utilized New England Cable News or CN8 to carry the NESNPlus broadcasts, while other systems placed NESNPlus on an otherwise unused or local public access channel. DirecTV added NESNPlus in both standard definition and high definition on April 11, 2009.

Collegiate events, including Atlantic Coast Conference telecasts, Umass football and Hockey East telecasts, as well as NESN's coverage of the minor league Worcester Red Sox and NESN's coverage of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun are often moved to NESN+ in the event of a conflict with NESN's Red Sox or Bruins coverage.

NESN National

NESN National is a separate feed of NESN for cable systems located outside of New England. It carries alternate programming during Red Sox and Bruins games, but does air the network's pre-game and post-game shows. Launched in September 2010, Time Warner Cable became the first provider to carry the national feed, initially on its systems in North and South Carolina.[39] Bright House Networks added NESN National on its Michigan systems on November 1, 2010.[40] Verizon Fios added it in New Jersey in December of that year. NESN National differs from the regular feed of NESN that is available nationally on DirecTV in which Red Sox and/or Bruins games are viewable outside of New England with a subscription to MLB Extra Innings and/or NHL Center Ice.

NESN.com

NESN.com generally contains sportswriting, with a minimum of video content, compiling general Boston team and national sports news, along with other sections involving professional wrestling, mixed martial arts, automotive, fantasy sports and sports betting.[41] The site is affiliate with the Fox Sports website, and syndicates some content.[42]

The site's set up is in a focused manner that divides it into separate sections where different sports writers cover each scene. In this way, NESN reporters produce original content that develops in their field areas. Some reporters are full time exclusively to NESN.com while other stories are contributed by NESN reporters from other fields of NESN, such as broadcasting.

The content and construction of the articles themselves vary drastically. Some provide in-depth analysis of current events happening with Boston teams, while others provide quick updates with videos. A majority of the articles, however, are purely factual and present interviews with players and coaches. Some articles also focus on new trade rumors or free agent pick ups. The primary subscriber and reader of NESN.com is male.[43] NESN.com is the most recently added product that contributed to NESN being "the eighth-most valuable sports brand in the world in 2013."[44]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Regional sports on Satcom l -R" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine: 10. April 2, 1984. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  2. ^ "New TV contracts push baseball." (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine: 46. February 27, 1984. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  3. ^ "Fox Sports Networks Inc 1998 Annual Report S-K Item 405 10-K405". SEC.gov. UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION. March 31, 1999. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  4. ^ "Fox Sports Networks Inc 2000 Annual Report S-K Item 405 10-K405". SEC.gov. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION. September 28, 2000. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  5. ^ Anderson, Susan (July 1, 2006). "NESN hits a home run with its new HD facility". TVTechnology. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  6. ^ Geoff Poister (April 3, 2006). "NESN Goes All HD". TVTechnology. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  7. ^ Beth Healy (July 31, 2013). "Red Sox owner John Henry launches solo bid to buy Globe". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Evan Drellich (July 31, 2013). "Report: Red Sox owner John Henry wants to buy Boston Globe solo after group drops out". The Republican. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  9. ^ Harry Minium (August 27, 2014). "ODU's opener with Hampton to be televised in 66 markets". The Virginian-Pilot. Archived from the original on September 9, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  10. ^ "FXFL To Be Carried on ESPN3" (Press release). FXFL. PR Newswire. October 1, 2014. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014 – via NBC Right Now.
  11. ^ a b c Frankel, Daniel (June 1, 2022). "Red Sox Channel Becomes First RSN to Offer Standalone Streaming Service". NextTV. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  12. ^ a b "NESN becomes first U.S. RSN to launch full OTT service". Awful Announcing. June 1, 2022. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  13. ^ "Penguins, Pirates reportedly may find new TV home with Boston teams via Fenway Sports Group-owned NESN". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 28, 2023.
  14. ^ Kaplan, Daniel. "RSN armageddon? What fans can expect as likely Bally Sports bankruptcy looms". The Athletic. Retrieved August 28, 2023.
  15. ^ "Penguins Announce 'SportsNet Pittsburgh' as Regional Sports Network". NHL.com. Retrieved August 31, 2023.
  16. ^ Finn, Chad (August 25, 2015). "Don Orsillo will not return on Red Sox telecasts next season". The Boston Globe.
  17. ^ "Dave O'Brien Named NESN's Red Sox Play-By-Play Voice For 2016 Season". NESN.com. August 25, 2015.
  18. ^ Bonesteel, Matt. "Red Sox Nation outraged after team-owned TV network fires announcer Don Orsillo". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  19. ^ Sandomir, Richard (September 5, 2015). "Ouster of Don Orsillo, Beloved TV Announcer, Fuels a Red Sox Firestorm". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  20. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (August 31, 2015). "Don Orsillo makes his return to Fenway Park". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  21. ^ "Emotional Jerry Remy salutes fired Don Orsillo: 'I love him'". ESPN.com. August 26, 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2023.
  22. ^ Lin, Dennis (April 15, 2016). "Don Orsillo begins new chapter with Padres". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
  23. ^ Dachman, Jason (January 26, 2021). "NESN Keeps Its Eye on the 4K HDR Ball With Launch of New Studio". Sports Video Group. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  24. ^ [1] Archived November 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Hockey East Unveils 2023-24 NESN Schedule - Hockey East Association". hockeyeastonline.com. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  26. ^ "NESN+ to broadcast select men's and women's ice hockey games". Holy Cross Athletics. October 12, 2023. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  27. ^ "UMass Sports Insider Returns For 2023-24". University of Massachusetts Athletics. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  28. ^ "Huskies Release Men's And Women's Basketball NESN Slate". Northeastern University Athletics. November 25, 2023. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  29. ^ Cole, Mike (August 21, 2014). "Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader Returns To TD Garden; Tickets On Sale Friday". NESN.com. Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  30. ^ "SNHU Announces Expanded NESN Broadcast Package for 2016-17". Southern New Hampshire University. September 26, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  31. ^ "Cape League Returns to NESN in 2023". capecodbaseball.org.
  32. ^ "ESPN completes deal to lock up LLWS through '22". www.sportsbusinessjournal.com. August 26, 2013.
  33. ^ "NESN Shows". NESN.com. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  34. ^ "Dirty Water TV Archives". Dirty Water Media. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  35. ^ Chad Finn (March 19, 2010). "NESN is trying to solve a chemistry problem". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
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  37. ^ Chad Finn (November 5, 2010). "Signoff for NESN's Wright". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  38. ^ "NESN live streaming Boston Red Sox games now in-market per NESNgo". MassLive. May 23, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  39. ^ Kristi Dosh (September 9, 2010). "NESN Goes National". Forbes.
  40. ^ Mike Reynolds (November 1, 2010). "Bright House Bows NESN National In Michigan". Multichannel News. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  41. ^ "NESN.com". NESN.com. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
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  44. ^ "How NESN has changed in 30 years - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved March 29, 2018.