New England Sports Network
NESN logo 2019.png
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)
Ownership
OwnerFenway Sports Group (80%)
Delaware North (20%)
History
LaunchedApril 4, 1984 (1984-04-04)
Links
Websitenesn.com
Availability
Streaming media
DirecTV Stream (New England)Internet Protocol Television
FuboTV (New England)Internet 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 Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club) and Delaware North (which owns the remaining 20% interest in the network, and owns the TD Garden, home of the Boston Bruins, which it also owns, 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.
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]

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.

For Red Sox game broadcasts, Dave O'Brien serves as the play-by-play announcer with Dennis Eckersley as his color commentator and Jahmai Webster serving as the field reporter.

On August 25, 2015, NESN announced that former announcer Don Orsillo would no longer call Red Sox games following the 2015 season. In 2016, he would be replaced by O'Brien, who has called games for the Red Sox Radio Network since 2007.[13][14] NESN's decision to replace Orsillo, a fan-favorite and Massachusetts native, was met with considerable outrage and disappointment by Red Sox fans.[15][16][17] 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).[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]

College sports coverage

NESN's Hockey East Friday Night showcases college hockey games from all ten Hockey East teams, including Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern University. In addition, NESN airs the Beanpot tournament, the Hockey East playoffs and the Hockey East championship game. Tom Caron primarily handles the play-by-play for college hockey coverage, with Craig Janney or Billy Jaffe serving as color analyst. Game coverage also includes analysis from John Chandler and Brendan Walsh. For the Beanpot, either Boston Red Sox announcer Don Orsillo or Tom Caron have traditionally handled the play-by-play in past years, with Boston Bruins announcer Andy Brickley handling color commentary.[21]

As of 2016, NESN is the regional home for all UMass Minutemen home football games. These games are produced and distributed by Eleven Sports.[22] In the 2016 season, American Sports Network produced the telecasts, called by Eric Frede (play-by-play) and Andy Gresh (color commentary). NESN aired all six home games in 2016, including one against an SEC opponent. This package was announced in conjunction with the Minutemen becoming an independent in football.[23]

Since 2014, the network has featured Southern New Hampshire University athletics, including baseball, softball, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's soccer, as a part of its regular programming lineup. Scott Sudikoff handles the play-by-play duties for the soccer matches. Dan Hannigan serves as the play-by-play announcer for the men's and women's basketball games. In addition, Jacob VanRyn serves as the color commentator for basketball and soccer and the anchor for baseball and softball.[24]

NESN also airs college football and basketball games from the ACC on Regional Sports Networks produced by Raycom Sports and Bally Sports South.

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.

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

Since 2008, NESN has aired the New England Regional Little League Tournament each August. Currently, Tom Caron and Adam Pellerin handle play-by-play duty for the tournament, while Bob Montgomery serves as the color commentator.

Since November 2015, NESN has aired the home games of the Boston Pride of the National Women's Hockey League.

NESN also airs various soccer and tennis matches.

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.[30]

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.[31] Bright House Networks added NESN National on its Michigan systems on November 1, 2010.[32] 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.[33] The site is affiliate with the Fox Sports website, and syndicates some content.[34]

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.[35] NESN.com is the most recently added product that contributed to NESN being "the eighth-most valuable sports brand in the world in 2013."[36]

NESN 4K

NESN Upgraded their studio to support 4K in 2021. On April 15th, 2022 NESN began Broadcasting a 4K feed to Verizon Fios users on Channel 1494 (only available in New England Market) . Also on April 20th, 2022 NESN began broadcasting a 4K feed to DirecTV subscribers. Per NESN website, FuboTV users will also be able to access live games in 4K . Please note events are subject to blackout rules.[37]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Regional sports on Satcom l -R" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine: 10. April 2, 1984. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  2. ^ "New TV contracts push baseball." (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine: 46. February 27, 1984. Retrieved 24 June 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 3 July 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 3 July 2021.
  5. ^ Anderson, Susan (2006-07-01). "NESN hits a home run with its new HD facility". TVTechnology. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  6. ^ Geoff Poister (2006-04-03). "NESN Goes All HD". TVTechnology. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  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. 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 (2022-06-01). "Red Sox Channel Becomes First RSN to Offer Standalone Streaming Service". NextTV. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  12. ^ a b "NESN becomes first U.S. RSN to launch full OTT service". Awful Announcing. 2022-06-01. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  13. ^ Finn, Chad (August 25, 2015). "Don Orsillo will not return on Red Sox telecasts next season". The Boston Globe.
  14. ^ "Dave O'Brien Named NESN's Red Sox Play-By-Play Voice For 2016 Season". NESN.com. August 25, 2015.
  15. ^ Bonesteel, Matt. "Red Sox Nation outraged after team-owned TV network fires announcer Don Orsillo". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  16. ^ Sandomir, Richard (2015-09-05). "Ouster of Don Orsillo, Beloved TV Announcer, Fuels a Red Sox Firestorm". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  17. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (August 31, 2015). "Don Orsillo makes his return to Fenway Park". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  18. ^ Lin, Dennis (15 Apr 2016). "Don Orsillo begins new chapter with Padres". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  19. ^ Dachman, Jason. "NESN Keeps Its Eye on the 4K HDR Ball With Launch of New Studio". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2021-01-29.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ [1] Archived November 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Gethin Coolbaugh (February 7, 2011). "Beanpot 2011, Boston University Vs. Boston College: Time, History, Results And More". SBNation. Vox Media.
  22. ^ "UMass football vs. Hawaii: What to know as Minutemen approach 2017 season-opener". MassLive.com. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  23. ^ "Six-Game Broadcast Package Set For 2016 Football Schedule". Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  24. ^ "SNHU Announces Expanded NESN Broadcast Package for 2016-17 - SNHU". www.snhupenmen.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  25. ^ "NESN Shows". NESN.com. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  26. ^ "Dirty Water TV Archives". Dirty Water Media. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  27. ^ Chad Finn (March 19, 2010). "NESN is trying to solve a chemistry problem". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  28. ^ "NESN, Bruins on Breakaway". Multichannel News. Reed Business Information. November 13, 2005. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  29. ^ Chad Finn (November 5, 2010). "Signoff for NESN's Wright". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  30. ^ "NESN live streaming Boston Red Sox games now in-market per NESNgo". MassLive. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  31. ^ Kristi Dosh (September 9, 2010). "NESN Goes National". Forbes.
  32. ^ Mike Reynolds (November 1, 2010). "Bright House Bows NESN National In Michigan". Multichannel News. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  33. ^ "NESN.com". NESN.com. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  34. ^ Dachman, Jason. "Fox Sports, NESN Partner Up on Digital Content". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  35. ^ "Nesn.com Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". www.alexa.com. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  36. ^ "How NESN has changed in 30 years - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  37. ^ 4K Press Release from NESN