2008 CABLE SHOW: FSN Raises HD Game

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FSN is going to raise its HD game--significantly.

The owner and operator of 16 regional sports networks around the country said it will transition toward offering round-the-clock high-definition telecast in the first quarter of 2009. In the process, the FSN services will produce its entire slate of more than 3,000 Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and college football and basketball games in the enhanced format, up from some 1,700 in 2008.

The additional contests will make FSN, according to company officials, the leading provider of HD sports fare in the nation.

“This is the next step in the evolution of FSN’s commitment to being the leaders in HD sports production,” said FSN Networks president Randy Freer in a statement. “It’s one of the best ways we can serve the local sports fans throughout the country, and it also allows us to offer tremendous value to our team partners and distributors.”

Since debuting its HD telecasts nearly five years ago with some 200 games, FSN has essentially doubled its HD schedule every year, making its RSNs the largest providers of local HD events in America.

The sports programmer’s push to full-time HD in 2009 is being fueled by Fox Networks Group’s investment and construction of the nation’s largest and most technically state-of-the-art television transmissions center, Fox Network Center Houston. The 184,000-square-foot facility will be able to handle more signal traffic than any other similar facility, including as many as 40 live games in a single day.

FSN said the RSNs’ HD roll-out plans will be determined by a number of factors, including team telecast rights and distribution agreements.

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