Denver Sports/Entertainment Net Sets Fall Launch


As expected, Denver-area operators will have a new regional sports network to ponder this fall as the owners of the area’s local National Basketball Association and National Hockey League teams announced plans Monday for a stand-alone service.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises LLC, owner of hockey’s Colorado Avalanche and basketball’s Denver Nuggets, will seek basic-cable distribution for its as-yet-unnamed network, which is also expected to offer games from the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth.

Avalanche and Nuggets games are currently on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain, but those agreements expire and the end of the 2003-04 season.

The service will compete with FSN Rocky Mountain for the area’s approximately 2 million viewers, although it's unclear how much the service will cost operators. FSN executives could not be reached for comment at press time.

Former FSN executive Jim Martin will head the network. He said that along with local sports programming, the service will also offer public-affairs and entertainment-based programming.

Kroenke Sports also owns the Denver-based Paramount Theater and Universal Lending Pavilion, both of which showcase music and theatre events that could air on the network.

"We would look to, over time, make it more than just a sports network," Martin said.

The new network has also found a network-operations-center home.

Crown Media International’s NOC will be the new service’s playback and uplink-services provider under a deal announced Monday.

Crown’s NOC is also the service provider for the company’s Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.