Fox Sports Wisconsin
Fox Sports Wisconsin is an American regional sports network that is owned by The Walt Disney Company, and operates as an affiliate of Fox Sports Networks. Operating as the "Wisconsin" sub-feed of Fox Sports North until 2007, the channel broadcasts regional coverage of sports events throughout the state of Wisconsin, with a focus on professional sports teams based in Milwaukee. It primarily operates from a studio/office facility in downtown Milwaukee, with secondary offices and production studio/office hub based in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
|Fox Sports Wisconsin|
|Launched||April 1, 2007|
|Network||Fox Sports Networks|
|Owned by||The Walt Disney Company|
(sale pending to Sinclair Broadcast Group)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)|
Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Nationwide (via satellite)
|Formerly called||Wisconsin Sports Network (1996–1998)|
Midwest Sports Channel, Wisconsin feed (1998–2001)
FSN North (2001–2007)
FSN Wisconsin (2007–2012)
(some events may air on overflow feed Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus due to event conflicts)
|DirecTV||669 Fox Sports Wisconsin (SD/HD)|
669-1 Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus (SD/HD)
|Dish Network||448 Fox Sports Wisconsin (SD/HD)|
447 Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus (SD)
9517 Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus (HD)
|Fox Sports Wisconsin:|
Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus:
|Available on most cable systems in designated broadcast area||Consult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability|
|AT&T U-verse||Fox Sports Wisconsin:|
Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus:
|Fox Sports Go||www.foxsportsgo.com/|
(U.S. cable internet subscribers only; requires login from participating providers to stream content; some events may not be available due to league rights restrictions)
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
Fox Sports Wisconsin is available on cable providers throughout Wisconsin, extreme eastern Minnesota, the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northwestern Illinois, and Iowa; it is also available nationwide on satellite via DirecTV.
Fox Sports Wisconsin broadcasts 2,600 hours of locally produced programming per year and reaches more than 1.7 million homes.
The first regional sports network in the state was the Wisconsin Sports Network (unrelated to the current-day high school-focused sports publishing operation), a gametime-only network that broadcast Milwaukee Brewers baseball and Milwaukee Bucks basketball games. The channel was owned by Time Warner Cable's Milwaukee franchise and Group W. In 1996, it was taken over by the Minneapolis-based Midwest Sports Channel, which was owned by CBS owned-and-operated station WCCO-TV (channel 4) in Minneapolis and CBS Cable (which was formed following CBS' 1995 merger with Group W's corporate parent Westinghouse). Shortly afterward, MSC became an affiliate of the fledgling Fox Sports Net in the fall of 1996.
From then on until 2007, Wisconsin was served by one of three regional subfeeds of MSC/FSN North; the other two being a feed for the Twin Cities metropolitan area and a feed for the rest of Minnesota (as well as Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota). CBS sold the network to News Corporation in 2000, ultimately rebranding as FSN North in April 2001. Despite being well out of the station's market area, MSC's late night encore of WCCO's 10:00 p.m. newscast also aired on the Wisconsin network until the Fox purchase. The network then began maintaining offices at the studios of Fox owned-and-operated station WITI (channel 6, now an affiliate of the network) in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, along with sharing limited programming with that station.
FSN North converted the Wisconsin feed into a separate channel, FSN Wisconsin. The channel launched on April 1, 2007, coinciding with the start of the 2007 Milwaukee Brewers season, originating from facilities in Milwaukee. After Fox Television Stations sold WITI to Local TV in 2008, FSN Wisconsin relocated its operations to facilities in downtown Milwaukee. As part of the national rebranding of the Fox Sports Networks in 2012, FSN Wisconsin was rebranded as Fox Sports Wisconsin.
On December 14, 2017, as part of a merger between both companies, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to acquire all 22 regional Fox Sports networks from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Sports Wisconsin. However, on June 27, 2018, the Justice Department ordered their divestment under antitrust grounds, citing Disney's ownership of ESPN. On May 3, 2019, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios (through their joint venture, Diamond Holdings) bought Fox Sports Networks from The Walt Disney Company for $10.6 billion. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. The deal will also place Fox Sports Wisconsin in common ownership with Sinclair stations WLUK-TV and WCWF in Green Bay.
Fox Sports Wisconsin holds the regional cable television rights to Major League Baseball games from the Milwaukee Brewers, NBA games from the Milwaukee Bucks (whose telecasts became exclusive to the network starting with the 2007–08 season) and since 2000, simulcasts most of the NHL games from the Minnesota Wild televised by Fox Sports North (usually through Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus), as well as pre-game, post-game and fan shows for all three teams. In 2018, simulcasts of Major League Soccer's Minnesota United FC matches were added to Fox Sports Wisconsin after Fox Sports North assumed that team's rights.
The channel also carries high school sports competitions sanctioned by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) (the girls' and boys' state tournament final rights are held by Quincy Media and a statewide network of broadcast stations, though Fox Sports Wisconsin is allowed to carry replays of the tournament), weekend outdoor sports programming, and many of national programs distributed by Fox Sports. It also airs NCAA competitions from the Big East Conference, Big Ten Conference and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and a limited schedule of Marquette men's games through a sub-licensing deal with sister network Fox Sports 1 in which some games not of national interest are distributed to their regional sports network partners, CBS Sports Network and the ESPN family of networks as part of the "new" Big East's television contract (Fox Sports Wisconsin acquired the partial rights to Marquette sports events from Time Warner Cable Sports (the now-defunct Spectrum Sports), a regional network available only on Time Warner systems in eastern Wisconsin, which had been carrying the games since 2006 until 2013).
From 2007 to 2011, Fox Sports Wisconsin sub-licensed a package of fifteen Milwaukee Brewers games for broadcast on Milwaukee independent station WMLW-CA (channel 41, now Me-TV owned-and-operated station WBME-CD); the Fox Sports-produced broadcasts aired outside of the Milwaukee market on Fox Sports Wisconsin, while WMLW owner Weigel Broadcasting sold advertising for those telecasts. The deal was discontinued after the 2011 season due to the Brewers wanting a schedule of games entirely in high definition (until a move of WMLW's schedule to a full-power signal in August 2012, this was impossible for them to do, along with multiplexing limitations) and the launch of a secondary feed allowing live coverage of both Brewers and Bucks games, making the team exclusive to the network.
Team and conference coverageEdit
- Wisconsin Badgers (via Fox/Big Ten Conference-owned Big Ten Network; BTN game rebroadcasts and coaches shows only)
- Big East, Big 12 and Pac-12 football and basketball (through Fox Sports 1 and ESPN Plus)
- Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball (limited schedule via sublicensing by Fox Sports 1, holder of Big East Conference television rights)
- WCHA Hockey.
- NCAA Division III athletics
- High school athletics
Fox Sports Wisconsin HDEdit
Fox Sports Wisconsin HD is a 720p high definition simulcast feed of Fox Sports Wisconsin. All Bucks and Brewers games are broadcast in HD, as well as sports and magazine programs distributed nationally by FSN. Depending on the market, Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus is also transmitted in high definition. Since 2012, the HD feed has been downscaled in letterbox on the channel's standard definition feed, as had become standard for all of Fox's cable networks.
Fox Sports Wisconsin PlusEdit
Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus is an overflow feed that launched on April 9, 2012, and is available in both high definition and standard definition on most cable and satellite providers. The channel is mainly used to allow the network to air games that cannot air on Fox Sports Wisconsin due to events with conflicting scheduling – for example, when a Brewers game airs on Fox Sports Wisconsin, a Milwaukee Bucks game scheduled to start during the duration of the game is carried over Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus (this example often occurs from March to April (or as late as June), when the NBA and Major League Baseball (MLB) seasons overlap, although the reverse situation may occur whenever the Bucks are involved in a pre-Conference Final playoff game). It also carries national college sports rights Fox holds such as the lower-interest Big 12 Conference matchups which would usually be pre-empted locally, and are of spare interest to Wisconsin viewers.
Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus also airs Minnesota Wild hockey games simulcast from Fox Sports North that can be shown in-market when Fox Sports Wisconsin is airing a game of local interest. Due to blackout restrictions imposed by MLB and the NBA, Minnesota Twins and Timberwolves games are not broadcast on Fox Sports Wisconsin, although games from both teams are cleared to air via Fox Sports North in parts of Wisconsin. Some systems carry the Plus channel on a full-time basis, while others carry it only for game telecasts; non-game Plus programming contains a loop of national Fox Sports Networks programming such as the World Poker Tour.
Milwaukee Bucks telecastsEdit
- Jim Paschke – play-by-play announcer (primary announcer)
- Marques Johnson - color analyst
- Craig Coshun – Bucks Live host
- Jeff Grayson – Bucks Live host (mostly for road games)
- Steve Novak – Bucks Live analyst
- Katie George – field reporter
Milwaukee Brewers telecastsEdit
- Brian Anderson – play-by-play announcer
- Matt Lepay - play-by-play announcer (substitute announcer)
- Bill Schroeder – color analyst
- Craig Coshun – Brewers Live host, and field reporter
- Dario Melendez – Brewers Live host (mostly for road games)
- Jerry Augustine – Brewers Live analyst
- Telly Hughes – field reporter
- Sophia Minnaert – field reporter
Wisconsin Badgers telecastsEdit
- Matt Lepay – host of syndicated Badger Sports Report, for Wisconsin Badgers athletics
- Littleton, Cynthia (June 27, 2018). "Justice Department Approves Disney's Acquisition of 21st Century Fox With Divestiture of Regional Sports Networks". Variety. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
- "Milwaukee Bucks post highest rating ever on FOX Sports Wisconsin". Fox News. 19 April 2017.
- Littleton, Cynthia. "Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner". Variety. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
- Rich Kirchen (September 19, 2013). "Buzz Williams show, MU games exit Time Warner SportsChannel". The Business Journal of Milwaukee. American City Business Journals. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "HR for Brewers' viewers". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Journal Communications. February 15, 2007.
- "FS Wisconsin to Broadcast Milwaukee Brewers". Fox Sports Local. April 5, 2012.
- Tom Haudricourt (January 26, 2014). "Matt Lepay to join Brewers broadcast team". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Journal Communications. Retrieved January 26, 2014.