Northwest HD Sports Network Shuts Down

Hopes for regional HDTV cable sports networks took a hit with the abrupt closing Nov. 4 of Oregon's Action Sports Cable Network, just days before it hoped to carry games of the NBA Portland Trail Blazers in h-def.

The network, which was affiliated with the Blazers and emphasized area college sports, was never able to reach agreement with the local AT&T Broadband for carriage in the key market of Portland itself.

Since its inception in July 2001, ASCN has struggled with cable carriage and failed to reach viewers in Portland itself. It reached about 300,000 viewers on basic cable systems including Charter (which, like ASCN and the Blazers, is owned in part by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen). The network used its own 53-foot HD trailer for mobile production.

"Action Sports Cable Network has made the difficult decision to shut down it's [sic] regional sports channel and cease operations, effective immediately," ASCN Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Harry Hutt said in a message posted on the network's Web site. "Unfortunately, ASCN was never able to achieve sufficient distribution of it's [sic] product to allow it the remain in business [sic]."