BALTIMORE—Sinclair Broadcast Group announced today that it has launched the American Sports Network, a collegiate sports initiative to be broadcast on a number of Sinclair’s broadcast television stations, and has entered into comprehensive sports rights agreements with a number of NCAA Division I conferences including Conference USA, the Colonial Athletic Association, Big South Conference, Southern Conference, and Patriot League. The initiative will be led by Doron Gorshein, chief operating officer of Sinclair Networks, a division of Sinclair, who joined the company in January 2014. The announcement was made by David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair.
Under these agreements, Sinclair said it will premiere an extensive slate of live, local sporting events, including football, basketball, soccer, and other sports with the opening of this year’s college football season. The initial launch will include more than 50 universities and colleges.
These local, live, exclusive games will be broadcast in different regions of the country, including where the conferences are located. Sinclair’s broadcast stations will either be carrying the games and original content as part of the primary program line-up (generally on the company’s CW and MyNet affiliates) or as part of second channels (sub-channels of the primary station’s signal), complimented by access and distribution on digital platforms.
Subject, among other things, to successfully securing carriage agreements with distributors in the future, the company’s plans may include potential development of new cable networks and digital platforms focused on these new content initiatives. In addition, other television broadcasters have expressed an interest in distributing the games in their markets. Additional content and distribution elements will include programming that showcases the colleges, students, and student-athletes, focusing on their aspirations and achievements.
“Broadcasters serve and are closely connected to their communities, of which the colleges and universities are an integral part,” commented Sinclair Networks chief operating officer, Doron Gorshein. “We believe there is significant value and consumer appeal for live sporting events from these important institutions, and we can offer expanded distribution through our broadcast platforms, as well as on potential new platforms, deepening our connection to our communities. We’re proud to be working with the Conferences on this initiative, which combines compelling local sports and related content, with enhanced localism, diversity, and positive social purpose.”
“This is another example of our foray into the content creation business,” said David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair. “We have a history of producing large amounts of successful, first-run, original content through our local newscasts, high school sports presentations and Ring of Honor wrestling and have demonstrated our ability to brand content and build audience share. The launch of ASN will provide important and valuable content that is directed at serving our local communities, while improving the value of our CW and MyNet affiliates. We are confident in Doron’s ability to lead this endeavor, given his acumen in this arena.” .
Sinclair is a strategic new outlet for Conference USA programming,” C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “This alliance provides new and differentiated exposure, which will benefit our member institutions, athletic programs, students, alumni, and communities. We are excited about this new development to the media sector.” .
“Sinclair’s entry into the college sports market is important, particularly given their unique connection to local communities and ability to serve consumers in the CAA markets,” said Tom Yeager, commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association. “In addition, in conjunction with our Colonial Academic Alliance, Sinclair’s platforms can become outlets for important content about the achievements and public service of our students and student-athletes.” .
“Our new relationship with Sinclair provides opportunities to substantially enhance exposure for Big South Conference live sporting events in our communities,” said Kyle Kallander, commissioner of the Big South Conference. ”This is clearly a positive development for our college sports programs, our communities, and especially our student-athletes. Their stories of accomplishment, service, and leadership are compelling and inspire us on a daily basis.” .
“The relationship will provide the Southern Conference, its schools and student-athletes with enhanced exposure,” said Southern Conference commissioner, John Iamarino. “We are excited to share our sports programs and our stories about our country’s leaders in the making. The opportunity to develop unique content showcasing our student-athletes holds great potential to promote the Southern Conference, and contribute to local and national discourse. We look forward to helping to make this important new initiative a success.”
“Sinclair’s initiative is an exciting new development for the Patriot League and its member institutions,” commented Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich. “This initiative serves the Patriot League’s mission of excellence in academics and athletics, and allows us to showcase our schools and student-athletes across the country.”
Gorshein has extensive business development, legal, federal legislative and regulatory experience in the media sector. He founded The America Channel in 2003, a planned cable network, which acquired one of the largest NCAA Division I sports rights holdings in the nation, as well as distribution commitments. From 2005 to 2007, Gorshein was founder and CEO of Association of Independent Programming Networks, a trade association for 20 independent content companies, which advocated for competition in the media sector. From 2001 to 2003, he was vice president and general counsel at Speechworks International, Inc. Prior to that and from 1999, he was vice president and associate general counsel at EchoStar Communications/Dish Network. Commencing in the 1990’s he held senior positions at public companies in the software/tech sectors. He began his career at Turner Broadcasting System, where he was responsible for the business affairs of CNN International and its related services throughout most of the world. Gorshein received his Juris Doctor from Emory University and Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University.
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