BETHPAGE, NY — Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC), today announced that it has closed on an agreement to acquire SportsChannel Florida from Front Row Communications, Inc., of Fort Lauderdale. Under terms of the agreement, Rainbow has acquired Front Row Communications’ controlling 70 percent interest in SportsChannel Florida. Rainbow previously owned the remaining 30 percent share of the regional sports network.
Rainbow, a pioneer of regional sports television, owns and manages seven regional sports networks in six of the nation’s largest markets. Rainbow also owns 50 percent of FOX Sports Net, the first truly national, regional and local supplier of sports programming which reaches more than 68 million homes nationwide.
“Innovation in regional programming, whether it’s sports, news, entertainment or information, is a central focus for Rainbow. In combination with the incredible potential offered by the advent of digital technology, the acquisition of SportsChannel Florida extends our local reach and provides new opportunities to significantly expand our business,” said Hank Ratner, Rainbow’s chief operating officer.
Andrea Greenberg, executive vice president, Rainbow Sports, said: “Rainbow has a long history of commitment to regional programming. We launched SportsChannel Florida more than 10 years ago, well before the Florida market grew into the professional sports powerhouse it is today. We’re thrilled to bring SportsChannel Florida back into the fold as a full-fledged member of Rainbow’s family of regional sports networks in Chicago, New England, New York, Ohio, and San Francisco.”
SportsChannel Florida delivers live professional and collegiate sporting events to more than 3.5 million cable television and satellite customers throughout the State of Florida. The exclusive cable home of Major League Baseball’s Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, the network also features comprehensive coverage of collegiate and high school athletics, hometown action from the University of Miami Hurricanes, University of North Florida Ospreys and University of South Florida Bulls, and live coverage of the state championship games of the Florida High School Activities Association.
“Rainbow has an unparalleled track record of success in the regional sports business,” said Rod Mickler, vice president and general manager, SportsChannel Florida. “We have a mutual belief that sports fans root for and watch their hometown teams with incredible passion. As part of the Rainbow family, we’ll continue to provide viewers with the highest quality coverage of the entire Florida sports scene.”
Rainbow Sports, a division of Cablevision’s Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc., is dedicated to “Home Team” fans. Rainbow Sports incorporates all of Rainbow’s sports assets, including the Madison Square Garden Properties, its 50 percent ownership of FOX Sports Net and FOX Sports National Advertising, and the ownership and management of seven regional sports networks in six of the nation’s largest markets — Chicago, Florida, New England, New York, Ohio and San Francisco. The acquisition of SportsChannel Florida was conducted through Regional Programming Partners, a partnership owned 60% by Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc., and 40% by FOX Entertainment. Rainbow will manage the operation of SportsChannel Florida.
For 20 years, Rainbow has been delivering high-quality sports, entertainment and news to millions of subscribers. Rainbow manages American Movie Classics, Romance Classics, Bravo, The Independent Film Channel, MuchMusic, Rainbow Sports, News 12 Networks, and The MetroChannels, as well as Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation and Rainbow Network Communications. Rainbow owns a majority stake in Madison Square Garden Properties which includes the Madison Square Garden Arena complex, the Knicks and the Rangers professional sports teams, the MSG television network, and, most recently, Radio City Entertainment and a long-term lease on Radio City Music Hall.
Rod Mickler/Michelle Freeman