Fox Unveils Regional Sports Report

Fox Sports Northwest will be the launch site this week for Fox Sports Net's ambitious 11 P.M. Regional Sports Report local news show, which it hopes will set the network apart from its competitors by providing more regionally based sports news and information.

Fox Sports Net will program two daily local news shows for 16 owned and affiliated regional sports networks, president Tracy Dolgin said. The 11 P.M. Regional Sports Report and 7 p.m. Sports Tonight shows will offer more in-depth coverage of the region's local teams than does Fox's broader National Sports Report.

Fox will debut the shows this week in its Northwest regional, with the rest of the regionals launching their versions later this month through July.

Regional Sports Report will originate from eight regional-news hubs, producing 16 different newscasts with some anchors handling limited dual-market responsibilities. Reporters stationed locally in all of the regions are the source for all team coverage and local sports news stories.

"This is one of the most ambitious projects any cable network has embarked on," Dolgin said. "The show, more than any other, defines for the consumer who we are as a network and the importance of the local teams."

Each local news show will draw information from the various regional sports networks to provide a local flavor to breaking news in the region, as well as to provide up-to-the-minute national news.

"Not only will a regional network be able to tap its local resources, but it will be able to call upon the resources of all of the regionals to provide national news, as well," he said.

Dolgin added that the shows would not conform to a format, allowing as much in-depth coverage of local events as possible.

The shows will bring consumers more local coverage of their favorite teams than is currently provided by the local broadcast stations, which only allot a few minutes out of their 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. newscasts for sports.

"For the local sports fan, Regional Sports Report fills a huge void in daily coverage of their hometown teams and the local sports scene," Fox Sports Net executive vice president of programming and production Arthur Smith said.

While Fox is committing millions of dollars toward the production and marketing of the local newscasts, Dolgin said operators would not have to pay any surcharges for the programs.

"We're spending more on the show than on any other Fox Sports Network show," he added. "The consumer will get more of what they want and what they care about most, which is local sports information, from their cable operator."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.