Frontier Launches Vantage Sports Network in Connecticut

Frontier Communications tonight adds a local sports channel to its Vantage TV lineup in Connecticut. Vantage Sports Network (channels 600 and 1600, in HD) will lead off at 10:30 p.m. with a 30-minute highlights show (Connecticut Sports Now) followed by a replay of a recent high-school football game between teams from Trumbull and Ridgefield, according to HAN Network, a content supplier to the new channel.

Programming will be overseen by Noah Finz, a former sports director at New Haven TV station WTNH, Frontier said. Statewide sports at the college and youth levels also will be on tap, aired live and on tape delay, the telco said. (For more colorm see this article.)

Frontier, based in Norwalk, bought the former AT&T telephone and U-verse video assets in Connecticut in 2014 and, this past March, rebranded the system as Vantage TV and is looking to take its Connecticut model to other markets, including via recent cable franchise applications in New York state. This will be the telco's first local sports network, it said.

Last month, Frontier held a casting call for student athletes to appear in promotional messages touting the new channel. Frontier has partnered with Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, which will host the network's studio and draw in students to participate and learn about sports broadcasting, according to HAN Network.

Local channels -- of the news and sports varieties -- are a staple of cable and telco-TV providers providing exclusive programming as a competitive differentiator. Charter Communications, for example, has more than a dozen local news channels around the country, acquired from Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks (and overseen by former MSG Networks executive Michael Bair). In the New York area, Cablevision Systems for several years carried the MSG Varsity local-sports network, now an online video hub branded News 12 Varsity with exclusive content for Optimum broadband customers.   

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.