Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sharks' TV broadcaster is now Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

For the second time in less than a month, one of the FOX Sports Net affiliates by name has gone bye bye.

First, we saw FSN New England rebrand itself as Comcast SportsNet New England on October 1, 2007 as the Boston Celtics' primary television broadcaster. Then FSN New York became MSG+ on March 10th.

And now, the San Jose Sharks will be shown on a network with a new name. It will no longer be called FSN Bay Area.

When the Sharks joined the National Hockey League for the start of the 1991-1992 season, their cable television broadcaster was SportsChannel Pacific. Feels like a long time ago, doesn't it? Then right along with a number of other regional sports networks, it became a part of the FOX Sports Net family on January 28, 1998.

A new era begins for this network as of March 31st when the Sharks' television broadcaster will be Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Unlike in Chicago where the launch of their CSN channel on October 1, 2004 spelt the end of FSN Chicago in 2006, the San Francisco Bay Area's primary sports regional network with Comcast Corporation (the top cable company in the United States) owning a 45% stake only decided re-named itself.

John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News reports today that CSN Bay Area would broadcast their first game with the 2008 San Francisco Giants season opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants own a 20% stake in the regional sports network.

The Sharks' first cablecast on CSN Bay Area will be the next day with an April 1st home game against the Los Angeles Kings, the front end of a home-and-home set with their Pacific Division rival on consecutive nights. With the Golden State Warriors' broadcast of their road game in San Antonio set to begin at 6:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time, the Sharks game will be on CSN Bay Area+ instead.

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area becomes the 10th regional sports network in operation by Comcast.

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