SBD/Issue 23/Sports Media

Cox Lands Hornets As Cornerstone For New RSN In Louisiana

Cox Communications announced last week the launch of its own regional sports net, Cox Sports Television (CST), which will serve LA, southern MS and AL, and the FL panhandle. The net will feature a package of 65 regular-season Hornets games and the first two rounds of Hornets playoff games. The net will also offer thirty-minute pregame and postgame shows, as well as magazine shows and documentaries about the Hornets. The net will also carry live collegiate sports (CST). Cox VP/Public & Government Affairs Steve Sawyer said that the cable operator "wanted to beat other regional networks — like Fox Sports — to the punch" in acquiring broadcast rights to the Hornets. Sawyer: "We could either pay someone else to carry the service that was going to be in our back yard, or we could get out of the box in carrying it." The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Andrew Grossman wrote that launching its own RSN "carries several advantages for Cox." Under federal law, Cox "does not have to sell the programming to satellite companies because Cox will distribute the service terrestrially rather than via satellite." Cox "also can control its costs because it does not have to worry about paying license fees to a third-party programmer like Fox." Sawyer declined to disclose the rights fee CST is paying the Hornets, but sources said that Fox "balked because it considered the price for the Hornets too hefty." Sawyer said CST will reach over 500,000 HHs upon launch (HOLLY. REPORTER, 10/14).

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