Marney Gellner of Fox Sports North flew back Tuesday night from Twins spring training with her husband and two children, needing to wake up early the next morning for a Timberwolves game-day shootaround at the Target Center. This, as Gellner might say, is the glamorous part of her job. The bag and family were finally reunited Thursday. Gellner had just finished a stretch of shattering glass ceilings for FSN. Twice, in late December and early February, Gellner, 45, subbed for Timberwolves play-by-play voice Dave Benz as he tended to a family emergency, a rare case of a woman occupying an NBA play-by-play seat.
Over the course of the three years that followed, though, it gradually focused more on sports programming. It formally became a regional sports network in , when it was relaunched as the Midwest Sports Channel.
It was also the same year that the network would acquire rights to Twins broadcasts. The channel also served as an affiliate of SportsChannel America , filling much of its broadcast day with a mix of national programs and paid programming from the channel, and incorporated sports news tickers provided by the channel.
MSC was largely considered a premium channel until the early s, and did not even have full cable coverage in the Minneapolis—St. Paul metropolitan area until it was added by Continental Cablevision 's St. Paul system on its expanded basic cable lineup in The following year in , the channel lost the broadcast rights to the Minnesota North Stars which it had been airing since , as a result of the team's relocation to Dallas.
MSC expanded its lineup of professional sports events in , after it landed a television contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves to hold the regional cable rights to the team's games.
By this time, the channel became an affiliate of the Prime Network. The following year, the Wisconsin Sports Network a gametime-only network broadcasting Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks games , which had been owned by Time Warner Cable 's Milwaukee franchise and Group W whose corporate parent, Westinghouse , had just merged with CBS , was folded into MSC, giving the network a broader reach throughout the Midwest, in addition to the rights to the Brewers and Bucks contracts, and a sizeable stable of local outdoor programs.
News Corporation , which was a minority owner in the network and wanted to acquire the channel outright, attempted to block the deal, filing a lawsuit on July 21 to stop the sale of MSC and Home Team Sports. In , MSC acquired the television rights to the Minnesota Wild , an NHL expansion team which began play that year; the deal was struck by Fox in May shortly before the lawsuit against Comcast was filed as part of its plans to start a Minnesota-based regional sports network.
This culminated in the channel's official rebranding as Fox Sports Net North in April , coinciding with the start of that year's Minnesota Twins season and the opening of Miller Park as the home stadium of the Milwaukee Brewers; the new branding was heavily promoted on-air, on billboards and on bus advertisements.
One side effect to the rebranding were resulting reductions to the network's budget; Fox also let the contracts to some events expire, forcing the network to depend more on programming from FSN's national schedule such as the National Sports Report and You Gotta See This!
In October , Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad attempted to launch a competing regional sports network, to be named Victory Sports One , which would broadcast all Twins games as well as local college and high school sport events. The channel was also expected to carry a number of locally produced sports shows, the centerpiece of which would be Kent Hrbek Outdoors.
Victory Sports One launched in November , however the effort folded in May after six months due to financial and cable carriage issues; after VS1 ceased operations, Fox Sports Net North absorbed most of the channel's programming including the television rights to the Twins.
As a result, Fox Sports Net launched a new "local fans first" initiative, launching the daily regional news program Minnesota Sports Report and adding regular broadcasts of high school sport events.
In April , still lacking a local news program the now-defunct Minnesota Sports Report originated from Fox Sports Net's studios in Los Angeles ' Westwood district , FSN North launched FSN Live, a first-of-its-kind program serving as both a sports news show, and a pre-game and post-game analysis program for the channel's game broadcasts.
FSN Live is usually broadcast live and on-location from sports events televised by the channel, though it occasionally originates from the FSN North studios in Minneapolis.
Cloud State Huskies.