Comcast SportsNet Chicago

Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Launched October 1, 2004 (2004-10-01)
Network Comcast SportsNet
Owned by NBC Sports Group (20%)
family of Joe Ricketts (20%)
Jerry Reinsdorf (20%/20% split between interests in Bulls and White Sox)
Rocky Wirtz (20%)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Illinois (except southern counties and counties within St. Louis metropolitan area)
northern Indiana
Kenosha County, Wisconsin
southwest Michigan
Nationwide (via satellite)
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Sister channel(s) Broadcast:
(some events may air on overflow feed Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus during event conflicts)
Dish Network 429 CSN Chicago (HD)
429 (SD)
CSN Chicago Plus
(SD channel varies; HD available for most games)
DirecTV 665 CSN Chicago (HD/SD)
665-1 CSN Chicago Plus (HD/SD)
665-2 CSN Chicago Plus Alt 2 (HD/SD)
Comcast Xfinity (Chicago area) CSN Chicago:
200 (HD)
Most of Chicago Land 37 outer markets varies (SD)
CSN Chicago Plus:
101 or CLTV slot (SD; live events only on Comcast)
285 (HD; outer markets)

201 (HD; full-time inner markets)CSN Chicago Plus 2:
varies (sd only;)
RCN Corporation (Chicago) CSN Chicago:
370 (SD)
685 (HD)
CSN Chicago Plus:
371 (SD)
576 (HD)CSN Chicago Plus 2:
varies (sd only;)
WOW! (Chicago) CSN Chicago:
65 or 38 (SD)
220 (HD)
CSN Chicago Plus:
97 or 15 (SD)
297 (HD)CSN Chicago Plus 2:
varies (sd only;)
Available on select other cable systems in designated broadcast area Consult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability
AT&T U-verse CSN Chicago:
741 (SD)
1741 (HD)
CSN Chicago Plus:
742 (SD)
1742 (HD)
CSN Chicago Plus 2:
varies (HD/SD)

Comcast SportsNet Chicago (sometimes abbreviated as CSN Chicago) is an American regional sports network that is owned by the NBC Sports Group unit of NBCUniversal (which owns 20%, and is itself owned by Comcast, the primary cable provider in the Chicago market), the family of Chicago Cubs owner J. Joseph Ricketts (who own 20%), Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf (who owns a 40% majority interest), and Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz (who owns 20%).

The channel broadcasts regional coverage of professional sports teams in the Chicago metropolitan area, as well as college sports events and original sports-related news, discussion and entertainment programming. CSN Chicago is available on cable and fiber optic television providers in most of Illinois, and throughout northern Indiana, Iowa, Kenosha County, Wisconsin and southwest Michigan and nationwide on satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network. The network maintains main studios and offices located at 350 North Orleans Street, inside the River North Point Center in the Near North Side area.


In November 2003, Jerry Reinsdorf, Bill Wirtz and the Tribune Company decided to end their cable television agreements for their respective teams, the Bulls, White Sox, Cubs and Blackhawks with FSN Chicago, stripping that network of broadcast rights to all of the professional sports teams in the Chicago area. All three team owners decided to enter into a partnership with Comcast to form a new regional sports network, to be named Comcast SportsNet Chicago, whose launch was formally announced on December 2.[1][2] CSN Chicago was created in order for the four teams to have editorial control over their broadcasts, although the network continued to share the rights to the Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks and Bulls with WGN-TV (channel 9; which is owned by Tribune) and (until 2014) WCIU-TV (channel 26).

Comcast SportsNet Chicago launched on October 1, 2004. At that time, with the loss of all four teams from its lineup, FSN Chicago was effectively left with only events from some minor local and semi-professional teams, national programming from Fox Sports Net, and Midwestern outdoors programs on its schedule; many cable and satellite providers in northeastern Illinois and northwest Indiana also chose to replace FSN Chicago with CSN Chicago upon its launch.

After Rainbow Media shut down FSN Chicago on June 23, 2006,[3] Comcast SportsNet Chicago acquired the regional cable television rights to broadcast sports events, discussion and entertainment programs intended for national distribution to the Fox Sports regional networks. The network subsequently relocated its operations into FSN Chicago's former studio facilities on Orleans Street (which Comcast SportsNet Chicago now also shares with the offices of the Chicago Sun-Times).

On April 2, 2007, the Tribune Company announced its intent to sell its shares in both Comcast SportsNet Chicago and the Chicago Cubs as part of the company's $8.2 billion purchase by real estate magnate Sam Zell.[4]

After inheriting the team from father Bill Wirtz upon his death in September 2007, new Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz decided to lift a longstanding ban on televised coverage of the team's home games (which the elder Wirtz imposed as a means to sustain ticket sales).[5] On March 30, 2008, the Blackhawks announced a broadcasting agreement, which renewed CSN Chicago's broadcast rights (with the network carrying the bulk of the games), while also splitting a share of the local broadcasts with WGN-TV effective with the 2008–09 season; all of the team's games (both home and away) would be televised in high definition (due to the NHL's broadcast contracts, including ironically one with eventual Comcast division NBCUniversal, WGN-TV was barred from carrying its share of Blackhawks telecasts on its former national superstation feed WGN America, although its game telecasts were available in Canada through the station's carriage as a superstation on domestic cable and satellite providers).[6]

Comcast Sports Net Chicago, along with the other Comcast SportsNet-branded networks, implemented a new network logo style (utilizing Comcast's then-universal corporate logo, similar to the current network-wide version augmented with the NBC peacock logo) and graphics package on October 1, 2008, coinciding with the fourth anniversary of the network's launch.

On January 5, 2009, the network premiered Monsters in the Morning, a weekday morning talk show hosted by former WSCR radio host Mike North and Comcast SportsNet Chicago reporter and former Chicago Bear Dan Jiggetts. The program was cancelled in January 2010, due to problems involving the show, including the program's main sponsor, the now-defunct online sports channel, being implicated in defrauding North, Jiggetts and others in a money laundering scheme in June 2009;[7] North subsequently became the host of Monsters and Money in the Morning, a short-lived program for CBS owned-and-operated station WBBM-TV (channel 2), which briefly replaced that station's morning newscast. On August 21, 2009, the Tribune Company sold its interests in the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25% of Comcast SportsNet to the family of TD Ameritrade founder J. Joseph Ricketts for $845 million.[8][9]

With Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal in February 2011, Comcast SportsNet was also integrated into the new NBC Sports Group unit, culminating with the addition of the peacock logo and an updated graphics package based on that introduced by NBC Sports for its NBC and national cable broadcasts in January 2013. The updated graphics were implemented on CSN's live game coverage and all studio shows, with the exception of SportsNet Central.

In September 2012, Comcast SportsNet Chicago and its sister Comcast SportsNet outlets ceased carrying Fox Sports Networks-supplied programming, after failing to reach an agreement to continue carrying FSN's nationally distributed programs.[10] SportsNet Central would ultimately implement a new on-air look of its own and on April 14, 2014, in conjunction with that change, the program switched to the updated graphics package introduced three years earlier.


Sports coverage

Through its majority ownership by the owners of each of the four teams, Comcast SportsNet Chicago holds the regional cable television rights to air a majority of games involving the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball clubs, the NBA's Chicago Bulls and the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. However, as Chicago is one of the scant few remaining U.S. markets whose baseball and basketball teams broadcast their games both over-the-air and on local cable, the network shares the broadcast rights to all four teams with WGN-TV, while both share the rights to the Cubs with ABC owned-and-operated station WLS-TV (channel 7) and MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station WPWR-TV (channel 50). The network also holds the broadcast rights to games involving the Chicago Fire S.C. of Major League Soccer. The channel had held the broadcast rights to games of the now-defunct Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League.

On April 13, 2010, CSN Chicago announced that it had signed a contract with Chicago Fire S.C. to broadcast at least eight of the franchise's matches for the 2010 season; on January 26, 2015, Comcast SportsNet Chicago signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Fire to become the team's exclusive local television broadcaster, after having carried its games the previous two years on WPWR-TV.[11]

The network also carries collegiate sports events including football games involving the Northern Illinois University Huskies and basketball games from the Illinois State University Redbirds. Prior to the termination of Comcast SportsNet's groupwide programming agreement with Fox Sports Networks, CSN Chicago additionally broadcast FSN's national programming following the shutdown of FSN Chicago, notably including the network's college sports coverage, such as Atlantic Coast Conference men's and women's basketball games (on Sundays), men's basketball games from the Pac-12 Conference (on various nights) and college football games from the Big 12 Conference and Pac-12 Conference (on Saturdays during the fall).

Beginning in 2016, CSN Chicago obtained the exclusive rights to championship games for the Iowa High School Athletic Association in football, basketball and wrestling, replacing the previous model of a statewide network in Iowa consisting of local affiliates.[12]

Other programming

Comcast SportsNet Chicago's flagship program is SportsNet Central, a nightly sports news program featuring live reports and coverage on the Chicago area's major sports teams as well as game highlights from local and national teams; the program also features special regular segments such as "Luke-A-Likes" (a popular segment hosted by Luke Stuckmeyer on nights when he hosts the program, a viewer-voting segment featuring photos submitted by viewers claiming to resemble a particular sports figure) and the "Chicago Sports Trivia Question" (a bumper segment shown before and after a commercial break featuring trivia questions related to Chicago sports).

The network also carries team magazine and coaches shows focusing on the Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox, as well as the Northern Illinois University and Illinois State University football and basketball teams.

CSN Chicago Sports Awards

Since the network launched in 2004, Comcast SportsNet Chicago has hosted the CSN Chicago Sports Awards, an annual award show to raise money for the March of Dimes (this program dates back to 1987, when the children's charity started the benefit in partnership with SportsChannel Chicago, the later FSN Chicago). The honorees included top athletes from Chicago's professional sports teams, who were chosen based on their contributions to their teams and the Chicago community. To date, the "CSN Chicago Sports Awards" has raised over $6 million for the March of Dimes.

CSN Chicago Staff

On-air talent and journalists

Digital Insiders

CSN Chicago Broadcasting

Chicago Bulls

Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Cubs

Chicago White Sox

Chicago Bears

Chicago Fire

Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus

Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus is an overflow feed of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which is primarily used to alleviate scheduling conflicts that result when two sports events involving teams that the network holds the right to broadcast are scheduled to occur simultaneously. The network operates a secondary overflow, Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus 2 or in the past listed as Alternate on the csn website, if three concurring sporting events are scheduled for the same time. Both networks have also sometimes been used to show locally produced and FSN-distributed college sports events. CSN Chicago Plus' HD simulcast feed was previously used as a help channel (old MOJO HD before it closed) (an information channel providing instructional information on products offered by the provider) on Comcast systems when no sports events were being telecast; it now carries programming originally broadcast on the main CSN Chicago network outside of sporting events.

Originally operating as a gametime-only service, cable providers mainly transmit CSN Chicago Plus and CSN Chicago Plus 2 on non-critical networks, with Comcast carrying the primary Plus feed over the channel slot occupied by regional news channel Chicagoland Television (CLTV) or on another slot (such as channel 101) on its Chicago systems; conversely, Dish Network carries the standard definition feed of the main Plus network on alternating channels assigned by the satellite provider. At times when CSN Chicago Plus and CSN Chicago Plus 2 are broadcasting at the same time, one of the overflows will be carried on the alternate channel, mostly on C-SPAN2, in the case of cable providers.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago HD

Comcast SportsNet Chicago HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. It carries all home and road games involving the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Fire as well as all studio shows in high definition. CSN Chicago HD is carried on Comcast, RCN, WOW! Internet, Phone and Cable and AT&T U-verse within the Chicago market, and nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network.

The network's overflow feeds, Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus and Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus 2, also maintain HD simulcasts: CSN Chicago Plus HD is available only part-time on Comcast systems within outer markets and full-time on Comcast systems in the Chicago metro area and on AT&T U-verse, while CSN Chicago Plus 2 HD is available only through AT&T U-verse and DirecTV (most cable providers carry the Plus 2 feed in standard definition).

See also


  1. "Comcast To Launch New Sports Net Along With Chicago Teams". Sports Business Journal. Advance Publications. December 2, 2003. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  2. "CSN Chicago Is Born; New Net To Launch In 1.5 Million HHs". Sports Business Journal. Advance Publications. December 3, 2003. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  3. "No need for FSN Chicago". The Daily Journal. June 27, 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  4. David Greising; Phil Rogers, Fred Mitchell, Paul Sullivan and Mark Gonzales (April 3, 2007). "Cubs for sale, but is Wrigley Field?". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  5. Stu Hackel (April 1, 2008). "Blackhawks to Televise All Games, Join 20th Century". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  6. Tim Sassone (April 2, 2008). "WGN, Comcast Deals Make History for Hawks". Daily Herald. Paddock Publications. Retrieved April 18, 2015 via HighBeam Research.
  7. Lorene Yue (June 22, 2009). "Webio's Hernandez found". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communications.
  8. Mike Colias (August 21, 2009). "Tribune finalizes sale of Cubs to Ricketts family". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communications. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  9. Ameet Sachdev (August 22, 2009). "Tribune sells Cubs to Ricketts family". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  10. John Ourand (August 14, 2012). "NBC Sports Group Drops FSN Programming From Comcast RSNs". Sports Business Journal. Advance Publications. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  11. Danny Ecker (January 26, 2015). "Chicago Fire games moving back to CSN Chicago". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communications. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  12. "CSN NAMED THE NEW OFFICIAL HOME OF THE IOWA HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS NETWORK (IHSSN)". Comcast SportsNet Chicago. NBCUniversal. July 25, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
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