RSN Summit Takes On Unique Challenges Facing Regional Sports Networks

Inaugural event draws approximately 200 sports video pros to Chicago

The specific production and business challenges facing regional sports networks were the focus of SVG’s first-ever RSN Summit, which was held earlier this week in Chicago. The event brought together 200 sports production industry professionals and was highlighted by keynote conversations with Fox Sports Regional Networks President Jeff Krolik, NBC Sports Regional Networks President David Preschlack, and panel discussions concerning the future of regional network production, digital strategies, and much more.

Two hundred sports video industry professionals attended the inaugural RSN Summit in Chicago on June 21,

Two hundred sports video industry professionals attended the inaugural RSN Summit in Chicago on June 21,

The two keynotes provided an overview of the current state of the regional sports business as well as the important and long-standing role that the regional sports network plays with meeting the needs of local fans who are truly tribal and passionate about their teams.

“We are not the MVPD’s biggest enemy, we’re their best friend,” Fox Sports Regional Networks President Jeff Krolik said during a keynote interview. “At some level, the reason many people buy the big bundle is to get live local sports. You can’t stack and binge-watch live local sports. We believe you are engaged and watching these events in a different way. You are leaning forward and you really care about that programming.”

That tribalism and passion is also why Preschlack believes it is important for a regional network to become the go-to source for news related to their local team.

“Fans have an insatiable appetite to consume content and my thing is, if you believe that, than why would you not serve them in a way that they want to be served. If right now its 2 o’clock [in the afternoon], I don’t know if we should be making huge investments into something on the channel.

“From an off-television perspective, if you look at the barrier to entry for a fan to be served on mobile devices or on a desktop, it is none. You have seen national brands rise from notion. Bleacher Report came from nothing. The barrier to entry is so low. If we’re not doing everything we can to serve fans in a way that’s reflective of their lifestyle than someone else is going to do it.”

Ken Kerschbaumer contributed to this article.

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