Rand: FSN finds itself downtown where the action is

  • Updated: November 27, 2012 - 9:56 PM

The sports network has moved into a facility in downtown Minneapolis.

It wasn't enough to have space and visibility on the sports TV landscape. Mike Dimond, Fox Sports North's senior vice president and general manager, wanted more actual space and visibility on the Minneapolis landscape.

As such, in a move spearheaded by Dimond, FSN recently moved its entire operation -- including two new studios -- downtown to the skyway level of LaSalle Plaza. The first studio show from the new digs aired earlier this month.

The 21,000-square-foot space runs the length of a city block and is an upgrade in pretty much every way, Dimond said, from the 14,000 square feet of combined space (the sales staff used to be in a separate building) FSN used to have just across the river from downtown.

It had probably better be an upgrade to justify the $5.8 million expense, including $3.8 million in technological expenses.

"Not that we lacked energy before, but it really re-energized us," Dimond said. "We're in the heart of the entertainment district. The proximity to the [sports] venues, the life of downtown -- it's just a vibrant place to be. It's where we belong."

Dimond said FSN is in "as good a shape as a regional sports network can be" financially, with long-term deals in place with all the major local teams it carries. With the expiration of the lease on the old location looming, Dimond began the process two years ago of looking for a new space. A tour of the downtown spot -- near CRAVE, for point of reference -- revealed a labyrinth of sound rooms, edit rooms, video rooms and desk spaces.

With two studios -- a main one with an anchor desk and eight HD monitors and a smaller one with a green screen for virtual production -- FSN is looking to add more programming. Both studios, too, have public viewing areas.

Dimond is planning a grand opening in January -- sometime after the arrival of a giant LED wall that is being built in Japan and shipped over by boat. That will be one more step toward the master plan.

"We hadn't been a high-profile business from the standpoint of an office space," Dimond said. "The goal all along was to raise our profile."

MICHAEL RAND

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