WHEN YOU flip on Fox Sports Net Bay Area to watch the Giants and Dodgers on opening day, you'll probably notice something unusual about the telecast.

First off, despite the fact the channel hasn't changed, you'll no longer be tuned into FSN Bay Area. Effective March 31, the network will be under new ownership and will be called Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

"There'll be some pretty dramatic changes right off the bat," announced Tim Fitzpatrick, the vice president of communications for Comcast SportsNet. "There'll be a new name and new logo, a new look and new sound, a new graphics package that accompanies game coverage and a new music package."

Hopefully by the fall, there'll also be several other new features on the all-sports network, such as a new studio, a full-fledged news operation, live news and sports talk and much new original programming.

It's being advertised as "authentic Bay Area sports" — taking FSN Bay Area's game coverage and expanding upon it in any number of new directions.

"An opportunity like this doesn't come along often," said Fitzpatrick, whose company is headquartered in Philadelphia and now owns 10 regional networks. "San Francisco is strong Comcast country."

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area plans to televise approximately 500 live sporting events in its first year, about 200 of them in high-definition.


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It begins Monday with something else that's new: An hourlong live Giants-Dodgers pregame show.

Giants, A's celebrate, too

FSN Bay Area will celebrate its formal relaunching as Comcast SportsNet Bay Area will a special fan-friendly party at AT&T Park as well as televised events at the McAfee Coliseum. Here's what's on tap:

AT&T Park, Monday: A viewer-appreciation day begins at 11 a.m. and allows fans to take batting practice on the field, as well as watch the Giants-Dodgers opener from Los Angeles live in HD on the scoreboard. Parking and entry are free, as are hot dogs to the first 5,000 through the gates. Willie Mays will be in attendance.

McAfee Coliseum, Tuesday, April 1: Prior to the A's-Red Sox game, World Series heroes Sal Bando, Joe Rudi, Dave Henderson and Terry Steinbach will unveil a new Comcast SportsNet Bay Area outfield sign as part of a half-hour pregame show beginning at 6:30. The home opener follows at 7.

Best thing I didn't see all week

Call it East Coast bias: Red Sox fans woke up this morning to opening day in Japan (6 a.m. Eastern), whereas we slept through it (3 a.m. Pacific). A daytime start in Japan would have allowed A's faithful to see it live (5 p.m. Pacific) while inconveniencing the "Nation" (11 p.m. Eastern). Alas, at least ESPN2 will provide us a replay at 11 a.m.

Three you gotta see

-Men's Sweet 16: Tennessee vs. Louisville (Thursday, 6:57 p.m., CBS): Easily the most entertaining of the eight games in Round 3, but we'll miss most unless UCLA blows out Western Kentucky early.

-Men's Sweet 16: Texas vs. Stanford (Friday, 4:27 p.m., CBS): Gotta say: The Thursday/Friday matchups aren't nearly as exciting as what Saturday/Sunday could be.

-Giants at Dodgers (Monday, 1 p.m., CSNBA/ESPN): If Comcast wanted fireworks for its inaugural game, perhaps it could have requested a Barry Zito-Jason Schmidt pitching matchup.

Scanning the airwaves

Congratulations to CBS studio analyst Seth Davis, who correctly predicted the Davidson upset of Georgetown on the air Sunday morning. ... KNBR has announced three of the Warriors' 13 remaining regular-season games will be switched from 680 to 1050 because of conflicts: Thursday vs. Portland, April 8 vs. Sacramento and April 14 at Phoenix.

E-mail media-related questions and comments to Dave Del Grande at

dave@bayareanewsgroup.com.