The concept for Sportsman Channel was developed and founded by C. Michael Cooley in the fall of 2002. As an avid sportsman, entrepreneur and independent producer of hunting and fishing television programs, Cooley identified a need to secure an outlet for his shows along with other independent producers. Cooley and his fellow producers were finding it difficult to work with established channels that were interested mainly in promoting their own agenda and not dedicating their airwaves to hunting and fishing. Thus, the concept for a channel dedicated to the preservation of our hunting and fishing lifestyle was born. After Cooley earned an overwhelming response, he partnered with long time friend, local entrepreneur and avid sportsman, Todd D. Hansen. Together, they laid the infrastructure necessary to launch the channel on April 7, 2003. Today, Sportsman Channel is recognized as the premier destination for hunting, shooting and fishing television programming.
After three years of successfully growing the channel, Cooley and Hansen finalized an agreement with InterMedia Partners VII, L.P., a private equity firm in April, 2006. A year later, Sportsman Channel merged with InterMedia Outdoor Holdings, which owns the largest portfolio of media assets serving sportsmen, including 15 industry-leading magazines, 20 digital websites, the largest library of video content, more than 20 original television series produced annually, along with radio distribution and on-ground events.
In August 2008, InterMedia Outdoors acquired Barrett Productions, one of the preeminent producers of outdoors, adventure and sports television programming, which extended the company's depth and breadth of programming assets targeted toward American sportsmen.
To fully integrate Sportsman Channel with InterMedia Outdoors, the network brought on board InterMedia Outdoors Executive Vice President, Willy Burkhardt, as president in early 2009. Burkhart moved the network forward in consumer popularity and household growth by re-branding the logo and creating a new on-air look. Today, as the network for American Sportsmen, Sportsman Channel is pleased to have at the helm as CEO, Gavin Harvey. Harvey is well-versed in both the cable and outdoors industries with 20 plus years of experience of managing various areas within a cable network. He will work in conjunction with InterMedia Outdoors CEO, Jeff Paro.
Hansen remains as COO for Sportsman Channel.