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Fox purchases Sportstime Ohio, will broadcast Indians games

Dec 28, 2012, 2:52 PM EDT

old TV

STO — the Indians’ sports network — was acquired by FOX Sports Media Group today:

In addition, FOX Sports Media Group announced that it has secured the exclusive long-term local telecast rights for Indians baseball, ensuring that the Indians will once again be part of the FOX Sports portfolio of regionally televised hometown teams. Prior to the 2006 season, Indians games were locally televised by FOX Sports Ohio.

That’s from the press release. Other reports say that, in addition, the Indians will start to receive about $10 million more a year for broadcast rights. Which is nice.

  1. blantoncollier - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Before all the Tribe fans start raving about what a good deal this is and how Larry Dolan will spend more money on the team. You better dig deeper–the Tribe is saving over $29 M in contracts from last year ( Haffner, Sizemore, Choo, R. Perez, Hannahan and Kotchman) PLUS the prorated amount of Lowe’s $15 million contract.

    To date they have added, Reynolds $6m, Swisher $11m (for 2013) Stubbs $2.9m, Bauer $1.35 m and Aviles $2.3M. Total New Contracts: $23.55M.

    They are still about $5.5m BELOW last year.

    If you factor in any pay raises we will have a payroll in the neighborhood of $67M.

    So you tell me—what are they doing with the extra money from Fox Sports? Its all spin as far as the Dolan’s concerned.

    Nothing better on the field.

    • Lukehart80 - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Given the hiring of Fracona, the trade for Bauer, and signing Swisher to potentially the biggest contract in franchise, this seems an odd off-season to be overly critical of the team. I think it will take a year or two to see what is (or isn’t) being done with the new local and national TV money.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        It’s pretty sad that Swisher is one of the Indians largest FA contracts ever given considering some of the players they’ve lost to free agency over the years.

      • Lukehart80 - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        Yeah, keeping Thome, Manny, Sabathia, Lee, etc. would have been nice. Sadly, I don’t think that reality is changed by the new TV money. If Kipnis (for example) is fortunate enough to be in high demand in five years, he’ll be on the way out too.

      • blantoncollier - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        Lukehart–I noticed you write about the Tribe..Its very easy to be critical about the Dolan’s ownership.

        ESPN reported the Tribes payroll in 2012 was $66,430,300. 24th in MLB is projecting the total payroll in 2013 to be $67,735,000 for 2013.

        Thats basically the same as last year.

        The notion the Tribe has to over pay to attract talent isnt coming through since the payroll is going to be the same as last year.

        The Dolan’s have known for months the deal for STO would close today due to tax considerations, yet they havent spent or committed the extra money.

        Additionally–the new national contract will mean nothing, since all teams will get an increase in dollars. The result is just more money for the Dodgers, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox, Cubs and Angels to spend.

        Even the hiring of Francona hasnt helped bring players to Cleveland.

      • Lukehart80 - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        The national TV money should help at least a bit, in that the additional $25M makes a bigger impact on Cleveland’s budget than it does for most teams.

        I agree that there’s been reason to be critical of the Dolans over the years, but I really like the Francona and Bauer moves. What comes of Bauer and what impact Francona has on the team remain to be seen, but this off-season has bought the team a bit more patience on my part. We’ll see what comes of the new money, I’m not going to be upset that the year-to-year payroll didn’t skyrocket immediately, because spending just to spend isn’t the best solution, I don’t think.

        I understand your frustration though, and you certainly have plenty of company in that camp. I might be with you in another year, we’ll see.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        Of course hiring Francona hasn’t helped bring players. The only time a manager helps bring players is when the money and years are also right.

    • Kevin Gillman - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:39 PM

      Jair Jurjens can sign a deal to Cleveland, and he’s do pretty good.

    • onehokiefan - Dec 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Duh……’ll get to see more games ?? Have a hotpocket already

    • onehokiefan - Dec 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Duh……’ll get to see more games ??

  2. normcash - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Too bad. STO always had great production values and transmitted in the 1080i
    HD format which provides a sharper HD picture than the Fox standard of 720p.
    Some people claim it makes no difference, but they either have weak eyes
    or crummy TVs. Hope they retain the same broadcast duo—they are good and
    very honest.

    • Lukehart80 - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      Interesting. I write at Let’s Go Tribe and when rumors of this deal broke a couple weeks ago, the consensus there was that STO’s production has been poor.

      • phipfwe76 - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        I’m with you. As an Extra Innings subscriber, I spend most summer nights watching as much as possible. The Indians broadcast has always been in my bottom 5. Always seems kind of low budget, and the broadcasters don’t really bring anything to the table. They’re not terrible or biased… they’re just boring.

    • normcash - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      Each to his own I guess. The Indians’ telecasters seem pretty straight-forward and aren’t
      excessively homers. I’m a Tigers fan, so maybe that’s why I like it that way! I can’t imagine why anybody would think the production values are poor. My only complaint is that STO wouldn’t leave the score/ball&strike/outs box on the screen full time…

      • Lukehart80 - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        I live in Chicago, and never got to see many Indians game on STO, so I don’t have much of an opinion on the production myself. I envy them not having Hawk Harrelson involved, speaking of excessive homers.

      • southpaw77 - Dec 29, 2012 at 3:25 PM

        Incorrect, the Indians announcers were ranked second in being the biggest homers on TV.

        Of course you knew those White Sox announcers would be number 1 in being biased towards their team, you can put it on the board, yes!

    • jwbiii - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      Interesting again. Last off-season Fan Graphs did a broadcaster survey and Cleveland came out 24 of 31 (The Dodgers home and away games were considered separately).

      “24. Cleveland Indians
      Broadcasters: Matt Underwood and Rick Manning
      Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.9, 2.9, 2.9

      Reader Comments
      • “I often turn on the radio while I watch.”
      • “Rick Manning once said that it would be better to allow a solo home run than a double that could lead to a rally.”

      A lack of enthusiasm seems to be the definitive quality of the Cleveland broadcast team — both in the booth itself and among the fans who we’ve asked to write about them.”

  3. pattablerisawesome - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Underwood can go…he is terrible!!

  4. Kevin Gillman - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Rick Manning knows his baseball, while Underwood tries too hard and Pawlawski just loves to throw his cliches in the boradcast. Bring back Joe Tait.

  5. mplsjoe - Dec 28, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    A guy I know from Cleveland reads this, and the out clause in Francona’s contract, as evidence that the Dolons are going to sell the Indians. Any rumors about that? I guess the theory would be that selling off the parts (STO) will make it easier to sell the team.

    • Lukehart80 - Dec 29, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      I’ve heard that too, but I’ve also heard that it’s just about making moves before tax rates change.

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