SportsTime Ohio — the television flagship of the Cleveland Indians and Tee it up Ohio, proprietor of the worst network-owned website in all of Cleveland — has been officially been purchased by FOX Sports.
John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reports that the deal, which was announced Friday morning, will be worth between $200-250 million and will include long-term (said to be 10 years) television rights to Cleveland Indians games, affording the team $40 million per season. The rights prior to this transaction cost $30 million per season.
What is yet to be determined is whether or not FOX will set up a Fox Sports Cleveland to go alongside FOX Sports Ohio (owner of rights to the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Cavaliers) or if they will wrap the entire rights-based operation under FSO. They could also opt to run SportTime Ohio as is, likely including some much-needed changes to programming as well as various multimedia initiatives.
“The acquisition of SportsTime Ohio solidifies our business in Ohio, and FOX Sports Media Group’s long-term agreement with the Indians reunites the team with the FOX Sports family,” said Jeff Krolik, executive vice president of FOX Sports Networks. “We look forward to once again showcasing the Indians to their fans, as well as working with Indians ownership to continue to enhance the value of this iconic franchise.”
SportsTime Ohio (STO) is a regional sports network in Cleveland and northern Ohio, launched in 2006. It was created to air Cleveland Indians games. It is also the cable television home of the Cleveland Browns, Mid-American Conference, and Ohio Machine. It had previously been owned by owner of the Cleveland Indians, Larry and Paul Dolan.
“We look forward to a a long-term partnership with FOX that will continue to bring state-of-the-art broadcasts of Indians games while strenthening the franchise and enhancing our ability to build competitve teams.”
FOX Entertainment Group is owned by Rupurt Murdoch’s News Corp.