FOX Sports closes deal to acquire SportsTime Ohio

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.

[Realted: “Road Tested” still entertaining, still giving hope]

  • architrance

    “…and will include long-term television rights to Cleveland Indians games.”

    Any additional revenue for the team in this new deal???

  • Scott @ WFNY

    Will depend how FOX chooses to operate. Doubtful considering that the two entities were separate when owned by the same man.

  • architrance

    There isn’t a contract with the Tribe specifying how much they will get paid a year, and for how many years STO/FOX will be allowed to air their games?

  • architrance

    They just have the rights in perpetuity!?!?!

  • Scott @ WFNY

    Calm down. The announcement simply states “exclusive long-term rights.” I’m sure clarity will be had in short order.

  • Scott @ WFNY

    It’s now being reported as 10 years.

  • 330ClevFan614

    And $400 million. that was reported on the plaindealer. So it increases to $40 million/year

  • architrance

    Thanks, good info CleFan.

  • FearTheRoo

    I hope they keep it separate from Fox Sports Ohio. There a plenty of teams that need to be covered in NE Ohio. Cavs, Indians, Monsters, Gladiators, Vikings, Zips, and MAC tournament are enough to support their own channel.

  • Joshua Cooper

    Are they combining with Fox Sports Ohio as one channel or staying as STO but owned by FOX? I live in Columbus, and we get FSO and STO. Will I continue to have both channels, with STO being the new FSO? Hoping they don’t combine channels and share airtime with the Reds.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    I would guess there will remain two separate channels, with the current Fox Sports Ohio and STO in its new form (FS Cleveland / FS Ohio 2 / STO).
    STO already has carriage across most of Ohio, so I highly doubt they’d willingly roll it up into the existing Fox Sports Ohio.

  • Kildawg

    Fox Sports should keep two stations in Ohio, mainly because it is all set up, but it also gives them more flexibility in regards to programming. The issue then surfaces with (potential) conflict with Cavs games in April (March is Spring Training ).