August 26, 2014

Indians games crush summer TV ratings


Attendance may be down, but numbers don’t lie: Indians fans are tuning in. Since the start of the 2014 MLB season, Cleveland Indians telecasts on FOX Sports’ SportsTime Ohio are the highest-rated and most-viewed programming on television in Northeast Ohio. Per STO (by the way of Nielsen), Indians telecasts are averaging an 6.73 household rating and 100,000 households in prime time (7-11 p.m.), 60 percent higher than the No. 2-ranked CBS (4.21) and whatever CSI they have running during the same period.

The Indians also have the 5th highest local TV ratings in all of Major League Baseball, including afternoon games.

The highest rated game of the 2014 season to date is the Tribe’s home opener vs. the Minnesota Twins, which garnered a 14.77 HH in simulcast with WKYC (over 219,000 households). The highest rated non-simulcast game of the season so far is the July 9 game vs. the New York Yankees which went from 7 p.m. to midnight and produced a 10.24 HH average (over 150,000 households). Monday night’s 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds became the 2nd highest rated non-simulcast game of the season with a 9.39 HH rating (over 138,000 households).

“Fans are passionate and excited about the Indians, and we’re proud to bring them the most in-depth and high quality coverage each game,” said François McGillicuddy, senior vice president and general manager of SportsTime Ohio and FOX Sports Ohio via press release.

The month of July is the third best month ever for the Indians on STO, the best since August, 2011, boasting a 6.9 HH average (over 102,000 households). In 23 games this July on SportsTime Ohio, the Indians were either No. 1 or No. 2 for the entire day 18 times (78 percent of games) and were No. 1 in 16 of them. Overall, the Indians are averaging 6.3 HH which is 17 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

As of Monday night, the Indians (57-55, fresh off of their fourth victory in a row) sit 2.5 games out of the AL Wild Card.

Cavs among worst values in NBA per Forbes

Dan Gilbert, Mike Brown, Chris GrantWhat is “value” in the NBA? Is it wins? Is it bang-for-the-buck? Is it rooted in absurd television deals? Well, Forbes announced its annual valuations of the National Basketball Association’s 30 teams, naming—surprise!— the usually hapless New York Knicks as the most valuable team worth $1.4 billion, up 27 percent over last season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are slotted 19th overall, coming in at $515 million, a 19 percent jump over last year’s valuation1.

Over the course of 2013, Forbes forecasts that the Cavaliers pulled in $145 million in revenue, good enough to be among the top 12 in the league. Their operating income, however, as categorized as their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, slots in at $10.8 million—better than just eight other NBA franchises. Worse, the Cavaliers are ranked as one of the league’s worst teams for the money (29th overall), having average player expenses (salaries, benefits and bonuses) of $63 million and just 64 wins over the last three seasons with nothing in the way of playoff appearances.

So how’d the Knicks do it? A three-year, $1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden certainly helps—it pushed the Knicks’ revenue to $287 million, net of revenue sharing. The Knicks’ average TV rating on the MSG Network experienced a 71 percent jump from the previous season, as they made the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000. The playoff run and arena renovation helped the Knicks generate operating income of $96 million–reportedly a record for an NBA franchise. For more evidence of the large-market television deals playing a role in a way that would make baseball fans blush, cable money pushed the Lakers’ revenue to a record $295 million, net of revenue sharing2. (The Lake Show’s revenue sharing bill is roughly twice the size of the tab for the Knicks, but the Knicks get a break due to their $1 billion investment in Madison Square Garden.) More proof that TV rules the roost: Even with revenue sharing and a $29.3 million luxury tax bill that comes with the territory of having the NBA’s highest payroll, the Lakers turned an operating profit of $66 million, second highest in the NBA, roughly six times that of the Cavaliers.

For those wondering, the Cavs do have the seventh-best television deal in the league, one which nets the team an average of $25 million per season, but one that is also up at the end of the 2015-16 NBA season—the very season All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has a $9.2 million qualifying offer with the team.

(AP Photo/Jason Miller)



  1. Per Forbes, the average NBA team is now worth $634 million, 25 percent more than a year ago. []
  2. The Lakers inked a 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable for the creation of two new RSNs — one in English and one in Spanish — worth $200 million annually beginning with the 2012-13 season. Last season the team received $122 million, more than 3.5 times more than what the team received from its share of revenue from the NBA’s national television rights partners ESPN/ABC and TNT. []

Animated: Allie Clifton takes a basketball to the head


During Wednesday night’s pre-game reporting, FOX Sports Ohio’s Aliie Clifton took a warm-up basketball to the head and submits a perfect segue to an Anderson Varejao video vignette all without skipping a beat.

Scott Raab on The Sopranos, Mad Men, Jimmy Haslam, and the Cavaliers draft – WFNY Podcast – 2013-07-01

WFNY Podcast Logo

Scott Raab and I talked about all the weekly Cleveland sports news and so much more.

  • How many shows aped The Sopranos?
  • Mad Men and the distance between it and its authenticity
  • David Chase left us involved with the humanity of his characters
  • Jimmy Haslam and the Forbes and WSJ covering Pilot Flying J
  • Breaking down the debt and bond rating of the company
  • Aaron Hernandez and his murder charges being contrasted with Jimmy Haslam
  • Guilty until proven innocent and whether we actually live by that
  • The NSA warrants and wiretaps
  • Anthony Bennett and Nerlens Noel and Otto Porter
  • Nobody criticizes the Cavs
  • Kyrie Irving vs. Kevin Durant and the Cavs building like Oklahoma City
  • Rating Chris Grant on the deals he didn’t make
  • Paul Pierce and whether you could ever have him on your team
  • The LeBron James projection in the starting lineup on ESPN’s graphic
  • LeBron James will forever be a part of the Cavaliers storyline until he retires
  • Mike Brown and saying other teams would “feel” his team from the defensive end
  • Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan
  • Jerry Sloan was begged to stay according to Sports Illustrated
  • Dan Gilbert admitted that he should have known when LeBron didn’t sign the max max
  • I didn’t sign on for that “We are the World” video on YouTube
  • The Tribe swept the Sox
  • WEEI and how awesome The Big Show was
  • Zac Jackson and Andre Knot and the good show they do on FOX Sports Ohio
  • Jim Thome, the PED era and the statue

Check out this episode

Pat McManamon talks Browns, Chuck Klosterman, AOL FanHouse, new media and Fox Sports Ohio – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-15

WFNY Podcast LogoReally happy to get Pat McManamon on the podcast. I wanted to talk to him about Fanhouse and how the media landscape has changed both for him and also around him over the years. We also had some good conversation about the Browns, Chuck Klosterman and Twitter.

Click here for Pat’s Fox Sports Ohio Page – Also keep up with Pat on Twitter

  • AOL FanHouse and what it was like to work there
  • Working virtually with coworkers and editors on FanHouse
  • Talking to people on the phone and how much richer that communication is
  • Fox Sports Ohio and the STO purchase
  • Reporting on the Pilot Flying J story and how to cover it
  • Sticking to the facts as opposed to writing lots of opinions
  • Jimmy Haslam’s controversy and how much to report on it
  • The Browns and transparency with the media
  • Chuck Klosterman’s piece on the Browns 2013 NFL Draft night
  • Should the Browns have traded picks or not?
  • Do the Browns know why their secrets are secrets?
  • Open practice vs. closing it 15 minutes after it started
  • Twitter and how it has changed Pat’s job

Check out this episode

Playing with House Money: Why I think the Dolans should consider selling the Indians

The Dolan family needs to step away from the blackjack table and leave the casino with house money well in hand.

After selling STO to FOX, they need to go to the next level and sell the team before they lose any of that money they just “won.” This is the only way I know how to describe what just occurred with their sale of STO to FOX Sports for an estimated $230 million while also selling the broadcast rights for $40 million a year.

First of all, this isn’t some angry fan thing that is telling the Dolans to go away. This is purely how I see it in light of the recent business victory the Dolan family scored. Some may think it’s wrong to liken the situation to gambling when the Dolan family built STO in order to leverage the Indians’ broadcasting rights. They built a new company and sold it, so why would that be anything like gambling?

[Read more...]

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]

OhioMediaWatch: STO sale rumors re-surfacing (again)

If you don’t follow OhioMediaWatch on Twitter, you are missing out on one of the most mysterious and accurate sources in Cleveland media. Tonight the Twitter account seemed to be making a lot of noise with rumor and speculation which could mean the long-rumored sale of Sports Time Ohio might finally be coming. WFNY sources had also indicated as far back as a year ago that a sale was imminent, but alas this is still news as 2013 is within spitting distance.

I would guess at least some of this is unsourced and based in speculation, but this is far from the first time that anyone’s smelled smoke with regard to the Sports Time Ohio media property. And even with the rampant speculation, it isn’t like the chess pieces are a big mystery. Fox Sports Ohio, Time Warner Cable, the Dolan family, etc.

Now, if I just could just find some supporting information for the Indians sale rumors…

In other TV related news, TD and Jacob are scheduled to appear on More Sports and Les Levine on NEON 23 on Time Warner Cable tomorrow night at 6:00 PM. (Shameless plug, I know.)

McManamon: Lerner looks to guarantee team can’t move

The first fear any Browns fan has when talking about the team being sold is that they could be stolen1 from the city again as Art Modell did so many years ago. It was most of our instincts to think that Randy Lerner would look to ensure that the Browns would never move, and according to Pat McManamon, that is the case.

According to the source, the sale is contingent on “a complete and unconditional personal assurance that the team can never be moved from the city of Cleveland before he heard any details of the proposal.”

Now let’s hope that this is a legally binding document with some actual substance. I’d hate to think that the future geography of the Cleveland Browns could be a verbal contract.

[Related: Official Statement from Randy Lerner with Regard to Rumored Browns Sale]



  1. They weren’t moved. They were stolen. Call it what it is. []

McManamon’s Mock: Browns get Michael Floyd and Jonathan Martin

I don’t necessarily agree with what Pat McManamon is suggesting in his mock draft. I’ve been on record supporting any number of players from Matt Kalil and Trent Richardson to Morris Claiborne. Some have suggested reaching big to get Ryan Tannehill which seems particularly unlikely and unwise to me. Somehow Pat McManamon’s suggestion seems smart to me even though I haven’t considered drafting Michael Floyd of Notre Dame at #4.

Call this the pick I think the Browns should make, as opposed to the one they absolutely will make. Perhaps it’s a reach. Or perhaps it isn’t. A few years back the Colts shocked the NFL world by taking Edgerrin James ahead of Ricky Williams. “How can they do that?” folks screamed. “Because he’s better,” the Colts said. And James was better. He was a better receiver, better all-around player. Same is true here. Floyd is bigger, stronger and as fast at the other top wideout , Justin Blackmon.

It isn’t conventional wisdom to draft Michael Floyd at #4, but as I’ve also said time and again, there is nothing conventional about wisdom. There is no way I actually see it happening because of where draft boards seem to have Floyd located. Still, much like the Edgerrin James vs. Ricky Williams debate, I can’t sit here and scream that I think McManamon is wrong about his slotting of Floyd and Blackmon.

It is an interesting take, especially in a time prior to the draft where there is a lot of groupthink going on.

[Related: NFL Draft: Five 2012 QB Draftees are better than Cam Newton]

“Have a Good Night, Everybody”

April 13th will mark the last day of the Cavaliers 2010-11 regular season. 

For many, this serves as a light at the end of the tunnel as the 12-win Cavs find themselves in the midst of yet another losing streak.  However, for some, it will mark the night where legendary broadcaster Joe Tait is honored in his very own one-hour segment, “Have a Good Night, Everybody.”

Following the game against the Washington Wizards, the Cavaliers will broadcast a 60-minute special honoring Tait, rife with commentary from other Cavs legends including Wayne Embry, Mark Price, Campy Russell, Mike Fratello, Jim Chones and – of course - Tait himself.  Rather than turning to their blue screen of HD death (man, that looped track is brutal), Fox Sports Ohio will give Cavs fans a special high-definition broadcast titled after the Hall of Famer’s token send-off as he officially retires from a 39-year stint as radio announcer for the Wine and Gold.

[Read more...]

Cavaliers and Fox Sports Ohio Earn League’s Best Rating for 2009-10 Season

With the 2009-10 NBA regular season officially over, ratings have been released for all of the markets and broadcasting channels.  Per Sports Media Watch the Cavaliers and Fox Sports Ohio drew a rating of 8.59, the top rating of all NBA teams.  Fox Sports Ohio’s Communications department has the figure reported as 8.55, a rating that is still good enough for best in the NBA for the second consecutive season.

[Read more...]

To My Family, Friends, and Very Loyal Readers…

Thank you. Thank you all.

I cannot describe how appreciative I am of the turnout during the last two weeks, and thanks to you all, I have been named Ohio’s Best Sports Blogger via FSO’s “Blog Sports Ohio” tournament.

Whether you voted once, voted multiple times or simply retweeted our pleas – I cannot thank you enough.

It would be absurd of me to think that I am truly the best sports blogger in the state of Ohio. After all, I have the distinct pleasure to write with eight of the greatest guys that the Cleveland blog scene has to offer, and they are all very talented writers that are extremely passionate about what we do here. But what I can say is that I do have one the strongest groups of supporters that I could have ever imagined and it is wholly due to you. Some of you have been with us since day one, and others have trickled in over time. But what is more important than tenure is the fact that you’re all a part of this community today. [Read more...]

Fox Sports Ohio Blogger Contest Ends Today

That’s right, this is your final day to help Scott win credentials for all the teams FSO covers. You’ve been following us and know how important this is to the site, not just to Scott. While we’ve had limited access at times, this is an opportunity for a foot in the door. So please show your support for Scott and the site by going to FSO and voting several times. Your faithfulness in helping Scott win will be rewarded!

It’s the fourth quarter- and we need everyone’s votes. Here’s your pump-up video for the day. The words of this speech are written in the tunnel at the Q for the team to see as they make their way to the court. (See these are the kinds of things we need access to!) There are a few choice words in the video, my apologies… [Read more...]

Blog Contest: The One on the Browns

With the final round of the Fox Sports Blogger contest nearing completion, today’s assignment was to discuss the “state of the Cleveland Browns.”  While anyone can churn out numbers pointing towards their futility, I opted to focus on what the upcoming season means for the fans. 

Here’s a quick excerpt…

Since returning in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have been forced to cling to history – the “storied franchise” that once featured Jim Brown and Bernie Kosar, countless winning seasons and the well-documented Dawg Pound.  But while history remains, the new version of the Browns has not provided anything worth future discussion as they have lost the respect of many, taken more steps backward than forward and had more fans question their investment than cherish it.  But with the 2000’s firmly in the rear view, all of the uncertainty and doubt can be erased.

As the 2010 season rapidly approaches, anyone with a vested interest in the Cleveland Browns remains on edge.  From the top of the food chain with team owner Randy Lerner on down to the small child saving his allowance to buy a jersey clad with the No. 16 and “Cribbs” draped across the shoulders, there’s a lot riding on the upcoming slate of games for a team that is desperately trying to revive “the story.”  

Given all of this, I urge you to head over to Fox Sports Ohio and give the rest of the article a quick read.  And as we have asked for about a week now, we need your votes, comments and recommendations.  Every vote counts – which is why you can vote more than once – and the comments will help WFNY’s future relationship with the flagship station of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Again, many thanks!  And come Friday, we will hopefully have good news to report back.  Now hit the ballots, people!

Boobie Gibson in the Halloween Spirit

After last night’s victory over the Bobcats at home, Boobie Gibson decided to have some fun.  I normally say that adults shouldn’t dress up, but I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Boobie as Spiderman!


All Cavs Games in Glorious HD

Last year was the first year that the NFL on CBS had every single game in HD. The season prior it drove me INSANE when the Browns were not in HD. Maybe I was a little early in my ranting, but it just seemed to me with the NFL being the biggest sport in the land that they should have every single game in HD. I didn’t think it was too much to ask. Now, the Cavaliers’ local TV partner Fox Sports Ohio is broadcasting every one of their 70 games in HD, which makes me happy. [Read more...]