Fox Sports, one of the premiere cable sports networks in North America, has acquired Cleveland-based regional sports network SportsTime Ohio. SportsTime Ohio has been the sole broadcaster for Cleveland Indians games for nearly half a decade–now those games will be broadcast through Fox Sports in a separate deal.
The Indians, which were founded in 1901, belong to an elite group of charter franchises for the American League. Previously Fox Sports carried Indians games on their Fox Sports Ohio affiliate before losing the broadcast rights to the sports-team owned SportsTime Ohio. While terms of the agreement were not disclosed analysts believe the network is paying more than $235 million for the rights, with costs upwards of $40 million per year for close to 15 years.
What does that mean for Indians fans? They will at least be able to find their favorite sports team playing for another decade, albeit on a different channel. The regional sports network broadcast to more than 5 million homes in the state of Ohio and surrounding states like Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
“The acquisition of SportsTime Ohio solidifies our business in Ohio, and FOX Sports Media Group’s new long-term agreement with the Indians reunites the team with the FOX Sports family,” said Jeff Krolik, executive vice president of FOX Sports Networks. Neither organization noted if the online-broadcasting of games through Major League Baseball’s online streaming service would be affected–however most believe the online service will simply change the source of the live feed for the online broadcast.