FOX Sports Media Group has picked up a new regional sports network (RSN), SportsTime Ohio, along with the ten-year rights to exclusively broadcast Cleveland Indians baseball games.
FOX is paying an estimated $230 million for the RSN, which broadcasts the Cleveland Browns, OHSAA football and basketball playoffs and championships and Mid-American Conference events, and an additional $400 million over ten years to broadcast the Indians games, according to the Associated Press.
The move is the latest for Fox in the RSN space: it already owns 20 other networks, while parent company News Corp recently said that it was acquiring a 49% stake in the Yankees' YES Network.
FOX also owns Fox Sports Ohio, which reaches over five million homes in Ohio, parts of Kentucky, Indiana, western Pennsylvania, western New York and West Virginia. It broadcasts the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Cavaliers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, Xavier Musketeers, Cincinnati Bearcats.
"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, in a statement. "We look forward to once again showcasing the Indians to their fans, as well as working with the Indians ownership to continue to enhance the value of this iconic franchise."
SportsTime Ohio has been operating since 2006, first started by Indians owners Paul and Larry Dolan. Paul Dolan said that the sale of SportsTime Ohio and the money from the sale of the carriage rights should give the Indians more leeway to strengthen the franchise and help its ability to build competitive teams.