Indians TV Deal Reportedly Near

It’s been an on-and-off topic in the writings of Cleveland Plain Dealer sports media columnist Roger Brown, but now the Akron Beacon Journal’s Sheldon Ocker weighs in on the status of the Cleveland Indians TV contract talks.

Ocker says “word off the street” is that long-time rightsholder FSN Ohio is no longer in the running for the full-season (155 game) package, and that the bidding is between Dispatch’s Ohio News Network and local NBC affiliate WKYC/3. (Unlike Brown, Ocker doesn’t attribute ownership of ONN to the state of Ohio.) The reported rights fees could be in the neighborhood of $30 million a year, which is a pretty high amount for a market the size of Cleveland.

Ocker notes that if WKYC were to land the rights, it could ship off a number of the games to another channel, either ONN or even FSN Ohio, while airing a limited number of contests over air on Channel 3.

The Beacon Journal sportswriter says it’s believed the Indians will announce their decision soon.

If ONN does end up with any games, OMW hopes that Adelphia will either move or fix the channel. It’s at the upper end of the analog spectrum (channel 70), and is plagued with interference on all of our cable-connected sets. This could well play its way out separately anyway, as Adelphia’s local systems are likely to be absorbed into Time Warner Cable by around the start of the 2006 baseball season.

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