Cox to Indians: Sorry, But…No

We almost missed this in Roger Brown’s latest column in the Plain Dealer. Perhaps we’re not used to actual NEWS being contained among Brown’s musings and reports of Ronnie Duncan’s real estate dealings, but, anyway…

Brown reports in Wednesday’s column that the Cleveland Indians have been rebuffed in their attempt to sign up Cox Cable to carry the new team-run TV network. Brown quotes Cox’s local general manager as saying the Indians want “200 percent more” than (presumably) what FOX Sports Net Ohio asks for, and claims that the increase would amount to “at least” a buck-fifty for every one of Cox’s 70,000 local subscribers…for 20 fewer games than were carried on FSN Ohio last season.

For their part, new Fastball Sports chief Jim Liberatore says it’s a “fair price”, considering how popular the team is locally. For now, unless someone budges, local Cox subscribers may not be seeing any more than the 20 games that will air on over-air partner WKYC/3. We tend to think someone will budge, at some point, though it may not be before the season starts. Unlike Comcast and Adelphia locally, which will be absorbed into Time Warner Cable sometime this year, Cox will continue to be a separate entity.

The team reportedly plans a press conference on February 23rd, in which they could name an announcing team – it’s widely expected that the team won’t change the current TV voices.

And they could announce more carriage deals. But Cox’s rejection could indicate less than smooth sailing for the new Indians network, as it attempts to sign up providers other than Time Warner…

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