And The Final Major System For SportsTime Ohio Is…

…Armstrong Cable, as expected.

In a note buried in another item on the Indians’ website tonight, an earlier-rumored deal between SportsTime Ohio and Armstrong has been confirmed. Indians beat writer Anthony Castrovince reports that the agreement not only covers Armstrong’s systems in Medina, Orrville, Ashland and the Youngstown suburb of Boardman, but also Armstrong’s Meadville PA system.

We believe Armstrong is the final major cable provider in Northern Ohio to agree to carry the Indians via SportsTime Ohio. There are any number of smaller rural cable providers that may not yet have signed up, but all of the “biggies” are on board. Not on board yet, of course, are the two major satellite providers, DirecTV and Dish Network – both services, which reportedly serve some 800,000 subscribers in the Indians TV area, are reported to still be negotiating with STO.

And one interesting thing we spotted in today’s Akron Beacon Journal – a color display ad for STO’s high-definition broadcasts from Time Warner Cable…which we’ve reproduced in part here:

Under a picture of a C.C. Sabathia fastball appearing to go outside a TV screen, TWC touts its 63 SportsTime Ohio HDTV games – “You won’t find this on satellite!” The information is repeated in a burst at the bottom right – “INDIANS IN HD NOT AVAILABLE ON SATELLITE”. Click on the graphic to make it appear larger on your screen.

Unless TWC is taking advantage of the current status of DirecTV and Dish Network’s negotiations with STO, it seems possible that the satellite services – whenever they DO come to an agreement with the network – won’t be offering the HDTV broadcasts.

Satellite carriage of HDTV local sports networks is rather spotty, with very few being carried. As far as we know, the only major regional sports network offering its games in HD via DirecTV is the Yankees-owned “YES” network (to New York-area subscribers), and DirecTV may have some other spotty HD game offerings from a couple of other RSNs.

We just don’t know if the Indians wouldn’t be in HDTV on satellite because that’s just the way it is, or if it’s a bone that STO has thrown to the cable companies to help get them aboard…

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