Sports Media Fallout

It has been a busy week or so in the local sports media world, and here’s where it stands right now:

BROWNS CONTRACT: The TV contract for pre-season Browns games and related local over-air programming could be announced as soon as Thursday, we’ve heard. But OMW hears it is not an easy decision for team officials.

It would appear that the winner will either be Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, or Scripps-Howard ABC affiliate WEWS/5.

It’s a dilemma that could basically be called “Tried and True vs. Shiny and New”. (Please forgive us if that sounds like the name of a “Detour” on the popular CBS reality travel show “The Amazing Race”. We miss Phil Keoghan!)

In our “Tried and True” department, Browns officials apparently like the idea of returning to WKYC, which was the team’s long-time pre-season home until Raycom Media picked up the three-year deal for its WOIO/19…the deal which the team exited this week.

There’s a certain comfort level and familiarity for the team with WKYC due to its past history with the Browns, and the station seems serious about reinstating that relationship.

“Shiny and New” would be WEWS. OMW has reported that the ABC affiliate has gone all out on the air, from running two stories on the Browns first move to dump WOIO as local TV rights holder, to covering the end of that story in a live report yesterday.

WEWS has also given the Browns prominent placement on their website, with a Browns “Training Camp Notebook” section front and center next to their news items.

But most importantly, OMW also hears that WEWS has presented a very attractive offer to the team. We’re told station staffers for both WKYC and WEWS feel good about their stations’ chances of picking up the Browns’ local TV rights. WJW “FOX 8” appears not to be seriously in contention.

The decision will have to happen very, very soon…if not Thursday, then no later than Friday. As we keep reminding folks, the first pre-season game is a week from Thursday…

REGHI’S FRIENDS: We didn’t have any idea how many friends now-former Cavaliers TV play-by-play voice Michael Reghi had made in the local sports media…until today.

His dismissal is – despite other matters – front and center on the minds of Cleveland’s sports media members today, and we’re hearing that Reghi was basically “blindsided” by the move to remove him from the Cavs TV booth on FSN Ohio, and had absolutely no idea it was coming.

OMW is hearing from a number of local media folks who consider themselves friends with Reghi, and who are sympathizing with him after the move.

The concensus would appear to be that the swap was initiated by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, in an effort to put someone he’s more comfortable with (that would be Pistons TV voice Fred McLeod) into the Cavs TV play-by-play role.

FSN Ohio doesn’t appear to have had any role in the change. Neither did WUAB/43, which still has Cavs over-air rights at least for another couple of years or so. The move bounces Reghi off of that station’s games as well, since the team is involved in making those decisions.

And Reghi continues with FSN Ohio on the network’s new Browns-related programming, which comes out of the FSN pact with the cable programmer.

Sure enough, after a brief delay in the start due to technical difficulties, Reghi was up front and center on FSN Ohio’s first Browns training camp show tonight at 7, with no hint that he had just been given a jolt of bad news earlier in the day…

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