Here's a response I received from Sportstime Ohio concerning the Tribe:
Thank you for contacting SportsTime Ohio.
We apologize for not getting back to you sooner. We understand that fans are anxious to see Indians baseball on SportsTime Ohio, and we share your anticipation for the 2006 season. As a fan myself, I do understand that no one likes it when the "business" of baseball has any adverse effect on fully realizing the "joy" of baseball, especially in Cleveland. With that said, this situation is unfortunately reality and we are working diligently to quickly return to topics such as if a fielder can pick up the one-hopper or if a batter can pick up the ball off the pitchers hand, not if your cable operators will pick up the games themselves.
SportsTime Ohio is responsible for the current situation in as much as there was no absolute necessity to create a new network. Please keep in mind however why this was done. The network was created in hopes of increasing profitability enabling the team to compete economically with the New York's and Boston's of the world. At the same time, the new network will offer the best possible production the industry has to offer. Both of these goals are already being played out as the Indians payroll has increased resigning many of the young players who make up the core and future of the team. On the production front, the Dolan's have committed a huge increase in production dollars by offering 83 games in high definition, using eleven camera's for all home games, (as many as or more than any other team in the country including a high def, robotic camera on the backstop), and greatly enhancing the Indians pre-game. The overall expectation of improving the teams ability to keep and compete with the big markets for the best available players, as well as the vastly increased quality of coverage were in the end, the reasons the network was created.
With that said, we are working diligently with your cable operator to finalize these deals as fast as possible. Most recently we have signed both Comcast and Cox in addition to Time Warner, Adelphia, Buckeye, TSC, RTEC, Doylestown, The City of Wadsworth, GLW Broadband, Cablesuite 541 and BTC. All other cable systems continue to work with us including Massillon, WOW, Armstrong, Insight and others.
The satellite providers continue the dialogue with us but are going to wait and see what response they get from their customers. Some of your e-mails have referred to SportsTime Ohio as appearing to ask you to "do our work" when we request you call the various cable/satellite companies. I understand how that may appear, however the truth is, they need to hear from viewers or will assume that there is no interest. Indians fans like you do play a major role in this process by letting your provider know that you want to see the Tribe games on SportsTime Ohio as soon as possible. This will reinforce to your provider the overwhelming popularity of the Tribe and will help convince them to carry the channel. (Please know for example, the Direct TV representative we deal with is in Denver).
Unfortunately, if your provider is not carrying the Indians games, I can't tell you an exact date that SportsTime Ohio will be available on your cable system or satellite provider. However, we continue to talk with the providers that have not signed up, and most carriers have responded favorably to our offer. We expect to have at least 90 percent of the cable universe covered by Opening Day, 4/4.
Exec: There's time for SportsTime deals
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Plain Dealer Columnist
SportsTime Ohio Presi dent Jim Liberatore says he's very optimistic that the Indians' regional sports channel will sign contracts with satellite TV outlets DirecTV and Dish Network before its first regular-season telecast on April 4.
"I feel pretty confident we can work out something with both [companies] before the season starts," Liberatore said.
Signing both DirecTV and Dish will be huge moves for SportsTime Ohio, which will air 130 Indians games. Combined, DirecTV and Dish have some 800,000 subscribers in this area. Getting both would draw SportsTime Ohio even closer to its goal of being seen in 2.8 million households. (Currently, the figure is closer to 1.7 million.)
Also, DirecTV carries the MLB Extra Innings season subscription package, which makes a team's games available to fans in other cities. If SportsTime Ohio signs a deal with DirecTV, it'll guarantee Indians fans across the U.S. can catch games.