SportsTime Ohio network all Tribe baseball — for now

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cablewithaview

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Stand against retrans!!!
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Apr 18, 2005
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DeKalb County, AL
Another reason why we don't need NO more regional sports channels. What was they thinking?


SportsTime Ohio is so new that, when the Cleveland Indians are idle, the cable network is stuck for other programming.

So it simply fills the screen with its logo.

For now, SportsTime Ohio has only Indians pre-game shows, game broadcasts and post-game shows — with reruns.

Such a schedule is unusual for a prime position in a cable lineup.

The quick launch of SportsTime Ohio left the staff scrambling, said Jim Liberatore, president of Fastball Sports Productions, which handles the programming.

Deals with carriers "got done way late, and that put everything behind schedule," he said.

"We are planning in July or August to have other programming. We’d like to be 24/7 by next baseball season."

Viewers have been patient, according to Judy Barbao, spokeswoman for Time Warner in Columbus.

"The primary draw is the live games," she said. "Anything else is icing on the cake."

SportsTime Ohio took the Indians games from Fox Sports Net Ohio, a 24-hour network that shows the Cincinnati Reds.

When the teams played at the same time last year, fans of whichever team was bumped off Fox Sports Net Ohio inevitably complained.

"Last year the question was: Are we going to miss the game because of a Reds game?" Barbao said. "It was a concern whether every Tribe game was going to be available to the fans. So when we launched SportsTime, there was a lot of enthusiasm from viewers."

Even so, SportsTime Ohio plans to hold onto viewers even when the Indians aren’t playing.

"We’re talking about things like an Ohio golf show, an Ohio outdoors show, boxing and some other fighting leagues in Ohio, high-school sports," Liberatore said.

A high-school baseball game between Lakewood St. Edward and Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit will be shown May 4.

In addition, Liberatore said, the network will carry classic games and specials, including vintage college-football matchups — such as one featuring Syracuse, with future Hall of Famer Jim Brown — and a Woody Hayes documentary.

"We’re also considering a commercialfree loop of primarily Indians programming, old things that do nothing but keep us from going black. But we think it might bring ratings — old World Series footage with Bob Feller pitching, say; something we’d air at a four- to six-hour clip and try to refresh every month."

Meanwhile, viewers who wonder what happened to the networks that SportsTime Ohio replaced don’t have to look far.

On the Insight lineup, the new offering shares a slot with a shopping network.

And on Time Warner, "The Golf Channel is still available in the same package," Barbao said. "If it had been put on a different tier, I think we would have heard rumblings."

http://www.dispatch.com/features-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/04/26/20060426-B5-02.html
 

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