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FOX Sports purchases STO

FOX Sports purchases STO
December 28, 2012
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CLEVELAND — The pending purchase of SportsTime Ohio by Fox Sports Ohio became official Friday as it was announced that FOX has purchased the Cleveland sports network for an estimated $230 million.

FOX will now have the broadcast rights to Cleveland Indians games for the next 10 seasons, which is estimated to be worth around $400 million. Fox will pay the Indians about $40 million in rights fees per season to broadcast their games, which is $10 million more than what STO had been paying the Indians.

FOX Sports Ohio currently serves more than five million homes throughout the state of Ohio, as well as portions of Kentucky, Indiana, western Pennsylvania, western New York and West Virginia.  The network is also the regional TV home of the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Cavaliers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, Xavier Musketeers, Cincinnati Bearcats and now the Cleveland Indians.

The additional revenue that the Indians gained from the STO sale could be a reason why the team was able to sign outfielder Nick Swisher to a four-year, $56 million deal this past week. It's also probably one of the primary reasons as to why the Indians have still been linked to other free agents.

It is unknown as to what the future now holds for STO, which was created in 2006 by the Dolan family to carry Indians games. Since that time, the network has also gained popularity due to its MAC college coverage, OHSAA high school coverage and popular television call-in shows such as All Bets Are Off with Bruce Drennan and Chuck's Last Call with Chuck Galetti. 

It is not known if FOX will choose to continue to operate STO as a separate entity or merge its programming with FOX Sports Ohio. However, it is believed that STO will have to remain in some capacity for the 2013 season.

Steve can be reached via email at

User Comments

December 29, 2012 - 9:46 AM EST
Brandon, I think something a lot of people are forgetting is that the $230 million is not straight cash that the Dolan's can put back into the team. Remember, there are startup costs and the like with STO that the Dolan's will likely need to pay themselves back. It wasn't started for free. So a large chunk of that will probably go back to investors (if there were any) and themselves and THEN the extra money would go into the team at some point. I think the important thing to note is that the $230 million is probably not what goes into the team's payroll, it is the extra $7-10 million going from $33 to $40 million in rights fees.
December 29, 2012 - 7:35 AM EST
I wonder if the commissioner's office will have a problem with this deal. The $40 mil rights fee is on the low side, especially at the end of the 10 years. However, the $230 mil for STO is not subject to the normal MLB revenues and the Dolans can just pocket it. Fox is paying $230 to the Indians to make STO go away so they can have a monopoly over the next 10 years. I'll bet STO is simply dropped in a year. The next owner will be hamstrung at the end of the contract; however, historically these contracts can be renegotiated part way through.
December 29, 2012 - 1:46 AM EST
I wonder how much of this money will be used on player salaries. If Dolan pockets the $230 million and just uses that $10 million a year on the team, then we should easily be able to afford at least one more good free agent. Hopefully this means we are able to pursue Lohse and Bourn.
December 29, 2012 - 12:24 AM EST
This interesting with regards to the future of the team...

The influx of money is it stands...with regards to player development, as it could allow the Indians to come to play ever year with at least a little more gusto, if they "thread the needle" so to speak...

Will be interesting to see what happens with "programming" of all sorts over the next year or so...

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