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Fastball Sports

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Fastball Sports

Unread postby jakmama » Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:40 pm

Can anybody give me some insight on Fastball Sports? As a Dish Network subscriber, I really don't want to have to switch to Time Warner to see Tribe games. The press release that I read says that Fastball "... has secured a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Time Warner Cable..." I interpret this to mean that other outlets will have the chance to bid to show the games in addition to TW. Bottom line: will I get to watch the Tribe on Dish Network this season?

Truth be told: I prefer to listen to Hammy and Underwood. "Awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Back. GONE!!!!"

-Duke
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Unread postby consigliere » Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:49 pm

From everything they have said in interviews, the Tribe TV package is being made available to all outlets....local cable and satellite. The deals just need to be finalized. I would expect something to be announced in the next 4-6 weeks. I believe they are supposed to air 8 spring training games, so a station should be locked down by mid-March to accomodate this.
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Unread postby swerb » Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:47 pm

Little surprising no details have been announced with regards to the Indians new station.

Pitchers and catchers report Wedns ... you'd think we woulda heard something by now.
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Unread postby consigliere » Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:18 pm

Yeah, I mentioned this on the other board....I'll cut and paste over here:

Anyone a little concerned that we are a week from pitchers and catchers reporting, and still no news from any local cable/satellite providers on the status of this new station?

Personally, I am not worried, as I would THINK they have things ready to go and the only thing they are finalizing is getting these cable/satellite companies in tow to broadcast the station. I would THINK they contacted these companies months ago, even before the new TV deal was announced, to get an idea on the timeframe to have such a channel added to their lineup and how long it may take to strike a deal.

BUT.....the cynic in me has a feeling this thing just may end up blowing up in their face somehow. Maybe not of gargantuan proportions....but large enough to piss off a lot of fans if there is a delay in getting the games telvised in some areas.

Anyone else getting this feeling? Like I said, I am not worried about it (yet), but for God's sake, this is Cleveland.....it is practically gospel than anything that can go wrong will go wrong in this town.....so this thing is bound to hit a snag somehow and cause chaos.
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Unread postby swerb » Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:39 am

Roger Brown provides an update ...

http://www.cleveland.com/sports/plainde ... xml&coll=2

Indians' network eyes Opening Day
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Roger Brown
Plain Dealer Columnist

Jim Liberatore, president of the Indians' new television network, says he is confident it will have deals signed with every area cable and satellite TV outlet by Opening Day but admits it is "unlikely" they will be done soon enough for all viewers to see the network's debut telecast: the March 12 Indians-New York Yankees exhibition game.

"We've just sent out the [contract offers], and we've had some early conversations with various companies," Liberatore said.

Time Warner Cable subscribers already are assured of seeing the Indians' network, thanks to a partnership deal between the company and team. Time Warner also soon will take control of Adelphia Cable outlets in this area, so those subscribers will receive the Indians' network, too.

On other network-related issues, Liberatore says:

Indians fans living in other states still should be able to catch games, particularly on MLB Extra Innings, the league's season-subscription TV package. "If we get all the deals done we hope to get done, everyone who saw Indians games last season - wherever they saw them - should be able to do the same this season," Liberatore said. "That's the simplest way to put it."

The Indians will name their TV announcing team at a Feb. 23 press conference. The announcers will do all 138 Indians network telecasts (eight exhibition, 130 regular-season) and 20 "free TV" games Channel 3 will air.

The team network's name and logo also will be unveiled on Feb. 23.

The Indians still plan to eventually make their network a 24-hour programmer and already are looking into acquiring and developing non-baseball shows.
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Unread postby consigliere » Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:47 pm

http://www.news-herald.com/site/news.cf ... 1848&rfi=6

Deadline for Tribe TV exec: April 4
David S. Glasier, DGlasier@News-Herald.com
02/12/2006

No one needs to tell Jim Liberatore about the biggest challenge he faces in running the show at the Indians' new regional cable-TV sport channel.

A 43-year-old native of Bay Village, Liberatore recently was named president of Fastball Sports Productions, LLC., a company started by Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan and his family but operated separately from the team.

Beginning this season, the as-yet unnamed channel will air 130 regular-season games and eight spring-training games. The Indians will be airing another 20 games on WKYC-TV 3, also under the auspices of Fastball Sports.

Liberatore said his top priority is making sure that carriage agreements are secured for the new channel on local cable-TV systems. The channel also needs to get carriage agreements with the two leading satellite systems, Dish and DirecTV.

And it certainly would make life easier for Liberatore and the Indians if those deals are done by the channel's first scheduled telecast on April 4.

"The number-one job is to give fans what they need and want, which is access to the telecasts," Liberatore said recently during an interview in his office at Jacobs Field.
Liberatore said the channel got a nice head start in that direction by securing a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Time Warner Cable, Ohio's largest cable system with 848,000 subscribers.

There's more good news in Time Warner Cable soon-to-be-completed acquisition of the Adelphia and Comcast systems in Northeast Ohio. That deal still awaits final approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

Although he isn't making any brash promises, Liberatore said it is "a reasonable goal" to aim for the new channel being available on April 4 to all viewers who watched Tribe telecasts the last four seasons on FSN Ohio.

Given the constraints of time, though, area-wide access to the channel's spring-training telecasts is probably a bit of a push.

"We're late getting this started," Liberatore said. "Ideally, you'd like to have had eight months to a year."

Liberatore brings nearly 20 years of experience in the TV-sports business to his new job. He's previously been president of Speed Channel and the Sunshine regional sports network in Florida.

"I've always wanted to get back to the Cleveland area," Liberatore said. "When I heard about this opportunity, I thought it could be interesting. Then I saw how they set it up, and I was even more interested.

"A lot of these regional networks haven't worked in the past, but the fact this one was set up with an established and successful cable operator like Time Warner is a huge advantage."

Liberatore said the production crew for the telecasts, on the new cable channel and Channel 3, is in place. Later this month will come the announcement of the channel's name and the roster of play-by-play announcers, analysts and pregame hosts.

Although he wouldn't tip his hand about the announcers, Liberatore did say, "You will see some familiar faces."
It's a sure thing that the pregame show will have a new look and feel.

"We're going to do things differently and better on that show," Liberatore said.

In its early months, Liberatore said the new cable channel will focus almost exclusively on Indians telecasts and related programs. There will be repeat broadcasts of games, as well.
Down the road, Liberatore said the channel will lengthen its broadcast day and add other types of sports programs to the schedule.

"I have ideas that reflect the collective sports mentality of this town," Liberatore said. "We're going to be doing things that other people aren't doing."
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Unread postby swerb » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:57 am

Indians trying to put the squeeze on the local cable companies. This looks as if it will drag into the season, at least with some of the various cable companies.

http://www.cleveland.com/sports/plainde ... xml&coll=2

Indians strike out with pitch to Cox Cable

Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Roger Brown
Plain Dealer Columnist


The Indians are confi dent they eventually will convince area cable and satellite TV providers to carry their new TV network, but they already have gotten a blunt "no" - for now - from one outlet.

Kevin Haynes, general manager at Cox Cable - which has some 70,000 subscribers in Cleveland's western suburbs - says his company has rejected the Indians' initial contract offer to carry the network. Haynes contends the Indians' fee demands are unreasonable and would force every Cox subscriber to pay another $1.50 a month - at minimum - just to finance carrying the team network.

"They're asking us to pay 200 percent more than we did when their games were on FSN Ohio, and that's for 20 [fewer] telecasts," Haynes said of the Indians.

"It's totally unacceptable and outrageous. We're trying to stand up and look out for our customers. So, at this point, no, we're not agreeing to carry [the Indians' network]."

The Indians' network will show 130 regular-season games this season. FSN Ohio, the team's former TV partner, had been airing 150 regular-season games in recent years. Jim Liberatore, president of the Indians' network, defended the team's fee request, saying it was "a fair price" based on the Indians' proven popularity as a TV draw.

"The fact is, the Indians have been one of the highest-rated TV teams in the majors for years," Liberatore said. "Watching Indians games has become a way of life in this town, and there's a cost associated with that."

Indians TV, part 2:

The team will not announce it until next Thursday, but indications are longtime club announcers John Sanders, Rick Manning and Mike Hegan will return to call telecasts on its new network - as well as 20 games on WKYC Channel 3. Sanders, Manning and Hegan were FSN Ohio's announcing team from 2002 to last season, working in rotating two-man teams.
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Unread postby consigliere » Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:20 am

AH, beat me too it Swerb. Ok, if what Brown is reporting is true, then this could become a PR nightmare for the Indians. If 5-10% of people who normally watched the Indians last year on FSN don't get the new channell on opening day, then it falls squarely on the Indians.
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