Cincinnati Reds should have made a new sports network instead of staying with Fox Sports

When the Cincinnati Reds signed their new 15-year contract with Fox Sports Ohio they missed a golden chance to move up in MLB.

The Cincinnati Reds make about a third of the mainline programming on Fox Sports Ohio.  The Reds share the network with the Cleveland Indians, Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL and the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.  Together those four teams own pro sports in Ohio.

They could have a special situation if they all went in together to form a new sports network.  Between the other networks that have regular games from the three leagues and the abilities of all three leagues to customize their schedules, there could be a nice arrangement to avoid more than an occasional scheduling conflict.

Moreover, imagine the marketing power of a network that could advertise being able to watch all of the local teams’ broadcasts without leaving your couch.  FOX Sports Ohio has never taken advantage of this because the teams haven’t tried coordinating their schedules and haven’t had a reason to try.

The Reds aren’t releasing the exact numbers from their new TV deal, but it is unlikely to have them keeping pace with divisional foes.

The current deal was set to run through the 2017 season.  Currently the Reds receive $30-million per season, but the new deal does include an ownership stake in FOX Sports Ohio.  Unfortunately, with the team’s current play and lower attendance numbers, this wasn’t the best time to renegotiate a new deal.
The Reds are due for a large increase, however. The San Diego Padres signed a 20-year deal worth one billion back in 2012.

An educated guess is possible based on the difference in market size and the passing of time.  Based on that the Reds’ new deal should have been for about a 50% increase or $45-million per season.  That should mean $15-million more per year for the Reds to spend on scouting, development, and player salaries.  They could use he help based on the front office situation.

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Now the Reds have 15 years to get together with the other three teams.  They can build a network for the ages.  They likely have an escape clause or control of new developing media.  Hopefully, the Reds will be competitive in the next 15 years.  That will make the Reds an attractive partner for making a new cable station.

In any case, CCCS or Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus Sports is a great idea.  Fans enjoy the rivalry and the cheering from one end of the state to another.  Signing this deal makes us all wait another decade or more.

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