Reuters reports that Fox Sports is going to announce possibly this week that it has purchased Sports Time Ohio and with it, the rights to the Cleveland MLB team. It would mark the second buy-in into a sports regional network for Fox having purchased a 49% stake in the YES Network and obtaining the rights to the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Nets.
The pricetag for STO would be in the neighborhood of $230 million.
Fox is also negotiating with the Los Angeles Dodgers to retain their media rights for as much as $280 million/year over a 25 year span.
Fox’s parent company, News Corp. has been in a spending spree in the wake of its spinning off its publishing unit and changing tax laws in January.
Should Fox be successful in bringing Cleveland and the Dodgers into the fold, it would have rights to 16 of the 30 MLB teams.
And if the purchase is announced, it’s expected that Cleveland’s games would be folded into Fox Sports Ohio programming. The channel also airs the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Cavaliers and Columbus Blue Jackets along with various college sports involving Cincinnati and Dayton.
In addition to the Cleveland MLB Team, STO has some MAC basketball and football games, Browns programming and high school football.
There’s no word whether STO would be folded or continue operations as a separate channel for overspill programming. The channel is owned by the Dolan family which also owns the Cleveland MLB Team.