The Indians have finally announced the details of their new TV channel. Here's some of the highlights:
-The new channel will be called Fastball Sports, and will carry 130 regular-season and 8 spring training games. For now, Time Warner is the only local carrier that will carry the channel; the Indians reached a "non-exclusive, long-term distribution agreement" with them. Now obviously there will be negotiations to place the channel on other cable and satellite carriers. Right now, almost half of the FSN viewers will have the new channel.
-The channel will be owned by Fastball Sports Productions, which will be controlled by the Indians ownership group. The YES (Yankees) and NESN (Red Sox) networks have similar ownership plans.
-WKYC (Channel 3) will carry 20 regular-season games, mostly on the weekends. And, most importantly, those games will be broadcast in high definition. I'd assume there will be some kind of network system in other area cities (Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown) so those outside the Cleveland market will be able to see the games on "Free TV".
-IMO, the biggest obstacle to this network getting off the ground will be to strike deals with the other cable and satellite carriers in the area. If they can make that happen, the Indians will be looking at an increase in revenue. Even while the attendance fell during the past rebuilding stretch, TV ratings were still very high.