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12/26/2005 9:30 AM ET
Indians announce new TV service
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CLEVELAND, OH -- The Cleveland Indians Baseball Company Limited Partnership today announced the formation of an innovative media enterprise, called Fastball Sports Productions, LLC, to offer the largest television package in team history (158 games annually), beginning with the 2006 season. Fastball Sports Productions, a separate business entity from the Cleveland Indians operated by the Dolan family, will be licensed to carry Indians games to the Indians television territory.

Fastball Sports Productions has secured a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Time Warner Cable, Ohio's largest cable system operator, to carry the Indians games on Time Warner Cable systems throughout the Indians television territory. The cable operator currently serves more than 848,000 customers within its Northeast Ohio and Mid-Ohio service area. Discussions will commence soon with other cable system operators and satellite providers to carry the Indians television service. Fastball Sports Productions has further engaged Time Warner Cable Media Sales to serve as its exclusive national, regional and local sales agent.

The schedule calls for airing 130 regular season games on cable and satellite television along with eight spring training games, with an additional 20 games to be seen on WKYC-TV (Cleveland) in high definition television (HDTV) and other over-the-air local television stations in key Indians television markets. Additional programming will be produced to complement this expanded schedule and provide more insight, perspective and features for Indians fans. The name of the programming service will be announced at a later time.

Cleveland Indians President Paul Dolan explained, "We are excited about this new venture as it will provide an unparalleled depth of coverage and broader access to Indians games for television viewers and fans. It also is a creative, revenue-generating enterprise that will increase resources for our baseball operations and help ensure the long term business health for this franchise."

The Indians' former agreement with Fox Sports Ohio to carry Indians games expired recently and Dolan expressed his appreciation to the management and operations staff of the channel. "I want to thank FSN Ohio Vice President and General Manager Steve Liverani and his entire team for the terrific work they have done over the years we have worked together. They are true professionals and our partnership was productive for both of us," Dolan said.

Dolan continued, "Establishing our own media company to carry Indians games and other programming will enable us to better control our own destiny in the years ahead and that's an important short and long-term consideration for us. It's similar to what has been done with the Indians radio network beginning in the early 1990's."

"We are pleased to continue delivering the Cleveland Indians to our customers throughout the region," said Steve Fry, president of Time Warner Cable of Northeast Ohio. "The timing of this partnership could not be better, as Time Warner Cable looks forward to providing Indians games to our new Greater Cleveland cable customers this Spring."

WKYC-TV President and General Manager Brooke Spectorsky said, "This arrangement with the Indians is a great demonstration of our station's commitment to bringing the best possible local programming to our viewers. Indians fans can count on WKYC and our award winning staff to provide network quality coverage for every game using the best digital picture and sound technology available today. This is very, very exciting."

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