02/23/2006 11:00 AM ET
Indians TV network features new programming, expanded schedule
Announcing team of Hegan, Manning and Sanders to be joined by WKYC-TV sports director Donovan
CLEVELAND -- Fastball Sports Productions President Jim Liberatore today released additional programming details for the Indians television network, which will be known as SportsTime Ohio. He also announced that the long-time game day broadcast team of Mike Hegan, Rick Manning and John Sanders will return and will be joined by WKYC-TV Sports Director Jim Donovan, who will be the host for expanded programming to give fans even more insight into Indians' games and players.
"We are finalizing the details on what promises to be one of the best baseball programming concepts that Indians fans have ever seen," Liberatore said. "Viewers will benefit from the features we are adding, such as High Definition to all of the Indians' home game telecasts [as well as to all of the over-the-air broadcasts that will be seen on WKYC-TV], more programming throughout the season and additional cameras to give the viewer even more to see. This will be a great package that lays a strong foundation for the expansion of SportsTime Ohio in the months and years ahead."
Highlights of the planned Indians programming include:
Most games ever -- 130 regular season games, with an additional 20 games to be seen on over-the-air broadcasts by WKYC-TV; also eight (8) Spring Training games will be aired.
High Definition broadcasts with an expanded number of cameras: Fans will see baseball like never before with the addition of high definition production and an increase of two cameras to capture on- and off-field activity. From the first broadcast, crisper action from 10 angles (it was previously eight) and surround sound will help bring the baseball experience into the living rooms of fans.
Weekly program: A 30-minute program hosted by Jim Donovan will look at what's happening in Major League Baseball each week. Don't expect your normal recap show -- the discussion could get a bit irreverent. During the Indians regular season, fans can catch the show's live broadcast on WKYC-TV at 7 p.m. on Monday's with frequent repeats on SportsTime Ohio. During the offseason, Donovan will look at what's happening with players and the business of baseball during a weekly broadcast on SportsTime Ohio.
Liberatore said that Fastball Sports Productions plans to build SportsTime Ohio into a fulltime network that will feature original local programming centering on the interests of Ohio sports fans. Liberatore explained, "We believe there will be strong interest in programming that covers local teams and issues and that understands and speaks to the passions of Ohio sports fans. This can include high school, college and professional games featuring area teams, and other programming -- such as the best historical sports events -- that will be of interest to fans."
Liberatore also confirmed that negotiations are continuing with area cable systems and satellite distributors to locate the programming on those systems. "We believe that our proposals to these systems are fair and reflect the tremendous value of Indians programming, as confirmed in several different viewership surveys," Liberatore said. "We are working hard to ensure that the Indians games and the related programming are available to the widest possible audience, and we encourage fans to contact their cable company or satellite service to let them know they want to see the Indians programming," he concluded.
About Fastball Sports Productions
The Cleveland Indians Baseball Company Limited Partnership established Fastball Sports Productions in December 2005 as an innovative media enterprise to serve a variety of sports programming purposes. Its initial venture is to serve as a regional distribution network for Cleveland Indians baseball games and related productions. Plans are being developed to produce original sports programming that will be of particular interest to Northern Ohio sports fans.