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Sox/Bulls/Hawks close on Stadium deal


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"Changing RSNs won’t solve that problem, and it could create one by trying to gain carriage on cable and satellite providers such as Comcast and DirecTV."

That could be a big issue. DISH Network is already out since they no longer carry any regional sports networks. 

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"The teams, led by Bulls and Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, also are seeking over-the-air partners to carry the games."

Interesting. Wonder if WGN wants to start airing games again.

Edited by kba
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Story says most employees will simply slide over to new company. Also talks about the issues the new RSN is going to have:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports-media/2024/04/16/chicago-white-sox-bulls-blackhawks-stadium-nbc-sports-chicago-jerry-reinsdorf-diamond-sports-group-bally-sinclair-comcast-directv

Stadium’s biggest challenge in its efforts to convert to a regional sports network will be gaining carriage on providers such as Comcast and DirecTV. Stadium will know what it’s up against when Diamond Sports Group, which owns the Bally Sports-branded RSNs and is working through bankruptcy court, settles on distribution deals with those carriers. Talks are ongoing.

Comcast and DirecTV could place Diamond’s costly channels on a higher programming tier, which Comcast recently did with Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), home of MLB’s Orioles and Nationals. Such placement would limit Stadium’s penetration in the market.

Edited by Lip Man 1
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23 hours ago, Buehrle>Wood said:

The CW? They are desperate for 2nd tier sporting rights and have been picking up all they can. Not sure how that would work on a local level though.

NexStar owns both WGN and the national CW network - though the Chicago CW affiliate, WCIU, is owned by Weigel. They all have a recent history of local sports programming, so it seems like there would be some opportunities here. 

There's no way that a free over-the-air station will pay the teams anywhere near the money that NBCSports pays in rights fees. But with RSNs failing all over the country, it makes sense for teams to pursue a multi-platform strategy for their telecasts - cable, streaming, and over-the-air TV. Make the games available as widely as possible and try to make more money on advertising.

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7 hours ago, Lip Man 1 said:

Story says most employees will simply slide over to new company. Also talks about the issues the new RSN is going to have:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports-media/2024/04/16/chicago-white-sox-bulls-blackhawks-stadium-nbc-sports-chicago-jerry-reinsdorf-diamond-sports-group-bally-sinclair-comcast-directv

Stadium’s biggest challenge in its efforts to convert to a regional sports network will be gaining carriage on providers such as Comcast and DirecTV. Stadium will know what it’s up against when Diamond Sports Group, which owns the Bally Sports-branded RSNs and is working through bankruptcy court, settles on distribution deals with those carriers. Talks are ongoing.

Comcast and DirecTV could place Diamond’s costly channels on a higher programming tier, which Comcast recently did with Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), home of MLB’s Orioles and Nationals. Such placement would limit Stadium’s penetration in the market.

They at least have O's broadcasts in high demand...and the Nationals' rebuild is getting closer and closer to being pretty interesting.

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8 hours ago, Lip Man 1 said:

Story says most employees will simply slide over to new company. Also talks about the issues the new RSN is going to have:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports-media/2024/04/16/chicago-white-sox-bulls-blackhawks-stadium-nbc-sports-chicago-jerry-reinsdorf-diamond-sports-group-bally-sinclair-comcast-directv

Stadium’s biggest challenge in its efforts to convert to a regional sports network will be gaining carriage on providers such as Comcast and DirecTV. Stadium will know what it’s up against when Diamond Sports Group, which owns the Bally Sports-branded RSNs and is working through bankruptcy court, settles on distribution deals with those carriers. Talks are ongoing.

Comcast and DirecTV could place Diamond’s costly channels on a higher programming tier, which Comcast recently did with Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), home of MLB’s Orioles and Nationals. Such placement would limit Stadium’s penetration in the market.

I would think the trend is more households are viewing cable contracts these days.  

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1 minute ago, DoUEvenShift said:

Not gonna lie, if the Sox didn't suck so much that would actually be super fun. 2x Sox games into a Bulls playin. My liver hurts just thinking about it

It's just another indictment on how fucking terribly managed Reinsdorf owned teams are. 

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18 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

I love no matter what happens in Chicago, Sportsvision is brought up at a negative, even though in 2024 is the exact business model that all teams use.

Well, it doesn't exactly look auspicious to launch it with one of the worst teams in modern baseball history...Hahn/JR/Boyer signed just a five year extension last time to place themselves in the heart of their championship window as the short team deal expired. Which theoretically would have been favorable.

But obviously counting on a much better renegotiated deal (due to being on the "cusp of an unprecedented dynasty" in 2019, but still take advantage) didn't exactly pan out as planned.

Basically, they have a product  almost nobody in their right mind wants to consume.

Edited by caulfield12
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25 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

I love no matter what happens in Chicago, Sportsvision is brought up at a negative, even though in 2024 is the exact business model that all teams use.

A business model that is proving to be a failure in many, many instances. 

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25 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

I love no matter what happens in Chicago, Sportsvision is brought up at a negative, even though in 2024 is the exact business model that all teams use.

Sportsvision broadcast over the air on UHF and subscribers were required to have a special antenna installed on their roof and have a special box attached to their sets then had to pay a subscription fee to watch only White Sox games which everyone was used to watching for free.  Meanwhile their cross town rivals were airing their games for free on what was at the time a Superstation, WGN.

Sportsvision was definitely a negative.

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25 minutes ago, caulfield12 said:

Well, it doesn't exactly look auspicious to launch it with one of the worst teams in modern baseball history...Hahn/JR/Boyer signed just a five year extension last time to place themselves in the heart of their championship window as the short team deal expired. Which theoretically would have been favorable.

But obviously counting on a much better renegotiated deal (due to being on the "cusp of an unprecedented dynasty" in 2019, but still take advantage) didn't exactly pan out as planned.

Basically, they have a product  almost nobody in their right mind wants to consume.

Yet they launched Sportsvision when the Sox were about as good as could be.

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21 minutes ago, South Side Fireworks Man said:

Sportsvision broadcast over the air on UHF and subscribers were required to have a special antenna installed on their roof and have a special box attached to their sets then had to pay a subscription fee to watch only White Sox games which everyone was used to watching for free.  Meanwhile their cross town rivals were airing their games for free on what was at the time a Superstation, WGN.

Sportsvision was definitely a negative.

Not saying Sportsvision was a good idea, but a $100 box brought you the Sox/Hawks and boobs......

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An except from my history of SportsVision which will be included in Dr. Fletcher's next book on the White Sox which comes out next year:

One Man Remembers 

Mike Leiderman came to Chicago in the late 1970’s working at WMAQ-TV doing sports, then went on to host “PM Magazine.” But his heart was still in sports and when the opportunity came to go to SportsVision as the main anchor (Duane Dow, formerly of WLS-TV sports, worked weekends) he jumped at it. 

“I was talking with a station in Cleveland about hosting a morning show along the lines of what Phil Donahue was doing when SportsVision became an option,” he said when I spoke with him. 

“Merle Harmon, who did the Milwaukee Brewers for years, was the first anchor but he left and they wanted a replacement. They were paying real money and offered me a good deal so I signed up with them. I was contracted to work 200 days a year for them so that left me opportunities to do play by play and other things. My family and I loved Chicago and we wanted to stay here. It also gave me an opportunity to keep doing what I loved, which was sports. Even though it was new we just didn’t think about not making it. Everyone who worked there realized it was going to be a slow growth process.” 

But ownership apparently did not and on December 31,1983 the plug was pulled on it. It was a group decision to sell back the rights among the owners of SportsVision which included Einhorn, Reinsdorf, Chicago Sting owner Lee Stern and Bill and Arthur Wirtz of the Blackhawks.

Leiderman was asked when employees began to suspect something wasn’t right and issues were developing. “It was about the time we starting seeing ads in newspapers for decoder boxes!” he said laughingly. “Instead of paying for the converter box and the hook-up fees people were just buying those boxes for like 10 dollars and watching at home. It was problematic for us.”

The fact that people were buying those boxes did provide perhaps the most memorable line in the entire SportsVision experience. It came on December 31, 1983 during the final show. Leiderman was hosting with Eddie Einhorn as his guest. Mike looked into the camera and said, “Those who are watching us in the piracy of their homes…” as Einhorn started to laugh. 

Asked if he had any regrets Leiderman said, “No, I don’t regret it. We were the first station in the country devoted totally to our teams, we weren’t at the mercy of anything else, we were different, unique and you look around today and you realize all the regional sports channels started with us. I enjoyed it, worked with great people and it enabled me to stay in Chicago. I’m thankful for that.” 

Over time both Eddie Einhorn and Jerry Reinsdorf commented on SportsVision, the idea, the execution and the aftermath; Einhorn in particular defended the decision telling Logan, “If you want people to come, you can’t give the product away. That’s the way it’s been done everywhere else except Chicago for years. The best organizations, the ones that draw the most people at the gate, don’t go that way. They have limited TV.” 

Reinsdorf though understood the reality of the situation when in 2004 at a luncheon promoting the start of the new Comcast Sports Network-Chicago regional channel he said, "Unfortunately, Chicago wasn't ready for us. There wasn't cable of any consequence, and we were on subscription pay-TV. I don't remember how many subscribers there were, but I know that more than that number went to Radio Shack and bought the parts for their own boxes." 

How to sum up the experiment known as SportsVision? 

Well you could do a lot worse than to say, ‘A brilliant idea that simply was ahead of its time, limited by historical factors as well as technological shortcomings.’

-------------------------------

And one item about the cost:

"At the time of launching, it cost most fans $50 just to get it installed as it required a special descrambler, not counting the monthly fee which varied from system to system."

 

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