The timing of this is great, since Reds broadcaster Chris Welsh will be our guest on this week’s episode of the Redleg Nation Radio podcast. (The episode will be available soon.)
This has been widely discussed for some time, but the Cincinnati Reds and Fox Sports Ohio have put the finishing touches on a new television deal:
The Reds have agreed to a 15-year extension of their local television broadcast rights agreement with FOX Sports Ohio, the club announced on Wednesday.
The financial terms of the deal, which goes into effect in 2018, were not disclosed. Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini noted that the agreement, which had been in the works for some time, gives the club an equity stake in FOX Sports Ohio.
“We really view it as a new relationship that looks more like a partnership,” Castellini said. “It’ll operate very much the same as it has — FOX will be in charge of all elements of the broadcast, the technical aspects — but we are in it more together.”
Go check out the quotes from Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini about the deal, both at mlb.com and in Zach Buchanan’s piece for the Enquirer. There’s a theme in Castellini’s remarks: we’re very happy, but it’s not that much money. We’re still a small market team!
We’ll have more analysis once we get the specific numbers, but at first blush, this is nothing but positive news for the club. It’ll be an infusion of cash, and the Reds now have an ownership stake in Fox Sports Ohio. I really can’t wait to see all the details.
Zach had this interesting nugget to add to the mix:
About three or four years ago, as Phil Castellini tells it, the Cincinnati Reds began researching an eye-opening idea. With their broadcast deal with Fox Sports Ohio set to expire after the 2017 season, baseball’s oldest franchise began looking into the notion of cutting out the middle man by establishing and operating their own regional sports network.
The Reds hired a consulting firm to explore that avenue, but ultimately decided they were better served by sticking with FSO.
We had heard some of those rumors, but there will be no Reds network (which could have been fun). I was really hoping that they’d need content, and we could reach an agreement to run the “Redleg Nation Power Hour” every Tuesday night at 3 a.m. (if Fox Sports Ohio wants to sign us up for that television deal, I can be found at dotsonc AT gmail DOT com).
As I said, I’m interested in seeing all of the details, but from what we know right now, it’s looking like Steve Mancuso was remarkably prescient when he wrote this here at Redleg Nation about a year ago:
So expect something less than Arizona and more than San Diego.
That would put the Reds in the neighborhood of $70-75 million (which is consistent with other published estimates) per year on average. Look for the Reds to receive a sizable chunk of equity in the RSN, maybe 20-25 percent. An 8 or 9-figure signing bonus may be included. Higher annual payments are typically phased in over time. For example, for the Reds the new deal may start at $55 million in 2017 and grow to $85 million by the end of the contract.
The Reds agreement won’t pay as much per season as St. Louis’ new contract, but it will start a year before the latter deal kicks in. And it may be for a longer duration than 15 years. The Reds deal won’t quite match the Cardinals. But it won’t be far behind, either.
Stay tuned. We hope to have further analysis of the deal in the next couple of days.