No fooling, SportsTime Ohio says it will take the full high-definition plunge on April 1.
The regional sports network said that as of that date it will present all of its coverage of Cleveland Indians baseball games, as well as its original fare in HD.
With 150 games between SportsTime Ohio and NBC’s Cleveland affiliate, WKYC, the Indians, according to officials at the network, would thus join the New York Yankees and Mets, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies as Major League baseball franchises that will have all of their regional/local 2008 game telecasts in the enhanced format.
Last season, SportsTime Ohio, which produces 150 Cleveland contests per season, presented many of the Indians home games in the enhanced format, while the Tribe’s road games on WKYC were also transmitted in HD. Combined, the outlets offered about 80 games in HD.
Beginning April 1, STO will also make all of its original fare, including The Tribe Report, All Bets Are Off with Bruce Drennan, Outdoors Ohio with D’Arcy Egan, Browns Red Zone and The Vikings Basketball Report, available in HD.
Officials at STO, owned by Fastball Productions LLC, which is controlled by Indians principal Larry Dolan,
said a number of affiliates are on board to carry the network in the HD format.
“We are pleased to announce that Armstrong, Buckeye CableSystem, Cox Communications, GLW Broadband, Insight Communications and most Time Warner Cable systems have agreed to carry STO HD full-time, said STO vice president of affiliate relations and distribution Ed Niemi in a statement. “All of our cable and satellite providers that carried our Indians games in HD last season will carry all STO HD Indians games in 2008, but the aforementioned cable systems have made the commitment to carry the full-time STO HD channel. We are working diligently with all of our cable and satellite affiliates to make STO HD a full-time channel.”
Added STO president Jim Liberatore: “When SportsTime Ohio launched just two years ago we promised this would be a network that Northeast Ohio sports fans would come to claim as their own. We began by programming the network exclusively with local teams, shows and events and have not stopped as STO is now the home to the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns, Ohio High School Athletic Association events, Cleveland State and many other local partnerships. Now we are proud to be one of the first regional sports networks to offer 24/7 HD including all of the Indians games. Embracing HD is the best way we can show our appreciation to our viewers, the local sports fan.”