Monday, February 20, 2006

Cox Fires Salvo At Indians Network

Since the soon-to-be-for-sale OMW World Headquarters is in Adelphia Cable territory, we haven't seen this on it took a mention in Plain Dealer sports media columnist Roger Brown's Monday offering for us to find out about it.

Having already taken their case to the public in an earlier Roger Brown column, Cox Cable's Cleveland operation is now taking their case to the Internet. Cox has set up a website called "", outlining their case for refusing the offer by the new Cleveland Indians-run cable network.

Much of it is what was reported earlier - a large fee increase for what will currently be lesser amounts of programming (20 less games than FSN Ohio ran last year, due to the over-air contract with WKYC/3). It also notes that the Indians-run "Fastball Sports Productions" apparently expects higher fees when more programming comes on board, or for high-definition games.

Though the website text frequently notes that "we're Indians fans, too!", it calls attention to a growing concern in the cable industry...high sports programming fees.

Note the headline at the top: "SPORTS PROGRAMMING IS DRIVING UP CABLE PRICES FOR EVERYONE", and a picture showing a presumably older woman, who appears not to be a sports fan, with a catcher's mask and a lost look on her face. Then there's that caption: "YOU are paying dearly for Sports TV - Like it or not".

The site includes an FAQ about the situation, and a pre-written letter that readers could presumably copy and send to Indians management types. It's typical cheesy MediaCompanySpeak: "I realize that the Indians’ network will provide the games but at what cost to me? As a supporter and fan of the Indians, I ask that you charge fair prices to the local cable companies so that we can continue to cheer on our local team!"

If the Fastball folks don't laugh out loud at that tortured wording, they don't have a sense of humor. OMW takes no editorial stance on this issue, by the way...we're just chuckling at this "here, sign this letter we've already written for you, which sounds like it was written by a cable company PR person!" thing.

What this website doesn't include is, as near as we can tell, any mention of the fact that Cox Cable owns it. Indeed, it refers to "cable companies" in the third person throughout the text. This is standard procedure for many cable companies in their programming cost battles with cable networks, by the way..."" is only the latest example.

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