Wednesday, April 19, 2006

No STO For Outer DirecTV - For Now

If you're one of those diehard Cleveland Indians fans out in Erie, Toledo or other areas a ways from Jacobs Field, and you're hoping for DirecTV to turn on SportsTime Ohio so you can watch the games...don't hold your breath.

STO's Jim Liberatore tells OMW today that he's heard back from the largest satellite provider, and they're NOT going to turn on the "outer zones" away from Cleveland, but still in the Indians TV footprint. Liberatore says DirecTV tells STO they've had "surprisingly little response" from outer market Indians fans.

It looks like those who want the games from DirecTV, and aren't getting them, will have to start basically yelling at them...if that'll even work. We know there's an online petition started by Ohio University professor Patrick Kreiser with 550 signatures on it...and the Big Furry Moohead at Internet sports talk radio site Moohead Radio says it's been sent to DirecTV.

But the petition got little coverage, as far as we know. And not to disparage the efforts of Mr. Krieser et al., but even in the Internet age, phone calls from subscribers and actual letters sent via the USPS mean more to a major communications company like DirecTV. If opening up the games to the "outer zones" is ever going to happen on that service, that effort is going to have to be much bigger.

In the meantime, again - if you're a DirecTV-owning Tribe fan in Toledo or Erie or southeast Ohio, again, don't hold that breath. We know folks who've had a Dish Network setup put in at $30 a month solely for baseball season. And cable systems in many of these outlying areas do carry STO's Indians games, most of the time on a low-cost "basic" tier.

Just be sure with either your cable system or Dish that you'll actually get STO. As far as we know, Dish Network is not nearly as restrictive as to who gets STO in the Indians footprint, but double check when you get it installed...especially if you're in an area outside Ohio...

4 comments:

Patrick Kreiser said...

As the author of the online petition, I wanted to thank you for mentioning it on your web site. If you are a current customer of DirecTV, please sign the petition, call DirecTV, and write them (a letter or an e-mail) to let them know that you would like to see Indians games in your area. If they don't hear from us, then they won't change their policy. If nothing else, please allow your voice to be heard!

Patrick

Anonymous said...

They wont reverse their stance until enough people drop DTV service. That is pretty much hat is going on here.

Anonymous said...

Depending on the specific location, it may not be DirecTV's fault.

How do I know this?

I'm a Cincinnati Reds fan living in the Cleveland area. When the Indians and Fox Sports Ohio went their separate ways, I contacted FSO and asked if they would show Reds games in the Cleveland market area. The response was that MLB prohibits regional sports networks showing games in another team's home market.

Well...Toledo is in the local market area of the Detroit Tigers, and Erie PA is in the local market area of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

You can verify that yourself at:

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/subscriptions/mlbtv.jsp

Major League Baseball will NOT allow Sports Time Ohio Indians games to be shown there for free. You'll have to buy MLB Extra Innings on satelite or cable or get MLB.TV online.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Thank you, Patrick...we'll correct the spelling of your name.

And as far as the territorial rights go...I believe Toledo and Erie are dual markets for MLB, with the Indians having secondary rights. It'd have to be that way, or cable and over-air TV stations wouldn't be able to carry the STO-produced games or the WKYC/STO games in Toledo and Erie, which they do now.

Buckeye Cablevision in Toledo carries the Indians on STO, and Time Warner Cable carries the cable games in their Erie area, along with the over-air games on WICU/WSEE.

Those games would be blacked out if Toledo was a sole Detroit Tigers market and Erie was a sole Pittsburgh Pirates market.

-OA