The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced the expected new deal with FOX Sports Net Ohio, but what wasn't expected was the continued involvement of Raycom Media UPN/MyNetworkTV affiliate WUAB/43.
The team says the "multi-year deal" calls for 70 games a year on FSN Ohio, and five of those games will also be simulcast on WUAB. Playoff games not airing on ABC nationally will be aired on both outlets.
That's certainly a significant drop in Channel 43's coverage, and it won't even be the exclusive outlet for its five games. But the TV/sports rumor mill had long said that the Cavaliers would go entirely with FSN Ohio...and end over-air broadcast presence entirely.
Cavaliers' president Len Komoroski says though the team is expanding its relationship with FSN Ohio, "at the same time, even though a very high percentage of the market now has cable or satellite, it was important to us to have a meaningful number of games still available via an over the air format, including playoff games."
Whether fans consider five games a year plus some playoff games "meaningful" is open to question. But it's five more than the "zero" expected while talks continued over the past few weeks and months.
The new deal picks up with the upcoming 2006-2007 Cavaliers season.
Cleveland Plain Dealer sports media columnist Roger Brown reports something that wasn't mentioned in the press release - the announcing team of Fred McLeod (inbound from Detroit Pistons TV duties), and incumbent analysts Scott Williams and Austin Carr. We suppose the heat over the firing of Michael Reghi has not yet died down enough for the team to include McLeod's name in the announcement.
As for the analyst side of things - with there no longer being an even split between FSN Ohio and WUAB, Brown reports that Williams and Carr will do their own split of duties...with Williams heard on 40 telecasts a year, and Carr on 30...