In Akron, George Thomas reports a "rumor making the rounds with local media types" is that SportsTime Ohio, the Indians' flagship TV station, "is up for sale." But STO President Jim Liberatore said that the channel "isn’t being shopped." Liberatore: “When you look at the players now in our space, FSN, TWC, DirecTV, Comcast, etc., there is always someone who wants to discuss future alliances or purchase. Ownership has been asked about this almost from day one. With that said, the ‘For Sale’ sign is not out and never has been" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 8/19).
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: In San Diego, Brent Schrotenboer reports Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson "criticized Time Warner Cable Thursday for acting like a monopoly and not responding to several concerned parties, including his league’s TV network and even San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders." Thompson and Sanders, among others, "want Time Warner to carry" The Mtn. If TWC "decides not to accept it, it will mark the sixth straight season that about 200,000 Time Warner subscribers in the northern half of San Diego County will not be able to watch" several San Diego State games. Thompson said, "It's a monopoly, and it's frustrating." He added, "We just want an answer. ... Don't be stringing me along or be unresponsive." Schrotenboer notes Cox Cable, San Diego’s other major cable provider, "has carried the Mtn. since late 2006 and has about 500,000 local subscribers" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/19).
PARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS? In Toronto, Dave Pollard reports Rogers Communications is "scrapping plans to launch its own French sports channel and will instead partner with Quebecor's new television venture that will launch next month." TVA Group President & CEO Pierre Dion "confirmed that an agreement had been reached with Rogers Sportsnet." TVA Sports already has announced it will air 25 Senators game during the '11-12 season, 60 Blue Jays games next year, "UFC fights, UEFA Champions League games and a number of top-flight boxing matches." In addition, broadcast rights to the Montreal Impact, which will join MLS next year, "were recently acquired to bolster TVA Sports' content package" (TORONTO SUN, 8/19).
GOLDEN GOAL: SI.com's Grant Wahl wrote MLS' new partnership with NBC "is big for MLS for a number of reasons." More soccer fans in the U.S. "will be able to see MLS games (due to NBC Sports' greater reach) and in HD, and the quality of NBC's coverage should be higher than FSC's bare-bones approach." The deal also "provides serious competition for ESPN, which views NBC/Comcast as a real adversary." Wahl added, "Now that NBC Sports is into soccer, it will be fascinating to see how the bidding goes for the rights to broadcast the 2018 and '22 World Cups, as well as the MLS rights deals that now end for everyone at the end of 2014" (SI.com, 8/18).