News Corp. buys SportsTime Ohio


News CorporationIt’s a regional sports network based in Cleveland that airs Indians baseball games, Cleveland Browns football, college football and high school sports.

The company did not disclose financial details. A source close to the deal told Reuters, however, the deal was worth some $230 million.

News Corp said in a statement that the regional sports channel it already owns, called Fox Sports Ohio, will receive the long-term rights to air Cleveland Indians baseball games. That regional Fox channel is available in 5 million homes.

Fox Sports, which operates or holds stakes in 20 regional sports networks, provides sports programming to more than 67 million subscribers. It held the rights to Cleveland Indians games until 2006.

News Corp has been stepping up efforts to control the rights to key sports teams in response to Time Warner Cable’s $3 billion deal in February 2011 to carry LA Lakers basketball on its Time Warner SportsNet Channel. Last month, News Corp said it would buy a 49% stake in the YES network, the sports channel controlled by the New York Yankees baseball team. That deal is reportedly valued at $3 billion.

News Corp is planning to separate its publishing and entertainment assets into two publicly traded companies next year. News Corp’s regional sports nets, film and television businesses, which currently include the 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox TV and Fox News channel, will be part of “Fox Group.”

See the Reuters story here.