What to know about Disney buying Fox Sports Ohio

Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 4:25 PM
Updated: Friday, December 29, 2017 @ 4:05 PM

21st Century Fox is selling its regional sports networks to Disney. What does this mean for Cincinnati Reds and local sports fans?

When Disney acquired most of the licenses, studios and channels from 21st Century Fox, the focus was on big movies and TV properties - lost was Disney acquiring all of the Fox Sports regional outlets as part of the deal.

That means when the FCC and SEC approve the deal, which should take about a year, the network would rebrand (most likely to ESPN Ohio) which leaves many questions about in the air - such as the Reds being available on television.

“Reds fans shouldn’t be concerned,” Austin Karp, assistant managing editor of Sports Business Journal said. “They just signed a new deal through 2032. The (Reds) also own a stake in the network. That will be relatively stable.”

The Blue Jackets are signed with the network through the end of the decade. The Cavs are signed through 2021. Fox didn’t want to commit to a long term deal if LeBron James decided to make anymore decisions. 

The upside for Fox, Rupert Murdoch has a slimmed down version of his networks, focused on national news and sports. Fox will retain its news channels along with FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network

For ESPN, it gives them regional market penetration they’ve long sought but were never able to achieve.

The company launched properties such as ESPN Boston an ESPN LA, but the websites never took off, despite ESPN paying top dollar for local journalists. 

There’s also possibility of consolidation. Fox has two affiliates in LA and two in Ohio (Fox Sports Ohio and SportsTime Ohio). The Indians led the league in local television ratings, but ESPN may not see a reason to keep both networks when there are streaming and other options.

The Reds are one of the few teams to still have a stake in their local channel. They own 30 percent of Fox Sports Ohio. Karp said Disney would likely want to maintain a joint ownership.

“I think they’ll want to continue to keep business with the team,” Karp said. “That vested interest to make it work. At the same time, baseball teams want to be baseball teams, they don’t want to run a television network.”

Karp said big upsides were local editions of SportsCenter focused on regional sports as well as upgrades in production value. This would give the network more local flavor and help the national brand.

Karp said Disney and ESPN will continue to make plans for their acquisitions as they move through the approval process, but other factors also need to playout. Both Disney and ESPN will be hiring new presidents soon. 

There’s also the chance ESPN would sell off the regional affiliates to Comcast, ATT or some other digital or broadcast entity. 

“I’m speculating, but it’s an option,” Karp said. “They may not want this massive staple of networks.

The movie stuff made all the big headlines, but how this will shake out will be interesting. It’s the biggest thing I’m following.”

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Anthony Muñoz on sports in Ohio: ‘It’s special’

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 7:05 PM

Cincinnati Bengals great Anthony Munoz learned right away how important sports are in Southwest Ohio and throughout the state.

Anthony Muñoz was a special player for the Cincinnati Bengals for 13 seasons. 

In Columbus at the boys’ basketball state championships to be recognized as part of the OHSAA Circle of Champions, the California native explained the special place sports have in Ohio helped convince him to stick around long after his pro football career was over. 

His daughter, Michelle, and son, Michael, also were recognized as part of the Circle of Champions along with former Ohio State basketball star Dennis Hopson, Ohio State football standout William White and Dwight “Bo” Lamar, who played in the ABA and NBA. 

Michelle Muñoz was part of a state championship season for the Mason girls’ basketball team while Michael was a highly-regarded offensive line prospect at Moeller High School. 

They both went to Tennessee for college, though Michelle finished her career at Ohio State.

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Trotwood-Madison loses to Akron SVSM in D-II boys state final

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 7:18 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 9:21 PM

            Amari Davis (left) and Myles Belyeu watch Akron SVSM accept the championship trophy. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Amari Davis (left) and Myles Belyeu watch Akron SVSM accept the championship trophy. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Trotwood-Madison’s bid for an elusive boys state basketball championship was undone by nemesis Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 60-51 at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Saturday night.

It was the second straight Division II title for the Irish, who also defeated the Rams in last year’s D-II state semifinals. It was a record eighth state title for Akron SVSM, the program that LeBron James elevated during his celebrated run with the Irish. That snapped a tie with Middletown.

Trotwood (26-4) had a 19-game win streak snapped. Akron SVSM (21-8) also defeated Trotwood early in the regular season.

Myles Belyeu ended a great Rams career with a game-high 20 points. Junior Amari Davis added 19 points on 9 of 13 shooting.

Lunden McDay led the Irish with 19 points and Scott Walter added 17.

Both teams made 21 field goals and each had three 3-pointers. The difference was at the line, where Akron SVSM converted 15 of 17 free throws to Trotwood’s 6 of 9. The Irish also had a decisive 35-20 advantage in rebounds.

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Flyers’ Mescher on state title: “We got a little help from upstairs”

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:42 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 4:07 PM

Marion Local senior Tyler Mescher hit the game-winning free throws in a 52-51 defeat of Willoughby Cornerstone Christian to win a boys high school basketball D-IV state championship at OSU’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Sat., March 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

His knees knocking, Tyler Mescher of Marion Local heeded a little help from teammate Tyler Prenger.

“He said calm down, you got this and relax,” recalled Mescher. “Easy shots.”

Not quite. Mescher’s pair of rim-rattling free throws with 2.6 seconds left in the second overtime was the difference as Marion Local stunned Willoughby Cornerstone Christian 52-51 to win a boys high school Division IV state basketball championship on Saturday afternoon.

»RELATED: Marion Local after basketball title, too

»RELATED: Bruns’ late heroics lifts Marion Local

It was one of four season-ending divisional championships that were held at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.

It also completed a rare state-title double for Marion Local (25-4), which also won a D-VI state football championship last December.

»RELATED: Marion Local state semifinal photo gallery

»RELATED: Trotwood joins Marion Local in finals

No one came up more clutch than Mescher for the Flyers. Trailing by one in the second OT, his first free throw clanged several times on the rim and backboard before circling and falling through the net.

WATCH: Marion Local wins state title on late free throws(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The second rim-rattler wasn’t as dramatic, but almost.

“We got a little help from upstairs,” said Mescher, a robust senior who doubled as a blocking tight end and defensive end on the football team.

»RELATED: Springfield standouts on All-Ohio teams

»RELATED: Wayne, Trotwood players picked for All-Ohio

“I couldn’t stay still at all. It’s a dream come true to be able to shoot those free throws. Any little kid, that’s their dream, to be able to shoot two free throws at the end of a state championship game and make them both.”

Cornerstone (21-8) missed a half-court heave and the Flyers’ fans - among the 9,620 in attendance - rocked the Schott in celebration.

»RELATED: Rams’ opposing coach, ‘They’re crazy athletic’

»RELATED: Boys state final four pairings

Mescher’s bucket with about 10 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.

“There aren’t many 6-1, 240-pound guys on our schedule,” Cornerstone coach Dan Selle said of Mescher. “He’s not a vegetarian. He eats meat for breakfast. He’s tough as nails and a lot of respect to him. He’s a guy you hate to fight against but you want to have on your team.”

»RELATED: Moeller bumps Wayne off tourney trail

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Mescher and Nate Bruns each had 18 points to lead the Flyers. Mescher also had nine rebounds.

Bruns, a 6-6 wing who doubles as the Flyers quarterback, added 14 rebounds. It was Bruns’ 3-pointer with 17.7 seconds left that knotted the teams even and forced the second OT. He had several late key field goals, free throws and rebounds for the Flyers.

“We had to go to our money man late in the game,” Flyers coach Kurt Goettemoeller said of Bruns. “He’s a stud.”

»RELATED: Boys regional results

»RELATED: Ahrens, Barhorst earn top D-IV boys honors

Prenger added three 3-pointers and 10 points.

Cornerstone, anchored in Lake County and a Cleveland suburb, is an independent that mostly played high-level Division I and II teams, which made its record deceiving. The Patriots also had the D-IV state player of the year in Michael Bothwell. The Furman signee tallied a game-high 23 points.

“State-wide, I definitely had the feeling we were an underdog,” Goettemoeller said. “We figured it out at the end. We just found a way a get it done.”

»RELATED: Trotwood-Madison back to final four

»RELATED: Girls state final four results

Is was the third boys state basketball title for Marion Local, which also won in 2003 and 1975. The Flyers were a state runner-up in 2004.

Cornerstone won a D-IV state title in 2016 in its only other final four appearance.

Of the Flyers’ 12 players, 10 also played on the state-title football team.

“This senior class, that really shows what they’re made of,” Bruns said. “To be able to do that in both (sports), that’s something special for them.”

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Mescher hits winning free throws as Marion Local wins state title

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 12:58 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 1:01 PM

WATCH: Marion Local wins state title on late free throws

Tyler Mescher converted two free throws with with 2.6 seconds left as Marion Local stunned Willoughby Cornerstone Christian 52-51 in double-overtime to win a boys high school basketball Division IV state championship on Saturday.

That matched Marion Local’s D-VI football state title it won last fall, making the Flyers a rare double state winner in the same school year.

A senior, Mescher’s first free throw rattled all around the rim before falling. His second also clanged in. Cornerstone inbounded and missed a half-court heave as time expired. Marion Local players and their fans erupted in celebration.

Mescher and Nathan Bruns each had 18 points to lead the Flyers (25-4). Bruns also had 14 rebounds. Tyler Prenger added 10 points.

Cornerstone (21-8) was led by D-IV state player of the year Michael Bothwell with 23 points.

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