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.”

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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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5 things to know about the local high school football season (Vol. 1) 

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 12:37 PM

Fairmont QB Braden Miller unloads. Beavercreek defeated visiting Fairmont 14-3 in a GWOC National East high school football opener on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Staff Writer
Fairmont QB Braden Miller unloads. Beavercreek defeated visiting Fairmont 14-3 in a GWOC National East high school football opener on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(Staff Writer)

High school football practice is getting closer, and our team previews are already rolling out. 

Miss any? 

Don’t worry! We’ll be recapping them periodically. 

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Here is version one: 

1. Fairmont wants to prove last year was no fluke. 

After being one of the surprise teams of 2017, coach Dave Miller’s Firebirds (7-4) are hungry for a second straight trip to the playoffs.

They have five marquee games on the schedule: the first two (Alter, Northmont) and the last three (Wayne, Centerville, Springfield).  

Their potential formula for success is a tale as old as time: The coach’s son (Braden) running the triple option. What’s not to love?  

»FULL STORY: Fairmont Firebirds football preview 

2. Valley View is hoping for a rousing encore, too. 

Are the Spartans back?  

One of the powerhouse programs of the ‘90s is coming off consecutive playoff appearances.  

They were undefeated in the 2017 regular season, and they don’t have to go far for firsthand stories about the glory days because the coaching staff includes former VVHS stars Brock Bolen and Andy Keating. 

»FULL STORY: Valley View football preview 

3. Greeneview could be better than last year’s 10-win team. 

The only other time the Rams went undefeated in the regular season (1996), they lost just about everybody to graduation.

Not so this time as 13 starters return, including all-conference performers Nick Clevenger, Clay Payton, Collin Wilson and Nick Wolfe. 

Quarterback Clevenger is the reigning Ohio Heritage Conference player of the year. 

»FULL STORY: Greeneview Rams football preview 

4. Arcanum looking to build off strong finish. 

Can the Trojans make a big jump in year two of the second Jason Schondelmyer era?

After going 4-6 (but winning three of their last four) in ‘17, they say numbers are up in offseason workouts. That’s never a bad thing, especially in Division VI, and especially for a team looking for its first winning season since 2008. 

They won’t have to wait to see how much progress they made in the offseason as Greeneview visits in week one. 

>>FULL STORY: Arcanum football preview 

5. Milton-Union is under new management, but it’s a familiar face. 

Like Arcanum, the Bulldogs are a former powerhouse being led again by a former head coach of the program. 

Can Bret Pearce (six playoff appearances the first time around) wake the echoes in his first season back at the helm? 

Having an experienced backfield (senior QB William Morris and senior RB Robbie Grove) helps, but they have to replace all-time leading rusher Zac Shields. 

>>FULL STORY: Milton-Union football preview 

Want more? 

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Dayton Flyers to open season on a Wednesday

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 11:13 AM

Dayton Flyers interview: Trey Landers

Two more non-conference games for the Dayton Flyers have become known in recent days.

The University of North Florida published its non-conference schedule on its website, and its first game is at Dayton on Wednesday, Nov. 7. That will be the 2018-19 season opener for both teams.

» SCHEDULE NEWS: A look at A-10 pairings

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The first day teams can play is Nov. 6. The NCAA moved up the start date from Friday to Tuesday this season so the teams can play their season openers during the week and not on a busy weekend for football.

“The start of the season had become so compressed with the holidays and exams,” Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president for basketball, told NCAA.com, “that the additional three days allows schools to better schedule the start of the season and it’s the benefit for the student athletes and coaches.”

North Florida finished 14-19 last season and ranked 282nd out of 351 teams in the Pomeroy ratings. It was one of the youngest teams in the country, ranking 331st in experience. It returns 10 of 12 players and its six top scorers.

Dayton beat the Osprey 86-71 at UD Arena on Dec. 5, 2015. That was the first meeting between the programs.

» DAYTON FEATURES: Donnie JonesJosh CunninghamTrey Landers | Ryan Mikesell

Another game that hasn’t been officially announced will be against Presbyterian. Jon Rothstein, of CBS Sports, reported that game last week, though a date was not announced.

Presbyterian, located in Clinton, S.C., finished 11-21 last season and ranked 334th in the Pomeroy ratings. It was a Division II school until 2007. It has not had a winning season since moving to Division I.

Dayton played Presbyterian once before, winning 71-52 at UD Arena on Dec. 19, 2009.

Presbyterian’s football program will join Dayton in the Pioneer Football League in 2021.

Here are the other known non-conference games:

Nov. 21: Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Possible opponents: Virginia, Middle Tennessee State, Butler, Florida, Oklahoma, Stanford and Wisconsin.

Nov. 22: Battle 4 Atlantis.

Nov. 23: Battle 4 Atlantis.

Nov. 30: Mississippi State at Dayton.

Dec. 8: Dayton at Auburn (reported by Rothstein).

Dec. 16: Dayton vs. Tulsa at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

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D.J. Carton’s commitment another major step for Ohio State

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 10:35 AM

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 22: Ohio State Buckeyes mascot Brutus Buckeye rolls across the court before the game against the Miami Redhawks at Value City Arena on December 22, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 22: Ohio State Buckeyes mascot Brutus Buckeye rolls across the court before the game against the Miami Redhawks at Value City Arena on December 22, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

In his first year at Ohio State, Chris Holtmann proved he can develop an NCAA tournament team and an NBA prospect. 

Could he sign a potential pro, though? 

That was the biggest question the day Keita Bates-Diop declared he was foregoing his final year of eligibility to enter the NBA draft. 

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(The Big Ten Player of the Year was chosen in the second round last month.) 

Holtmann signed a top 25 class last fall, but none of the four players in the group came as highly regarded as Bates-Diop, who was a top 30 prospect coming out of Normal, Illinois in the class of 2014. 

Now Holtmann has two top 30 players committed for 2019, the latest being D.J. Carton. 

A five-star point guard from Bettendorf, Iowa, Carton reportedly chose Ohio State over Indiana and Michigan. 

He’s the No. 2 point guard in the country and ranked the No. 21 overall prospect in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite rankings

Carton joins Garfield Heights forward Alonzo Gaffney (who committed in April) to form the No. 4 recruiting class in the country at the moment. 

Why Ohio State? 

Carton told 247 it was a matter of his relationship with the current Buckeyes. 

“I felt like I was already apart of the team. They brought me in. I feel like I can be myself around them. It came down to that. The other two schools had everything I liked, and it was a really hard decision, but it came down to that.”

Carton and Gaffney can sign in November. 

They are scheduled to join a roster that already looks pretty solid all around. 

Though college basketball rosters are more fluid than ever, the 2019-20 Buckeyes should include a proven big man (Kaleb Wesson), a pair of four-star forwards (Kyle Young and Jaedon LeDee) and multiple young guards/wings, including Musa Jallow, Duane Washington, Luther Muhammad and high-scoring Versailles product Ahrens. 

Ohio State also has CJ Walker, a transfer from Florida State who must sit out this season, at point guard, so Holtmann should have plenty of options when it comes to putting together lineups. 
Ohio State signee Justin Ahrens is having another great season for Versailles. With his brother AJ, he hopes to lead the Tigers to a MAC title and state tournament berth.

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5 local prep players looking to contribute for Miami RedHawks this fall 

Published: Friday, July 13, 2018 @ 12:51 PM

Five players who graduated from area high schools are on the current Miami football roster, including a pair of starting offensive linemen and a couple of players coming back from injury.

In his fifth year as Miami football coach, Chuck Martin has a roster that is all his. 

That includes five players from Cox Media Group Ohio high schools, and he shared his thoughts on their roles for this fall. 

Jordan Rigg, OL, Springboro

A fifth-year senior, Rigg has started 25 games for the RedHawks. He was a third-team All-MAC pick last year at left tackle. 

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“Obviously a very athletic kid,” Martin said. “He didn’t have a lot of offers coming out of high school and has really developed into a really good player so having that left tackle with experience protecting the quarterback’s back side makes you feel good having a senior coming back.” 

Jordan Rigg of Springboro H.S. is headed to Miami University to play football. He joined other area seniors who signed to play football at the Greater Western Ohio Conference signing ceremony at the Huber Heights Athletic Foundation Center on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Maurice Thomas, RB, Talawanda 

A fourth-year junior, Thomas has run for 502 yards for the Red and White and was a third-team All-MAC pick in 2016 before having most of last season wiped out by injury. 

“He’s getting bigger, getting big and strong. Very fast. We thought he was really going to have his breakout year last year then got hurt at Cincinnati and didn’t play the rest of the season.” 

Talawanda senior Maurice Thomas (left) has verbally committed to Miami University.(Martin Wheeler)

Jarrett LaRubbio, OL, Lakota East 

A fourth-year junior who spent one year at Kentucky, LaRubbio started eight games up front last season and was named the team’s offensive newcomer of the year. 

“We’re counting on him again to be in our top five up front and to play a lot of snaps for us. He’s physical, tough, hard-nosed, plays the game you love to see in the trenches.” 

Lakota East High School’s Jarrett LaRubbio (75), seen in action during the 2012 season, is in the starting lineup for Miami University this season. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO(Contributing Writer)

Dean Lemon, DL, Alter

The 2014 GCL Defensive Lineman of the Year has had injury problems so far in his three years at Miami, playing only nine games (none last year). 

“We were hoping he would be an impact player for us last year. He’s healthy right now. Dean’s got a lot of ability. He’s just been nicked up throughout his career. If he can stay healthy, we think he can be really productive at D-end.” 

The Alter Knights Dean Lemon takes down Clinton-Massie's Bayle Wolfe Friday night at Welcome Stadium in the Division IV, Region 14 final. LISA POWELL / STAFF(Lisa Powell)

Ja’don Rucker-Furlow, DB, Belmont 

The newest area RedHawk, Rucker-Furlow is an incoming freshman with a lot of upside. 

“He’s obviously a great basketball player who has only played a little bit of football. He really came on last year. 

“Length. Ball skill. Speed. He’s very raw. He’s going to have to learn how to play the game. Once he does, we think he’s going to be a really good player.” 

Jadon Rucker-Furlow of Belmont is one of a large group of players Division I colleges are interested in for the class of 2018.

Want more on the RedHawks? 

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