Ilitch Organization Considers TV Network for Sports  –  Deadline Detroit

Chris Ilitch (WDIV photo on Facebook)

The Ilitch organization, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings,  is considering forming a regional television network dedicated to coverage of those teams, Lynn Henning of The Detroit News reports:

The network would not be launched until early in the next decade, after current Tigers-Red Wings contracts with Fox Sports Detroit have expired, said an executive with knowledge of the family’s preliminary plans. The source requested anonymity because of the potential project’s uncertain nature. The Tigers and Ilitch Holdings declined comment Wednesday night…

The Tigers and Red Wings have been airing on FSD for the past two decades, and in their peak years posted ratings that per-capita were among the best of any market in professional sports. They have consistently finished 1-2 in local prime-time programming during their regular-season schedules, even in recent years as both teams have fallen out of the playoffs and dealt with the desolation of rebuilding cycles.

A press release Thursday morning from the Ilitch organization says:

The Ilitch organization, which represents leading sports and entertainment brands such as the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment and a joint venture interest in 313 Presents, today announced that it is exploring the creation of a new regional sports network (RSN).

The RSN would serve as the television, broadcast and distribution home for the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings and additional sports- and entertainment-related content. The extensive exploratory process will begin immediately, and no deadline has been set for completion.

“FOX Sports Detroit is a great partner and we look forward to discussing renewal and extension possibilities,” said Chris Granger, Group President, Sports and Entertainment, Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “At the same time, we have two perennially highly-rated and historic franchises, which provide compelling year-round content and programming. As such, we feel our organization is uniquely positioned to explore the launch of what we believe could be a highly  successful regional sports network.”

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