Ilitch Organization exploring launch of regional sports network

Posted at 8:46 AM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-25 17:57:16-04

The Ilitch Organization announced on Thursday they are exploring the possibility of launching a new regional sports network that would serve as the TV home of the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers and other sports and entertainment-related content.

Currently, the Red Wings and Tigers are in contract with Fox Sports Detroit, which is a regional sports network from Fox Sports.

“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.”

According to the Ilitch organization, the Tigers and Red Wings rank No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in total consumption in the Detroit market.

Several RSNs in the country are either owned fully or in part by sports teams. Those include the YES Network with the New York Yankees, NESN with the Boston Red Sox, MASN with the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, MSG Network owned by Madison Square Garden which broadcasts the New York Knicks and New York Rangers and more.

Last year, Fox Sports Detroit was bought by Disney, but because Disney also owns ESPN, they must sell the Fox regional sports networks.

“As leaders in the rapidly evolving sports and entertainment industry, the creation of a new network would be a natural business extension for our organization,” Granger said. “Live sports remain some of the most sought-after content on television and across digital platforms. We look forward to exploring how a new network could be of a positive benefit to our teams, fans and community.”