Columbus Crew SC is returning to Fox Sports Ohio after spending the last five years with Spectrum Sports, according to Tom Reed of The Athletic. Massive Report can confirm Reed’s report. The move back to Fox Sports Ohio will be a joy to fans who were unable to view the matches in previous years due to blackout restriction in a certain radius of Columbus.
The deal is expected to be a multi-year deal and will includes a 30-minute pre-game and post-game show, according to The Athletic. This will also give those from the Cleveland area — where owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam own the Cleveland Browns — will be granted exposure to the Black & Gold.
The last Columbus Crew televised on the Fox Sports Ohio network was in 2013, before previous ownership made the jump to Time Warner Sports, which changed to Spectrum Sports in 2016.
The deal did not set well with fans. Within a 75-mile radius from MAPFRE Stadium, those who were subscribed to either DirectTV, MLS Live or MLS Direct Kick were unable to watch the team. It also became such a hassle for bars and pubs who weren’t able to host watch parties due to the black out.
Those who were unable to watch home matches because they couldn’t make it to MAPFRE Stadium, will now have the ability to sit from the comfort of their own couch and cheer on the Black & Gold during the 2019 MLS campaign.
This also means that it will more than likely have up-to-date camera and audio work, which lagged during their time with Spectrum Sports who were in charge of the production and broadcasts and were created largely to broadcast high school sports.
Making the move back to Fox Sports Ohio, the Columbus Crew will be broadcasted alongside the likes of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians. While this is a positive step, longtime Crew fans will remember the problems when games with these bigger-named teams conflicted with Black & Gold matches.
Massive Report has learned the deal is expected to be officially announced within the next few days.
Columbus opens their MLS season March 2 against reigning Supporter’s Shield winners New York Red Bulls.