The Ilitch Organization, owners of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, announced Thursday that they're considering creating a regional sports network, to include their aforementioned teams. It would also serve as the television, broadcast and distribution home for additional sports and entertainment content.
Currently the Ilitch-owned Red Wings and Tigers broadcast almost exclusively on partner Fox Sports Detroit's network, with the exception of a few nationally broadcasted games. (NBCSN, etc.) Chris Granger, President, Sports and Entertainment, Ilitch Holdings, Inc. made a statement about their partnership and their future moving forward.
“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.”
The Ilitch organization today announced that it is exploring the creation of a new regional sports network. pic.twitter.com/7fepMC20id
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 25, 2018
The Red Wings played their inaugural season at Little Caesars Arena just last year, the gem in the crown that is the $1.4 billion District Detroit. The Detroit Pistons were also corralled and lured away from Auburn Hills to play their home games at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit; a move met with mixed reactions at the time. While there still seem to be some growing pains from that move, it appears to have been beneficial for both sides.
There are roughly six other notable networks owned either fully or in part by sports properties, (YES Network, SNY, NESN, MSG, MASN and Altitude Sports). This means the move by the Ilitches is not unprecedented, and it will be interesting to see what comes of this proposal. Additionally we'll have to wait and see what it means for the future of Fox Sports Detroit. The Tigers and Red Wings are ranked numbers one and two respectively in terms of total primetime consumption in the Detroit television market. So it will be a big blow to FSD's viewership if they were to lose broadcasting rights.
“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,” said Granger. “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.”