New Ilitch-owned TV network for Wings, Tigers is possible
A recent photo of the FOX Detroit Sports studio during a Red Wings game.
Ilitch Holdings Inc. is considering creating its own television network to broadcast Red Wings and Detroit Tigers games as well as other sports- and entertainment-related content, the organization announced Thursday.
The two teams’ games are currently broadcast on FOX Sports-Detroit. But the long-term future of that network is a question mark.
One of the conditions of a merger between the Disney Company and 21stCentury Fox this past summer is that Disney has to sell Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, including FOX Sports-Detroit, because Disney already owns ESPN.
The Red Wings and Tigers contracts with FOX Sports-Detroit run out in 2021, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.
If nothing else, forming their own sports network would give Ilitch Holdings a viable backup plan.
“FOX Sports Detroit is a great partner and we look forward to discussing renewal and extension possibilities,” Chris Granger, Group President, Sports and Entertainment, Ilitch Holdings, Inc, said in a statement. “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 company said it would begin exploring the possibility of a network “immediately,” but there was no timeline for its completion.