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Fenway
06-15-2007, 09:26 AM
I honestly believe the White Sox should be today one of the top 3 teams in baseball revenue if JR didn't panic 20 years ago and sell off SportsVision to Cablevision of New York and the Dolan family.

Eddie Einhorn was 10-15 years ahead of his time and his concept of a regional sportschannel was light years ahead of everyone. The problem was he started it 5 years to soon.

SportsVision actually had its genesis under Bill Veeck when a small number of games were put on pay cable in 1980 in the southwest burbs. ( That is how Dolan got his foot in the door )

In 1982 Einhorn launched SportsVision which had one huge problem given the fact the City of Chicago was dragging its heels on wiring the city before finally granting the bulk of the city to Group W cable. Cablevision was given the lakefront but refused to wire it when they discovered all the highrises along the lake were putting in private systems. SportsVision then teamed up with ONTV and the response was tepid. Even the 1983 team couldn't sell the service in the city and Harry jumping to the Cubs didn't help.

SportsVision lost a fortune and finally JR had enough and basiclly gave the Dolan's the franchise for nothing. SportsVision would be renamed SportsChannel and then #23 came along with the Bulls.

NESN was in the same boat when it started in 1984 as a partnership between the Red Sox (80%) and Bruins (20%) and lost a fortune in the early years. However the Red Sox refused to sell to Dolan out of spite after Dolan had kept NESN out of the City of Boston for 2 1/2 years in an attempt to force NESN to close so he could then get the Red Sox and Bruins on SportsChannel New England.

Now NESN is worth more than the Red Sox itself and brings in a staggering amount of revenue every month.

Had JR not panicked SportsVision today would be worth as much as NESN if not more.

Lip Man 1
06-15-2007, 12:39 PM
FYI:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=2&id=2096

Lip

Fenway
06-15-2007, 01:04 PM
FYI:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=2&id=2096

Lip

Lip

Einhorn made college basketball what it is today with his TVS in the late 60's and 70's and then NBC hired TVS to produce college hoops in the 70's.

TVS would buy time on stations in every major market ( usually by barter ) and provide sports that the networks passed over. It was probably the reason ESPN was born.

As you pointed out it was the right idea in the wrong city at the wrong time. If they couldn't see the concept in 1983 they never would until Chicago was wired for cable. The Cubs catching fire in 1984 didn't help either.

Einhorn would make one final baseball blunder selling Selig on the concept of the Baseball Network in 1994-5. The uproar during the 1995 playoffs was so severe baseball got out of the time share with NBC and ABC. Einhorn really hasn't been heard from since.

chaerulez
06-15-2007, 05:29 PM
To my knowledge didn't SportsChannel struggle in the early 90's and then it was bought out by Fox Sports?

ChiSoxRowand
06-15-2007, 05:42 PM
Lip

Einhorn made college basketball what it is today with his TVS in the late 60's and 70's and then NBC hired TVS to produce college hoops in the 70's.

TVS would buy time on stations in every major market ( usually by barter ) and provide sports that the networks passed over. It was probably the reason ESPN was born.

As you pointed out it was the right idea in the wrong city at the wrong time. If they couldn't see the concept in 1983 they never would until Chicago was wired for cable. The Cubs catching fire in 1984 didn't help either.

Einhorn would make one final baseball blunder selling Selig on the concept of the Baseball Network in 1994-5. The uproar during the 1995 playoffs was so severe baseball got out of the time share with NBC and ABC. Einhorn really hasn't been heard from since.

Could you elaborate on "the baseball network" and the 1995 playoffs?

BeeBeeRichard
06-15-2007, 05:56 PM
Could you elaborate on "the baseball network" and the 1995 playoffs?

Pretty good primer on it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_Network

Criticisms

A major problem with Baseball Night in America was the idea that viewers couldn't watch "important" games. Marty Noble (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marty_Noble&action=edit) put it in perspective by saying
With the Network determining when games will begin and which games are made available to which TV markets, Major League Baseball can conduct parts of its pennant races in relative secrecy. What added to the troubles of The Baseball Network was the fact that Baseball Night in America held exclusivity over every market. This most severely impacted markets with two teams, specifically New York (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City) (Mets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Mets) and Yankees (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Mets)), Los Angeles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Dodgers)/Anaheim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Angels_of_Anaheim), Chicago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Illinois) (Cubs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Cubs) and White Sox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_White_Sox)) and San Francisco (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Giants)/Oakland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakland_Athletics). For example, if Baseball Night in America showed a Chicago Cubs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Cubs) game, this meant that nobody in Chicago could see that night's White Sox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_White_Sox) game and vice versa.

Fenway
06-15-2007, 08:01 PM
I actually had SportsVision from Day 1 It was around $22 a month combined with ONTV which was an HBO clone. That was a lot of money in 1982. If I remember correctly they used Channel 60 and ONTV was 44.

TornLabrum
06-15-2007, 09:20 PM
I actually had SportsVision from Day 1 It was around $22 a month combined with ONTV which was an HBO clone. That was a lot of money in 1982. If I remember correctly they used Channel 60 and ONTV was 44.

Close. They started on Ch. 60 for the first year or two (I don't remember), but then they went to ONTV on 44.

Fenway
06-15-2007, 09:38 PM
Close. They started on Ch. 60 for the first year or two (I don't remember), but then they went to ONTV on 44.

I had a box that had a switch between ONTV and Sportsvision I wound up making a few bucks that summer when I let my bar of choice borrow my box for a fight. (Gerry Cooney vs Holmes?) BTW for signing up the White Sox gave me 2 "Golden Boxes" in the upper deck.

Steelrod
06-16-2007, 01:53 AM
I had a box that had a switch between ONTV and Sportsvision I wound up making a few bucks that summer when I let my bar of choice borrow my box for a fight. (Gerry Cooney vs Holmes?) BTW for signing up the White Sox gave me 2 "Golden Boxes" in the upper deck.
I still have it!

Fenway
06-16-2007, 12:51 PM
I still have it!

It never ceases to amaze me the stuff people kept on tape for 20 years or more

http://img.youtube.com/vi/pJ7dX7n6N_s/2.jpg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ7dX7n6N_s)



ON TV - Subscription Televsion Chicago (1983) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ7dX7n6N_s)

Railsplitter
06-17-2007, 07:15 PM
Yeah, he made a mistake, but at least he had other sources of revenue. Some guys who sold away future money makers went broke.

johnr1note
06-18-2007, 06:07 PM
I honestly believe the White Sox should be today one of the top 3 teams in baseball revenue if JR didn't panic 20 years ago and sell off SportsVision to Cablevision of New York and the Dolan family.

Eddie Einhorn was 10-15 years ahead of his time and his concept of a regional sportschannel was light years ahead of everyone. The problem was he started it 5 years to soon.

SportsVision actually had its genesis under Bill Veeck when a small number of games were put on pay cable in 1980 in the southwest burbs. ( That is how Dolan got his foot in the door )

In 1982 Einhorn launched SportsVision which had one huge problem given the fact the City of Chicago was dragging its heels on wiring the city before finally granting the bulk of the city to Group W cable. Cablevision was given the lakefront but refused to wire it when they discovered all the highrises along the lake were putting in private systems. SportsVision then teamed up with ONTV and the response was tepid. Even the 1983 team couldn't sell the service in the city and Harry jumping to the Cubs didn't help.

SportsVision lost a fortune and finally JR had enough and basiclly gave the Dolan's the franchise for nothing. SportsVision would be renamed SportsChannel and then #23 came along with the Bulls.

NESN was in the same boat when it started in 1984 as a partnership between the Red Sox (80%) and Bruins (20%) and lost a fortune in the early years. However the Red Sox refused to sell to Dolan out of spite after Dolan had kept NESN out of the City of Boston for 2 1/2 years in an attempt to force NESN to close so he could then get the Red Sox and Bruins on SportsChannel New England.

Now NESN is worth more than the Red Sox itself and brings in a staggering amount of revenue every month.

Had JR not panicked SportsVision today would be worth as much as NESN if not more.

What is left out of this analysis is Sportsvision/ONTV's immediate effect on the White Sox.

The White Sox went on pay per view (or at least started to on a partial schedule) in 1981. This happened to coincide with the expiration of the broadcasting contract for Harry Caray.

The switch to pay per view was therefore an immediate double snafu. First, Sox fans couldn't watch the games for free on TV at home anymore. While Sox fans were used to living with the difficulty of getting games (no home radio outlet in the early 70s, WSNS having such a snowy signal etc.) but this was too much.

But the worst blow for this was the departure of Harry Caray.

The Sox had just enjoyed a surge of popularity -- the new owners, the renovation of the old ballpark, the free agent signing Carlton Fisk, the fresh new look of the uniforms, the improving team . . . why, there was even a limited schedule of games being broadcast on WGN channel 9. I'll never forget opening day, 1981. First game on WGN. Harry beaming from the announcer's booth with Jimmy Piersall, Carlton Fisk hitting an 8th ining 3 run blast to win the game (at Fenway Park, by the way) in his White Sox debut. All was right with the world. But in the off season, Harry's contract was up, and he would rather be on the nationwide superstation than with a pay per view local channel in a city not wired for cable tv.

The result? Harry Caray became the cornerstone of the marketing engine for the North side baseball club that proceeded to bury our team in the popular media. Until that point, it wasn't clearly a Cubs town. Yes, the failure of 1967 was the paradigm shift that started the trend, the Durocher era Cubs captured the hearts of so many, but it wasn't until the marketing stuffed shirts at the Tribune Tower got Harry to be their front man that the avalanche started, and was unstoppable. (I suppose the 84 Cubs winning the division a year after the White Sox did also helped). But the Cubs became a national phenomenon primarily because of Harry's personality. The fact that they still have celebrities sing the 7th inning stretch in Harry's memory (along with the statue outside the ball park) just shows what a cult following this man had -- and he had started the whole concept when he was with the White Sox!

Speculate all you want on how wealthy the White Sox organization MIGHT be had Reinsdorf and co. not sold Sportsvision. The real blunder was allowing Sportsvision to be the wedge that drove Harry into the arms of the Cubs, who then used our "stick" to beat us to death with. I believe that without the cult of Harry, the Cubs would have never been as popular as they became. Heck, do you think the Cubs would have vied for being "America's Team" with Milo Hamilton as their spokesman? Please! Without Sportsvision, maybe the Sox, broadcasting a good section of their games on superstation WGN, could have had a much wider, cult following, and been Chicago's team all along, instead of the hated team from the north.

Lip Man 1
06-18-2007, 07:17 PM
John:

Read the link that I posted earlier in this thread.

Lip

johnr1note
06-19-2007, 09:48 AM
John:

Read the link that I posted earlier in this thread.

Lip

You're right. I should have. Maybe it shows that great minds come to the same conclusions.

But I believe the two events that most shifted the axis of baseball popularity in this town were the fault and failures of the White Sox, and NOT so much the success of the Cubs (although the Cubs team of the late 60s/early 70s was a contributing factor). First, was the failure of the team to win the pennant in 1967 when it was all but in our grasp, and then falling on our faces out of the gate in 1968 that continued into a black hole/abyss of poor performance (arguably the worst 4 years in White Sox history) that the fans hadn't seen since WWII. Our fan base would not really recover until the early 90s -- 1972, 1977, 1983 and such were islands of relief in a sea of despair.

But the nail in the coffin was Sportsvision/ON-TV, and letting Harry go, which sealed it, as I discussed above, and your excellent article explained.

The new stadium and the new sense of competitiveness (leading to the division title in 93) appeared to turn a lot of that around, but the strike set us back to square one, in my opinion. The World Series win has now boosted us back into the realm of the beloved, but we might just fiddle it away again.

CallMeNuts
06-20-2007, 07:53 AM
Heaven is a place where we could re-live the 60's and after, without the Sox having traded Battey, Cash & Callison.

Lip Man 1
06-20-2007, 12:20 PM
Call:

And don't forget Romano, Mincher and Latman.

Lip

Foultips
06-20-2007, 12:40 PM
I remember the SportsVision fiasco well.

My dad bought it for the house after grumbling about it.

But he also spend a lot of time in a firehouse and the City would not let them install Sportsvision and the Cubs became popular with guys in the house.

CallMeNuts
06-20-2007, 08:29 PM
Call:

And don't forget Romano, Mincher and Latman.

Lip

I wrongly forgot Latner because of the good pitching we held on to.

I could forgive them for Romano if they would have kept Battey (or even vice-versa).

I could forgive them for Mincher if they would have kept Cash (or even vice-versa).

They sure would have had a heck of a bench if they kept all four. But how could they have gotten rid of all of them?

If you could erase just half of those deals, the course of franchise history is changed dramatically and all this talk about what TV station they are on and who is sitting behind the microphone are moot.

soxfan80
06-23-2007, 12:04 PM
What's done is done.