May 7, 2004

Breaking News: Twins back on TV

The Minnesota Twins have reached an agreement on an eight-year contract with FOX Sports Net to televise their games, starting with tomorrow's contest against the Oakland A's.

This apparently puts an end to the very short existence of Victory Sports, the Twins' fledging TV channel that had not been able to reach deals with cable and satellite providers.

The good news is that the Twins will be on TV immediately and for the next eight years. The bad or, perhaps more accurately, strange news, is that Twins fans have seemingly missed the first month of the season for nothing.

The Twins were on FOX Sports Net last season and they are now back on FOX Sports Net this season. In the meantime, the team failed miserably with the launch of their own TV network and managed to anger a substantial portion of their fan base.

In light of this news, my interview with Victory Sports president Kevin Cattoor last month may interest some of you.

- Hardball Questions: Kevin Cattoor

Cattoor had some very harsh words for FOX Sports Net, whom the Twins are once again partners with. Here's one exchange:

THT: Do you feel FOX Sports Net has had anything to do with the problems in the negotiations with the major outlets?

Cattoor: They are owned by the same company as DirecTV. They have stalled talks with us because of that.

As to the other providers, we know that they have told many operators that the Twins will be back on FSN. They will not. FSN has made offers to us back as far as 2002. We recently rejected their last offer earlier this year. Victory is too far down the line and it's the right thing for the Twins organization to do.

FSN was the only regional network in the market. They were a monopoly and we believe they behaved like it. They didn't come to the table with a fair deal. Our previous deal put the Twins in the bottom five teams in MLB for television revenue, so we needed to establish Victory as another alternative in the market. Victory will be good for sports fans and other teams in the market because now we have competition and more sports programming will come from that, which is a win for upper Midwest sports fans.

That interview, and those emphatic statements, are from exactly one month ago.

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