Detroit Red Wings, Tigers owner considers creating regional TV sports network

Ilitch organization considers ending partnership with Fox Sports Detroit

Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Chris Ilitch speaks during a news conference on Oct. 12, 2018. (WDIV)
Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Chris Ilitch speaks during a news conference on Oct. 12, 2018. (WDIV)

DETROIT – The owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers is considering the creation of a new regional sports network (RSN).

The Ilitch organization announced Thursday the new network would serve as the television, broadcast and distribution home for the Tigers, the Red Wings and additional sports and entertainment content.  

That would mean ditching Fox Sports Detroit, which broadcasts the overwhelming majority of Tigers and Red Wings regular season games. 

"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."

It's been only a year since the Ilitch organization celebrated the opening of Little Caesars Arena. It has invested $1.4 billion in the surrounding neighborhood now called "The District Detroit," where the Tigers, Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions all play home games. 

“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.” 

According to the Ilitch organization, the Tigers and Red Wings rank number one and two, respectively, in terms of total primetime consumption in the Detroit television market. Notable RSNs that are owned either fully or in part by sports properties include YES Network, SNY, NESN, MSG, MASN and Altitude Sports. 

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