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Columbus Crew TV partner changes channels with Spectrum Networks’ new direction

Nov 4, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew SC midfielder Justin Meram (9) congratulates forward Gyasi Zardes (11) celebrates after scoring against New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles (31) at Mapfre Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

For the past few seasons, Columbus Crew SC games have been on Spectrum Sports in the Ohio area and simulcast on local stations such as CW Columbus in the central Ohio region.

That will change going forward.

According to sources who work for Spectrum Sports, the station will shut down in Ohio. Spectrum Networks will instead focus resources on launching a new channel, Spectrum News 1, which will be channel 1 for Spectrum cable customers, replacing a video on demand channel. 

“We’re thrilled to launch Spectrum News 1, a new format for 24/7 news in Ohio,” said Alan Mason, group vice president and general manager of Spectrum News South/Midwest. “Spectrum News 1 will serve the greater needs of viewers in Ohio through a statewide news format and the creation of original programming and content that is reliable, objective and relevant.”

While the focus of the channel will be on news, sports coverage will still be included.

“Our sports news content on Spectrum News 1 will include coverage of both Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati clubs,” said Stacey Mitch, senior director of sports and news communications.

What is unclear at this time is how exactly the new channel will affect the game broadcasts. How and if games will be produced and aired is still undecided. When asked for a comment on how this change affects the TV deal with Crew SC, a club spokesman said “2019 broadcast details will be announced at a TBD later date, and anything related to Spectrum Sports programming should be directed to Spectrum Sports PR.”

A change to the statewide provider will affect all viewers, including local ones. CW Columbus and other local stations did not produce the game broadcasts themselves. They simulcasted the Spectrum Sports feed. If that feed is not available going forward, the stations would need to produce the game broadcasts in house, or find a new partner to simulcast with if they continue to carry Crew SC games.

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