We know that choosing to partner with Time Warner Cable SportsChannel for our TV broadcasts this season has created some frustrations for our fans and challenges on how to watch Crew matches this season, and we truly apologize for that, especially coming this close to the start of the season.
Although this change has not been well-received by some of our loyal fans, more than 2 million potential people throughout our region are going to have the chance to enjoy a much better television experience than what we have had in the past.
Our decision to move in this direction was based on several key factors: (1) Time Warner Cable SportsChannel wants to build their professional sports programming around the Crew and make the club a main priority for the station; (2) The creation of expanded programming that highlights the Crew through unique and compelling content; (3) Full clearance and priority positioning on the basic cable tier without pre-emptions for our matches throughout the Time Warner Cable footprint in the region; and (4) High Definition capabilities for both home and away matches. The combination of these factors really left the Crew with limited TV alternatives and made Time Warner Cable SportsChannel the best option for the club.
The main sacrifice in this decision, which is a significant one, is that we would stand to lose reach and distribution in Central Ohio and throughout the state. This was also not a decision about financial gain. We will be investing over $500,000 to produce, air, and promote Crew matches in 2014, which far outweighs our return.
We knew this decision would have an impact on our fans, and it was not made lightly. Based on the available options, it was a decision that addressed a number of priorities and criteria. The television and multi-media landscapes are ones that change rapidly and we will be monitoring this closely to see how we can continue to increase our ability to televise our matches to a broader audience in the near future. However, we certainly wish we could have made a timelier and smoother announcement.
It is our sincere hope that you will continue to support this club with the same passion and commitment of the past and take note of all the exciting developments that are happening this season, including the positive direction of the new coaching staff and play on the field, and the significant investment our new owner, Anthony Precourt, is making in the fan and player experiences like the new scoreboard and LED panels, new seats in Premier East, the expanded lower concourses, and renovated Crew Stadium locker rooms and Obetz training facility.