RSNs and original content have never gone well together as RSNs have largely eschewed from investing in shows outside of pre and post game studio shows. It’s perhaps played a small role in the downward trend of distribution in RSNs. But perhaps that’s beginning to change?
A big reason RSNs collapsed was lack of original programming beyond live games
— Ben Miller (@benmillerMKE) June 21, 2023
With the continued growth of podcasts, and particularly video versions of podcasts, Bleav and Bally Sports Ohio may have identified a nice partnership model that helps Bleav on the distribution front while filling Bally Sports Ohio’s programming schedule with more relevant content than normal daytime RSN fare (which often consists of poker reruns and informercials).
This fall, Bally Sports Ohio will be getting some new television shows as sports and entertainment media production company Bleav is launching seven shows on the network throughout August and September.
Bleav had two shows on the network last season – Bleav in Buckeyes and Bleav in Bengals. Those shows will be returning for another season, but they will also be adding shows covering the Cincinnati Reds, the Big Ten, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the Cincinnati Bearcats as well as a show hosted by former Cincinnati Bengals star Adam “Pacman” Jones.
Here’s the full rundown of what Bleav is bringing to Bally Sports Ohio this fall:
- Farm To The Show (Cincinnati Reds) with former MLB players Chris Dickerson and Paul Janish premiered Aug. 3 and will continue to air.
- Lucky Underdogs (Notre Dame Football) with former Fighting Irish players Devin Butler and CJ Prosise premiered on Aug. 15.
- The Big Ten Show with Nebraska legend Adam Carriker and Jeff Thurn will premiere on Aug. 17th.
- Pacman Jones Keeps Crazy Company will premiere on Sept. 6.
- Bleav in Cincinnati Football with former Bearcats player Dominick Goodman and Russ Heltman will premiere this fall.
- Bleav in Buckeyes with former Ohio State players Chimdi Chekwa and Bryant Browning and Bleav in Bengals with former Bengals player Solomon Wilcots will return for another season.
Bleav has become known for its podcasts and shows where they aim to pair a notable social media fan influencer for a specific team with well-known former athletes to create a successful podcast or broadcast team, and it seems they’re now trying to bring this model to regional sports networks.
The partnership makes sense as RSNs typically specialize in live sports and often resort to airing replays of previous games. A partnership with a company like Bleav provides cost effective and more relevant content for the networks when there are no live sports to air. As RSNs have faltered recently, many have wondered how much of their painpoints in terms of both carriage and original programming could have been better handled had the DOJ not mandated that Disney/ESPN have to sell the RSNs as part of their larger transaction with Fox.
Should Bleav’s content move the needle a bit and attract some viewership, it’s safe to say other RSNs will look at similar partnerships.