Aaron Portzline is reporting that the Blue Jackets will announce a multi-year extension for their TV contract with Fox Sports later today.
While this is not exactly fantastic news for fans in Cleveland, Toledo, or Cincinnati who often have problems finding coverage when the team's schedule conflicts with other local Fox commitments, it's not entirely a surprise.
While there has been some talk about local provider Sports Time Ohio looking at the Jackets' contract, the only other real competitor would be if Comcast wanted to expand their "Comcast Sports Network" into the Ohio market, and there has been no indication of that taking place.
Fox sports may not be the best coverage possible, but they're still the only game in town. Also, to their credit, the network has clearly made the Blue Jackets a higher priority over the last several years, adding more games in HD, picking up additional game coverage in some situations, and adding programming like Blue Jackets Slap Shots, the "Summer Tour" series, and more replays of Jackets' games in off hours. There have also been discussions between the team and Fox in the past about improving availability for the games in some of the 'contested' markets in Southern and Northeast Ohio, so hopefully that issue will also be addressed.
The question is going to be how Fox Sports handles their coverage going forward, and if the Jackets will remain a marquee item when the NBA lockout ends...