The thing I worry about, in regards to the Reds situation, is that while the games are highly rated, there is basically no other outlet to carry those games on. It's Fox Sports Ohio or nothing. I can't see the over-the-air channels carrying Reds games and pre-empting network programming. I may not understand this as well as I think since sports economics are very different than regular economics but if there's only one outlet for a product, the outlet can pretty much pay whatever they want for that product no matter what the ratings are. If there were more than one outlet, the Reds could play them off against each other.
Now I have seen ROOT SPORTS
come into play over the past year. Right now they are in Pittsburgh, the Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. They carry Pirates, Mariners and Rockies games. Perhaps they could be used to drive up the price of the games. I suspect, by the time the Reds deal expires, they will have grown or gone out of business. Their website says they are owned by DirecTV and used to be FSN. So I don't know if they would be a competitor of Fox Sports Ohio or FSO would become ROOT. My guess it would be the latter which would put the Reds back in the same boat they were to begin with.