Not allowed: Cease-and-desist order, fine threats change plans

If you’re planning to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes play Texas Christian University on the big screen at Hilliard’s Station Park on Saturday night, Sept. 15, change your plans.

International Management Group, which handles marketing and licensing for Ohio State, informed Hilliard officials late Sept. 13 that it would issue a cease-and-desist order and possibly a fine if the city were to proceed in showing the Ohio State-TCU matchup for public viewing at Hilliard’s Station Park, Ed Merritt, Hilliard’s director of recreation and parks, said Sept. 14.

Merritt said the vendor, Mobile Magic Superscreen, did not have the necessary agreements to publicly broadcast the game.

Ron Stiebler, owner of Mobile Magic Superscreen, said Sept. 14 the call he had received from IMG was the first.

“It’s ridiculous and frustrating,” said Stiebler, adding he is working to get an answer from IMG as to why the Ohio State-TCU game, to be broadcast by ABC and ESPN, could not be shown.

“I think it’s just IMG flexing their muscle,” he said.

Still, Stiebler said, he readily agreed to refund the city’s deposit and offered to schedule a makeup event.

Merritt, who began his role as parks and recreation director Sept. 4, said the city had signed a contract with Mobile Magic Superscreen in February, when Merritt’s predecessor, Steve Mazer, was director.

Blame should be directed at the vendor, Merritt said.

“The vendor won’t be getting paid, (and) we won’t be using them again,” he said, adding it was his understanding that the vendor had permission to broadcast the game from Station Park.

Stiebler said he was "sorry to hear" that the city might not continue to work with his company.

The viewing party for the Ohio State-TCU game was planned in the spring and was meant to serve as the city’s final DORA event of the season.

“We received a courtesy call from IMG concerning the broadcast of the game,” Merritt said.

The caller did not divulge when or how IMG or Ohio State had learned of the broadcast plans.

Merritt said he consulted with law director Tracy Bradford, and they concluded that Hilliard could not show the game as planned.

Instead, a pregame party will begin at 7 p.m., and the band, Black Water Road, will perform until halftime.

The Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, will continue as planned, Merritt said.

During prescheduled DORA events, patrons may purchase alcohol and walk publicly within the boundaries of the DORA and during the posted hours.