Saturday, July 7, 2007

Major League Baseball Needs a New Television Policy

So, right now, I want to watch the Detroit Tigers-Boston Red Sox game. It's a natural reaction to, you know, being a sports fan in the metropolitan Detroit area. When the Tigers are on television, and they are playing the best team in the American League, it may be good to be able to watch the game. So, I rush through dinner, get home at 7:00, just in time for the game, and I turn on FOX 2 and what do I see? Extra innings in the New York Yankees game. Terrific. Nevermind that nobody in Detroit cares about the New York Yankees or the Anaheim Angels (or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or whatever they are called), but according to the rules of Major League Baseball's patently absurd national television contract, until that game ends, Tigers fans in Detroit are shut out.

Now, I don't blame the people at FOX 2. This decision is made well over the pay scale of the people working at FOX 2 tonight and yelling at them may make you feel better but won't solve the problem. But, this is a problem, and one that needs to be solved. How is it in Major League Baseball's best interest to shut out home town fans while forcing them to watch a game they don't care about while their hometown team plays without a television outlet? Already, the Tigers have played an inning and a half against the Red Sox (trailing 2-0 by the way, at least the radio isn't broadcasting the Yankees game) and Jeremy Bonderman, aside from giving up a first inning homerun (typical) has struck out five Red Sox batters. Sadly, I still haven't been able to see any of it because the Yankees are trying to tie their game in the bottom of the 11th inning.

Major League Baseball, FOX, and FOX 2 have to take a look at their television policy. Switch the game to Fox Sports Net for three innings, or FOX 2 HD, or whatever. Forcing Tigers fans, especially with a series against the Boston Red Sox, to watch the New York Yankees game, does not make any sense. Not for Major League Baseball. Not for FOX 2, which no doubt is losing rating points and local television advertising, and having to field tons of phone calls from angry Tigers fans who are in no mood to hear "It's a network decision."

Hopefully I'll be able to watch the Tigers soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Kurt said...

Scott, I think FSN needs to fix ITS policy, to be honest with you. If they can simulcast opening day on FSN and Fox2, they can certainly do it the entire season. While that may dilute viewers in Detroit and extremely select markets downstate, most of the state still has no access to "free tv" Tigers games. So while you miss the first inning, I miss both Saturday and Sunday's games against the team with the best record in baseball.

That just isn't fair.

Scott Warheit said...

Yeah, I agree with that Kurt. Something needs to be done for those not in the metropolitan area. Either they should be able to simulcast the game in those areas, or work out better TV deals with the rest of the state. Something. Because, your right, a lot of fans, including yourself, are being shut out.

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