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Monday, June 30, 2014


There’s a stigma attached to writing about baseball’s predicament on television. Mostly, the idea that if you write about it, you’re proclaiming the death of the sport. It’s fair that the people who love it (which includes me) defend it, because as we’ve seen with soccer, sometimes it’s worth defending the thing that you like more than almost anything.

Fact is, however, that Major League Baseball has a national television problem. Sunday Night Baseball is doing fine, but ESPN still has to program MLB action twice a week, and those matches are hardly noticeable, and rarely very highly-rated. A Mets-Cardinals game that followed the USA-Ghana match drew 1.5 million viewers, a huge number for their Monday Night Baseball franchise. After a World Cup match, another Monday night tussle — one of three that week — between a bad Mets team and one of the worst Cardinal teams in a while just doesn’t inspire much feeling.

The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 03:05 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: broadcasting, espn, fox, mlb_network, tbs, television

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: June 30, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4740138)
Sunday Night Baseball is usually the only game on; fans who want to watch baseball will watch it.

National baseball on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays is up against other baseball games; fans who want to watch baseball will usually watch their team or at least pick the game to watch based on teams.

Edit: reading the article, the guy's solution is to play only one game at 7 on Mondays and Thursdays. So we inconvenience the fans of most teams in order to barely bolster the ratings on ESPN and FOX.
   2. danup Posted: June 30, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4740157)
It seems like a blessing that baseball has remained an enormously popular, primarily regional sport—I'm not sure why people keep trying to reshape it in the NFL's image, as though we're missing something by virtue of Skip Bayless not being very interested.
   3. Sleepy's still holding up that little wild bouquet Posted: June 30, 2014 at 07:28 PM (#4740323)
I wanted to watch that game, but I canceled my cable subscription some time ago in favor of mlb tv, and was blacked out because it was a NATIONAL TELEVISION GAME.

Baseball's NATIONAL TELEVISION PROBLEM from where I'm sitting is that showing one game and only one game screws the hardcore fans over and that's a stupid thing to do. it might be short-term profitable, but it probably doesn't help long-term. At least offer some kind of pay-per-view option for MLB.TV holders and split the revenue with the cable bums.

* (yes, I'm aware that I can watch the game from Ghana or wherever, but it's annoying to set up and I'm usually using my laptop for something else).

   4. Bote Man Posted: June 30, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4740333)
No interest; didn't read. But I'm assuming this is yet another commentator who hasn't heard that "national" television is not the only venue to see out-of-town teams play baseball. There's the Extra Innings package on DirecTV and whatever other outlets offer it. There's that provides video and includes the MLB Gameday radio feeds all via the Internet. Does it even matter to baseball fans what ESPN does?? Aside from Sunday nights, the answer is "no".

The only impact that television networks have on baseball is on Saturdays when Fox Sports prevents most customers from viewing their product unless they fit into very narrowly (and poorly) defined geographic areas.

The biggest problem is that television metrics are still tied to old models that estimate viewership while they eschew the exactness of Internet viewership metrics for reasons that have been explained to me yet still make no f@cking sense.
   5. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: July 01, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4741024)
#4 is 100% correct.
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 01, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4741233)
No interest; didn't read. But I'm assuming this is yet another commentator who hasn't heard that "national" television is not the only venue to see out-of-town teams play baseball. There's the Extra Innings package on DirecTV and whatever other outlets offer it

I also notice that the Saturday FOX game doesn't pre-empt the Extra Innings package for games starting at the same time, the way it used to. If you want to watch the FOX game you can't get the local feeds, but I can live with that.
   7. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: July 01, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4741376)
Isn't this like drawing conclusions about the public's interest in news, by studying broadcast network nightly news ratings?
   8. aberg Posted: July 01, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4741491)
I moved to Seattle about six years ago and since then I watch the Twins on or the Mariners on cable almost exclusively. At first, I felt guilty that I was watching less baseball from around the league, but I'm not really watching less baseball, just less baseball in which I have no rooting interest. The last couple of years, the Twins have been out of it early and I have picked up a pet NL team to loosely follow down the stretch (Nats and Pirates, respectively).

I guess my point is that there are many, many ways to follow baseball. More than ever. As technology changes, the way fans consume games change, too, and I don't think that's a major problem.
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: July 01, 2014 at 08:04 PM (#4741544)
I wanted to watch that game, but I canceled my cable subscription some time ago in favor of mlb tv, and was blacked out because it was a NATIONAL TELEVISION GAME.

I would love to see MLB get rid of their ridiculous blackout rules. I understand it's a potential conflict with the networks that broadcast their games, and the cable providers, but it should be workable. (If you are in a blackout zone, you should be able to watch the broadcast with full commercials and have access only to the broadcast that would cover that zone...not perfect of course, but seems fair--that solution would of course ultimately tick off the cable providers, but it's an industry that needs to die anyway)

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