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Friday, June 22, 2012

Passan: MLB’s blackout problem keeps sport in dark ages

But will it play in Peoria?

Here we are. Still. Years later. It’s 2012. We can watch anything we want anywhere we want on any device we want at any time we want. Except baseball games. If you live in Iowa, you can’t see the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Royals, Twins or White Sox. It’s just as ugly in Vegas: no A’s, Angels, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants or Padres. Baseball continues to black out televised games in these areas because of territorial-rights rules conceived when TV was black and white and people actually watched commercials….

Preying on the very consumer who wants to buy your product seems like the antithesis of good business sense, and yet baseball has done nothing to change its tack. Commissioner Bud Selig said: “We’ll figure it out. … We have to do something about it.”

That was six years ago….

On the first page of a complaint filed May 9 in Manhattan, two words aim squarely for Major League Baseball’s jaw and deliver a swift blow: “Illegal cartel.”

Garber et al v. MLB is a class-action antitrust suit looking to do what no amount of complaining from baseball fans could: destroy the blackout rules.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 22, 2012 at 09:33 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blackout rules, bud selig, television, territorial rights

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 23, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4164340)
Jesus Christ, this is so dishonest. People in Iowa watch the Cubs all the time.
   2. Sunday silence Posted: June 23, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4164357)
I hope they see the light.
   3. DKDC Posted: June 23, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4164401)
Jesus Christ, this is so dishonest. People in Iowa watch the Cubs all the time.


Does it really count if they have to watch them on a television? What about the poor folks with only iPhones?

In all seriousness, at some point in the near future we are going to see a massive change in the alignment of power between the distributors (cable/satellite and now Internet), content aggregators (networks) and content creators (production companies and sports leagues).

No one wants to be the first to upset the apple cart, but once someone goes rogue (say, HBO starts allowing Internet-only subscribers), others will quickly follow.

MLB won't be the leaders, but it's not like they are laggards either, compared to the NFL.
   4. base ball chick Posted: June 23, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4164418)
i've groused about this a LOT and i understand that mlb and owners think they make more money with blackouts. things won't change until they figure out that they and their cable company/RSN can make even more money if they charge folks in the blackout areas to see games on the intarwebs.

like i've said a zillion times, you can't see astros games on STANDARD cable in a whole lot of cities in texas and since the rangers are now good, foxsports will not show astros games. and next year, since the astros will have their own comcast rsn, this means that people with time warner can't see astros games.

but i guess that crane just doesn't care.

yeahyeah, i know - the 10 astros fans left in austin/san antonio are supposed to bombard time warner with demands to carry the astros RSN.

right
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 23, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4164451)
Why don't these folks move? A mass migration would get attention. Vast Chernobyl-like dead zones, all because of MLB's blackout policy.
   6. Jim Wisinski Posted: June 23, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4164454)
Does it really count if they have to watch them on a television? What about the poor folks with only iPhones?


Pretty sure it was a reference to the Iowa Cubs.
   7. SteveM. Posted: June 23, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4164474)
The way the Cubs are playing this season, I would think its mercy that prevents wider viewing of their games.
   8. PrimerLurker Posted: June 23, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4164480)
i can't watch the yankees on mlb.tv when they are on fox. i have no tv at home.
   9. Poster Nutbag Posted: June 23, 2012 at 06:42 PM (#4164485)
For an easy, affordable, at-home solution to your blackout problems...

Try this

;-)
   10. McCoy Posted: June 23, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4164499)
The way the Cubs are playing this season, I would think its mercy that prevents wider viewing of their games.

I just discovered yesterday that my cable provider carries WGN America and that they show Cubs' games. Granted WGN doesn't carry them all like they used to. They only have 35 Cubs games left.
   11. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 23, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4164523)
i can't watch the yankees on mlb.tv when they are on fox. i have no tv at home.

And I can't watch them on Extra Innings if they're playing in the same time slot as the Fox game, like tonight.
   12. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: June 23, 2012 at 09:25 PM (#4164536)
For an easy, affordable, at-home solution to your blackout problems...

Try this


Tor is free.
   13. spycake Posted: June 23, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4164540)
For you Tor/VPN/etc users:

Does your credit card billing address matter for these blackouts? Or is it just your geographic location by IP address?
   14. tshipman Posted: June 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM (#4164616)
Does your credit card billing address matter for these blackouts? Or is it just your geographic location by IP address?

Geographic location only. My phone is blacked out from Giants games at home, but just dandy in another city.
   15. TerpNats Posted: June 24, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4164634)
Jesus Christ, this is so dishonest. People in Iowa watch the Cubs all the time.
When I lived in Iowa in the mid-'80s, six MLB teams were carried on radio throughout the state -- the White Sox and Cubs (eastern Iowa, generally as far west as Des Moines), the Cardinals and Royals (southern Iowa, as far north as Des Moines and Marshalltown), the Twins (northern and northwest Iowa) and even the Brewers (Dubuque and northeast Iowa). Just before I left in '85, a new UHF station in Des Moines began showing White Sox and Cubs games, at a time when relatively few people had cable. I feel bad for Iowans who love baseball and are trapped in no man's land because of this idiotic policy.
   16. Davo Dozier Posted: June 24, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4164692)
I live in Minnesota. The other night, I got to watch a game that was being played in Washington DC on my laptop while I was pooping.
   17. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: June 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4164750)
I live in Minnesota. The other night, I got to watch a game that was being played in Washington DC on my laptop while I was pooping.


Two weeks ago I sat down in my office in Singapore with my morning coffee and put the Nats game on at my desk. This is an age of miracle and wonder.
   18. zack Posted: June 24, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4164761)
Speaking of blackouts, lately any game MLBN is hosting is blacked out for me, even when they aren't showing a team I'm in the local area for. Anyone know what that's about?
   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 24, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4164763)
zack

you are on mlb's secret "no watch" list

   20. Swedish Chef Posted: June 24, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4164765)
MLB have their priorities straight and there are never any blackouts in Sweden. I can watch every Marlins loss in glorious HD, or I could if it wasn't for that damn time difference, what about more daygames?
   21. BFFB Posted: June 24, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4164770)
MLB have their priorities straight and there are never any blackouts in Sweden. I can watch every Marlins loss in glorious HD, or I could if it wasn't for that damn time difference, what about more daygames?


Just wait until there is a way of getting to the Atlantic coast in under 3 hours because you'll find Sweden suddenly becomes the catchment area for New York :p
   22. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 24, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4164808)
Two weeks ago I sat down in my office in Singapore with my morning coffee and put the Nats game on at my desk. This is an age of miracle and wonder.


I remain amazed that North Americans can't do this with NPB games.
   23. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 24, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4164810)
If not for MLB (and other sports; let's never forget that this is across the sportscasting industry; not unique to baseball) blackouts, I wouldn't have this job and wouldn't be posting at BBTF on a Sunday. So there.
   24. TerpNats Posted: June 24, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4164875)
Just wait until there is a way of getting to the Atlantic coast in under 3 hours because you'll find Sweden suddenly becomes the catchment area for New York :p
Have the Twins already claimed that territory?

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