Ok, this post is about a week late but I still would like to mark the occasion!
The baseball season is under way, a more sure sign of spring than the disappearance of the snow drifts. The season always used to start on the first Monday of April but then they decided to add a special Sunday night game as kind of a kick off. This year they backed it up a few days and we got a full weekend of games. I've been wanting this exact approach for a few years so I was glad they were trying it. And it really seems to have worked. There has been nothing but positive response.
Every year I get some kind of baseball deal so that I can watch my White Sox even though I'm far outside of their territory. I've bounced back and forth between programs to watch it over the computer and the TV. Back at Christmas we were gifted an Apple TV unit which we've been using nearly daily. About a month ago they included an easy hook up to MLB.tv so I quickly went that route.
This gives me all out of market games directly on our big screen of our TV. Most games are in HD and (very important!) I can choose which team of announcers to listen to. A clear win!
But this isn't a great set up for everyone. Why? Because Major League Baseball's blackout policy is still based on their understanding of how radio would effect attendance. Some 75 years of experience and they still don't get it.
Take a gander at this article here and you'll see the bad news that the owners aren't really interested in figuring this out. Basically, if you are in a team's 'territory' then they can (and will!) blackout those games. To give you an idea of how big these territories can be, the Twins claim all of Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota and part of western Wisconsin. So if you're in Rapid City SD, 576 miles and nearly 10 hours away, you can't use MLB.tv to watch Twins games. And this applies to all of their games, not just the home ones. Does that make sense? Even worse, the entire country of Canada is the territory of the Toronto Blue Jays.
And it gets worse. If you look at the map in the article you'll see that some territory is claimed by multiple teams. The state of Iowa is the territory of the Twins (as I mentioned) but also the Royals, Cardinals, Brewers and both Chicago teams. That means that an MLB.tv or Extra Innings subscriber in Des Moines could have six different games blacked out on any given night. Outrageous!
MLB needs to understand that the people that are shelling out these extras are their hard core fans. If they spend an extra hundred dollars to see some baseball they should be able to do so. Blackout rules should absolutely be waived for these people. And they would be if the owners were even a little bit in touch with their fan base.