View Full Version : Will baseball finally change the blackout rules

Reds Fanatic
07-13-2006, 11:19 AM

PITTSBURGH Even the commissioner of baseball isn't immune to the sport's television blackout rules.

Bud Selig admitted Tuesday that he has been restricted from watching some games this season and that he intends to change the policy that leaves some cities without as many as six baseball games each night.

"I don't understand (blackouts) myself," Selig said at a luncheon with the Baseball Writers Association of America. "I get blacked out from some games."

While he did not outline a plan, Selig said he had spoken with Major League Baseball about addressing the blackout issue.

"Right now," he said, "I don't know what to do about it. We'll figure it out."

More than 1,000 fans emailed Yahoo! Sports to voice their frustration with baseball's territorial-rights rules that black out games on the Extra Innings pay-per-view package and MLB.TV. The rules, developed about 40 years ago to protect teams' marketing areas, have fallen woefully out of date with a sport able to televise every game.

Instead, fans in Las Vegas cannot watch the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. And no one in Iowa can watch the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals. And so on, all across the country.

In protest, fans have mobilized to send Selig letters of complaint. They seem to have finally found an advocate in the commissioner.

"I hear more about people who can't get the game," Selig said, "and, yes, I've already told our people we have to do something about it."

While Selig intends to take care of the territorial blackouts, he won't be doing anything about the blanket blackout on Saturday afternoon.

MLB agreed to a new seven-year contract with Fox Sports and Turner Sports worth more than $3 billion, according to sources. The parties announced the deal before Tuesday's All-Star Game.

Fox will keep the World Series, the All-Star Game and its Saturday-afternoon game, during which all other games are blacked out. That will remain the case, baseball president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy said, because of "exclusivity."

The World Series will begin the first Tuesday after the completion of the League Championship Series starting in 2007, possibly pushing the championship into the first week of November and setting up a schedule that sets games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Fox will broadcast alternating LCS, with the American League in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, and the National League in 2008, 2010 and 2012. "A significant number of people," Selig said, are in the running for LCS rights opposite Fox.

Starting in 2007, Turner will televise all the Division Series games, on TBS and TNT, and a new Sunday-afternoon game. There will not be a blackout Sunday afternoon, except in the host city of the teams playing.

07-13-2006, 11:33 AM
the simple suggestion is to just eliminate them altogether. That would be too easy.

07-13-2006, 11:34 AM
Dear Wizard of Oz,

Please send us a new commissioner for Christmas. Ours is missing his brain.

Major League Baseball.

Roy Tucker
07-13-2006, 11:35 AM
I think Bud has permanently blacked out.

07-13-2006, 01:13 PM
Bud is just blowing smoke. Nothing will change. The majority of owners don't want a change and they have Bud in their hip pocket. A start to change the blackout rules would be to eliminate the overlapping of territory teams have and reduce the area of blackouts. If you are within 100 mile radius of a MLB city then home tv games can be blacked out. Anyone outside of the radius,no black outs. If two teams have share some of the area then the commish decides who gets what. But that's too simple so it will never fly.

07-13-2006, 02:21 PM
I would love to get rid of them.

I would buy MLB.tv instantly.

07-13-2006, 02:59 PM
Won't happen, the Owners will say no and Bud is an owner puppet

07-13-2006, 11:24 PM
I don't mind being blacked out from the Rangers and Astros. Being a distant fan has to have some advantages. ;)

I don't think Bud will have enough conviction to do anything about the blackouts. If it's true that money talks, then the money from the broadcast contract is a big, green banshee that screams orders in Bud's ears. And the banshee is very protective of its ridiculous, gerrymandered home territories.

Come to think of it, all of that screaming could explain why the commissioner was unable to hear the whispers about steroids. ;)

Chip R
07-14-2006, 12:10 AM
I do not think they need to be lifted entirely but make the rules more common sense. Perhaps something like if a game is not a sellout X number of days in advance then blackout the game within a 100 to 120 mile radius from the ballpark. And only if the team is playing at home. It does not make sense to black out a Reds game here if they are playing in NYC or LA or really anywhere except perhaps Cleveland.

07-14-2006, 03:54 PM
50 miles is what I would do, not many people are gonna drive more then an hour and deal with big city traffic.

Chip R
07-14-2006, 04:03 PM
50 miles is what I would do, not many people are gonna drive more then an hour and deal with big city traffic.

50 miles isn't so far. That's like from here to Dayton. You kind of want to have the people in the area to go to games rather than sit at home and watch it on TV.

07-14-2006, 04:21 PM
50 miles isn't so far. That's like from here to Dayton. You kind of want to have the people in the area to go to games rather than sit at home and watch it on TV.that is even going on the assumption (which I beleive is antiquated) that the game being on TV drives attendance decisions that is not offset by creating new fans.

Baseball once used the same arguments with radio and wondered why they should give their game away for free over the airwaves. Of course, what they learned was it created entirely new legions of fans. Obviously the same logic does not apply to video.

07-15-2006, 12:14 AM
If they get rid of blackout and territories, I'd be willing to be that the day that ruling happens, at 12:01 the day it goes active, the Oakland A's would be announcing their plan for a shiny new stadium in San Jose.

The blackout map is honestly off the charts stupid.

Montana is a Mariners black area. MONTANA. If you can make it from Billings to Seattle to catch a game day of, you let me know.

07-15-2006, 12:52 AM
How far is San Jose from SBC (or whatever it's called) park? that might be the distance they decide on ;)

Last I heard the A's were looking at Fremont (spelling)

07-15-2006, 01:51 AM
Here's how stupid it is...

The Pirates have claimed my area--275 miles away and not a Pirate fan to be found. Traditionally, this has been Reds country. And we are 275 miles away.

Today, I can get FS Pittsburgh on the local cable company, but Suddenlink, our cable company (formerly Charter) cannot get FS Ohio because of MLB rules to carry the Reds games. So, I buy a dish several years ago to get EI (since even with EI from the cable company they won't show the Reds for some reason no one can explain) to see the Reds. If the Reds are on FS Pittsburth, we get their pitiful feed and FS Cincinatti is blacked out. Yet, I can get Baltimore's games (225 miles away) and Washington's (about the same distance). Does that make any sense at all?

Drop the blackouts. Only St. Louis, New York (Yanks), and a couple of others sell out most games. It's a dead issue. And with MLB fighting to keep an audience among the young and especially the young African-American youngsters, more coverage is a no brainer.

Then again, Bud is an idiot. You mean, he's the boss and didn't know about blackout rules? God help us...