PDA

View Full Version : Who is responsible for the Blackouts?



EddieMilner
03-31-2008, 10:44 AM
As baseball is starting yet again, I get angry, yet again, to think that I live in South Bend, IN (a short 4.5 hour jaunt to GABP) and am blacked out from all Reds games.

Is it the Reds fault for picking my area or is it MLB's fault for picking my area? I want to call/write letters/complain to someone that is responsible, but when you speak with the people from MLB.tv they are clueless. Any ideas to help this consumer try and change something?

smoke6
03-31-2008, 11:06 AM
That sucks. You'd think you would be blacked out (MLB Extra Innings) since you're in Chicago's market not Cincy's.

EddieMilner
03-31-2008, 11:08 AM
That sucks. You'd think you would be blacked out (MLB Extra Innings) since you're in Chicago's market not Cincy's.

I am blacked out for Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, and Reds. However I can get the Indians, even though they are closer than Cincinnati by 30 miles.

I LOVE MLB!

smoke6
03-31-2008, 11:27 AM
I am blacked out for Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, and Reds. However I can get the Indians, even though they are closer than Cincinnati by 30 miles.

I LOVE MLB!

But at least you can see every ND football game on TV! Oh wait, everybody else on the planet can too. :D GO IRISH!

OesterPoster
03-31-2008, 11:28 AM
You can write and complain, but it's very unlikely anything will get done in 2008. With the startup of MLB's own TV network in 2009, they are supposed to be redrawing the blackout maps.

EddieMilner
03-31-2008, 11:37 AM
You can write and complain, but it's very unlikely anything will get done in 2008. With the startup of MLB's own TV network in 2009, they are supposed to be redrawing the blackout maps.

I understand, I just want to start complaining, so I can get the Reds for the 09 Series Run. But that still leaves my question, who do I write my letter to? Who figures out the blackout maps?

James B.
03-31-2008, 01:25 PM
I live in Tennesse and the Reds are my home team. I am pretty sure that MLB is to blame.

fadetoblack2880
03-31-2008, 01:50 PM
I live outside of Charleston, WV. The only FSN I have is Pittsburgh. Reds games are blacked out, I hate it.

Degenerate39
03-31-2008, 01:52 PM
I live outside of Charleston, WV. The only FSN I have is Pittsburgh. Reds games are blacked out, I hate it.

You should consider getting Direct TV. I live outside of Charleston, WV (opposite end from you though) and I get to watch most FSNs. FSN Cincinnati is usually never blacked out for me.

redlegsmustache
03-31-2008, 03:13 PM
I live in Dayton 45 mins north of Cincy. I'm watching the game on tv. So how am I not in the blackout market. Not that I want to be. :D

Dunner44
03-31-2008, 03:30 PM
I'm in South Bend too. Why does the MLB hate me?

Does anyone have any working links for streaming radio since video is out of the question?

buffett0326
03-31-2008, 03:33 PM
I live in Barboursville, WV and I am not getting blacked out. I have dish though so not sure if that matters.

chettt
03-31-2008, 08:29 PM
A black(out) eye for baseball

By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
May 26, 2006




Jey Cho is 24 years old. He helps manage trusts. He enjoys watching the Oakland Athletics in his down time. And this poses a very large problem.

See, Cho lives in Las Vegas. While he has his choice of five Cirque du Soleil shows, a score of naked magicians and the one and, praise the Lord, only Celine Dion, he cannot see the A's. Or the San Francisco Giants. Or the Arizona Diamondbacks. Instead, when he uses his MLB.TV subscription to click on any of their games, a blank screen greets him.

For this little slice of ironic corporate stupidity in the age of ubiquitous information, an entity actually is restricting its ubiquity fans have Major League Baseball's territorial-rights policy to thank. You see, around 40 years ago, baseball began gerrymandering specific areas of the country to teams so each one could market to a localized fan base. As media walls broke down and television coverage expanded and the NFL made billions of dollars more than its competitors with a national contract, baseball allowed teams to retreat to their fiefdoms and handle TV however they chose. Now the sport faces the double whammy of local TV revenue being the great divide between haves and have-nots that also keeps a fan like Cho wondering why he can't watch his favorite team play even though its stadium is 400 miles away.

"I've pretty much just given up," he said. "No matter what angle I try to go at it, the response is always the same: It's the decision of the Office of the Commissioner, and no one can do anything about it."

Not immediately, at least. Even if Bud Selig chooses to make this a priority and considering the current plan alienates fans in Las Vegas, a possible future MLB destination, along with dozens of other mid-sized TV markets near major metropolitan areas, he'd better hashing out the specifics will take time.

ADVERTISEMENT


The broadcasting landscape today is like HDTV to the black and white of when baseball first awarded territorial rights. Regional sports networks, created to cover the breadth of a team's territory, bring huge money, and baseball only encourages teams to exploit the rights.

With the YES Network, the New York Yankees pull in more than $100 million a year in revenue, as their market is the big leagues' fourth-largest. (The Toronto Blue Jays, with all of Canada, have twice as many potential viewers as the second-biggest territory. The Kansas City Royals rank last.)

By allowing teams to act individually rather than centralize its broadcasting like the NFL, baseball cedes the sport's best interest to 30 teams looking to better their own.

So Cho tracks the A's on satellite radio and Internet gamecasts. And Charlie DeBrunner, an MLB Extra Innings subscriber for years in Harrisburg, Pa., wonders why the package, designed to broadcast up to 60 regular season, out-of-market games a week, no longer shows the Washington Nationals or Pittsburgh Pirates and only sparingly allows Baltimore Orioles games across the air. And thousands of other fans find themselves in the dark, literally, when it comes to watching their favorite teams because they live in one of the hundreds of ZIP codes each team can restrict from watching.

"When it comes to those sort of situations," Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy said, "we need to visit those issues and make sure people have a chance to see those games."

McClatchy is on baseball's executive council, and he said the subject of territorial rights has not come up in its meetings. He said he heard about other committees discussing the issue but never with any intent of changing it.

Getting baseball to budge from status quo is like moving a fat cat from its designated napping spot. The sport has allowed its teams to squat on their territories for so long that asking them to loosen the standards could cause a mutiny among owners. George Steinbrenner built YES to capitalize on his team's territorial rights, and it was a brilliant business decision. The Boston Red Sox knew every cable- and satellite-equipped television would eat up the New England Sports Network, and they own 80 percent of it.

If baseball tried to centralize television so it could take all 2,430 of its yearly games to an exclusive national package, Steinbrenner and other big-market owners would bring MLB to court quicker than you can say "antitrust exemption."

"There's an active discussion in baseball, and it has to do with teams trying to protect their local markets," said Andrew Zimbalist, the sports economist and author of "In the Best Interest of Baseball?" "A problem like this is more easily resolved than trying to centralize television. What you can do is designate certain areas from exemption from the rules. It doesn't benefit anybody to black out markets. What might work, in these territories that overlap, is to allow the teams to cooperate and sell a package of their games to the cable distributors in those areas."

While Zimbalist's idea would take care of servicing the fans in multiple-blackout markets, it also would involve teams agreeing upon equitable money breakdowns from the fees they would charge cable and satellite providers. And it would give the providers headaches from fans who want to see one team more than another. And it would anger the teams whose rights don't include the in-between markets and, thus, can't double dip their TV contracts.

What comes of this is a dichotomy: Baseball surely wants all of its fans to watch as many games as possible for all of the negativity associated with the sport, it's never been richer as a business but seems to give more value to respecting its owners, whose pockets, remember, are lined by those fans.

When he saw MLB.com's broadcasts were blacked out, Cho remembered that his local cable provider was giving a free preview to the Extra Innings package. He tried the A's channel. Black screen. He tried it the next day. Same thing.

"I contacted the local cable company here," Cho said. "They told me they have no say over what games they're allowed to broadcast, and they just follow the rules."

Rules that made sense a long time ago. And rules that need a rewrite, pronto.


Jeff Passan is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports.

namichael
04-01-2008, 08:26 AM
You should consider getting Direct TV. I live outside of Charleston, WV (opposite end from you though) and I get to watch most FSNs. FSN Cincinnati is usually never blacked out for me.


I live outside of Charleston, WV. The only FSN I have is Pittsburgh. Reds games are blacked out, I hate it.

I'm in the same boat as fadetoblack2880. I live in Meigs Co. Ohio right across the river from Mason Co. WV and I get FSN Pittsburgh. I tried to go the route of Directv or Dish but apparently the earth shattering technology that is satellite tv can't go around a hill.

I know that our cable provider sometimes pipes the Reds games in on one of the available channels, but it isn't always reliable. They will shut it off in the eight inning or it will be 2 innings late getting switched on.

ugh

durl
04-01-2008, 09:11 AM
It's MLB that's to blame. Teams were allowed to, almost arbitrarily, claim home territories in which baseball fans within those territories could see only their "home" team play.

Those who broadcast the games, either cable or satellite, only enforce the blackout rules as established by MLB.

Great line from the article chettt posted:


For this little slice of ironic corporate stupidity – in the age of ubiquitous information, an entity actually is restricting its ubiquity – fans have Major League Baseball's territorial-rights policy to thank. You see, around 40 years ago, baseball began gerrymandering specific areas of the country to teams so each one could market to a localized fan base. As media walls broke down and television coverage expanded and the NFL made billions of dollars more than its competitors with a national contract, baseball allowed teams to retreat to their fiefdoms and handle TV however they chose. Now the sport faces the double whammy of local TV revenue being the great divide between haves and have-nots...

The last time I checked, revenues from the Yankees TV deal (with their own network) brought in enough money in one season to pay the Reds payroll for 2 years.

tommycash
04-01-2008, 11:05 AM
I have DirecTV also and I have the sports package, which includes every sports station that they offer (this does not include MLB extra innings or any specialty sports package) and I can watch most games in every market. I am in the Reds market (I live near Louisville, KY) and I can watch Marlin games if I want to (I don't because if I want to watch a good AAA team I can watch the River Bats). I would say that changing to DirecTV and ordering the sports stations they have would be the best solution. OF course it can't help you if you don't a clear view of the sky from where you dish is placed.

I(heart)Freel
04-01-2008, 05:54 PM
I must admit I thought this thread was going to be about my waking up in a strange place this morning after another crazy fun-filled opening day (and night)...

RSNtransplant
04-01-2008, 06:24 PM
The last time I checked, revenues from the Yankees TV deal (with their own network) brought in enough money in one season to pay the Reds payroll for 2 years.

This will certainly complicate any possible resolution to the black out issue, since revenue sharing and the luxury tax only penalizes the rich teams, I'm sure the rich teams do not want to share any more of their money than they already do with the teams that do not field a roster whose payroll matches or exceeds what they receive in revenue sharing, see FLA and KC.

I haven't had a need to try this, but I have heard you can get around this blackout issue, by paying for your mlb TV using a credit card that has an address out side the blackout zone. How else do they know where you are watching the games? For example, your brother in Seattle buys the package with his credit card, which has his Seattle address and he cannot see Mariners, but you can watch Mariners with your Cincy based credit card funded account? He can watch the Reds though. Have any relatives outside the blackout zone, ask them if they can see the Reds with their account and ask them to try it next time they visit you. Then let us all know.

durl
04-02-2008, 08:59 AM
I haven't had a need to try this, but I have heard you can get around this blackout issue, by paying for your mlb TV using a credit card that has an address out side the blackout zone. How else do they know where you are watching the games? For example, your brother in Seattle buys the package with his credit card, which has his Seattle address and he cannot see Mariners, but you can watch Mariners with your Cincy based credit card funded account? He can watch the Reds though. Have any relatives outside the blackout zone, ask them if they can see the Reds with their account and ask them to try it next time they visit you. Then let us all know.

Interesting idea. I wonder if it would work. Could the viewer's IP address give it away, though?

Still, MLB got all upset when people started using their Slingboxes to watch games. They didn't think that fans should be able to watch their home team play if the fan happened to be out of town in another team's region. I'm sure MLB would work hard to cut down on any tactic to see a team from another region.

EddieMilner
04-02-2008, 09:09 AM
This will certainly complicate any possible resolution to the black out issue, since revenue sharing and the luxury tax only penalizes the rich teams, I'm sure the rich teams do not want to share any more of their money than they already do with the teams that do not field a roster whose payroll matches or exceeds what they receive in revenue sharing, see FLA and KC.

I haven't had a need to try this, but I have heard you can get around this blackout issue, by paying for your mlb TV using a credit card that has an address out side the blackout zone. How else do they know where you are watching the games? For example, your brother in Seattle buys the package with his credit card, which has his Seattle address and he cannot see Mariners, but you can watch Mariners with your Cincy based credit card funded account? He can watch the Reds though. Have any relatives outside the blackout zone, ask them if they can see the Reds with their account and ask them to try it next time they visit you. Then let us all know.

They go off the location of your IP Server. I live about 4 miles from Michigan (which isn't effected by the Reds black out area), I asked one of my friends up there to buy it on his credit card and then I tried to use this account to watch Reds Games. I was still blacked out because my IP address was from a blacked out area. You can use Proxy Servers that have addresses outside of the blackout area, but it seems obnoxious that I have to go through so many hoops when I live 4.5 hours away from a stadium. The original purpose of blackout rules were good, when a team was at home, they didn't want the fans to stay at home and watch the game instead of going to the park (and that makes sense). However blacking out all Reds games because of deals with satellite companies is screwing over the fans. I wish that Congress would get involved with this, instead of the steroid witch hunt.

chettt
04-02-2008, 09:16 AM
For a map of MLB black-out areas, go to link at bottom of page.