Posts filed under ‘Progress’

Baby Steps

Well, it appears that MLB is prepared to do something about the blackout problem:

Major League Baseball is finally trying to white out its blackout problem – and the restrictions that prevent so many from watching games on television and over the Internet may be lifted as early as the 2009 season.

This article primarily discusses the MLB Extra Innings package blackouts for cable and satellite subscribers, but one would hope the new blackout rules would extend to as well. Unfortunately, ending all blackouts doesn’t appear to be on the table. The new policy would only go so far as to end the most ridiculous of blackouts for fans who live nowhere near a ballpark:

At the owners’ meetings in May, all 30 teams are expected to deliver reports outlining the territories in which they currently broadcast games or have concrete plans to in the future, according to an MLB source. Based on the information, MLB will redraw its territorial-rights map – the outdated gerrymandering that causes areas such as Las Vegas and Iowa to be blacked out from 40 percent of games on a full schedule – to better reflect the present broadcast landscape.

The catalyst behind MLB’s sudden action is president Bob DuPuy, who at last year’s meetings took a hard-line stance on the blackouts. Aware of the outrage among baseball fans and torrent of letters pouring into MLB offices over an issue with a fairly painless remedy, DuPuy told the owners they had to stake legitimate claims to their territories or risk losing them.

Some owners, another source said, were concerned about existing TV contracts and potential discord among advertisers who were promised certain territories covered. DuPuy understood the conflict and allowed them one year to work out any issues.

This is good news for, say, fans of the A’s/Dodgers/Giants/Padres/Angels/Diamondbacks in Las Vegas, who are currently blacked out from all those teams’ games. A’s and Giants fans near the Bay Area, Dodgers and Angels fans near in L.A., and all other fans relatively close to their favorite team will apparently still be left in the dark.

Still, I can’t help but think that something is a good thing, and may lead to more good things soon.


April 17, 2008 at 10:50 pm Leave a comment



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